romellos's picture
By: romellos, A. Atasoy
Apr 10 2014 11:00am
Login to post comments



    Hello everyone. We all faced Pod type decks at some point, in the Modern games. I'm sure that nearly more that %90 of them were some combo oriented ones to abuse the interactions between specific creatures. But, this generalization doesn't mean that there aren't any casual Pod decks around too. A few months ago, I have looked into the possibility of a Mono Green Pod deck with Nykthos devotion sub-theme. And I can clearly say that, everything worked quite well for such a casual deck. No matter what, I still have lots of things to learn about such deep deck archetype.

In that regard, Kumagoro is the best player I know that continues to brew any kind of Pod type decks with unorthodox ideas. He also wrote a masterpiece article about the Pod possibilities in his Accidental Player series.

Today, I will continue to follow the footsteps of a casual player and will review a Mono Black Pod deck that has strong interactions with Nykthos.


This mono Black version Pod deck is clearly slower than its other incarnations, without any mana acceleration providers. Yet, it has some aggressive & repeatable options to make it up for those early turns.

Our Pod food chain starts with One CMC and goes up to Six CMC range as the high end serve. And, we are also utilizing some heavy Black mana devotion shenanigans on the process.

Gravecrawler   Bloodghast  Nether Traitor

The One and Two CMC creatures are actually very important assets, that will provide us a huge advantage in the matter of preserving the consistency and longevity of our Pod chain.

We have various of other Zombie sources in this deck and it won't be an issue to bring back Gravecrawler from our graveyard. Bloodghast and Nether Traitor are also following this cheap reanimation tradition of Gravecrawler with their own unique ways. And their devotions to Black will be quite handy during the midrange turns.

Their only common drawback is that none of them can block. But sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

Geralf's Messenger  Phyrexian Rager

Geralf's Messenger is our reverse Kitchen Finks with its exactly same Life points manipulation and card advantage. Its only drawback is, to come into play tapped, otherwise it's a great choice for our Pod chain continuum.

I know that Phyrexian Rager is not Eternal Witness. Yet, it will provide us a pseudo-similar advantage with its draw a card trigger for a small life loss. 

Garza's Assassin  Fleshbag Marauder

Garza's Assassin will be useful as an extra creature removal option against the key creatures of Pod or Splinter Twin Combo decks. We can also re-fetch it from the graveyard with his Recover cost in some crucial times.

Fleshbag Marauder is another creature removal option that we can turn the situation into our advantage with the help of Gravecrawler, Bloodghast or Nether Traitor.

Akuta, Born of Ash  Murderous Redcap

Akuta, Born of Ash is actually quite good at its curve. It has Haste and a decent body that can attack and goes to slaughterhouse during same turn. And we can also bring Akuta back countless times during our upkeeps from the graveyard, as long as we match its requirements. It's like havingIchorid.

Murderous Redcap has already become a staple card in both Melira and Kiki Pod decks due to its Persist advantage. And we will continue that tradition here.

Skinrender  Disciple of Bolas  Phyrexian Obliterator

Skinrender is another effective representative of Nekrataal type creatures with its 3x -1/-1 counters, which is very useful against the creatures with Persist ability. If you're not a fan of it, it can be easily replaced with an extra copy of Murderous Redcap in this curve.

I really like to add Disciple of Bolas to such tool decks like this one as a silver bullet. We can easily get Two or Three extra life & card draw with his ETB trigger without losing any advantage with Geralf's Messenger, Gravecrawler or Bloodghast.

Sometimes, all we need is to cool the board against aggressive decks and Phyrexian Obliterator will achieve this task perfectly. Its contribution to Black devotion is also huge.

Puppeteer Clique  Shriekmaw  Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Puppeteer Clique will provide us an amazing opportunity to reanimate of our opponent's creatures. We can just plainly attack with it or also sacrifice this extra source in our Pod chain. And due to Puppeteer Clique's Persist nature, we can utilize this effect twice. 

Shriekmaw is another Skinrender at Five CMC curve or just a Terror with sorcery speed. This kind of effects will be always useful to control the board.

We have gathered various of creatures with aggressive Black devotion in this deck to maximize the efficiency of Nykthos. Yet, there is another excellent way to abuse these Black devotions. And it comes from Gray Merchant of Asphodel. We can easily syphon 10-12 life points or more, in the right time.

Grave Titan  Massacre Wurm

Grave Titan is more like a thematic boss of this deck, with its two Zombie summoning advantage. Even that, it is capable to change the course of the game single-handedly. One thing, I learned about these Five Titans from the past that you can't underestimate them.

Massacre Wurm is un-crowned Titan like Wurmcoil Engine, which are matched to their power level in equal terms or even exceeds them at some points.

In this matter, this deck provides us the option whether to dominate the board with Grave Titan and its Zombie horde or fetch Massacre Wurm to unleash one sided Massacre effect with a passive punishment effect that can turn into another win condition.

Birthing Pod  Profane Command

Birthing Pod is the engine of this deck and the only non-black card here. Even that, we can easily cast & activate it normally with its Phyrexian Mana Cost. And there are also two Overgrown Tombs that can help us to use it without any shocks.  

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx will provide us huge mana boost and this mana outcome will be for nothing without any effective tool to utilize it. And it that regard, Profane Command is a tailor made for this deck. The combination possibility of any two of these are indeed deadly at the right times. It's just another perfect tool for this deck. 




I really liked how this deck turned out to be for such a casual deck idea. And it was also very entertaining process to test and adjust this deck, until it finds its current self.  

I will continue this cycle with a Mono White Pod deck with White devotions to Nykthos. See you next time in the Modern Days...


[wrong account] by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:25
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

[wrong account]

I never committed to by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:39
Kumagoro42's picture

I never committed to monoblack Pod, I'm interested to try it. In this build, I kinda fear the high number of early creatures that can't block. I played a black devotion deck for a while, and I ended up taking out Geralf's Messenger because come turn 3 I needed to block the aggro assault, and it didn't help. Of course in a Pod deck the advantage of the Messenger is of a different kind. Still, I would probably cut a couple of the 10 recurring creatures at CMC 1-2. You really need that many? They mostly only make you jump ahead with the Pod, but if you don't draw into the Pod, don't you end up with too many things that can't trade and don't compare with the clock of an average aggro or aggro/burn deck?

Akuta and Puppeteer Clique are nice. I never played them, I'll try them for sure.

Skinrender doesn't have to be underestimated. Murderous Redcap can't kill the nasty things Skinrender can kill or at least neutralize, including indestructible and regenerating guys.

At CMC 3 you have Cadaver Imp for recursion in a quasi-Eternal Witness role. And you should keep a Big Game Hunter in the side (also Spellskite). Big Game Hunter kills Emrakul.

At CMC 4, I suggest to try 1-2 Entomber Exarch, because you want to be sure the opponent doesn't have Path to Exile in hand before committing your big pieces to the board.

At CMC 5 you also have the demigods. All the black-based ones are good except Deity of Scars. Demigod of Revenge can be lethal (this deck doesn't have many flyers otherwise).

Gary does seem like a by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/10/2014 - 21:12
Paul Leicht's picture

Gary does seem like a positive upgrade for one of our old favorites (well mine anyway). Entomber is a good thought, but seems more like a side vs certain style decks. Also, at 4 cmc Obliterator is hard to replace.

Kuma, thank you very much for by romellos at Fri, 04/11/2014 - 07:05
romellos's picture

Thank you very much for your comments.

It's true that creatures at CMC 1 & 2 range and also Geralf's Messenger are not contributing much to protect yourself during the early turns, which can be deadly against some type of decks. Maybe, I should decrease their numbers. I got some concerns about them since the beginning and they mostly become true.

CMC 3: Cadaver Imp will really fit here. Somehow, I had missed this one during my research.

CMC 4: Entomber Exarch seems good, I will try it at Disciple of Bolas' spot.

CMC 5: I have thought about Demigod of Revenge, but didn't think that it will worth it as 1 copy. Maybe, I can change the structure at CMC 5 curve to utilize x2 or 3x Demigod of Revenge with a single Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

I just suggested the Demigod by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:00
Kumagoro42's picture

I just suggested the Demigod as an alternative, but I think the Merchant is better. Maybe just something in the side if you need air power? It's true that in this deck it wouldn't really exploit its recursion, but if you manage to pod into it, then follow up with a Merchant (if you start with a Redcap, it's easy to do), you'll probably win, as that's potentially 19 damage right there.