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Thirst for Knowledge: On to the Next One

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

Thirst for Knowledge:  On to the Next One

Joshua Claytor

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

Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom are finally off of MTGO, which is outstanding. It was really hard to get work done on the Modern format while the two banned cards were still legal in the format. Of course it’s also hard to get work done without Oath of the Gatewatch on the client as well. I’m still on a bit of a quick Blood Moon kick, and I guess there is good reason for it. Considering that players think that Tron and Affinity are going to be the best decks of the brand new format, Blood Moon still seems to be pretty good as a main deck card! It’s also outstanding against the Colorless lands of Eldrazi, the nonbasic greedy base of Grixis, and it’s not too shabby against Abzan as well.

After seeing the Splinter Twin Land Destruction go away, I knew that I needed to work on something new, because well, it’s no longer legal to play. The easiest thing to do would be converting the deck into a Blue Moon deck, and that’s all well and good, but I’m not wanting easy.

I still enjoy casting Stone Rain, Molten Rain, Crumble to Dust and Fulminator Mage. Land destruction is going to be one of my most favorite things to do in the game, and after all the work I put in on the UR deck, I knew that I wanted to try another land destruction deck.

We’ve been pretty lucky in the past month or so in Modern. Non Basics are all over the place. Mana creatures are not widely played. Two combo decks just got nuked from orbit. Land Destruction, I believe is well placed to work, and other players results have made me think that it can be a real thing! Recently a Red White LD deck won a Starcity IQ (I’m going to talk about that soon enough! It’s a ton of fun to play!) The Red Black deck that inspired me to start the UR deck did well.

Last time I started on a deck it featured what turned out to be an expensive sorcery in Wildfire. Having played Wildfire already in the UR, I wanted to start off with another one of my favorite sorceries, Plow Under. It has seen some play in extremely fringe decks like Tooth and Nail and Genesis Wave devotion already, but this time I wanted to recreate one of my more favorite decks from long long ago, and while most of it is not Modern legal, the general game plan of mana acceleration into land disruption into monsters seems pretty good.

Looking to Aaron Forsythe as the master of Angry Hermit (which came about by adding red to Trinity Green.) I also used Carl Wilts Green Moon deck as a source for the deck as well.

Let’s take a look at the first build of the deck I came up with.

Let’s take a brief look at the deck

Mana Acceleration

Birds of Paradise, Utopia Sprawl, Simian Spirit Guide: Birds of Paradise is one of the best one drops ever printed, and is in over Noble Hierarch because of its ability to tap for Red mana, which helps us cast the double red casting spells. Utopia Sprawl, while relying on a Forest to be used is a more resilient Birds of Paradise, and is harder to remove. Simian Spirit Guide is a one shot mana boost, and can allow us to “break serve” by casting one of our three drops on turn two. There is nothing better then throwing a Blood Moon into play on turn two, or destroying that comes into play tapped land.

Mana Disruption

Blood Moon, Molten Rain, Stone Rain, Plow Under, Crumble to Dust: We want to destroy lands, and these are the best cards for the deck to fill that roll I do believe. I have a couple of cards that I have considered for future playtesting. Primal Command, which might fill the role of Plow Under here, it is a bit more versatile and the life gain that can be picked may prove useful against Burn and Affinity. Beast Within is a slightly riskier disruption spell. While it can destroy just about everything in the format, the 3/3 beast that is left behind could prove hard to deal with. Crumble to Dust coming out of the board seems like a natural inclusion against the Tron and Eldrazi decks. Choke and Boil could also be considered for the board as well.

Win Conditions

Treetop Village, Raging Ravine, Kessig Wolf Run, Stormbreath Dragon: Creature lands are pretty good in the format. Stormbreath Dragon is taking on the Magnivore role in this deck. It’s a 4/4 so it takes multiple burn spells to kill it, the protection from white makes it pretty good against Path to Exile, and the monstrous ability seems really good against an opponent with no lands but a full grip! Kessig Wolf Run allows my Birds to attack, which does not seem great, but in a pinch can be wonders!

Everything Else

Lightning Bolt: Um the best removal spell that red has to offer?

Eternal Witness: Buying back disruption spells is outstanding, and with Wooded Foothills it can act as mana fixing as well!

Ghost Quarter: Just an extra piece of disputation, it’s super good at breaking up Tron, messing with the mana base of Grixis, and being annoying to the Eldrazi deck.


1 Damping Matrix: Carl swears by the card, and I have yet to actually cast it, I’m going to keep it in for now, but will probably change it to the third Leyline.

3 Trinisphere: Super good at slowing down Infect, Affinity, Burn, Soul Sisters, Storm, Hatebears and Faeries. Pretty good against control, where normally Defense Grid would do some work. Have been really impressed with this card!

3 Anger of the Gods: Might be making the move to the main deck, probably should be in there anyways.

2 Ancient Grudge: Instant speed way to deal with Nexus. These will be changing to Destructive Revelry though, as having outs to some of the enchantments from Bogles is probably going to be needed.

2 Shatterstorm: Concession to Affinity and Ironworks combos.

2 Leyline of Sanctity: Just outstanding against Burn. Stellar against the discard from Eldrazi, Jund and Abzan.

Cards to be considered for the next round of testing

Primal Command

Beast Within

Reality Hemorrhage: May need a way around Kor Firewalker and Phyrexian Crusader.

Avalanche Riders: Hasty land death!

Kitchen Finks: If burn is a such a terrible matchup getting Finks into play turn two may not be the worst idea.

Goblin Dark-Dwellers: I am not entirely sure how good Menace will be in Modern, but I am intrigued by the idea of a 4/4 Avalanche Rider!

Lets get some game play in!



UR Delver

Ok, the burn matchup is going to need some work. Midrange decks like Jund I feel are a pretty good matchup for us, we have a ton of disruption, and keeping their greedy mana base from coming online can work out really well for us. The Delver deck seems like the burn matchup but with counters and bounce in place of the reach that burn has with its direct damage spells.

Anyways, with the Pro Tour coming up and Oath finally coming to MTGO a much more clearer picture of Modern will be painted. I’m excited to see what is going to be played at the Tour and can’t wait for more fun deckbuilding!

Thanks for stopping by!

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