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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jul 19 2013 2:55pm
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http://media.wizards.com/images/magic/daily/boab/boab103_restore.jpg

Hello!

Welcome to another edition of Becoming A Modern Man! In this article we will be looking at a Restore Balance deck.  I often scour the Modern Dailies for interesting decks and this was one I found a while back.  I've been meaning to give it a go and now seemed like as good a time as any.

 

DECKLIST

The Combo

Restore Balance
Restore Balance
Restore Balance is the basis for the whole deck.  You can cascade into a Restore Balance with all your cascade spells.  The idea is to have as few lands as possible, hopefully none with only Borderposts, as few cards in hand as possible (though this is more difficult to control) and no creatures on the battlefield.  In these situations your opponent will be forced to sacrifice all their creatures, lands and discard some amount of their hand once Restore Balance hits, which can be absolutely devastating.  In terms of finishing the game, you have various options including Greater Gargadon, which comes down post-Restore Balance, March of the Machines which turns your Borderposts into a lethal army of 3/3s and Tezzeret the Seeker who can use his ultimate to turn all your Borderposts into 5/5 creatures.

Violent OutburstArdent Plea
The Cascade Spells
These are the cascade spells of choice for the deck.  Violent Outburst has the advantage of being instant speed which means that you can hit a Restore Balance during your opponent's turn.  Ardent Plea is less powerful but can give a Greater Gargadon a helpful boost to 10 power which means two swings should finish most opponents.

Creatures

Greater Gargadon
Greater Gargadon
Greater Gargadon is a great finisher for this deck.  You suspend it then once you've wiped your opponent's board down it comes with little to no resistance and beats your opponent's face in for the win.  You can also use the Gargadon to sacrifice your lands or creatures (if you have any) to ensure that the Restore Balance has the maximum effect when it lands.  This strategy can be a little risky, particularly if your opponent is running Path to Exile but generally Gargadon is pretty capable of finishing things.

Simian Spirit Guide
Simian Spirit Guide
This is generally mana ramp but can also be a beater if you've wiped the board and need something to get there.  My most common use for Spirit Guide has been to drop a Turn 2 Blood Moon which is a play that can be devastating against some opponents.  It's also good as a surprise answer to a Spell Pierce or Mana Leak or just as a card that you can take out of your hand to make your opponent discard more cards when Restore Balance hits.

Other Spells

Wildfield BorderpostFieldmist BorderpostFirewild BorderpostMistvein Borderpost
The Borderposts
The Borderposts are a major mana source in the deck and help you keep as few lands on the battlefield as possible, ensuring as close as possible to an Armageddon occurs when Restore Balance hits.  As the all technically cost 3 mana they don't interfere with your cascade spells and they are also formidable 3/3s with March of the Machines in play.

Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Blood Moon is a very debilitating enchantment which can shut down decks that rely too heavily on non-basic lands, which is a good amount of Modern decks.  As Restore Balance doesn't affect enchantments this is another way to mess with your opponent's early on.  It can be particularly good against Control decks as a way to shut them off of counter mana and cards like Cryptic Command.

Oblivion Ring
Oblivion Ring
O-Ring is a good way to deal with problem permanents from your opponent.  Some things can't be dealt with by Restore Balance, such as AEther Vial, and that's where O-Ring comes in to help you out.

Thirst for Knowledge
Thirst for Knowledge
With this deck's rather awkward manabase and need to find cascade spells it's great to have a powerful draw spell.  Obviously as this is a cascade deck the cheaper draw spells aren't available to you but Thirst is about as good as it gets at 3 mana and had the added bonus of working at instant speed.

Idyllic Tutor
Idyllic Tutor
Idyllic Tutor in an ideal world searches up an Ardent Plea for you, or even finds a Blood Moon if the occasion calls for it.  I have to say I've never actually used the card in the time I've been playing the deck and I don't know whether the 2 slots could be better utilised as something else.

March of the Machines
March of the Machines
March of the Machines is another one of our finishers.  March turns all our Borderposts into 3/3 creatures which can then take down our opponent.  You have to be careful about when you play March as you need to be conscience that once it is in play you will have a number of creatures, meaning that if you play another Restore Balance your opponent will be able to keep as many creatures as you have.  As such March is much better played just after a Restore Balance rather than before.

Tezzeret the Seeker
Tezzeret the Seeker
Tezzeret doesn't see a lot of play in Modern but it provides an additional finisher here.  Tezzeret's ultimate has a similar effect to March of the Machines except creating bigger creatures from our Borderposts.  His +1 ability can also help you to generate additional mana by untapping your Borderposts.  Finally his -X ability can help find additional Borderposts to put into play if necessary.

Lands

Arid MesaScalding TarnMisty Rainforest
Fetchlands
Borderposts only work with basic lands so the fetchlands aren't as essential as they are in some decks.  The fetches can help you find the basic land you need to play the spells in your hand though.

Sideboard

I used the sideboard that I saw with the list but I have to say I find it a little suspect.  Particularly the 1 Rest in Peace which breaks our cascade combo.  The Leylines are also interesting.  Leyline of the Void is good against graveyard strategies but due to the very limited ways of casting it, you have to have both of your two Mistvein Borderposts in play, you better hope it's really important to have in play.  Leyline of Anticipation is an interesting card but I'm not sure it adds enough to be worth a whole four slots in the sideboard.   Demonic Dread is very difficult to cast due to the lack of black sources as I've mentioned.  I'm not entirely sure how to change this sideboard to make it more effective but I'm not happy with it's current configuration.

Blood Moon, Krosan Grip and Oblivion Ring are solid includes though and I've found those to be useful cards to put into the main deck in various matchups.  Any suggestions as to how to build this sideboard would be greatly appreciated.

COST
Fetchlands are crazy expensive right now.  In theory this deck doesn't need them so if you're looking to budgetise the deck then just trade out the fetches for basic lands.  I haven't tried it so I don't know how it would impact the deck but it could work.
The rest of the main deck is pretty cheap with only the Blood Moons, Idyllic Tutors and Tezzeret costing a few tickets.

Main Deck

4 x Scalding Tarn= 87.56
2 x Arid Mesa= 27.72
1 x Misty Rainforest= 18.65
2 x Blood Moon= 8.88
2 x Idyllic Tutor= 6.60
1 x Tezzeret the Seeker= 5.00
4 x Ardent Plea= 0.60
4 x Restore Balance= 0.40
4 x Simian Spirit Guide= 0.32
4 x Violent Outburst= 0.32
4 x Greater Gargadon= 0.28
3 x Thirst for Knowledge= 0.21
3 x March of the Machines= 0.21
4 x Fieldmist Borderpost= 0.16
2 x Oblivion Ring= 0.14
4 x Firewild Borderpost= 0.08
4 x Wildfield Borderpost= 0.08
2 x Mistvein Borderpost= 0.08
Total: 157.29 tix
Total (without fetchlands)= 23.36 tix

Sideboard

1 x Blood Moon= 4.44
4 x Leyline of the Void= 2.12
1 x Rest in Peace= 0.26
4 x Leyline of Anticipation= 0.20
2 x Demonic Dread= 0.16
1 x Oblivion Ring= 0.07
2 x Krosan Grip= 0.06
Total: 7.31 tix

Grand Total: 164.60 tix
Grand Total (without fetchlands): 30.67 tix

GAMEPLAY


Our first matchup is against Soul Sisters.  This is a difficult matchup as our opponent has a particularly low curve and also the lifegain buys them quite a lot of time to rebuild their resources even once you have one of your finishers online.


Our second matchup is against Merfolk.  Merfolk is a problematic deck as it has a lot of cheap counters and AEther Vial is another problem as it can potentially allow your opponent to drop creatures into play even after you've wiped their board of lands.


Our third matchup is against Affinity.  I wasn't looking forward to this match as Affinity is a very fast deck with a very low curve which can cause us a lot of trouble.  Fortunately, a couple of good hands meant that this matchup went much more favourably than I had anticipated.


Our fourth matchup is against Gifts Control.  This is an interesting matchup.  Blood Moon seems very powerful here as our opponent is running four colours and a lot of non-basic lands.  Our graveyard hate in the sideboard can also be useful in this matchup.

CONCLUSION
Restore Balance is quite a difficult deck to play as there are a lot of choices to make and just generally the deck is quite difficult to manage.  An additional problem in Modern is that the low curve in the format means that opponents are better able to bounce back from a complete board wipe than they might otherwise be in other formats. 

Overall this deck is an interesting deck and one worth playing around with if you want a bit of fun.  I'm not sure it's a great tournament deck mainly because putting your combo together doesn't lead to you winning the game.  With Living End at least hitting a Living End will also end the game as you have multiple creatures to win the game with.  Restore Balance doesn't provide you with a finisher and so you can be stuck in a position where you've wiped your opponent's board but have no follow up and they can recover.

4 Comments

MagicGatheringStrat's picture

Here: https://www.wizards.com/Magic/Digital/MagicOnlineTourn.aspx?x=mtg/digita...

Before I saw this article I tried his deck here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7NA_g3AX1c

Thanks for the excellent article! Now you inspired me to try the deck further

I saw the Spanky decklist by olaw at Mon, 07/22/2013 - 08:00
olaw's picture

I saw the Spanky decklist after this article went up. Seems like an interesting take on the archetype. Like you I questioned the presence of the cycling creatures, I guess they are there as just a way to dig deeper to find your cascade spells and I guess if it came to it you could potentially hardcast them as beaters but they certainly aren't as good as they are in the Living End deck. The Keyrunes seem like a reasonable addition as well though perhaps a bit slow.

Your video was interesting as an impression of someone just getting to grips with the deck. I hope this article helped you understand how the deck wants to work a bit better.

I've been playing a very by StealthBadger at Mon, 07/22/2013 - 07:24
StealthBadger's picture

I've been playing a very similar deck for yeeeaaars. The key card I like that you don't have is phyrexian totem. It's my only win-condition, pretty much, 'though I've never tried tezzeret. It's resilient to restore balance, a 5/5 clock, and it's another artifact mana-source. The drawback never seems to be a problem for me, 'though I could certainly imagine it being troublesome.

Yes, this deck goes back by olaw at Mon, 07/22/2013 - 08:03
olaw's picture

Yes, this deck goes back quite some way. Phyrexian Totem is a card I've seen in quite a few older lists. I would be very worried about having my Totem hit with a Lightning Bolt but otherwise it seems like a solid finisher for this deck.