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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
May 03 2017 12:00pm
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Naya has always been one of my favorite shards ever since it was created. I remember when Shards of Alara first came out, me and my friends bought a box to share. In the packs that I opened, I got cards like Wild Nacatl, Woolly Thoctar, and Ajani Vengeant.  I was hooked instantly. I remember building and playing this deck as soon as possible.

I remember playing this deck and completely loving it. I still think back to how much fun it was. Sadly certain cards are banned in Modern now and this deck will never really have the same feel to it.   

It did however make me think. Is it possible to build a Naya deck like this in the current Modern metagame?

Now I already mentioned that certain cards were banned like Stoneforge Mystic and Bloodbraid Elf so there is no way to gain card advantage that way. However there are other ways.

Domri Rade Courser of Kruphix

Both of these cards are ways for a Naya deck to get card advantage and give the deck a midrange feel. Domri Rade will allow you draw extra cards especially when combined with knowing the top of your deck thanks to Courser of Kruphix. They worked well together in days of Standard past and can certainly work together again.

Another way you can gain card advantage is with something like Chord of Calling. You can start to fill your deck with certain “silver bullet” type creatures. The only issue is then it starts to get too similar to the various Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker type combo decks. That may still be a fine direction to go but I really wanted a deck that focuses on creature beats without the combo.

One of the benefits Naya has is the varying types of cards you can have for the deck. Being in Green, Red, and White means that you have access to not just strong creatures but also great removal spells, hate cards for the sideboard, and good removal for a variety of threats.

While playing the Revolt Zoo variant it was quickly seen how impactful Fatal Push has become. For 1 Black mana it kills any creature in the deck regardless of toughness and can be frustrating at times. In a lot of decks Push has replaced cards like Terminate meaning that creatures with higher Converted Mana Cost could be in a better spot in Modern.

First let’s start with some of the threats that can be in this deck:

Loxodon Smiter Knight of the Reliquary Brimaz, King of Oreskos

All of these at least require your opponent to at least have a revolt trigger before killing them.  They are also pretty great against Bolt. I think having a big Naya deck with 4 mana and 5 mana creatures can be something special as long as you can power them out early enough.

Perhaps utilizing cards like Birds of Paradise and Arbor Elf to power out bigger threats. But what would you use?

Thrun, The Last Troll Stormbreath Dragon  Restoration Angel

Stormbreath Dragon ignores Path to Exile which is a great trait to have. The dragon can’t even be chump blocked by Lingering Souls tokens and his monstrous ability can be important in certain matchups.

Thrun, the Last Troll is usually a sideboard card but I see no reason it can’t be a 1 of in the main deck. Have hexproof and ignoring counterspells are great. There is the added bonus that you can regenerate it as well.

Restoration Angel can save other creatures from a removal spell and make combat difficult for your opponents. It has the added bonus of blinking cards like Kitchen Finks and Huntmaster of the Fells.  Getting you extra value and adding to your life total.

Huntmaster has not seen a ton of play since being a Standard powerhouse but it does make an occasional appearance in Jund. For 4 mana you get 4 power spread out over 2 creatures. It has the added effect of being able to switch into a 4 mana creature with trample that removes a blocker as well. Solid card if the front half can live.

Another 4 drop that has been on my radar forever is this bad boy:

Mystic Enforcer

I am sure there is a reason that this card is not played... well maybe a few reasons but this card is straight nostalgia for me. I remember playing him in Type 2 back in the day (Standard) along- side of cards like Erhnam Djinn, Genesis, Glory, and even Wild Mongrel. Now it was very easy to make him a 6/6 back then especially with discard outlets like Mongrel. Also having protection from black was very important. One of the top decks then was Mono Black Control.

This may be a pet card of mine but can it work in Modern now? I mean a 6/6 flyer for four mana is good is pretty good. Right Desecration Demon? However it takes some work to turn on. Getting threshold in Modern is easy right? For starters there are fetchlands. A deck like this can easily run 12.

This deck can also run things like burn and pump spells. I am also sure your opponent will be killing off your mana dorks and such which means by turn 4 a 6/6 flyer is indeed possible. Perhaps more in an Abzan delirium type deck? That will be another project.

What about the protection from black? I feel that may be enough to make it worth it. As a 6/6 it dies to path alone. Being pro black means it blocks Death's Shadow which alone could make it worth it. I will test it not force it… no matter how much I want it to work.

This deck wants to run 23-25 creatures in order to make Domri really shine and probably close to 22-23 lands. So that does leave some room for things like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile and maybe Blossoming Defense. What other spells would a deck like this want though?

Another card I keep thinking of is Unflinching Courage. Armadillo Cloak was always an auto include of any deck that I ran that could cast it because of the huge tempo swing it created. Auras can be dangerous due to the mass amount of spot removal but turning any one of your creatures into a monster with lifelink and trample is always appealing. Perhaps even try Behemoth Sledge Costs a bit more but it won’t go away when creatures are removed.

Another card I keep looking at is Xenagos, The Reveler. I know he lost a lot of favor when he left Standard  but is there something worth trying? He can make mana and creatures and although his ultimate is unlikely to happen, if it does it can be quite strong.

Mana base is not too difficult. Already talked about having at least 12 fetches. Perhaps also using Gavony Township? There will be mana dorks and growing your bigger creatures does not seem bad to me. If Knight of the Reliquary does the make the cut you can run some other 1 of lands like Kessig Wolf Run and maybe even Dryad Arbor  (seems good with Domri and Courser).

This deck will be a project and who knows it may just be terrible. I know it will have to be able to beat decks like Burn, Death’s Shadow, and Affinity. It will also have to have some game against Combo like Ad Nauseam, Titan Shift, and Storm. Then there are the other midrange or control decks floating around. 

Modern is diverse but a deck in the Naya shard has a lot of tools and weapons at its disposal. Testing and building the right version is very important. So is acquiring the right cards for the job. I will keep you updated as I move forward.

Thanks for reading and until next time!