Feasting Troll King is Finally a Winning Strategy in Standard!
“Three eggs is not much of a feast.”
… But it’s very topical!
We hope you feasted this week 😉
Feasting Troll King is at the top end of a Mono-Green deck that has many of the same trappings we’ve seen already… Lovestruck Beast… The Great Henge… But it rules the mid-game with Trail of Crumbs and the Food tokens from Gilded Goose.
Along for the ride will be several other Food cards, like Witch’s Oven, Trail of Crumbs, and Wicked Wolf.
Green Deck Battle! Mono-Green or Gruul Aggro?
After a little thought, Mike switched his allegiance from Mono-Green to Gruul heads up. Why?
The mana is just too good. A nice array of Modal Double-Faced lands give Gruul great flexibility over Mono-Green, with relatively low deck building costs.
Gruul has most of the good tools from Mono-Green. Down to The Great Henge.
But really? It’s Embercleave! The creature selection in Gruul shows a powerful upgrade over the 1/1 creatures of Mono-Red.
So Many Copies of Mazemind Tome
(or at least lots of places)
Blink it with Yorion!
Smooth out your mana early
Grab a few life points
Play two, side in the other two
Bring it in with some Duress to handle Control decks. Actually… It’s a little more nuanced than that.
… All this and lots more!
Listen now to hear us pick apart Abzan Midrange and heap praise on the new dominant player in the metagame: Dimir Control
The 2019 MOCS Decks played cards from… Core Set 2021
Conclave Mentor is a newer card that helped revitalize some already powerful decks and combos for the 2019 MOCS decks.
Champion Michael Jacob played a variety of +1/+1 counter-based cards, including Scavenging Ooze; Walking Ballista; and centerpiece combo pieces Spike Feeder; and Heliod, Sun-Crowned.
While “fair” compared to an infinite combo, we thought it would be fun to point the card out, for all the reasons.
The MOCS Decks showcased both Modern and Pioneer
… And showed off awesome innovation in both formats!
In Modern, “Oops All Spells” seems faster than ever. Cutting down to 60 cards (from 77 or even 80), the Modern version is a singleminded killer.
Tuning elements include adding Shatterskull Smashing for even more early untapped land, and as many as three copies of Leyline of Sanctity… Main deck!
In Pioneer, Michael Jacob combined fair and unfair elements to produce a beautifully tuned champion. Big elements included Oath of Nissa and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for setup and engine… But sometimes topped up on a “mere” Elder Gargaroth. From the same set, Llanowar Visionary makes a surprise — but highly appropriate — appearance.
I mean, what is a blue deck going to do if you just cast Through the Breach? They kind of have to counter it, right? Whether or not you actually have the Emrakul.
One of the cool, synergistic, bits about this deck is that you can buy a lost Through the Breach back with Snapcaster Mage.
Patrick describes this blue-red as “a Splinter Twin deck” which of course warms Mike’s heart. But it’s not a Splinter Twin deck that actually wins the game. Unless the opponent does a lot to themselves with shock lands you still have to lace together the last four or five with Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage, but that’s not so big a deal after Annihilator 6 has had its way with the opponent’s battlefield.
So What in Zendikar Rising is Making Affinity’s Modern Deck?
Surprisingly, it’s not one, but two different Modal Double-Faced lands that make the deck:
Kazuul’s Fury // Kazuul’s Cliffs makes red… But this Affinity is all over all the Fling combos. Either side is okay.
The real gold comes from Timbercrown Pathway // Cragcrown Pathway. Affinity really wants to play Hardened Scales to take advantage of all those +1/+1 counters. When you already want green mana on turn one, some of these Modal Double-Faced cards start making more sense.
The big incentive to red as a splash color? Alpine Moon in the sideboard.
Balustrade Spy Innovates Modern Decks
So we recently talked about Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer “Oops, All Spells” decks in Pioneer.
They’re powerful, but mostly cute at 77 cards, in Pioneer.
The Modern version is a beautifully tuned killer. It could be a problem, in fact.
But one thing’s for sure, Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer are gorgeously tuned in Modern.
In addition to consistently flipping over all your copies of Creeping Chill, this deck will put four Vengevines into your graveyard.
A combination of Sword of the Meek and Narcomoeba will set up your Salvage Titan… Putting those Vengevines onto the battlefield.
You’ve already brained the opponent with four copies of free Lightning Helix. Now sixteen hasty Elementals are going to come a coming!
To top it off, if you accidentally draw one of the cards you would rather have in your graveyard… It even plays one copy of Phantasmagorian to “fix” your “hand” … Err… Whatever the opposite of your hand is.
But that’s not all!
In case you were planning to beat it with dedicated graveyard hate, it sideboards into Goblin Charbelcher.
And So Many More Awesome Modern Decks…
The Tron deck that Patrick calls “a thing of beauty”
The Death and Taxes deck that Mike — somehow — calls the deck of the week
“You can fit a lot of themes when you’re 80 cards…”
And… The “secret weapon” for the format!
Find out if Modern is, in fact, completely busted right now:
But it’s important to realize that this card’s mischief is highly contingent on what Energy cards get printed alongside it.
But don’t worry about that! Staples like Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot and Aether Hub are going to be ready to power up that Energy.
So What are You Going to Do with Your Aetherworks Marvel?
The “traditional” approach is to get powerful permanents onto the battlefield. Some examples include Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
Ugin, in particular, seems like a great hit [for four mana]. In particular, you can use Ugin’s “minus” ability and leave your Marvel!
But the “new” approach might be even more exciting. Modal Double-Faced lands are amazing includes. Almost any of them can potentially be useful (because they allow you to play untapped mana while reducing the number of potential “misses” with your Aetherworks Marvel)… But the blue and green versions are simply awesome.
Your’re playing Rogue Refiner anyway, aren’t you?
Turntimber Symbiosis is a card that might come up if you didn’t hit Ulamog in your top six cards. Now you have another seven to find the powerful Eldrazi. And even if you miss the giant monster, an extra big Rogue Refiner (that powers your Energy and provides card advantage) isn’t the worst.
… But Turntimber Symbiosis is nowehere near as exciting as:
It’s crazy how little Mike liked Sea Gate Restoration out of the gate, relative to how pervasive the card has already proven, especially in combo decks. This is card that is essentially taking the place of an Island. It’s going to be awfully hard to lose if you resolve this with a turn four Aetherworks Marvel.
“Emeria’s Call is clearly not very good. Doesn’t matter.”
Ox of Agonas is a reasonably established sideboard card… But seeing this in the main deck of Mono-Red Beatdown indicates a heretofore unheard-of level of metagame bias.
It’s not that Mono-Red can’t plausibly play, say, one five drop. But we don’t know that it should be this five drop. (Like Terror of the Peaks might make more sense.) The Mono-Red Beatdown deck doesn’t consistently get to five mana in the first place… So this is a card played in anticipation of being milled by Ruin Crab or one of its buddies. The plan is not to play it for five, but rather to play it for two.
We see multiple copies of the same in Temur Ramp… But that’s at least an archetype that can get to five (often early after a Cultivate).
Weird maybe, but probably good. What’s not good though…
Who Do You Even Want Shatterskull Smashing Against?
Shatterskull Smashing, despite being played typically as a three-of or even four-of in Mono-Red, doesn’t seem good to us at all.
It is the DEFINITION of bad spell and bad land. As a spell, this card doesn’t sit great in a deck that, again, doesn’t get an awful lot of lands onto the battlefield. But its the role as a land that really stings.
All the Mono-Red Aggro decks play four copies of Castle Embereth. Just one Mountain will turn every copy of Castle Embereth you draw “on” for the rest of the game. But what if your first “Mountain” (read: untapped source of red) is a Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass? You’re twice bitten, right? First by the three life you’re forced to invest to get down what is probably a kind of ratty one drop; and then later every time you want to play a Castle Embereth.
This card is increasingly a liability if Mono-Red establishes itself as a top contender. More mirror matches means more opportunities to start the opponent on a free Lava Spike. Ouch!
Totally reasonable in Ramp decks, though.
Speaking of Ratty One Drops…
This card might not look like much, but it’s got nice synergies with Torbran, Castle Embereth, and surprisingly, Embercleave. We envision quite a surprise when the opponent sweeps your board but leaves the ‘cleave.
Way better than that red Steppe Lynx, anyway :/
You Probably Won’t Believe this Yasharn, Implacable Earth deck!
Go ahead. Mike didn’t know what it did initially, either:
Seriously, how great is a four mana / draw two that leaves a 4/4 body? This card is nutso on rate!
… And it even has another line of text!
Sorry, Enchantments-Aristocrats mirror; bigger sorry, Doom Foretold. This Boar is keeping your bacon right where it is!