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Thirst for Knowledge: Magnivore in Modern

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Thirst for Knowledge:  Magnivore in Modern

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

I have been in a brewing mood for the past few days, and it all started innocently enough, while I was browsing Modern decklists while my son was taking a nap. I guess going to bed late and waking up early will strange things to the sleep schedule of an eight year old! While I was searching the extensive database of mtggoldfish.com, I came upon a few decks that I played in the Modern Festival prelims, and remembered why I liked them so dang much. Land Destruction is one of my favorite things to do in Magic, and every time I see a decklist with Stone Rain, Molten Rain, or Crack the Earth in it, I actually see cartoon stars rotating around my head. I see those decks and I build them on MTGO and I spew Play Points (It used to be tickets, which I guess is a good thing now!) until I give up on the deck and convince myself that a dedicated land destruction deck in Modern is just not going to happen.

Then I saw this:

I fell hard for this deck. Like Romeo did for Juliet, or Bonnie for Clyde, or me for red velvet cake. It was the kind of love that would take me to wonderful places and eventually destroy what fragile sanity I had left.

But at least I would have cake.

I never actually played this deck though. No, this deck was way out of my league. When I posted the link to it on Facebook, my friends gave me the usual crap for it, until Ryan Nunn said something about me loving Magnivore.

I do love the hasty */* for 2RR that grows with each sorcery in the graveyard. It helped me pay rent for several months when I was kinda decent at Magic, and I’ve tried to recapture the feeling I had whenever I played that deck. Testing a rough build when Birthing Pod was still legal did not go well, and did lead to LSV loling at me in a two man in that particular match. I put the deck away and had not picked it up since the ban, and inspired by my Facebook wall, I went hunting through Gatherer to figure out what Red and Blue cards I would want to try out, you know, just in case I wanted to try to rebuild the deck.

This is the list I came up with:

I picked through the card database, and settled on these cards as possibilities. Let’s try to discuss them real quick.


Magnivore: The main kill condition. While it does not offer any protection, and is quite fragile to Path to Exile or even a Pestermite or Deceiver Exarch, if the deck does what it is supposed to do, than those threats should not be an issue for the sorcery Lhurgoyf. It can quickly grow out of hand, especially if your opponent is playing stuff like Serum Visions. To me this is one of the few auto includes in the deck.

Fulminator Mage: There has been a rise in decks that play Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple in Modern, couple that with the greedy mana bases of the format, and this 2/2 is often an excellent play. I know that I want to fill the yard with sorceries, but instant speed land destruction might serve a purpose.

Simian Spirit Guide: The timeshifted Elvish Spirit Guide helps me like the coin helps the player going second in Hearthstone. It’s small ramp, but what I really want to with it is blow up a land on turn two. Being able to destroy a land on turn two on the draw pulls me a tiny bit ahead, with two lands to their one, and on the play it’s a devastating blowout


Creature Removal

Flame Slash: Sorcery speed removal is not a huge selling point in Modern, especially when you have to respond to Splinter Twin. However, it does deal 4 damage to a dork for one mana, and adds one to the sorcery count.

Anger of the Gods: Not gonna lie, my first build of the deck had Slagstorm over Anger of the Gods, and then I ran in to the Abzan combo deck. Exiling cards seems like it is more important than what I wanted to try Slagstorm out for.

Slagstorm: Speaking of Slagstorm, I wanted to try it out because of its versatility. The ability to go to the head intrigued me, but this card was removed very early in the testing process.

Exhaustion: Was not tested, and is not true removal, but does slow the opponent down by skipping the untap step for their lands and creatures.

Rift Bolt: I decided that Flame Slash was a bit better for what I wanted. I rarely want to fling burn at the opponent, and one extra point of damage matters a lot!

Card Selection/Draw

Serum Visions: One of the best filtering cards in Modern, it still makes me miss Preordain and Ponder.

Gitaxian Probe: Let’s me know if the coast is clear to start my land destruction barrage, or if I am safe from removal for my Magnivore.

Faithless Looting: I see this card as R: Draw two cards, discard two sorceries. After playing with it a bit, it was not doing what I wanted it to do, and I think I am terrible when making decisions that will affect the future turns of the game.

Sleight of Hand: Second one mana spell to smooth out mana or find some action. Again, really miss Preordain and Ponder here.

Tormenting Voice: In the same vein as Faithless Looting, but without growing the Magnivore by a potential of three.

Compulsive Research: One of the better cards in the previous builds of Magnivore, it kinda clogs up the three drop slot though.

Concentrate: A little slow for three cards, and it only adds one to the graveyard immediately. I did not consider Tidings for the deck because if 4 mana is to slow to not impact the board, 5 mana is even slower!


Remand: The counter of choice when the deck was Standard legal, and it should be the same here, but I wanted to try a different direction. The card draw really makes this spell a very attractive option though.

Mana Leak: 1U for effectively a hard counter in this deck. It’s a long game that I am on the losing end of if my opponent can afford to pay the three!

Land Destruction

Stone Rain: The best land destruction spell in the world (and it’s not close Sinkhole!) and a must have in the deck.

Molten Rain: Solid three drop, deals two damage for destroying a non basic, harder to cast than it needs to be thanks to RR

Wildfire: Mass land destruction that I can break the symmetry of thanks to my earlier spells, and really take advantage of. Games are over shortly after this one resolves!

Boom // Bust: If I had Flagstones this would be much more attractive, but with no way to really break the 1R half of the card I fear that the Bust side of it would languish in my hand.

Boomerang: An instant speed version of Eye of Nowhere.

Eye of Nowhere: A sorcery speed arcane Boomerang! This gets the nod over the slightly more versatile instant, just because of what it promotes with Magnivore.

Demolish: Was honestly surprised that Pillage was not Modern legal. Pretty close to heartbroken over this, but I just cannot justify playing it.

Sowing Salt: And then I remembered that Crumble to Dust existed and is much easier to cast!

Crumble to Dust: The Devoid Sowing Salt that might have some neat things coming along with it in Oath of the Gatewatch!


Islands and Mountains are pretty much a given. However the non basic slots have a lot of options going for them.

Comes into play tapped lands

Temple of Epiphany: Sometimes the best turn one play is just Scry 1.

Steam Vents: This one was a bit harder, since we are creature light, and spell heavy, I did not want to spend two points of life to get an untapped land into play. It may be me going back on the old life totals matters way of thinking, but honestly I think there are better lands for the deck.

Crumbling Necropolis, Frontier Bivouac, Mystic Monastery, Vivid Creek, Vivid Crag: I considered these just in case I wanted to make a small splash. None of these lands are worth it. We’re a turn three deck for the most part, and I do not want to put more tapped lands then I need to in the deck.

Izzet Boilerworks: Was a mainstay in the Standard versions, keeps me from making a relevant turn two play now.

Halimar Depths: A lot like Temple, but trades one R mana for the ability to stack the top three. Could lead to too many Brainstorms without a Fetchland situation where I really hate those cards on top.

Izzet Guildgate: Standard issue Cipt land. Nothing Fancy.

Swiftwater Cliffs: At least I gain a life?

Utility Lands

Shivan Reef: I’m not sure if it is fair to call Shivan Reef a Utility Land, but I ran out of categories, so here it is.

Scalding Tarn: Fetchland in a deck that may not really need it. Does it want it? Yes probably more than anything, but Christmas just passed by and I have to save up a little bit more to get these guys.

Cascade Bluffs: This land has been great in the deck, it allows for turn two Eye into turn three Molten Rain to be an easy play.

Desolate Lighthouse: Also super happy with this card. Trading dead draws late in the game for action is pretty amazing!

Blighted Cataract: Meh, I’d rather be casting Wildfire or Bust.

Ghost Quarter: Could fix their mana, and against some decks we are wanting to choke them on colors.

Tectonic Edge: What is my opponent doing with four lands in play? Do they have a Sacred Ground in play? What did I do wrong?

Boseiju, Who Shelters All: Actually a pretty solid sideboard idea, not so much for the main deck.

So that was a lot of words into my thought process about building a deck. I actually managed to leave some cards off the list while I was combing through Gatherer. Blood Moon, Boil, Boiling Seas, and Gemstone Caverns are just a few of the cards that I have looked at since testing began.

After I reasoned over the list of cards I wanted to play, I took some inspiration from decks of the past, most notable Andrew Nelms State Championship deck from almost a decade ago. I’ll link to it, as this is getting rather long as is!

This is the first build that I came up with.

Yes I did actually start off with Slagstorm in the main, and budget reasons put me on Sleight of Hand and no Blood Moons, but the deck actually tested well in the first bit of playtesting.

In fact here is the first round of testing that I did with the deck, you can see it’s rough, but it also shows some promise at the same time.

Watch live video from LegitMTG on www.twitch.tv

This is a little more than I anticipated writing about Magnivore, so I am going to end it for now, but don’t worry, I’ll be back next time with some changes to the deck and more gameplay! Thanks for stopping by!

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