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By: Procrastination, Christopher Giovannagelo
Sep 19 2014 12:00pm
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Welcome back to The Modern Perspective! Waiting for Khans of Tarkir to arrive has actually been frustrating. After the announcement of the Fetch Lands, most of the decks I was experimenting with became, well, lackluster. It wasn't that I didn't like the ideas anymore, far from it, it's just each of the decks will be "better once the allied Fetches are legal". I'm sure I'm not the only one plagued with that feeling in the last few weeks. Nothing to do but wait until the set is released...

What's that you say? There's an entire set to go along with those Fetch Lands?

Hmm, well, it seems you're right!

Now that the full spoiler is up, might as well pass the time thinking about fun things to do with the other cards that are about to enter the pool that we call Modern.

On a whole, Khans isn't an empty void where Modern is concerned. There are actually a couple dozen cards that deserve a look and probably a dozen that could even make the cut when it's all said and done. Will they be archetype defining cards such as Birthing Pod? Probably not, but they could become solid staples, which is saying a lot when there are already so many proven cards to compete against.

Now, for my picks, I'm not going to go on and on about cards like Treasure Cruise or the new Sarkhan. Lots of folks have talked about them. I'm going to discuss the 10 cards that tickle my fancy. These are the cards that do something that I want to have fun with.

I give to you Procrastination's 10 (non-Fetch Land) Khans Picks.

Dig Through Time

Dig Through Time - I enjoy experimenting with unproven combo and control decks. Dig Through Time is the kind of card that slides right into decks like that to help find the key pieces to begin shenanigans. Any casting cost from 2UU and under makes the card very strong, so it doesn't even need the full Delve of 4 every time.

It probably won't be a 4x kind of card, but having 1 or 2 in decks such as U/R Wildfire (where the sacrificed lands help pay for Delve) or Eternal Command will really boost the consistency.

Dig is the anti-Gifts Ungiven. You trade pin point accuracy and graveyard interactions for a deep search. Sometimes Gifts will be the better card, but between a chance of costing less than 4 and denying the opponent any choice of what you keep, Dig has its own perks.

Dig Through Time is a lot like Treasure Cruise, but I prefer the Instant speed of Dig against the raw card advantage of Cruise. Both could wind up being strong cards Modern, so I'd get used to seeing them in the days ahead.

Taigam's Scheming - As a fan of graveyard interactions, this card is very appealing. Tossing five cards into the bin can really kick start Dredge cards or fuel mass reanimation strategies. That Scheming also lets you keep any useful cards that might be in the pile on top of the deck is also amazing.

The "Either Or" aspect is what really pushes this card. When self-milling, it's sad to see the card(s) you need to engage your plan be put into the yard where they might be difficult, or impossible, to get back. Lands, Spells, Creatures, now you can keep what you need and toss what you don't.

I can't wait to try this in decks like BUG Vengevine or my Ally Reanimator build from my very first article.

Taigam's Scheming
Blood Soaked Champion

Bloodsoaked Champion - I'm a sucker for all of these one mana 2/1 Black weenie creatures with recursion abilities that can't be bothered with blocking. It's the spirit of Black; gain power (all 2 of it) at any cost. Blocking is for the weak! 

While Bloodsoaked Champion's recursion isn't as easy to achieve as Bloodghast, it still isn't an impossible hurdle to overcome. Having 1B open after some swinging is easy enough to come by. Black throws creatures away like candy. Fleshy candy whose sole purpose is to deliver 2 damage and then be crunched.

Did I mention blocking is for the weak?

Champion does have some other pluses in its favor. The dual types of Human and Warrior give it perks that the other Recur Weenies don't have. A B/W Human deck using Champion of the Parish is a possibility. On the Warrior end, Bloodsoaked Champion has a useful, yet slightly backwards, relationship with Obsidian Battle-Axe.

Grim Haruspex - This card doesn't scream Modern to most people, but I enjoy the "oops, drew my whole deck" possibilities it opens up. When combined with the Melira loop in Pod, every Kitchen Finks that hits the yard is infinite life and "infinite" cards. Of course, you have to watch decking yourself, but lots of cards is usually a good thing.

I've been messing with a U/B decks that tries to take advantage of Persist and Undying to get some fun loops going. Haruspex could open up a whole new line of attack for the deck. Having a front line full of durable creatures and a fist full of cards seems good. I can't wait to give it a try.

As for the Morph cost...well, uhm, maybe it will come up? Say I need a blocker for Mirran Crusader? Yeah, let's go with that.

Grim Haruspex
Monastery Swifspear 

Monastery Swiftspear - This card has received a decent amount of attention since it was spoiled, but that doesn't make me like it any less. Another deck that I've always enjoyed is the Niv-Magus/Kiln Fiend combo deck. With Haste and Prowess, Swiftspear is a nice fit.

In my article from December of last year, I tried running Young Pyromancer as the additional threat in the Niv-Kiln deck. Once Swiftspear becomes legal, I'll probably replace all of the Pyromancers for them (although 2 Pyromancer could still have a home). Swiftspear won't grow as fast as either of the other two "boost" creatures, but it synergizes well with the overall goal.

With the allied fetches, it'll be even easier to make a consistent Grixis version that can use Assault Strobe and/or Tainted Strike to boost into the win. I'm actually really excited to try this out once the set lands.

Hardened Scales - An immediate hit with the casual crowd, Hardened Scales packs a deceptive punch. There are a lot of different ways for creatures to accumulate +1/+1 counters in Modern. Some creatures enter play with them, others get them from dying and as far as Gavony Township is concerned, everybody gets some counters! Getting an additional counter out of each transaction can turn an ok effect into a superb one in no time.

I'd already been thinking of a Simic deck to write about in a future article. Using some of the fair, yet still weak by Modern standards, Graft creatures, such as Cytoplast Root-Kin or Plaxcaster Frogling, I wanted to put together some kind of creature/counter back up mish mash. Scales throws a different spin on this. 4/4s for 3 and 5/5s for 4 are pretty fair these days, but now that graft can move 1 counter off something to give it 2 (in most circumstances) it means you can get up to some hijinks.

Who doesn't love hijinks?

Hardened Scales
Anafenza, the Foremost

Anafenza, the Foremost - Speaking of 4/4s for 3 mana, here comes Anafenza! Loaded up with two abilities, this new legend gives ol'Doran, the Siege Tower a run for his money. Right up front, Anafenza hates on graveyard/creature interactions by exiling creatures from the grave. This helps put a stop to many Pod tricks and any attempts at Unburial Rites. This alone earns Anafenza a spot in the sideboard of most Pod decks (hate yourself to be better, it's complicated).

Anafenza's +1/+1 counter ability could also get out of hand pretty quickly. Growing even a lowly Birds of Paradise over a turn or two lets you keep up pressure without having to over commit creatures to the board. Most Abzan decks are more midrange, but it's possible that Anafenza will open up new possibilities for pure aggro in these colors.

Plus, look at that art. That chariot is being pulled by War Goats!

Mardu Ascendancy - Ascendancy seems like one of those cards that is sooo close to the edge of useable. Keeping up constant aggression is something that aggro decks love. Free creatures just for attacking? Sign me up!

Currently there isn't a known RWB aggro deck in Modern. There are some Burn builds that are built around those three colors, but not a true creature based aggro deck. In my mind, I'd start by using creatures that have little fear of entering the red zone. Soltari Priest was one of the first choices that came to mind, as Shadow and Protection from Red are both useful. Mirran Crusader can swing past, or swing into, many of the creatures in the format. Red and Black provide some Hasty options at the top end, such as Falkenrath Aristocrat, Hellrider or Hero of Oxid Ridge.

Backed up with Burn, discard, or both, finding a Mardu Aggro deck with a smooth curve to take advantage of Ascendancy should be a lot of fun.

Mardu Ascendancy
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant - Recently I'd mentioned a cool BUG Dredge-Vine deck that I had run into. It set up a Dredge engine to get Bridge from Below into the yard and then used Drowned Rusalka to start creating hordes of zombies. When that plan failed, it just cast a couple creatures in a turn to pull every Vengevine it could into play for an alpha strike.

Sidisi like having some extra Bridges and some extra Dredge-enablers. It can get Narcomoeba out, put Bridges into the yard, or make zombie fodder for the Rusalka. Being weak to Lightning Bolt is always bad for a 4 drop, but since it gets an EtB trigger, it's not a total wash.

Serving two roles in the deck makes this 4 drop extremely intriguing. The deck might not want to run the full four copies, but I could see 2-3 easily showing up. I can't wait to give it a try.

Villainous Wealth - I know, I know, this card is made for EDH. It takes a million mana to do something really flashy that doesn't immediately win the game. EDH card.

I don't care, I want to throw this in some kind of crazy Nykthos Ramp deck and see just how many of my opponent's cards I can get in a turn or two. It'll need Garruk Wildspeaker and a whole lot of luck. I once generated a Genesis Wave for 30. How much fun would it be to steal 30 cards away from my opponent?

I'll probably try this deck out for a day or two until I get bored of it, but it'll be a fun day for sure.

Villainous Wealth

Conclusion
Khans of Tarkir has plenty of neat toys for Modern. I'm a little bummed that my favorite color, White, didn't get any mono-colored cards that I was interested in using, but all of the other colors have at least something worth trying out.

Plus, there are those Fetch Lands.

I didn't get to play in the Modern event I'd planned to last weekend (Family Visits; it's important to have priorities), but that means I'm now free this weekend to play in a Khans Pre-release. I haven't been to a Pre since Dragon's Maze, so I'm really looking forward to it. Fingers crossed I open an Anafenza.

I apologize for this article landing a little later than normal. Work was hectic and the rest of life was busy too. I am on schedule for my October 2nd article, where we will talk a great deal about choices.

Choice of Damnations

Until next time,

- Gio


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1 Comments

Another thing about Dig by ScionOfJustice at Sat, 09/20/2014 - 23:36
ScionOfJustice's picture

Another thing about Dig Through Time is that you're opponent doesn't get the information of the cards in your hand.