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By: Splendid Belt, Splendid Belt
Jul 15 2013 4:24am
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Everyone loves a bargain.  Free stuff? Even better. I can't quite promise you a free deck today - even MTGO Traders aren't quite that generous - but I can promise you a potent deck for (relatively) little cost.

The Modern format has pretty much taken MTGO by storm since it appeared, with Extended disappearing into the nether, and many users reluctant or just downright refusing to stop using their favourite cards from yesteryear. And there's just so much possibility in Modern, with so many sets available.

I can't wait for the day someone finally makes an unbeatable Modern deck featuring One With Nothing. Sadly, that someone isn't me, and it won't be today.

What I do have for you though is a variation on this deck from Shouta Yasooka, which was good enough for a top 4 at a Players' Championship in 2012. It's quite an archetype, I'm sure you'll recognise it:


Very nice, I'm sure you'll agree, and for that price, it should be. If you bought the deck from scratch from MTGO Traders at the time of writing, it would set you back:$619.18 precisely (excluding basic lands). Yes, I did the math.

Let's come back to the cost later. For now, let's have a look at what the deck does, and why it's good. At heart, it's a control deck, no surprises there. But what makes it great is the efficiency and card advantage it builds. It runs 12 counters maindeck, but with both Snapcaster Mage and Eternal Witness cycling cards back from the graveyard, you've potentially got 20 counters. That counts as a 'Wow' in my book.

The great thing about those two creatures is the simple fact that they're creatures. Once they're done recurring a counter (or the equally good Lightning Bolt) for you, they're still living breathing organisms that can beat your opponent down, chump or trade for you. That's card advantage, and at a nicely low cc too.

The excellent Vendilion Clique is similarly useful, plucking your opponent's most terrifying card from their hand and spiriting it away where it's unlikely to be found again. It's not technically card advantage - your opponent still gets to draw - but still, what better way to deal with a nasty card then to shove back into your opponent's library? And a 2/1 flyer with flash doesn't hurt either. Or rather, it does hurt when you beat your opponent around the face with it turn after turn.

And what about Tarmogoyf? What more can we say about this card that hasn't been said already? Almost every deck from the tournament I ripped the deck above from featured the Goyfster. The only question seemed to be whether people would run 3 or 4 copies. A 3/4, 4/5, or even 5/6 for two mana? Yeah I guess that's good. But as I said, we're building today's deck on a budget, and one thing's for sure, Tarmogoyf isn't a budget card.

So what card can Modern offer us to replace one of the most powerful creatures ever printed? It'll need to be cheap (in mana terms), efficient to the point of absurdity, and very easy on the wallet. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present, or rather re-introduce you to, the card I affectionately know as 'Scuters'.

Okay, so half of you have probably already stopped reading at this point, but as for the rest of you, please bear with me. Scute Mob may not be quite as good as Goyf, but he's really not far off. Okay, he takes until turn 6 to get there, but Goyf isn't often that great before around turn 4 or 5 anyway - needing several types of cards in the graveyard to really become useful. The good thing about Scuters is that he's one mana cheaper, and from turn 7 onwards can totally blow the Goyf out of the water. Oh, and of course he's cheap: $0.06 on MTGO Trader at the time of writing. That's 1048 times cheaper (see, I did the math again).

So, we're replacing Tarmogoyf with Scute Mob. Next up: Cryptic Command. Fantastic card, but too expensive for today's purposes. We're quite simply replacing it with Cancel (though you may prefer Dissipate). I also considered Broken Ambitions, chiefly for the nice card filtering, but Cancel is a cast iron certain counter when you need it. Again, it's nowhere near as good as Command, but it's 515 times cheaper, so we'll go with it. It's also one mana cheaper, which can help a great deal.

Now we come to Vendilion Clique. Another immensely powerful creature, and this time one which we're really going to struggle to find an adequate like for like replacement, so we're going to have to go a little off-piste here. The Clique has two interesting traits - it disrupts our opponent, and having flash, it also surprises them. We're going to have to trade down a little in power (in order to save a whole lot of tix / money), but the card we'll replace the Faerie with is a slightly forgotten rare of old - but still a great card. It's Mystic Snake.

Snapcaster Mage and Eternal Witness are what I'd consider to be the engine of the deck, they give us the card advantage that hopefully will win us games. They're great because they give us two for one simply by coming into play. You get a warm body, and another spell back. Well Mystic Snake does exactly the same thing, except slightly more efficiently, if more situationally. In the instances where you want to flash in the Snapcaster to get another use out of Mana Leak, Mystic Snake will do exactly the same thing, only better. He doesn't need Mana Leak - or any other counter - to be in your graveyard (and thus vulnerable to Deathrite Shaman and a whole host of other instant-speed graveyard-hating strategies), he's a hard counter (unlike Mana Leak which can be all too easily defeated by spare mana), and let's not forget he has a wider back end than our blue mage. So, in conclusion, the Snake's great. Not quite as great as the Faerie, but still great. And he's only $0.63, which is lot less than his value back when he was Standard-legal.

The next card we're going to replace, and not necessarily with anything similar, is Aether Vial. Yes it's great, but firstly I'm really trying to keep out budget down, and a playset of Snapcaster Mage alone is going to set us back something in the region of $30. Secondly because our creatures are mostly low enough CC than we can afford to hard-cast them.

Reasons why Aether Vial is good in the original deck (but I'm still not including it)

Well I'm glad you asked. It's partly about tossing creatures out for free and thus having mana in reserve for those counters (don't forget it's a big ask to keep 4 mana back in the early to mid game for those lovely Cryptic Commands), but it's also about instant speed, and thus the element of surprise. Snapcaster Mage has flash anyway, but how about throwing a big fat Tarmogoyf in the way when your opponent decides it's safe enough to swing with his (Dark Confidant)?

A full playset partly helps increase the chance it'll appear, but also helps to make Thirst for Knowledge better. I'm still unconvinced that 4 artifacts in the deck is enough to warrant the inclusion of that card, and I'm also going to take the deck down a slightly more control-oriented route, so both Thirst and the Vial are out.

   Aether Vial

And speaking of the control route, I'm adding in two each of Garruk Wildspeaker and Jace Beleren. They're both absurdly cheap (under two tix each), and they give the deck what it badly needs - inevitability. Jace will draw cards for you better than Serum Visions and Thirst for Knowledge. Yes, not being an instant or a sorcery technically makes the Snapcaster slightly worse, but Eternal Witness can still get him back. Keep Jace up and running and he'll keep you in answers and threats a-plenty.

And Garruk, besides offering some acceleration the turn after he lands, will keep you in creatures - blockers against aggro decks, and clocks against other forms of control. And then there's his ultimate to make even the Mage and the Witness into fatties that shake the ground when they attack.

There are two more cards I want to talk about, but before that I think it's time to look at the deck.


See the two creatures I've snuck in? Told you I was a fan of unloved junk rares. But there's (some) method to the madness. The Tuskcaller is there to provide inevitability, much like Garruk - in fact, given that it also pumps out 3/3 tokens, in almost precisely the same way as Garruk. Sure it's a bit slow, but we're a control deck, our plan is all about buying ourselves time and building up unstoppable momentum.

You always want to leave counter mana up (even if you're not holding counters - hopefully your opponent won't know that and will be forced to play around that non-existent Cancel), so generally you won't level the Tuskcaller up to maximum very quickly, if at all, but it's quite amazing how often a free 3/3 token each turn make a game-changing difference. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself in my game descriptions below.

The other piece of junk / beautiful finisher is Sphinx of Jwar Isle. I don't care about its ability, but an evasive 5/5 that dodges most forms of removal is a decent way to finish off a stubborn opponent in my book.

Feel free to replace these cards with whatever on-colour finishers you prefer, or indeed just leave them out and bring Scute Mob and Into the Roil up to full playsets. All I'll say is: they worked for me.

Let's see how.


Game 1 vs: AbsentK

Jace, Architect of Thought  Jace, Memory Adept  Ichor Wellspring  Black Sun's Zenith

I kept a dodgy opener featuring both of my finishers in (Sphink of Jwar Isle) and Kazandu Tuskcaller, but also some action in two Islands, Rootbound Crag, Mana Leak and Cancel. So I can at least hold off an early threat while I wait for more action, and better still start the Tuskcaller leveling up. I get the Tuskcaller down on turn 2, whilst my opponent plays Watery Grave, Phyrexia's Core and Ichor Wellspring, followed by another Wellspring the next turn. I get the Tuskcaller leveled up, but am soon glad I leave two mana up so I can Leak Jace, Architect of Thought. By turn five I have my first 3/3 elephant token courtesy of the Tuskcaller, and I'm soon beating AbsentK around the head with it.

I could start leveling the Tuskcaller up to 6 to get two tokens per turn, but instead I leave it where it is, holding Mystic Snake mana up. Again, I'm very glad I do, as during my opponent's turn I'm able to flash it into play to counter Jace, Memory Adept. I then beat my opponent down to 8. On his turn 6 he attempts a Black Sun's Zenith for three, which would wipe my board were it not for Cancel. I win the next turn.


Game 2 vs:Ske

Umara Raptor  Kazuul Warlord

I keep 2x Evolving Wilds, Hinterland Harbor, Forest, Lightning Bolt, Snapcaster Mage and Mystic Snake on the play. A pretty great hand. I get most of the mana I need, and with Wilds I'll get all my colours and also thin my deck to the tune of 6 lands in total (including the others I've already drawn).

We lay lands for a couple of turns until I rip and play Scute Mob on turn 3. My opponent replies with Umara Raptor on his turn, which I quickly Bolt, not wanting to see it grow. That also gives me a good reason to play my Snapcaster some time. On Ske's turn 5 I Mystic Snake his second Raptor, then on my upkeep Scuters grows to a Goyf-bashing 5/5. I beat my opponent down to 11 and play my second Scute Mob. You could argue that's overcommitting, but I'm holding Cancel with 4 mana up, and my second Insect means that even if my opponent gets a blocker down, I should be able to kill him next turn. In the end he casts Kazuul Warlord, which I decide to Vapor Snag rather than counter, and win on my next attack.


Game 3 vs: macdee99

Deathrite Shaman  Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord  Splinterfright  Boneyard Wurm

I keep an almost perfect opening hand on the draw of: Copperline Gorge, Island, Forest, Scute Mob, Mana Leak, Into the Roil, Eternal Witness. My delight is tempered by the sight of my opponent's turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, probably the most potent turn 1 play in Standard right now, and a good shout for that mantle in Modern too. I respond with Scute Mob - probably not filling my opponent with the same dread, but if Scuters sticks, Scuters wins.

Next turn macdee99 lays down Overgrown Tomb and Mulches Drown in Filth x 2 and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord into his graveyard. If this were a two game match, those Relic of Progenituses in my sideboard would be looking pretty good right now. On my opponent's turn 3 he uses Verdant Catacombs to find Stomping Ground, and I Mana Leak his Dreg Mangler. Obviously as a Modern (in both senses of the word) Rock deck, creatures are almost as useful in my opponent's graveyard as they are on the battlefield, but whilst it'll be able to buff his troops by turn 5, I decided I'd rather see the Mangler in the Earth rather than in my face for now.

On my turn I cast Eternal Witness to get Leak back, since I'm out of counters for now - though I do have a brace of Roils for anything which gets through. On turn 4 macdee99 plays Splinterfright which may only be a 2/2 for now, but holds the promise of large beats to come. My Witness is allowed through, taking my opponent down to 10 life, a large portion of which he's done himself with his fetch and shock lands. Next turn and Splinterfright has grown to a 3/3. It hits me once, and is joined by Boneyard Wurm. The Shaman still hasn't done much, but I know it's time will come. The fact that I'm ahead on life is a false position whilst the Shaman is there, with its potential to gain life or snipe me from across the board - especially with so many cards in both graveyards at this point. On turn 5 I whiff on land, and feel the need for more grunt on the board - so I cast Garruk Wildspeaker, and immediately pump out a 3/3 token. Next turn and Garruk will be able to power out (Sphink of Jwar Isle) for me with his +1 ability, if I'm allowed. Just before his upkeep, Deathrite Shaman exiles Mulch, putting me down to 13 life, to his 8.

On turn 6 Splinterfright shambles over the red zone, and the token I attempt to put in its way to trade gets Abrupt Decayed. The Fright sends Garruk to the bin, and with it my hopes of an imminent 5/5 flyer. My opponent adds a second Deathrite Shaman to the mix for good measure. I don't have a viable play on my turn, so I watch as one of the Shamans pings me for another 2, and keep counter mana up. Next attack phase and my opponent Scavenges a Dreg Mangler to turn Splinterfright into a 7/7 - and don't forget it has trample, so chumping won't help much. I've only just reached 5 lands, so Scuters is still a 1/1. The Fright is joined in the red zone by the 4/4 Boneyard Wurm. I use a kicked Into the Roil to send the Fright back into his hand, and chump the Worm with Eternal Witness, figuring I can always recur it with another one. Since my opponent only had one mana up, I figured I'd kept Splinterfright off the table for at least another turn, but that's forgetting quite how amazing Deathrite Shaman is (especially when you have two of them). A quick double land exile later, and Splinters is right back again, albeit as a 4/4.

On my turn 7 Scuters finally becomes a 5/5, and I tap out to cast the Sphinx. Will my two 5/5s be enough? On his turn my opponent uses Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord's ability to send it back to his hand from the graveyard, then casts it. It too is a 5/5. But my force is at least enough to hold him off from attacking for now. Turn 8 and Scute Mob becomes 9/9. Not bad for a 1 mana creature that costs $0.06 - and it's also the most powerful creature on the board. Trample would help a lot though. Sphinx beats my opponent down to 3, but I don't fancy my chances next turn against the horde - a horde which also includes the potential might of Svogthos, the Restless Tomb. At the end of my turn I'm pinged again by one of the Shaman putting me down to 9. Next turn everything attacks except the two Shaman. I block the Lich Lord with Scuters, but he's saved by Undying Evil. I attempt to Roil the Fright, but the Lich Lord uses his ability to toss it into my face. One of the Shaman exiles that very same Roil to put me to 0.

Sphinx would've hit for lethal next turn, even with a Shaman heal - but anyway, close game.


Game 4 vs: Supernallow

 Genesis Chamber  Suture Priest  Glitterfang Pandemonium

I keep a just about worthy Evolving Wilds, Island, 2 x Into the Roil, Scute Mob, Eternal Witness and Snapcaster Mage on the play. It's highly questionable, and on the draw would be just about likely enough to draw another two lands by turn 4 to get the real action going. On the play - well let's see.

I get a turn 2 Scute Mob (had to use Evolving Wilds to grab a Forest), to match my opponent's second turn Suture Priest. He then plays Genesis Chamber on turn 3, which means it's now about who can cast the most creatures. Could be tricky, since I'm not a dedicated creature deck. He finishes his turn casting Glitterfang, which gains him one life (from the Priest), and one token (from the Chamber), before jumping back into his hand. Okay, we've got an idea how this one's going to go now.

I feel the need to start filling my board with creatures, but Witness right now will only snag me back an Evolving Wilds, and I'm mostly fine for mana, and Snapcaster will get me nothing at all. So I cast Garruk, and pump out a 3/3 token - which grants my opponent another life, and doesn't net me a Myr token from the Chamber - only non-token creatures will do that. Next turn Supernallow casts another Chamber, and then Glitterfang again for another two tokens and three life. So far, so manageable, but I can see this getting out of control.

On my turn I bite the bullet and cast Witness anyway, recurring a Wilds, getting a couple of Myr tokens, and giving my opponent another 3 life. I use Garruk's +1 to untap two lands, and swing through with my wolf token. I'm thinking if I can keep more or less on an even footing with creatures, I can use Garruk's ultimate to push over for the win. My opponent trades all three Myr tokens for my wolf, which seems a good deal to me. On turn 5 my opponent casts not one but two Glitterfangs, getting 4 tokens and putting his life up to 31. My Scuters then becomes 5/5 on my turn, but it's not looking so great in this game, where my opponent has a surfeit of chumpers. Still, there's always Garruk's ultimate... I send Scute Mob in to at least kill a token, then decide I need more warm bodies so pump out another wolf token.

My opponent then casts Pandemonium, which is exactly what I don't want to see. That'll bypass all my blockers, kill Garruk, and then me in short order. It can't stay on the board. I use a kicked Roil to send it back where it came from, just before the Glitterfangs come in to do their work. He send 3 tokens in, I trade two of them for my own Myrs, and kill the other with my Wolf.

On turn 7 Scuters becomes 9/9, but is only able to kill a lone Myr. Give that card trample and it wouldn't be a junk rare at $0.06, you can be sure. Probably not liking the look of the enormous insect, my opponent Wraths the board with Day of Judgment, but not before I grab my Witness back with another kicked Roil. I really wanted Scute Mob, but with Witness, I can get both that, and a 2/1. My opponent finishes his turn with a single Glitterfang which nets a couple of new Myrs, and hits Garruk down to 2 loyalty.

Next turn I cast Witness to get the Mob back, then cast Scuters itself, ending the turn with a healthy looking 6 creatures thanks to those Chambers. Turns out I am a creature deck after all. Garruk goes back up to three loyalty. My opponent casts Pandemonium again on his turn, which just as much can't be on the board now as it couldn't before. I flash in Snapcaster Mage and am forced to cast Roil unkicked (which I never like doing, but it's a nice option for when you need it) to get it off.  Brilliantly the Mage gets me another two Myrs, and gives me two free damage to do what I want with, thanks to the very card I flashed him in to remove! I aim it at my opponent's face, just as he casts his Glitterfangs.

On my turn Scute Mob becomes 5/5, and besides him I have 9 other creatures to my opponent's 6. That's the thing about Genesis Chamber - great card, but you have to be really careful with strategies which can benefit your opponent as much as yourself. It's similar with cards like Howling Mine - if you going to give your enemy free stuff, you'd better be sure you can kill him before he gets to enjoy it too much. I then cast another Eternal Witness, and my opponent concedes.


Game 5 vs: Elminster23

Melira, Sylvok Outcast  Cartel Aristocrat  Kitchen Finks  Murderous Redcap

"Baldur's Gate ftw!" I say to my opponent as we commence this game. You'll either get that reference or you won't. Either way, I opened with 2 x Evolving Wilds, Island, Jace Beleren, Lightning Bolt, Mana Leak and Cancel on the draw. Not bad. On turn 3 my opponent tried an Inquisition Of Kozilek, which I Mana Leaked. He might have taken that card anyway, making it a pointless play, but I wanted to protect Jace and the Eternal Witness I'd ripped. That's the nice thing about a deck with both Snapcaster Mage and the Witness; you're less worried about burning your counters early: you can always get them back. My opponent finishes his turn with Melira, Sylvok Outcast. So I could be up against Melira Pod, and even if I'm not, we should expect to see some Persisting creatures soon.

With that in mind I pass my next turn with Cancel mana up. I also have a bolt ready for the Outcast, just in case. On turn 4 I take 2 from the Outcast, then when my opponent makes no other play, Bolt her in the end step. I then tap out for Jace, who draws me a Hinterland Harbor before succumbing to Abrupt Decay. Not ideal, but still card advantage to me. On turn 5 Elminster casts an Eternal Witness of his own, recurring Melira. I pass my turn with Cancel mana up once more. Best way to deal with a Persistent creature? Don't let it resolve. Once again I take two from the Outcast and no further play happens. Guess my opponent is playing around my counters, and is happy to leave the board state as it is whilst he's ahead. Smart.

I cast Witness recurring Jace, but don't cast him to leave that precious counter mana up.  My Witness gets Path to Exiled, but I'm quite keen on the extra land, so don't mind much. I especially don't mind since I flash in Snapcaster Mage on his attack phase, recurring Bolt and removing his Witness, leaving me with the advantageous board state. With me now tapped out, he casts Melira again. On turn 7 I cast Jace again, drawing Vapor Snag, and he's targeted again next turn by yet another Abrupt Decay. But that's what Cancel was made for. Or is it? I fail to read the card properly, and fail to notice that Decay is uncounterable. So there goes that Cancel I've been holding all game. Go me.

My Snapcaster gets Pathed, but I Vapor Snag Melira before she can beat me down further. Not because my life is dangerously low (I'm at 16), but more because I just don't want Melira on the table, with all the combos she enables.

I pass my turn 8 since I have 9 lands out, and am holding 2 x Into the Roil and Vapor Snag. Not much action. Next turn my opponent finally casts the long-awaited Kitchen Finks. I don't really want to bounce it. Bounce is less stellar against creatures with nice ETB effects. Turn 9 I draw a Bolt, and pass the turn again. Where are my finishers when you need them? We reach turn 10, and I bolt the Finks before it hits me, and of course it returns, but with a -1 counter on thanks to the absence of Melira. Then he's joined by Cartel Aristocrat, the other part of the combo.

For anyone who's been living under a rock and hasn't seen it: you sac Finks with Aritstocrat, and as long as Melira is out, Finks comes back without any counters on and you can rinse and repeat until you get bored, or your opponent concedes. Infinite life.

Or, swap Finks for Murderous Redcap, and repeat for infinite damage. Neat. Slow, on the MTGO client, but still neat. So that's why I've been so keen to see the back of Melira all game. In response, I draw.... Mana Leak. Still no action. I take 4 next turn from my opponent's creatures, who are joined at the end of turn by our good friend Deathrite Shaman. Argh, now I'm in serious trouble. I Roil the Aristocrat at the end of turn, partly to keep the beats down, partly to keep my opponent from assembling the combo, and partly because it at least draws me a card and I'm desperate for some action, fast. It works, and I get Snapcaster, which I play next turn, recurring Bolt to remove Finks once and for all. Although looking back, at this point the Shaman was probably more dangerous.

On turn 12 my opponent casts another Inquisition. I flash in another Snapcaster, but the Shaman exiles my Cancel in response, so I target a Roil instead. I use it to send the Shaman back where he came from, drawing a beautiful Scute Mob at the same time! But, stupid me, Inquisition in still on the stack, and of course it's Scuters that gets sent to the bin. I should've used the Roil after Inquisition had resolved, to give my opponent less information, and also less choice of what to remove. Never mind. The Shaman returns at the end of turn, joined by Melira. Life totals are 10 to 23 in my opponent's favour. I need to keep that Shaman in summoning sickness as long as possible, if I'm unable to remove it entirely.

Next turn I attack with one Mage, keeping the other back in defence, and cast my newly ripped Tuskcaller. Looks like I've found the action part of my deck. I immediately put two counters on it, leaving three mana up. Elminster recasts the Aristocrat, but with 3 mana spare, I can't Leak it, so let it resolve. Now he's just one Persistent creature away from something infinite and probably game-winning. I send the Aristocrat back to his hand with Snag at the end of turn. I send both Mages in on my turn 13, taking him down to 16 life, and his Shaman exiles Mana Leak, taking me down to a decidedly more worrying 8. On his turn he plays Aristocrat again, but I Cancel it, having just ripped the counter. He finishes the turn by adding Birds of Paradise to the mix, and I tap Tuskcaller for a 3/3 elephant. Finally realising that the Shaman will kill me before anything else, I Roil it at the end of turn, but not before it exiles Cancel, taking me to 6.

Next turn I send both Mages and the elephant token in, to take him down to 9. I also cast a newly ripped Scute Mob, and bring Tuskcaller up to 4 levels. 6 and it'll provide two tokens per turn. My opponent tries Murderous Redcap on his turn, but I Cancel it. He then attempts to recast the Shaman, but leaves himself with only two mana up in the process, so I'm able to Leak it.

I beat down for the win next turn. My next three draws were Garruk, Mystic Snake and another Scute Mob, so I was well set up.



As you can see from the match reports, the deck does exactly what we'd hoped - every creature is either a two-for-one, or seriously overpowered and undercosted in the right circumstances. The addition of Garruk and Jace add some power, but there were times when I wished for more card draw. You might want to drop the Snags possibly for Serum Visions, but it's a touch call since I found the bounce to be very useful on the whole.

The addition of Tuskcaller felt right in this deck, but I'm not sure about the Sphinx - you want to keep a low curve to leave mana for counters, and the Sphinx at 6cc might just be a step too far.  Witness and Mage are the engine of the deck, but besides them the big win I felt was Scute Mob. I really think it's a hugely underrated card. Pick yourself up a playset and give it a look, it's so cheap it has to be worth it.

Finally, if you want to add money to the deck, the obvious thing to do is to take a look at Shouta Yasooka's deck at the top of this article. To go the other way and make it slightly cheaper, you could swap out the mana base for basic lands - but keep those Evolving Wilds in - they give Eternal Witness one more thing to target, which can be great when you're mana or colour screwed.


Well that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know in the comments below what you think of the deck, or if you have different or better ideas for card selections.

Thanks for reading.

Splendid Belt


Looks fun though what was the by Malum at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 10:06
Malum's picture

Looks fun though what was the final price on the deck?

Price by Splendid Belt at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 13:52
Splendid Belt's picture


I forgot to include that. My deck comes in at $59.15 at today's prices on MTGO Traders, that's $560.03 cheaper than the original deck, but with most of the same power.

And if you swap out the lands for all basics (but as I said, keep those Evolving Wilds in as additional Witness targets), it's even cheaper at $49.80. So that's a top Modern deck for under $50. Damn, I should've made that the title!

Cool I will have to try this by Malum at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 17:03
Malum's picture

Cool I will have to try this out.

Where did you play those by xger at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 15:02
xger's picture

Where did you play those matches at?

Um, on MTGO. by Splendid Belt at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 15:18
Splendid Belt's picture

Um, on MTGO.

What room? I find that by xger at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 16:25
xger's picture

What room? I find that information can be helpful to know when reading the match (or game) report. Was there a reason it was just single games?

Getting Serious, I think. by Splendid Belt at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 16:48
Splendid Belt's picture

Getting Serious, I think. Played single games mostly because I was interested in how the deck would fare against a variety of decks off the bat - if I was going to write up multiple games there'd have been time and space for fewer decks to test against.

I wonder how people would by xger at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 17:47
xger's picture

I wonder how people would have sideboarded against it, it's rare to see those 1 drops that care about number of lands, and I agree in the idea they are overlooked/underrated.

alternatives for Cancel by Procrastination at Mon, 07/15/2013 - 18:23
Procrastination's picture

While a little trickier with the budget manabase, at .08 Counterflux is certainly more powerful. (Funny, Dissipate currently costs more at .17.)

I also like Sphinx of Jwar Isle as a cheap solid finisher. If that card was printed anytime before original Mirrodin block people would have done nothing but complain how over powered it was....now, meh, barely even saw standard play.

(edit: hmm, I never realized the card tags don't work in the comments.)

Interesting article. Some by olaw at Tue, 07/16/2013 - 03:48
olaw's picture

Interesting article.

Some observations though. I believe AEther Vial is used in Yasooka's deck as soft lock with Eternal Witness and Cryptic Command. With Vial set to 3 you can flash in a Witness and return Cryptic Command to your hand at any time, then use Command's bounce ability to put Witness back in your hand and repeat. You may be aware of that interaction but it wasn't clear from your article.

Dissipate seems like a pretty simple upgrade on Cancel - exiling the spell you counter can be relevant. I agree with your conclusion that Sphinx of Jwar Isle isn't really appropriate. Modern is quite a fast format and it's quite rare for people to play six drops just generally - unless they are Primeval Titan.

In terms of being the cheapest deck in Modern I'd suggest that you could make a Red Deck Wins deck for under $60 and be just as competitive.

May I also suggest playing matches in the Tournament Practice room. I think matches are a better representation of how a deck performs and also of the five games you played I'd suggest that only Elminster's deck was a recognised archetype in the format. I feel if you're comparing your deck to a tournament deck then it would be appropriate to take on tournament level opposition.

That said it's clear that a lot of effort went into this article and I think the decklist is very interesting. Good work!

Another substitute suggestions by Procrastination at Tue, 07/16/2013 - 09:45
Procrastination's picture

At 7 cents try replacing the sphinx with Yeva, Nature's Herald. 4/4 for 4 isn't horrible plus she has Flash. Giving all of your other green creatures Flash lets you leave mana open on your turn for counters. It turns your Eternal Witness into a pseudo Snapcaster at 5 or more mana and you can safely drop scutes or tuskcaller into play eot. Heck, she might be better than Garruk in this deck?

Also, as far as cost to power, the Goblin deck floating around in the Tourney Practice room costs about $25 with just basics. Taking out the Goblin Guides brings it down to a whopping $2! (Even cheaper if you scrounge around on the Pennybot.) For $2 that deck can blaze out some t4 wins. I'm pretty sure you can build an non-optimized Affinity/Robots deck for about $20 as well that can still bash in wins.

That's why I love Modern, you don't have to spend tons of money for a fun and effective deck on MTGO.

Oooh, Yeva is an awesome by Splendid Belt at Tue, 07/16/2013 - 11:03
Splendid Belt's picture

Oooh, Yeva is an awesome call! Might just try that.