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Thirst for Knowledge: New Developments

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

Thirst for Knowledge:  New Developments

Joshua Claytor

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

{Manager’s note: On Friday, January 16th, the banned and restricted list was made public by Wizards of the Coast. Splinter Twin was banned, as was Summer Bloom and Cloud of Faeries. We are presenting this article as is, because it was the natural conclusion for the previous Magnivore series that Joshua had been working on. Thank you for understanding!}

It’s Friday night, everyone is getting ready for midnight prerelease events of Oath of the Gatewatch, and I’m sitting at home. Panic attacks and motion sickness make it had to get to paper events, and well, even if I could make it, I was going to be sitting at home anyways. Lacking money to play is also a real thing! Twitter is abuzz, Saito is opening expeditions, decks are getting built, and apparently someone on the MTGO beta leaked the ban and restricted list announcement.

That is problematic.

If you have been following the site for the past three weeks, I have devoted a lot of words to making Magnivore work in Modern. We went step by step through my deck building process, and finally got there! It was time to take it in to the league and crush! People would see my screen name and concede because they had no outs to giant hastey beaters! I would be hailed as a conquering hero, and my name would go down in Magic history as a deck builder!

Then I played the deck in a league.

I promptly went 0-5.

That is where there is no video of the deck in action this week. No one wants to see a player forget about stuff like Rest in Peace being a key sideboard card. No one wants to see a player think he could just not get paired against all the maindeck graveyard hate that the Eldrazi decks are packing now.

I guess in essence, no one wants to see a bad deck.

Undeterred, I was going to make land destruction work, and I went trudged back to the drawing board, head bowed.

I’m already in Blue and Red. Removing a few cards would easily facilitate a new way for the deck to win, and still keep up with the land destruction plan. But what could work in the slot that Magnivore formerly held? What could win me the game and allow me to blow up lands?

Well at it’s core Splinter Twin is a combo control deck. The disrupting factor of the normal Twin deck is found in its countermagic. What if we made the disruption capable of making sure our opponent’s could not play a fair game of Magic and still have to deal with a combo that kills out of no where?

What if I just put Deceiver Exarch, Pestermite and Splinter Twin in the deck?

That is exactly what I did!

To make this work we made the following changes:

In: 4 Deceiver Exarch, 1 Pestermite, 4 Splinter Twin, 2 Izzet Charm
Out: 3 Magnivore, 4 Compulsive Research, 4 Eye of Nowhere


In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Rending Volley
Out 2 Flame Slash, 1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror

So we removed the sorcery speed cards. Without Magnivore it made very little sense to keep them in. I still wanted removal in the board, so it made sense to go with the instant speed of Lightning Bolt over Flame Slash. Meloku became a copy of Rending Volley for the “mirror match.” Izzet Charm came in because of its flexibility.

This would be the next build of the deck that I would take into a league battle!

That is exactly what I did!

Let’s a take a look at some gameplay!

Round one vs Naya Chord

Round two vs Mono Black Eldrazi

Round three vs Grixis Twin

Round four vs Tarmo Twin

Round five vs Ad Nauseam

I went 5-0. Which was fairly neat! I realize that I got super lucky, and Simian Spirit Guide in the deck allowed me to make some plays that other twin decks could not make. The Mono Black Eldrazi matchup showed that off fairly well I think. Being able to to Guide a creature into play, and that gave me the best chance to win. Yes, had I not ripped the Splinter Twin off the top of the deck it would have been a less fancy play, but it really is better to be lucky than good sometimes. The third game against Ad Nauseam showed that off as well, as my opponent had no way to combo off after dealing with my Leyline of Sanctity.

I don’t think the Land Destruction really shined in this deck, but it was nice. Blood Moon was better than Stone Rain most of the time, and casting it on turn one was super nice in the matchup that I did that in!

With that said, not everything great gets to stay. While I was on Twitter, it leaked that Splinter Twin was getting banned, and it shortly became official after the leak. That makes this deck obsolete. Which for me is kind of a bummer, but something I also understand very well.

So where do we go from here?

Twin is dead, and Blood Moon is good. I guess we could look at Blue Moon, but I still want to blow up lands, which to me would signify a shift to a Red Green deck. Zac Elsik (Lantern Control) shared a spicy list on Twitter tonight that has me intrigued. Red White Land destruction did well at a recent IQ, and the original inspiration for the article series, a Black Red Land destruction deck could also be fine.

By the way here is the Elsik list.


That looks super interesting!

Land Destruction fans have plenty of options, Twin fans can maybe adapt the deck to run Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and be okay, but I think the default infinite creature deck is the Naya deck that has been making the rounds at the Starcitygames circuits. Tron and Affinity are being forecast as the decks to beat, but Tron has struggled when it has a huge target on it, and there is enough hate against Affinity to keep it in check.

With that said, this was going to be the original end point of this project of mine. I am really happy to move on from the deck on a 5-0 high note, but kinda sad that the work put in on it was for not. All I know is I really liked brewing this, playing this, and coming to neat conclusions. Watching the deck evolve from my own testing, and from friends helping was really neat.

Next time, we’re going to be picking something up for Modern. It may have Plow Under in it, it may not. Right now though, it may just be me and Blood Moon against the world!

Thanks for stopping by!

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