Sunday, December 27, 2015

Modern Show and Tell

So, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a pretty good Magic card.

When you find a new way to slam an Emrakul at a reasonable point in the game (i.e. not turn 15), it's usually worth exploring that. Well, enter Fold into Æther:

This is an odd one. You certainly don't want to counter your opponent's Delver of Secrets with it, only to have them drop a free Gurmag Angler thanks to your spell. However, there are instances where it's a perfectly serviceable defensive card. But I'm sure you can guess where I decided to take it. Here be Emrakuls.

No sweat, Clyde indeed; if we counter our own spell (preferably something cheap and instant-speed, like a Snapcaster Mage or an Anticipate), we get to Cheatyface in the biggest of Big Daddies. So let's build a deck around this interaction, shall we?

Modern Show and Tell

Creatures (11)

4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Gurmag Angler
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Instants (23)

3 Anticipate
3 Cryptic Command
2 Dismember
1 Dispel
4 Fold into Æther
3 Mana Leak
1 Murderous Cut
3 Remand
1 Shadow of Doubt
2 Spell Snare

Sorceries (5)

1 Damnation
4 Serum Visions

Lands (21)

2 Drowned Catacomb
4 Flooded Strand
8 Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
2 Watery Grave

Now, this is hardly a final draft. I haven't included a sideboard because the deck isn't at the point of tournament-level play yet, but it shows promise. I'm just very excited to be sharing (what is, as far as I'm aware) a completely new deck archetype with you all. If you were going to put this together yourself, just know that the faster the matchup the more help you'll need. Leyline of Sanctity is a must for Burn and you'll want at least 3 Hurkyl's Recalls if there is any Affinity in your meta.

Playing the deck

It's crucially important when playing a deck as reactive as this one that you understand the general game-plan of every major player in the current Modern metagame. Know what the key cards are to counter and when it's better to let something resolve and spend your tempo digging for the combo. Serum Visions and Anticipate are highly skill-testing; the most difficult decision you'll make on a regular basis is when to take one half of the combo despite not having the other. If you're in trouble, finding a Delve creature to hold down the ground may be more important than winning the game on the spot—you can't win when you're dead.

Possible changes to the list

With the amount of card selection we're dealing with right now, having diversity in our answer cards is key. That's doubly true due to the set of Snapcaster Mages. I've considered Mystical Teachings or even Merchant Scroll, but I haven't quite found enough bullets to really justify it. That's definitely something to play around with. All of the numbers are negotiable, I've only just started to tweak the deck from the starting point.

Yes, Thought Scour does make a lot of sense in this deck. If you can find the cut, give it a shot. I just can't figure out what's worse than it.

If you want to go bigger, try some new colors. I'm sure a UR version is worthwhile; everyone loves Lightning Bolt. I just found that Black had better defensive options and quite frankly I just play Izzet too much I decided to branch out.

Is this deck better than Splinter Twin?

I have absolutely no idea. As a brewer, that's not the kind of question I ask myself. I'm a Johnny; my love of the game comes from solving the puzzle that is deckbuilding and doing something new. But the combo isn't interrupted by Terminate or Dismember, and as I mentioned it only requires Blue so there plenty of different directions you can take the archetype. Time will tell if the deck is GOOD, but I can tell you right now: it's FUN.

Isn't that what most of us are really here for?


  1. Modern's got a lot of pretty fast decks, so it seems like it'd be of use to run Mishra's Baubles and/or Gitaxian Probes to enable turn 4 Emrakul, while having the fall-back option of using them as deck-cycling to draw into your combo/fuel delve costs.

    Heck, you can still do it at instant-speed during the opponent's End-Step if you run Gut Shot or Noxious Revival.

  2. Or i would add something Like Astral Cornucopia or Everflowing Chalice which also can be cast for 0 mana.
    Gitaxian Probe is also a nice way to bring Emrakul in at the EOT because of instant speed ;)

    But Serum visions is a must play in Here because you have to dig as fast as possible to your combo pieces (Emrakul and fold Into aether)