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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Mar 05 2015 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another edition of Becoming A Modern Man! In this article I will be looking at a deck that I am calling Hyper Heroic.  Let's take a look at the decklist:

The deck's game plan is pretty simple - play one or more of your cheap creatures, which each gain an advantage from having pump spells cast on them, and then play a load of cheap pump spells and try and win as fast as possible.

DECK TECH

Creatures

Akroan Crusader
Akroan Crusader
The first of our Heroic one drops.  Akroan Crusader generates a hasty 1/1 every time you target it which means you can pump out an extra damage per spell immediately but also the potential to inflict further damage with your 1/1 tokens on subsequent turns.  Crusader is less good as a target of a Double Strike effect in that it won't get as huge as a Satyr Hoplite or a Monastery Swiftspear but it does provide you with repeatable sources of damage which can be valuable.  The other problem with Crusader is that you need to cast your pumps pre-combat if you want to attack with your tokens which can leave you vulnerable to removal.

Satyr Hoplite
Satyr Hoplite
Our second Heroic one drop.  Hoplite is fairly straightforward - you get a +1/+1 counter for each spell that targets it making it that much bigger.  The counter is permanent which is an advantage over a Swiftspear.

Monastery Swiftspear
Monastery Swiftspear
With Treasure Cruise banned, Monastery Swiftspear easily takes the crown for the most impactful card from Khans of Tarkir in Modern.  Swiftspear is a very powerful one-drop and this deck is designed to maximise its abilities with lots of cheap spells and pumps to make it as big as possible.

Kiln Fiend
Kiln Fiend
Kiln Fiend had a special kind of Prowess before it was cool.  Kiln Fiend gets a huge power boost every time you cast an instant or sorcery and can soon get up into one-hit kill range with this deck.

Spells

Mutagenic Growth
Mutagenic Growth
Mutagenic Growth is a brilliant card in this deck and is often a part of the faster beatings you can achieve with the deck.  A free targeted pump spell is just what this deck needs and Mutagenic Growth is happy to provide.

Rancor
Rancor
Possibly the best card in the deck.  Without Rancor I don't think this deck would be nearly as playable.  Rancor triggers Heroic and Prowess, gives a considerable power boost and trample.  Trample is a big game as it allows you to ignore blockers for the most part - otherwise you can risk getting chump blocked out of the game.

Brute ForceTitan's Strength
Brute Force/Titan's Strength
One mana for a +3 power boost is close to as good as it gets for pump spells, particularly if you are looking for red pump spells.  Brute Force is the red Giant Growth, the advantage it has over Titan's Strength is a bigger toughness boost so your guy is more likely to survive a blocker (if you still need it for next turn) or it can counter a Lightning Bolt in a pinch.  The advantage of Titan's Strength obviously lies in the ability to Scry and push excess land and other unwanted cards to the bottom.
 

Assault StrobeTemur_Battle_Rage.jpg
Assault Strobe/Temur Battle Rage
These are our double strike granting spells.  Dealing 20 damage can be difficult but less so when your creatures can deal double damage.  Temur Battle Rage also has the potential to grant Trample which means we can ignore pesky blockers.  Irritatingly Assault Strobe is sorcery speed, which is more likely to open you up to removal, but it makes up for that with its incredibly cheap one-mana cost.

Apostle's Blessing
Apostle's Blessing
Apostle's Blessing provides us with a way to protect our creatures from removal and/or a way to bypass blockers.  Obviously as it is a targeted effect it still boosts our Heroic guys too so it fits the bill nicely.  We have more of these in the sideboard in case we come up against a deck that is particularly heavy on removal.  Vines of Vastwood could also potentially fill this role, at least in terms of countering removal, but I guess the double green mana cost may be a little awkward - potential worth a try though.

Become Immense
Become Immense
A hot new favourite for the Infect decks and decks like this, the Delve pump spell can provide a huge boost at a greatly discounted rate.  It does require a bit of setup with your graveyard but fetchlands and our other cheap pump spells mean you can usually cast this fairly cheaply.

Lands
The land package is fairly standard.  Copperline Gorge works well here as we rarely need more than 3 lands in play.  Fetchlands help us find Stomping Grounds and fill up our graveyard for Become Immense.

Sideboard

Ranger's GuileCombustApostle's BlessingDestructive RevelryDismemberSurgical Extraction

  • Ranger's Guile and Apostle's Blessing are additional cheap ways of protecting your creatures.  If you think your opponent will be packing a lot of spot removal then you might want to bring these in.
  • Combust is a particularly good answer to Splinter Twin decks as it is an uncounterable way to kill their combo creature.  Twin is quite an irritating deck for us as tapping down our creature sets us back a long way.
  • Destructive Revelry is an answer to a lot of different artifact threats but I think most importantly it is an answer to Spellskite.  With the rise in popularity of Infect decks, thanks to Team Pantheon's use of the deck at the Pro Tour, Spellskites are a more common occurrence so we need answers.
  • Dismember is also an effective answer to a Spellskite as well as bigger creatures in general such as Tarmogoyf, which can prove to be excellent blockers against your guys.
  • Surgical Extraction is a card I'm not particularly sold on.  I think the biggest advantage of it is that it's another free spell for the deck that can do some work against Combo decks.  However, as we have no way of putting cards into our opponent's graveyard we just have to rely on them putting something exciting in there for us to target.

COST
I've not looked at the cost of decks in this article for a while as I feel like it's usually a lot of work without a ton of merit.  However, given that this a reasonably budget build I thought it was worth looking into how much this deck would actually cost to build.

I've substituted the fetchlands for the cheapest ones that can fetch mountains as the random collection used in the original decklist really holds no particular value.  It is the lands that provide the bulk of the cost to the deck but the Standard fetchlands are perfect if you already own these and you could try the deck without, it's just a disadvantage when using Become Immense.  However, you could substitute Become Immense with Revenge of the Hunted or something similar if desired.

The sideboard also has some expensive cards.  I'm not sure it's particularly worth investing the cost in Surgical Extraction as I don't even think it's that worthwhile.  Dismember is the other expensive card in the board which is worth the investment as a useful removal spell that can be used in any deck you might want it.

Main Deck

4 x Wooded Foothills= 11.60
4 x Bloodstained Mire= 10.12
4 x Copperline Gorge= 5.44
4 x Rancor= 3.36
4 x Mutagenic Growth= 2.12
4 x Monastery Swiftspear= 1.20
4 x Lightning Bolt= 0.60
4 x Kiln Fiend= 0.60
1 x Apostle's Blessing= 0.15
4 x Satyr Hoplite= 0.12
3 x Temur Battle Rage= 0.09
2 x Assault Strobe= 0.08
3 x Brute Force= 0.06
4 x Titan's Strength= 0.04
3 x Akroan Crusader= 0.03
2 x Become Immense= 0.02
Total: 35.63 tix
Total (without fetchlands): 13.91 tix

Sideboard

3 x Surgical Extraction= 25.41
2 x Dismember= 11.06
2 x Apostle's Blessing= 0.30
3 x Combust= 0.24
3 x Destructive Revelry= 0.03
2 x Ranger's Guile= 0.02
Total: 37.06 tix
GRAND TOTAL: 72.69 tix
GRAND TOTAL (minus fetchlands and Surgical Extraction): 25.56 tix

GAMEPLAY


Our first matchup is against Burn.  This seems like a potentially tough matchup - both deck are looking to race but I think all being well we should be that bit faster.  The real problem is that if they realise that we can be faster they have a lot of potential targeted removal.


Our second matchup is against RG Tron.  Tron generally doesn't tend to match up well against quick combo decks and I certainly feel favoured in this matchup.  That said they do have access to Spellskite post-board, Pyroclasm effects can be a blow out and Oblivion Stone is a real pain so they definitely have tools against us.


Our third matchup is against a Temur Twin deck.  This matchup is pretty tough - Tarmogoyf is a troublesome blocker and Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite can tap down our attackers to slow us down.  We have answers in the board with Spellskite and Dismember but it's still going to be a tough one I fear.


Our final matchup is against an Amulet of Vigor/Summer Bloom combo deck.  The most exciting part of the matchup is managing to win through a Wurmcoil Engine thanks to Rancor and Assault Strobe on a Kiln Fiend.  I'm not sure how good this matchup is in general, the Amulet decks can certainly do some nutty stuff so I guess we just have to be as fast as possible.

CONCLUSION
I've seen a lot of these Hyper Aggro decks in various forms over my time monitoring the Modern format.  Some of these lists are very creative and many are a lot of fun but there is a problem.  The problem is that Wizards printed a mechanic called Infect which essentially trumps all of these other hyper-aggressive strategies.  Infect has the advantage in that there is no current way to remove poison counters (as opposed to life gain which is reasonable prevalent), their creatures only have to deal 10 damage rather than 20 and cards like Inkmoth Nexus make them more reliable and versatile.

That said there is certainly still merit to the deck and I believe this deck is a whole lot cheaper to put together than Infect.  I had a lot of fun with this list and the deck is actually more reliable than it looks at first glance.  Being able to win through a Wurmcoil Engine on the other side of the board was also pretty sweet.  Definitely worth a try if you are looking for something new or you are new to the format and want a stepping stone into it.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

2 Comments

"With Treasure Cruise banned, by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 03/05/2015 - 20:52
Joe Fiorini's picture
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"With Treasure Cruise banned, Monastery Swiftspear easily takes the crown for the most impactful card from Khans of Tarkir in Modern. Swiftspear is a very powerful one-drop and this deck is designed to maximise its abilities with lots of cheap spells and pumps to make it as big as possible."

I think Siege Rhino might disagree with that. Interesting deck though. Kiln Fiend gets huge fast. I Saw a deck sort of like this in a 2-player match one time.

Me and my overblown claims, by olaw at Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:51
olaw's picture

Me and my overblown claims, haha. I guess that 'easily' should be an 'arguably'. I think I underestimate the impact that Khans has had on Modern. Siege Rhino is definitely a big deal.

The deck is fun and Kiln Fiend just loves being given Double Strike. As I say I think the deck is actually quite good but just not as good as Infect from a competitive standpoint.