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By: olaw, Oliver Law
May 23 2018 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Becoming A Modern Man!

After several months of looking at Tier decks in Modern, I take a chance to give some of the new Dominaria cards a spin in Modern.  This deck is a brew by Daniela Diaz, aka h0lydiva, with the Wizard tribal cards from Dominaria.

The deck is a Hyper-Aggro deck looking to beatdown quickly with Prowess creatures and has Lightning Bolt and Wizard's Lightning for reach.

I felt like the name Lightning Wizard summed up the deck pretty well, though after watching Avengers Infinity War I think Dr. Strange might be an appropriate name for the deck too.

Image result for dr strange
Another wizard with a penchant for Blue and Red

DECK TECH

Creatures

Soul_Scar_Mage
Soul-Scar Mage
The key one-drop for the deck.  Soul-Scar Mage very often leads the charge for the deck as the fatest drop in the deck.  Soul-Scar Mage is a Wizard which turns on Wizard's Lightning and has Prowess which is the key mechanic of the whole deck.

The second ability of Soul-Scar Mage isn't hugely relevant but does come up from time to time.  I recently had a situation where I attacked into a Thought-Knot Seer with my Mage and was able to Bolt the Seer after it blocked to turn it into a 1/1 meaning I killed the Seer without trading away my Mage.

Monastery Swiftspear
Monastery Swiftspear
Swiftspear is sadly a concession to the fact that Swiftspear is better than Soul-Scar Mage in most ways, apart from in this deck that it isn't a Wizard, and that we need more one-drops.

Stormchaser_Mage.jpg
Stormchaser Mage
Stormchaser Mage is the next up the curve of our Prowess Wizards.  The evasion on Stormchaser Mage is very useful as life can get difficult if the ground gets clogged up so having a creature with natural evasion is very handy.  Stormchaser also has a big butt and so can be tricky to remove with damage-based removal and also means it can block effectively if the need should arise.

Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage is probably the premier Wizard in Modern and a staple of the format.  Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage are a classic combination but as a Wizard, Snapcaster has just as much synergy with Wizard's Lightning.  8 Lightning Bolts and 4 Snapcaster Mages to give them flashback can easily be enough to finish off an opponent.

Snapcaster can be slightly awkward in the deck as often you want to cast your additional spell on your turn to get your Prowess triggers which is not an ideal use of Snapcaster's flash ability.

Adeliz_the_Cinder_Wind
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
My immediate thought seeing Adeliz was it is kind of a high top-end for the deck.  However, in reality Adeliz is the key to a lot of the more broken plays of the deck.  Adeliz gives each of your Wizards an extra +1/+1 per spell which is even more powerful for your Wizards that already have Prowess.  The result is a pretty devastating attacking combination with any of our other creatures (barring Swiftspear).  Also, as a 2/2 haste flyer with pseudo-Prowess Adeliz is no slouch on his/her own.

Spells

Lightning BoltWizards_Lightning
Lightning Bolt/Wizard's Lightning
Lightning Bolt and the new Lightning Bolt for Wizards.  Having 8 one-mana spells that deal 3 damage is very powerful and gives the deck a lot of reach.

Serum VisionsOpt
Serum Visions/Opt
Cantrips that dig you into more action - be that creatures, spells or lands as you require.  Setting up your draw is very helpful as the deck doesn't need much more than 3 lands and thereafter you generally just want to be drawing spells to pump your creatures.  Visions and Opt help filter your draws to set up big plays.

Mutagenic Growth
Mutagenic Growth
Sadly for the purposes of this deck, Gitaxian Probe is no longer legal in Modern.  However, he do still have this free pump spell.  Growth can be very powerful as a way to grow our attacker but also as a way to cast an additional spell for no additional mana.

Assault Strobe
Assault Strobe
Hitting for 20 purely off Prowess triggers is pretty tricky so cards like Assault Strobe give us a much needed boost and can set up some surprising kills.  The sorcery speed is slightly frustrating but Strobe definitely helps to finish out games.

Vapor Snag
Vapor Snag
Snag is a solid card for removing a problematic blocker while also pining one life from your opponent.  If can also be used to save our creatures from removal by bouncing them back to hand.

Artful Dodge
Artful Dodge
Artful Dodge gives us the ability to make a creature unblockable which is very useful against creature-heavy deck where a groundstall is likely to occur.  Dodge also has flashback for just one-mana allowing reuse and two Prowess triggers from one card.

I have had mixed experiences with Artful Dodge and haven't always been impressed with it.  I believe h0lydiva was testing out Slip Through Space in this slot as a cantrip.  Distortion Strike also provides another option in this category.

Become Immense
Become Immense
A staple of Infect decks and Hyper Aggro decks.  Become Immense provides a huge boost for as little as one-mana.  It's insanely powerful when combined with Assault Strobe which is often a lead in to our fastest wins.  Obviously the deck doesn't generally need green mana so you do have to preemptively fetch a Stomping Ground or Breeding Pool in case we draw Become Immense.

Lands

There isn't really anything exceptional to say about the manabase.  However, at 18 lands it is obviously quite a low land count which can make mulliganing awkward and one-land hands more defensible.  Also of note, we need a green source to cast Become Immense so it is usually worth using an early fetch to find a Breeding Pool or Stomping Ground to ensure we have the mana to cast it.

SIDEBOARD

Flame SlashDispelForked Bolt

  •  Flame Slash helps remove bigger threats and Walls that cannot be killed with Lightning Bolt, such as Hollow One or Thought-Knot Seer.
  • Forked Bolt kills off smaller blockers, such as Lingering Souls tokens, Birds of Paradise and other such problems.
  • Dispel can be brought in against removal heavy decks to potentially protect your creatures.
  • Bedlam Reveler comes in for the grindy games where restocking your hand can be very helpful.
  • Wizard's Retort is the Dominaria Counterspell for WIzards.  I feel it's a bit ambitious but in theory you can use this to take a more controlling stance on the game.
  • Vapor Snag, as in the main deck, knocks opposing creatures out of the way and can be a way of protecting our creatures by bouncing them back to hand.
  • Surgical Extraction interacts with graveyard-based decks and is also a free-spell to pump the Prowess creatures.
  • Entrancing Melody can be used to steal small creatures.  I am not entirely sure what we bring this in against and I am not really sold on it as a sideboard card.  I guess it would be decent against Affinity or a deck of that nature.
  • Destructive Revelry is slightly awkward with the manabase but provides an answer to lots of different problematic permanents while also damaging the opponent to maintain the beatdown.  Cards like Ghostly Prison and Ensnaring Bridge are obviously very problematic and there are many more cards in the artifact/enchantment category that we would like to destroy.  Great against the artifact heavy decks of the Modern format.

GAMEPLAY

So, let's take the deck for a spin:


Our first matchup against Saheeli Rai Combo.  This deck looks to win through the Felidar Guardian/Saheeli Rai combo.  The deck is creature heavy and has lots of ETB effects.  They have lots of blockers and even run Wall of Omens which can be a real problem for us.  That said they do not threaten us badly and are relatively light on removal which gives us plenty of time to set up big attacks.


 
Our second matchup is against Eldrazi & Taxes.  Their creatures certainly pose a threat and cards like Eldrazi Displacer can be very problematic.  That said we have good answers to their threats and are much faster than their deck.


Our third matchup is against Burn/RDW.  This is basically a straight up race.  We probably need to take the defensive as their Burn is more likely to kill us that we are to get in a speedy lethal attack.  That said you can kill quickly and we managed to piece together some very powerful and quick kills in this match.


Our fourth matchup is against Mono-Green Tron.  You would hope this match is good as we should be faster than Tron but Tron is very powerful and get Tron together on Turn 3.  There are also problematic cards like Wurmcoil Engine which can quickly turn the tide.


Our final matchup is against Jeskai Control.  Control decks are something we are looking to prey on with our speed.  However, we do have to be wary of decks like this that are so heavy in removal.  It's unlikely against these decks that a single creature isn't going to be enough to beat the opponent.  This is sometimes where plan B of Snapcaster Mage/Lightning Bolt comes in so we can win a match that gets a bit grindy.

CONCLUSIONS

These all-in aggro decks have never really been my scene but I think this deck provides a pretty inventive new way of using the Dominiria Wizards.  I think there are probably better options available and sometimes it feels like Snapcaster Mage is pulling against what the rest of the deck is trying to do.  That said the deck is interesting and maybe there will be further advances on it when more Wizards see print.

Overall I had a good amount of fun with the deck but it did feel a bit weak at points as you really need the right combination of cards to bring together a quick kill.  It's also tricky to know when is the best time to utilise your spells while also gaining maximum damage from Prowess triggers, however, I am sure that comes with experience.

I hope you enjoyed this article and a big shout-out to Daniela Diaz, aka h0lydiva, for the decklist I played here.  Check her out on Twitch and Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)
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