Making Modern Marvelous

The barrier for new cards to make their way into Modern is pretty high because of necessary power levels, but some cards are just so cool that a Pro Tour Champion has to try to break them! Shaun McLaren is going to find a means to make renewable energy in Modern for #SCGINDY’s Modern Classic! Just you wait and see!

#SCGINDY October 1-2!

Aetherworks Marvelous.

Today I’ll be exploring some decks that Aetherworks Marvel fits into in Modern!

Activating Aetherworks Marvel will have a huge effect and is very powerful, but it’s also difficult to get enough Energy to do so and even then comes with an element of chance that relies on what’s on the top of your deck.

Since Energy isn’t available outside of Kaladesh cards, that makes any Energy card less likely to be viable in older formats. But in Modern we get a more powerful selection of cards to cheat onto the battlefield with Aetherworks Marvel, so the payoff for getting that Energy is going to be better.

In almost all scenarios, the ideal card to find in your top six with Aetherworks Marvel is going to be, no surprises here, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

And yes, Aetherworks Marvel does let you cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

That means Emrakul can’t be countered, you get an extra turn where you’ll get to attack for fifteen and annihilate for six, and if your opponent isn’t already dead after that, you get to do it again because Emrakul doesn’t get sacrificed, exiled, shuffled away, or sent to Belize in the end step.

All right, so we have expertly deduced that casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Aetherworks Marvel is pretty good, but how are we getting the Energy?

Fortunately Aetherworks Marvel comes built-in with a way to generate energy, so ideally we can abuse that in some way and not have to rely on filling our deck with substandard Energy generators.

Turns out those land cards we’ve been playing with all these years have been packed full of delicious Energy!

Greater Gargadon and Aetherworks Marvel is a two-card combo, assuming you have six or so permanents lyying around to sacrifice.

There’s something very appealing about going all-in by sacrificing your lands and casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Aetherworks Marvel, then making your opponent sacrifice all their permanents with Annihilator. You have nothing. I have nothing. Fair and balanced.

So if Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Greater Gargadon work well with Aetherworks Marvel, how about putting it in a deck that already has Greater Gargadon and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn? Let’s take a look:

Restore Balance has never really excelled beyond a fringe deck, but it does fit what we’re looking for in a lot of ways.

I think Restore Balance is incredibly difficult to build, especially the manabase.

Borderposts, like Wildfield Borderpost, are capable of surviving Restore Balance and make your opponent sacrifice more land, but they are clunky, are not very consistent at fixing your mana, and force you to run lots of basic lands. I like the style of relying less on Borderposts, since Restore Balance is still a great card, even if you don’t have Greater Gargadon suspended and it doesn’t end up wiping out all of your opponent’s lands.

Aetherworks Marvel isn’t likely to find our one Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, but it will almost certainly be able to find a cascade spell into Restore Balance, or just Restore Balance itself, which can be cast off Aetherworks Marvel.

Timely Reinforcements is great fuel for Aetherworks Marvel and buys time. Just make sure all your Soldiers are gone if you want full Restore Balance value.

Sunscour is a spicy addition that seems reasonable as a bit more redundancy in the Wrath of God department that works even when you’re having mana issues. We have plenty of cards to pitch to it, including extra Nahiri, the Harbingers, useless Restore Balances drawn later in the game, and even Wildfield Borderpost.

Here’s a version that’s focused more on Borderposts.

This list explores the concept that Metalwork Colossus works really well with the Borderposts since they reduce its cost while being cheap themselves. Metalwork Colossus does not seem like a bad follow-up to Restore Balance, and it’s even a sacrifice outlet or recurring late-game threat in a pinch after it’s hit the graveyard.

Colossus and Marvel make sense together in X-Men and also work well together in Magic.

The manabase likely needs some work, though.

Aetherworks Marvel seems like a reasonable fit into Restore Balance decks and has decent synergy across the board, although it might end up being a little too slow and not quite necessary.

What about Aetherworks Marvel in a deck more focused around Emrakul, the Aeons Torn?

Here we’re actually generating Energy outside of Aetherworks Marvel.

Attune with Aether and Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot are clearly not worth including if we take Energy out of the equation, but they’re still somewhat reasonable in the deck for their other effects.

Through the Breach is a unique and powerful card and it’s a good thing there aren’t more cards like it. Aetherworks Marvel does provide a similar effect, though, even if it requires more work and sacrifice.

When you’re activating Aetherworks Marvel, you don’t just have to hit Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to win the game. If Emrakul is already in your hand, you can find and cast Through the Breach and put that Emrakul in your hand onto the battlefield that way. If all you find is Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot, it at least allows you to try again next turn, and Worldspine Wurm is also a fairly decent consolation prize.

If you have Greater Gargadon suspended, then Worldspine Wurm gets that much better overall since it can be sacrificed to dodge Path to Exile, or you can even just eat four Wurms to get four Energy if you need to activate Aetherworks Marvel again.

Ghost Quarter is another card that is already great in Modern and also incidentally works nicely with Aetherworks Marvel. You can target one of your own lands with it to generate two Energy. Fetchlands also generate an Energy when you crack them.

Ancient Stirrings is a nice dig effect for Aetherworks Marvel if you already have ways to generate Energy; Emrakul, the Aeons Torn if you have Through the Breach; Mind Stone if you need ramp; Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot if you need Energy; and of course a land if you need a land.

How about another take on the concept:

Sometimes you have to breach a few eggs to make an Emrakul.

Maybe putting Summoner’s Egg into play with Through the Breach is unrealistic, but the potential this deck has isn’t. Potential Energy is good, but potential Egg-ergy is better.

Summoner’s Egg isn’t exactly a Modern all-star, but it does a lot here and Greater Gargadon and Phyrexia’s Core provide efficient ways to hatch your fatty after you’ve imprinted it.

Aetherworks Marvel is almost completely reliant on Greater Gargadon in this deck, but when you do get them together, there are going to be plenty of juicy things to hit.

You also have extra Greater Gargadon fodder to turn into Energy thanks to Flagstones of Trokair. It can otherwise be hard getting up to six mana on turn 4 without a little extra help from it or Aether Hub.

Chalice of the Void on one or zero hoses a large percentage of the field and it can be sacrificed to provide extra Energy for Aetherworks Marvel as well.

I like the idea of Cathartic Reunion since it digs very deep and so many of the cards are redundant or useless without their other halves. It is incredibly vulnerable to countermagic like Remand, though, which is already quite nice against the deck.

This deck might look strange, but I think it has a lot of elements that go together to create a delicious dish… err, I mean deck.

Let’s go from eggs Summoner’s side up to expired eggs.

Eggs: part of a balanced breakfast and an unbalanced metagame.

I’m no eggspert on this archetype, so consume my list with a grain of salt and pepper.

If you do not like Green Eggs and Ham, I suggest you try a blue version with Reshape and Lotus Bloom; just be careful your opponent doesn’t hard Boil you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Red version with Scrambleverse made because I’m too chicken.

You might think I’d be out of egg yolks by now, eggspecially since I already just talked about a deck with Summoner’s Egg. I hate to break it to you, but I have at least a dozen left, so you’re out of cluck.

Eggs hasn’t eggsactly eggcelled in Modern since Second Sunrise was banned, so I won’t eggsaggerate how good it is. It’s capable of eggsplosive starts, and a shell of a deck, but it’s also reliant on specific combo pieces, which makes it eggconsistent.

Okay. That last one doesn’t even make sense.

Aetherworks Marvel functions as a bad split card of Krark-Clan Ironworks and Faith’s Reward / Open the Vaults. It’s not exactly hard to find enough Energy for it to activate, since most of the cards in the deck can sacrifice themselves and Krark-Clan Ironworks can sacrifice the rest, but it’s not trivially going to be over easy either.

Finding Faith’s Reward or Open the Vaults off Aetherworks Marvel is great, though, especially if you can sacrifice Aetherworks Marvel to Krark-Clan Ironworks in response and then use it again.

Is Aetherworks Marvel going to be viable in Modern? I’d say it’s going to be difficult for it to find a permanent home, just because it requires a big commitment and even bigger sacrifices to get enough Energy, and even then there’s still an element of risk based on the top six cards of your deck. Still, it does look like it will be a lot of fun and potentially even a solid fit in these decks. Don’t underestimate how good casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn can be…

#SCGINDY October 1-2!