Modern really is my favorite format, and I can’t really explain why. I have a lot of theories about it. It’s a format where I can do all of my most favorite things easily I guess. I can blow up all the lands I want with RG Ponza and be competitive. I can mill away my opponent’s hope of victory with a deck that features Hedron Crab and Archive Trap. I can easily reanimate giant monsters with Goryo’s Vengeance. Of course I have my old reliable standby of Merfolk. I can do these things in Legacy as well, but don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars of manabases. I think what I like the most about Modern is just the amount of cool things that can happen in the format. Ironworks is the current flavor of the format, but so many things are viable, so many decks are playable, and I feel like there is truly not one unbeatable deck. As Michael Mapson showed at Grand Prix Hartford, you can be rewarded very well for knowing your deck in and out.
Cool things are all around the Modern format, and while someone once taught the Magic world about the dangers of cool things, I am all about this deck, and ready to dive in head first with it. Delve is such a super busted mechanic, Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time were both cards that were banned in multiple formats, Gurmag Angler and Sultai Scavenger see heavy play in Pauper, while Set Adrift sees fringe sideboard play in Modern. Tasigur, the Golden Fang is a cross format favorite, Logic Knot sees a bit of play in Modern Control decks, Tombstalker doesn’t get as much play as it used to, which I think is to say the same of Become Immense in Infect. Temporal Trespass is in Taking Turns, and finally Soulflayer gets better as more and more cards comes out.
This is a deck that kind of existed before Rivals of Ixalan was printed, but once Zetalpa, Primal Dawn came out, we started to reach a critical mass of creatures with just tons of abilities. To be fair Akroma, Angel of Wrath does nearly as much, but Zetalpa offers Soulflayer abilities that Akroma just does not.
The goal of the deck is to cheaply cast a Soulflayer, ideal for 2 mana, and make it one of the meanest creatures that was ever cast. If you exile a creature with flying while using the Delve ability, Soulflayer gets flying. The same is true for first strike, double strike, deathtouch, haste, hexproof, indestructible, lifelink, reach, trample and vigilance. Those are a lot of keywords and taking advantage of the Modern format, we can build a super soldier in a can with Soulflayer.
Bomat Courier – Gives haste, and can serve as a discard outlet while also trying to find a Soulflayer. We have a bunch of nearly uncastable dorks in the deck and putting them in the graveyard is what this card does best.
Chromanticore – Gives flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, and lifelink.
Drogskol Reaver – Gives flying, double strike, and lifelink
Hazoret the Fervent – Gives haste and indestructible.
Lotleth Troll – Gives trample, but more importantly is another discard outlet, allowing us to not only fill our yard with tons of yummy Soulflayer food, but also grow a cheap regenerating threat.
Samut, Voice of Dissent – Gives double strike, vigilance, and haste. Also one of the few castable threats in the deck. A 3/4 for five mana is not the most impressive stat line in Modern, but sometimes it’s nice to have a second plan in case things going incredibly wrong.
Sylvan Caryatid – Gives hexproof.
Zetalpa, Primal Dawn – Gives flying, double strike, vigilance, trample, indestructible.
Ideally when we cast Soulflayer for two mana, we want to remove Chromanticore, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn and Sylvan Caraytid. With those cards removed, our Soulflayer becomes a 4/4 with flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, lifelink, double strike, haste, hexproof, and indestructible. With all the discard and graveyard fueling cards we have in the deck, this is not impossible to do quickly!
Collective Brutality is flexible, and allows us to discard extra cards to take full advantage of its modes. Faithless Looting lets us see four extra cards while also discarding four cards. Grisly Salvage helps us find Soulflayer while ideally putting our uncastable monsters in the yard, and Traverse the Ulvenwald just finds us a copy of Soulflayer whenever Delirium has been achieved, which is super easy to do in this deck as well! Rounding out the deck is a Lightning Axe which can kill a creature and discard a creature for one mana.
See what kind of neat things you can do in Modern? How could you look at this deck and just not fall in love with the format?
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