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By: jay85, Jay Nelson
Jun 04 2015 11:00am
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 You might remember those days in Standard not too long ago when you were winning (or maybe you were losing) to Thoughtseize and Pack Rat. This week I got a deck that will give your opponents nightmares. And just when they thought their days of seeing rats were behind them...


 The list seems well positioned with all these Collected Company decks running rampant right now. Mirran Crusader can block anything from a measly mana dork to a big ol' Tarmogoyf, and Zealous Persecution can be downright abysmal for an Elf player.

 You may be asking yourself, "Wait, what? No Spectral Procession? Where's the Honor of the Pure and Raise the Alarm? This ain't no token deck!?" Well, in my defense, this is still a token deck. Pack Rat makes tokens, Elspeth makes tokens, and so can Sorin. Basically, what's happening in this deck is you try and disrupt your opponent early with Inquisition of Kozilek, Tidehollow Sculler, and Thoughtseize, then close out the game with something great like Mirran Crusader or the tried and true Pack Rat plan. 


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Pack Rat Mirran Crusader Lingering Souls

 These cards can carry you to victory pretty darn easily. Mirran Crusader, left unchecked, will be hitting for four damage a turn, and God forbid if your opponent is playing any sort of Golgari type deck. I have a friend who swears by the Crusader and after playing with this deck I have to agree. Mirran Crusader can certainly power his way across the finish line.

 Pack Rat dominated Standard when it was Theros/Return to Ravnica. The creature was good there, and if you're wondering if Pack Rat is good in Modern, I'm here to tell you yes, he is still good. What I really like about Pack Rat is that he gives you something to do with Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek when you draw them late game and you either know what is in your opponent's hand or they are top decking.

 Lingering Souls is a card that is jammed pack with value. I will even go so far as to clump it into the same category as Electrolyze and Remand. With just one copy of Lingering Souls you can get up to four Spirits, and it's a great card to pitch to your Pack Rat activation or an opposing Liliana of the Veil.


Tidehollow Sculler Thoughtseize Inquisition of Kozilek 

 This is your disruption package. A turn one Inquisition of Kozilek plus a turn two Thoughtseize or Tidehollow Sculler can set you up for a Pack Rat win fairly easily. What I like to do is use the Inquisition and Thoughtseize to take my opponent's early play and then take their Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile with Tidehollow Sculler. It's always in your best interest to sequence it so that the Sculler steals a removal spell. If your choice is either Bolt or, say, Scapeshift and you decide on taking Scapeshift, then you are basically just keeping their win-con safe for them until they Repeal or Bolt it when they are ready to combo off.

 We are playing a fair deck here, so these spells are our best defense against combo.


Path to Exile Zealous Persecution Murderous Cut

 Path to Exile is a necessary evil. Do I like giving my opponent lands? No. Is it nice to be able to exile a Wurmcoil Engine or Kitchen Finks? My God, yes.

 Zealous Persecution is well positioned right now. There are a lot of people playing Elves and Young Pyromancer that it's nice sweeping their board with a Persecution. As an added bonus, a lot of times Zealous Persecution will work great against Affinity, as well.

 I don't know if it's just me but every deck I play now I like to include some sort of delve card. Murderous Cut is great removal, and you'll be casting it for one more times than not.


Sorin, Solemn Visitor Elspeth, Knight-Errant

 These two Planeswalkers make a great couple. I don't find myself using Sorin, Solemn Visitor's -2 ability very often. He is fantastic though when your board is covered with Spirits and Rats. Pump your guys, swing in, and either deal lethal or gain a bazillion life. It should be noted that Sorin's +1 lasts until your next turn, so your chump blockers will still have +1/+0 and lifelink. It's a very nice deterrent when your opponent wants to attack with her Geist of Saint Traft or Goblin Guide but knows she can't.

 Elspeth, Knight-Errant is a real beaut in this deck. Actually, she is just a great Planeswalker in general. She can advance your board and protect herself with her first +1, and using her second +1 on Mirran Crusader... yeah, I'll let that sink in for a second. Have you ever attacked with a flying 5/5 Mirran Crusader? No, you haven't? Then build this deck now! The synergy between Elspeth, the Crusader, and even Sorin is jaw-dropping amazing.

 You may have noticed I don't mention either of these Planeswalkers' ultimates. In fact, off the top of my head, I can't even tell you what those ults are. I've never had to use them. These two cards are so good that you will win the game before you even get the chance to ultimate one of them.


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Slaughter Pact Deathmark Zealous Persecution

 Yeah, Zealous Persecution is so good there is a third copy in the side, and I do like the idea of Slaughter Pact. Sure, it may miss on destroying Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang, but it destroys some of the other best creatures in the format. What is especially nice about the Pact is that you don't have to be afraid to tap out on your turn. If your opponent tries to combo off with Deceiver Exarch or Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit we can destroy her while Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap's persist counter is still on the stack. Really what Slaughter Pact does best is enable us to keep pressure on opponents without worrying we may lose to a silly combo, or destroying a potential blocker for free, saving us our mana so we can win the game.

 Deathmark may seem narrow but it really isn't. It is cheap removal against a ton of creatures. Tarmogoyf, Restoration Angel, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Glistener Elf, Heritage Druid, Primeval Titan, and Ajani's Pridemate. Are you still not convinced Deathmark is good enough? Ok, it also destroys Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit and Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Baneslayer Angel, Siege Rhino, Tarmogoyf, Restoration Angel... I'm just repeating myself now. You just need to trust me when I say Deathmark is one of the coolest spells you can be running in your sideboard.


Stony Silence Sundering Growth

 Artifact hate. Sundering Growth is neat in that you destroy Aether Vial or Cranial Plating and you can also put another Pack Rat token onto the battlefield.


Kor Firewalker Timely Reinforcements

 I've been enjoying Kor Firewalker a lot against the Burn match ups. Sure, a smart Burn player can still cast Skullcrack when you decide to block their Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear with the Firewalker (thus making it so damage can't be prevented and we trade creatures), but luckily for us most Monored lists I've seen are favoring Atarka's Command nowadays. The deck usually has only a single copy of Skullcrack. Without a doubt, Kor Firewalker is the way to go as long as you can support its double white cmc.

 Timely Reinforcements is another good card to bring in against the aggressive decks. You may not always get three tokens off it but the lifegain is super relevant. I would recommend Rest for the Weary but we just aren't running enough fetchlands in this deck that I don't think it's the best choice here.


Surgical Extraction

 When you play a deck that utilizes eight discard spells I believe it is a good idea to also run some Surgical Extraction. Being able to exile all copies of Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam,Pyromancer Ascension, or even Hive Mind from the game is exactly what you want to be doing with Surgical Extraction. I wouldn't bring it in against just any deck, though. It doesn't make much sense to exile all Delver of Secrets when your opponent still has plenty of threats in the forms of Young Pyromancer, Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Snapcaster Mage.


Sword of Fire and Ice

 Speaking of Delver decks, it's why I decided to include a single copy of Sword of Fire and Ice. Against a straight U/R Delver list your Sword wielding creature is impossible for them to deal with, and you'll be shooting down their Insectile Aberrations and Pyromancers with every Sword trigger. Attach Sword of Fire and Ice on Mirran Crusader when up against Grixis Delver and the game will become and easy win for you.


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 Ok, I know these videos weren't a very good showing for this deck, but to be fair we did go up against some hard to deal with archetypes. I still enjoy playing BW Tokens, and I have gone on some long winning streaks with it. I think the synergy between all the cards is there, and we are playing some absolute bombs (Mirran Crusader, Pack Rat, and Thoughtseize). Maybe the lists running Spectral Procession and Honor of the Pure are better than this one but I'm going to stick with this particular build for now. I swear, you will fall in love with this deck once you attack with a Mirran Crusader that's been blessed by Elspeth, Knight-Errant.

 I've also seen other token decks running Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, but those are mostly prior to Khans of Tarkir's release. It is true, being able to get an emblem from the Lord of Innistrad right off the bat is powerful, but Sorin, Solemn Visitor is an overall improvement in my eyes. Giving all our creatures lifelink until our next turn is better than the emblem, and a 2/2 is obviously bigger than a 1/1. For budget concerns, replacing Solemn Visitor for the Lord of Innistrad would be fine, but the last time I checked both versions of Sorin cost about the same online so I would definitely just pay the little extra and stick with Sorin, Solemn Visitor if you can.

 Well, that's all I got for you this week. I hope you enjoyed the article and videos. Until next time, have fun acting like the Pied Piper with all those rats you'll be making!