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Arcane Laboratory: Fun and Profit

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

For this weeks stream I knew I wanted to play Modern, but I also wanted to play something very fun. I wasn’t too worried about winning. I just wanted to do fun, crazy things. I began scouring the internet for decklists. Low and behold, I found 3 to choose from!

The first was a Mono Blue Time Walk deck. It was focused around chaining Temporal Mastery, Walk the Aeons, and Time Warps to continually take turns. Your win condition was hitting all of your land drops and eventually casting an Emrakul to end the game. The deck looked very interesting, but ultimately too fragile.

The second deck was the DredgeVine deck that’s been running around on MTGO. I really like Bloodghast and Vengevine. They provide a lot of continuous pressure to your opponent, forcing them to waste resources repeatedly. What’s even more awesome about the current lists is that it even includes a Tymaret, the Murder King! Tymaret happens to be a zombie. This makes Gravecrawler a great choice to sack to Tymaret’s abilities because you can cast it from your grave immediately afterwards and possibly do it again. That’s a fair amount of reach.

Then I set eyes on the third deck and I knew I had to play it.

This is a Death and Taxes shell that has eschewed the typical green components in favor of doing something a bit more powerful than just playing disruptive bears. The card Epochrasite is very unexciting. A 1/1 that comes back as a 4/4 a few turns later after it dies doesn’t sound very appealing. However, Vialing in a two mana 4/4 sounds awesome. That’s right, if you Vial in an Epochrasite it comes in with the three +1/+1 counters! The same is true if you Cloudshift or Flickerwisp it.

It still isn’t as awesome as what happens when you exile a facedown Akroma, Angel of Fury and then return it to play. This is an old trick that the Astral Slide deck used in tandem with Exalted Angel. You’d play your Exalted Angel facedown as a 2/2 for three mana. Then you’d cycle a card and exile the Exalted Angel until the end of the turn. When the Exalted Angel came back into play it came back in face-up because the card doesn’t “remember” that it was facedown. This means that if you Cloudshift or Flickerwisp a facedown Akroma it will come back face-up!

It may seem like a lot of work to do just to get some cheap 4/4’s or an Akroma. But, once you have them, you’re typically ahead of your opponent. Your deck still plays plenty of hate-bears to slow your opponent and give you time to set up that Akroma or wait for your Aether Vial to hit 2 charge counters.

The sideboard has very narrow, but very powerful answers. Suture Priest prevents Twin decks from comboing but also pressures them when they play Snapcaster Mage or a Deceiver Exarch to slow you down. Mirran Crusader makes a mockery of BGx Midrange. Jotun Grunt laughs at graveyard based strategies. Kitchen Finks helps you grind a little more when needed and give you a life buffer against aggressive decks. Leonin Relic-Warder is a must against Affinity and can swipe away a Birthing Pod in a pinch.

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We went an awesome 3-1 in matches, which was much better than I was expecting. With that said our first opponent was playing a Jund deck straight out of Standard 2009 complete with Sprouting Thrinax, Putrid Leach, and even Broodmate Dragon. I am not ashamed to admit we did lose a game to double Broodmate Dragon. But in the end, we won the match.

Match 2 was against UB Mill. Game one our opponent seemed to flood out a bit, giving us the opportunity to finish him off. Game two I completely forgot to side in my Jotun Grunts and we lost to our opponents amazing draws. Game three we managed to secure a win.

The third Match was against RUG Twin. Our opponent was aggressively shocking and bolting himself with his manabase which gave us the extra advantage we needed. We even won a game with Akroma!

Match 4 was against the same RUG Twin player. This time he was having none of our shenanigans. Game 1 he saw we had no answer to the combo off a Gitaxian Probe. In game 2 he powered through our Suture Priest draw while we flooded out.

The deck performed better than expected, but I think the interactions are a bit too cute to actually be more competitive than an FNM. I also found that the full four Akromas was a bit too much and I’d much prefer just three. I was also never really thrilled with the singleton Fiend Hunter. Going forwards I’d cut those two for two of the new Eidolon of Rhetoric. I think Eidolon is an awesome creature to pack against Pyromancer Storm and Ad Nauseam, while also stopping Snapcaster Mage or blocking a Wild Nacatl.

Next Tuesday I’ll be starting the stream a bit earlier than normal. Join me at 7pm EST over at www.twitch.tv/legitmtg as I bring on my first guest host, Rudy aka @Itsobza. We’ll be piloting Esper Deathblade in Legacy so don’t miss it!

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