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By: kcastle11, kevin castle
Feb 27 2014 1:00pm
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Unless you’ve been living under a Rocky Tar Pit, you’ve heard that enemy number one Deathrite Shaman has been banned in Modern and that fan favorite Wild Nacatl and fan griefer Bitterblossom has been unbanned. Everything is total Chaos! But fear not, for I have come to bring you some fun decks to put Bitterblossom in! Note: Your opponent might still think it’s a griefer card, but you’ll at least be having fun.

I would bring you decks for Wild Nacatl, but that's one cool cat. All she does is hang out at the zoo, and then she attacks, and that’s it. She’s just fantastic at what she does.

But I digress, this is the best time for deck builders, due to the format being completely different. Yes, Birthing Pod and Splinter Twin decks are probably better, and the format as a whole is more or less the same, but specific cards have gotten way better, and there will be less overall and yet more specific interaction with the graveyard.

Deathrite Shaman was great at handling the graveyard, and along with Scavenging Ooze, these two cards held the format’s graveyard strategies at bay. And because Jund had a relatively decent matchup against everything, it was everywhere. But without one of its key cards, Jund will see a lot less play and will also be less powerful. Also, no more turn 2 Liliana of the Veil oops I win hands, which changes a lot for aggressive decks as well.

With that in mind, decks will now have to pack more hate. Cards like Rest in Peace, (Grafdigger’s Cage), Leyline Of The Void, Nihil Spellbomb, Surgical Extraction, and Relic Of Progenitus will all see more sideboard play and even some main deck play. This trend will follow what happens with Dredge in legacy: Dredge wins so people pack more hate, and after a while people skimp on hate and dredge wins. So on and so forth goes the Dredge tide.

So if your favorite deck is Living End, or you have a Vengevine deck that you’re working, keep this at the forefront of your thought process. Either you’ll need to watch current metagame trends, or you’ll just have to learn to play around these cards and gracefully accept defeat when you can’t.

However, there is one card that uses the graveyard and got infinitely better now that Deathrite Shaman is gone: Lingering Souls. And what happens to work well with 1/1 Spirit tokens? 1/1 Faerie tokens. Now, the most obvious place to put these two together is in a black/white token deck, and such decks already exist, so it’s only a matter of figuring out what to take out. Other obvious decks include Faeries and Mono-Black Devotion, which has started to pick up some online play. But since I’m a Johnny, I want to do better for you guys.

So up first is a deck that can spit out tokens faster than a Zerg Hatchery!


While this is similar to a black/white token strategy, Young Pyromancer pushes us in a different direction and allows us to be more like a combo deck. Cards like Battle Hymn, Manamorphose, and Gitaxian Probe wouldn’t fit into a normal token deck, but since we can play them, it gives us opportunities to attack from different angles. And since we are taking so much damage from our lands and spells, it’s only natural to include (Death’s Shadow). I understand that Vault of the Archangel and (Death’s Shadow) is a nombo, but the vault is such an awesome card, especially when combined with Bitterblossom, I had to at least include it for consideration.

Intangible Virtue is an important card for this deck, as it allows us to play offense and defense, which is why I’ve included Faithless Looting, Manamorphose, and Gitaxian Probe. While they all work rather well with Young Pyromancer, their main purpose is to dig us deeper in our decks. However, we can and will win without it.

The next deck is a just a starting point, but I feel like with some more work, it could be really good.

 

 

So what’s better than 1 Bitterblossom? How about 4? We seek to capitalize on cascade here, pumping out an insane amount of 1/1 faerie tokens. To offset the life loss, I’ve included Phyrexian Unlife and Whip of Erebos. And with Phyrexian Unlife in play, Bitterblossom will never kill us because unlife prevents us from dying. So as long as those two cards are in play, you’ll have a never-ending army of tokens!

Simian Spirit Guide speeds us up letting us cascade a turn early or dropping a turn 2 Liliana of the Veil. Remember how I said that Jund could drop Liliana on turn 2 and sometimes win automatically, the same applies here but we also have an army of tokens ready to defend her at moment’s notice.

To round out the deck, Blasting Station combines with all the token making to deal an insane amount of damage, giving you another angle of attack. Beast Within takes care of a lot of problem cards. And don’t forget that you can use Violent Outburst as a pump spell, even if you don’t need to cascade.


Sideboards are pretty easy to figure out with cascade decks due to such specific deck constraints, so I’ve included one with this deck. Leyline of Sanctity is for decks that try to target you, like Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, and Gifts Ungiven. Damping Matrix is for decks that rely on activated abilities like Splinter Twin, Affinity and Birthing Pod, preventing them from doing anything but attack you. Ricochet Trap helps fight all those (Mana Leaks) and (Remands), and Dismember is obviously good against creatures, but in particular, those that make the deck much harder to play like Aven Mindcensor and (Thalia, Gaurdian of Thraben).

This last deck is by far the most normal looking but don’t let that fool you, it still has some Johnny in there.

 

 

Last standard season, we all witnessed the power of Blood Artist. He hacks life totals apart while painting so well that Edward Scissorhands would be proud. I’ve combined the Artist with another all too familiar creature in Cartel Aristocrat, and the both of them love using spirit and faerie tokens for their paint. And if you combine Sword of Light and Shadow with Cartel Aristocrat you’ll get a nigh unkillable and unblockable 4/4 combo enabler.

I also included Geist of Saint Traft, because, well, geist bashes skulls in like Jack Nicholson breaks down doors with an axe. The rest of the cards are standard fare for control decks: counterspells, removal, and of course, Lingering Souls.

If you were so inclined, you could take out the Aristocrat and the Artist, and build yourself a regular control deck. It would be good as well but you just won’t have as much fun.


I hope you get to experiment and come up with Bitterblossom decks yourself soon. There’s a ton of cards we didn’t talk about, but I can’t do all the work for you. So until next article, have fun and happy brewing!