Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 23 2023 11:41am

Cascade decks aren’t anything too new with the Modern format. Early in the formats life, using Bloodbraid Elf to Cascade into Ancestral Visions was quite a good archetype. However that was quite some time ago and the format has evolved a lot since then.

Crashing Footfalls is a Cascade Control deck, though the idea of the archetype is similar to the Living End archetype, with the plan of playing nothing below the cost of 3 but the 1 card you always want to Cascade into.

The list we are going to look at today got 5th place in the Modern challenge that took place on 3/5/2023 and was piloted by the player AlvaroTJ. Alright it is time to see what it is like to take a crash of rhinos into the red zone. Let’s rock!


Shardless Agent – One of the ways you have to Cascade. It isn’t the most powerful card, but Agent can actually attack fairly well and going Agent into Footfalls is a 2 turn clock.

FuryFury is one of the most powerful and versatile creatures in the current Modern format in my opinion. If you are able to stick it, it can be quite the quick clock for your opponent to deal with being a 3 power creature that has Double Strike. At worst (which is still great), it can take out multiple creatures from your opponents side of the board.

Crashing Footfalls – The win condition of the deck.

Violent Outburst – Here is the best way to Cascade into your Footfalls. I say that because it is an instant. Even though Crashing Footfalls is a sorcery, when you Cascade into it, you can cast it. This means you can go Outburst at the end of your opponents turn and resolve a Footfalls.

Ardent Plea – Here are some more ways to Cascade. The Exalted doesn’t matter all that much, but does work well with Fury. This can also be pitched to our next card, Force of Negation.

Force of NegationForce of Will may not be legal in this format, but here is the next best thing. There are a lot of 3 mana counterspells you could play, but Force of Negation is the best because it can be cast (sort of) for free and allow you to use your mana to play other spells. The downside is you can’t cast it for free on your own turn. It also exiles the spell it counters which can be a big plus in this format.

Dead/Gone and Fire/Ice – The shock from Dead is quite relevant these days (I am looking at you Ragavan) and being able to bounce a creature with Gone does come into play. Both modes of Fire/Ice can also be relevant in a good number of situations, especially Ice because being able to cut your opponent off of a mana for a turn and draw a card can be pretty huge, but in some matchups you will most likely shave these for sideboard slots in games 2 and 3.

Split cards are weird because they are 2 different spells with 2 different mana costs on 1 card. The way the rules work in Magic is that for the purposes of things like Cascade or the effect of Dark Confidant, you combine the mana cost of the cards. This means that both of these split cards cost 4 and cannot be cascaded into.

Leyline Binding – One of the best removal spells in Modern in my opinion.

Teferi, Time Reveler – Teferi isn’t amazing these days because of all the creatures running around, but Teferi is still powerful to just randomly win you games by itself because of its static effect. It is also fantastic in the mirror because it makes Cascade useless.

The Manabase

Gemstone Caverns – Caverns is interesting. It allows you (if you get a little lucky) to be a turn ahead of your opponent if it is in your opening hand.

Indatha Triome and Xander’s Lounge – I understand why Indatha Triome is here and that is because you need either green or white to cast your Cascade spells so this is a Temple Garden that can be Cycled away if need be. The Lounge however I am not sure I understand why that is here over Ketria Triome or even Spara Headquarters but I am sure it is because I am missing something.

Otawara, Soaring City – I love this land. Being able to bounce something and being uncounterable is quite huge.

The rest of the manabase is fairly typical. We see 12 fetchlands and 1 of each shockland. I would not change that ratio. We then see 1 copy of Island and Forest to play around cards like Blood Moon.

We see that a copy of Plains is absent here. While Plains would be able to cast Leyline Binding, if you are under something like Blood Moon the odds of being able to cast Binding for a low amount of mana are extremely slim and adding Plains would mess with the manabase a little too much. I have tried having 1 Plains in the deck in the past and it did not work out too well.

The Sideboard

Endurance – Graveyard hate is an important thing to have but Endurance is also just a good creature for its stats that can be cast at instant speed.

Force of Vigor – A somewhat free way to 2 for 1 your opponents artifacts and/or enchantments. Sign me up.

Gemstone Caverns – If you are on the draw and need to go fast, having a 3rd copy can be a good help.

Inevitable Betrayal – I love this card. Against archetypes like Tron or decks with creatures like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn this can be another great win condition. This card is a lot of fun at your local shop if you know the meta.

Mystical Dispute – This is an awesome way to fight a counter war against blue decks.

Verdict and Conclusion

I love this archetype personally. Having so many spells you can cast for somewhat free, it almost feels like cheating. You also have a quick clock with the Rhinos and when you back that up with removal and a small amount of counter magic, it can create a deadly combination.

This deck isn’t without fault though. It can be easily gotten under by a number of archetypes. You also don’t have a large number of ways to draw cards, so if the game goes a little too long, you may lose the game due to not having enough stuff.

The Strength of this deck in my opinion is its ability to come out blazing early with free spells and some Rhinos, then you stay ahead and end the game quickly. That plan isn’t fool proof, but Rhinos having 4 toughness does make it difficult for a number of decks to kill them.

Should you play this deck? I think this deck is quite good as it plays a good amount of powerful cards and is always a solid contender. However, while you can easily win some games, you can lose games just as easily and just as fast.

This deck is a very damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of archetype. I think this archetype is fairly meta dependent, so just keep that in mind. I find this deck easier to pilot than something like Izzet Murktide. If that is something that appeals to you, this archetype is worth trying.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

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Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!