Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Arclight Phoenix in Modern

Arclight Phoenix
Arclight Phoenix is one of the best creatures in Modern

Crackling Drake + Arclight Phoenix… In Modern?

Arclight Phoenix has contributed to many Modern builds already, despite a relatively short lifetime. It’s been a Delver of Secrets add-on. It closes out games for the Mono-Red deck. And of course the centerpiece of a cantrips-rich Izzet strategy.

What might surprise you is seeing Arclight Phoenix next to Standard Staple Crackling Drake!

Crackling Drake is of course capable of enormous power. The Izzet decks are heavily instants and sorceries, most of which are cantrips that replace themselves… With more cantrips.

But did you know that Surgical Extraction can play Giant Growth in this strategy?

You can Surgical Extraction your own instant. This will not only put an additional instant or sorcery into your graveyard (the Surgical Extraction)… But you can search your library for up to three more copies of the targeted card. Because Crackling Drake feasts on cards in exile as well as the graveyard, Surgical Extraction can serve as a powerful pump trick.

Subtly, Crackling Drake also serves as some defense against Rest in Peace. Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void, etc. can blunt the efficacy of your Phoenixes and flashback cards… But Crackling Drake is okay with its food being exiled. You don’t want-want to play against some of these cards, but the Drake does give you a bit of protection.

What about Gut Shot + Arclight Phoenix?

Gut Shot is kind of a narrow card. But when you play four copies of Faithless Looting, you can kind of play more conditional cards. If Gut Shot isn’t good… You can always get rid of it.

But that said, Gut Shot is very productive for launching Phoenixes on turn two.

Imagine you play a first turn Faithless Looting, discarding double Phoenix.

On turn two, you can plausibly play a Thought Scour, a Sleight of Hand, and then finish the play with a zero mana Gut Shot. Take seven!

If nothing else, Gut Shot can team up with Lightning Bolt to take out four toughness creatures.

Arclight Phoenix and the Kitchen Sink

… Because if it’s Modern, we talk about it this week. Tons of commentary on land selection, the viability of midrange decks, and just how good Spellstutter Sprite can be. Check it out:

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Izzet Time to Go Rogue?


G/W Tokens was once again the deck of the weekend, winning not one but two Grand Prix tournaments on opposite sides of the Atlantic on the same day! But… Izzet time to to rogue?

We are so wealthy with awesome new builds and ideas that both Patrick and Michael loved a Shivan Reef deck best… and they weren’t even the same list.

But before we get to those let’s take a moment to tip our hats to Hall of Famer Raph Levy with his umpteenth Grand Prix title and a hell of a G/W Tokens list:

G/W (Red!) Tokens by Raphael Levy

4 Archangel Avacyn
4 Hangarback Walker
2 Lambholt Pacifist
4 Sylvan Advocate

2 Chandra, Flamecaller
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

4 Dromoka’s Command
1 Evolutionary Leap
4 Oath of Nissa
2 Stasis Snare

4 Canopy Vista
7 Forest
4 Fortified Village
7 Plains
3 Westvale Abbey

1 Angelic Purge
2 Clip Wings
1 Declaration in Stone
3 Den Protector
1 Evolutionary Leap
2 Hallowed Moonlight
2 Planar Outburst
1 Silkwrap
2 Tragic Arrogance

That’s right! Green-white… Red? And that pair of Chandras can be cast only via Oath of Nissa. Boom.

So how about those Izzet decks? Patrick’s pick:

U/R Ulamog by Matthew Hunt

3 Drowner of Hope
3 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

2 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

2 Anticipate
1 Brutal Expulsion
4 Clash of Wills
1 Confirm Suspicions
1 Epiphany at the Drownyard
4 Hedron Archive
2 Kozilek’s Return
4 Spatial Contortion
4 Void Shatter

4 Highland Lake
5 Island
4 Mage-Ring Network
4 Shivan Reef
4 Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
2 Spawning Bed
4 Wandering Fumarole

1 Drowner of Hope
2 Fevered Visions
2 Fiery Impulse
2 Kozilek’s Return
2 Negate
3 Reality Smasher
1 Roast
1 Ruin Processor
1 Warping Wail

Patrick details many cool acceleration and Eldrazi Scions interactions in Hunt’s deck. This is a deck that is chock full of technology!

Like… Why does a deck that can tap for red play Spacial Contortion instead of Fiery Impulse or Draconic Roar? How cool is a deck that taps “out” for Hedron Archive… And then Warping Wails your incoming Infinite Obliteration? Boom boom.

Here’s MichaelJ’s favorite Izzet deck of the week:

Izzet Flying by Tomoharu Saito

4 Dimensional Infiltrator
4 Goldnight Castigator
4 Rattlechains
4 Stratus Dancer

4 Clash of Wills
4 Exquisite Firecraft
4 Fevered Visions
4 Fiery Impulse
4 Spell Shrivel

7 Island
9 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Wandering Fumarole

4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
4 Negate
4 Roast
3 Seismic Rupture

“Seismic Rupture hits non-flyers. Then Goblin Dark-Dwellers gets Seismic Rupture back.”


Take a look at that for a second. Saito basically has twelve copies of Welkin Tern. Sure Rattlechains can hook up Rattlechains once in a Blue Moon and there are a couple of Shivan Reefs for Dimensional Infiltrator… But a lot of the time, that Stratus Dancer is going to hit the table face up.

Between Fevered Visions and Exotic Firecraft Saito has good reach; and between Fevered Visions and Goldnight Castigator he has outstanding planeswalker defense. This deck is the hottest; and the coolest!

What do you guys think? Which is the best Shivan Reef deck? And Izzet time to go rogue? Find out!

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