A ton of Magic cards revolve around the number 3. Whether its Lightning Bolt dealing 3 damage to any target or its equal, but less loved, counterpart Healing Salve that prevents or gains you 3 life, down to some of the game’s most hated cards like Teferi, Time Raveler that costs 3 mana.
The number 3 I think appears most often as a cost of the most powerful spells in the game, the amount of mana added, or as a mechanic requirement that you have to meet.
I’ve recently pivoted to Modern because of my limited playing time and buying capacity. Modern offers greater longevity for each card you buy, and the card diversity is greater as well which allows you to brew. I recently joined the SEA Qualifiers that hosted more than 200 players and the diversity of the metagame was incredible. There is no way you can build a sideboard plan to cover all the popular archetypes, and still have room to cover the niche decks or the sleepers.
Some of my favorite archetypes to brew is Reanimator or Tooth-and-Nail shells which cheats huge creatures to play with as little mana investments as possible, at the soonest possible turn in the game. Decks that play Persist, Collected Company, and Indomitable Creativity caught my fancy and in a format that’s dominated by counter magic, efficient removal, and graveyard hate, I am pleased to see decks like these thrive regardless.
As a brewer, you try to mix tried-and-tested formulas with janky lines of play with a goal to “patch” the holes that the tried and tested shells seem to have. Collected Company needs to hit and not whiff to be great, Indomitable Creativity needs ‘tokens’ to get going, and Persist alone needs the right creature in the bin to get back to be valuable.
So what if we control these “uncertainties” and play a deck that offers great interaction, a decent amount of proactivity, and have that explosive turn that really blows out the opponent?
Modern has a rich population of big creatures worth cheating into play. From Dragons, Angels, Demons, Giants, Golems, Wurms, down to those mean Eldrazis, the vast wildlife you can fetch scary creatures from is literally limitless.
Remember I mentioned that 3 is the magic number? You can see that in Archon of Cruelty’s ETB effect. You gain 3 life, the opponent losses 3 life, and a total of 3 interactions on top: 1 sacrifice, 1 discard, and 1 draw. This inspired me to look at other cards in the format that has the same requirements and found two very interesting cards that interact with one another.
I used to love playing Prized Amalgam. Along with Haunted Dead from the same set, it offered so much value by bringing in 3-9 power worth of creatures in exchange for discarding two cards to bring Haunted Dead back. But with the recent printing of Silversmote Ghoul, we don’t need to throw away cards but instead, use Archon’s ETB to satisfy its reanimate condition. And once we bring Silversmote Ghoul to play at our end step, Prized Amalgam who is also sitting in the graveyard will come back on our opponent’s end step giving us upwards of 6 to 12 power on the table excluding the Archon.
Adding another card to the mix is Priest of Fell Rites. Conveniently costing 3 life (so much theme here), she can help us bring dead Archons to life, restarting the entire resurrection cycle all over. It also helps she has Unearth, which means you can always do it again in case you need to.
Here’s the deck, check it out!
Some of the engines to put creatures in the graveyard are your standard swiss knife. Tainted Indulgence, Faithful Mending, and Contingency Plan all help us dig for the right cards to the bin, and put the right cards in our hands.
Teferi is there to keep countermagic under control but also allows us to cast our Wrath of God at instant speed to get more value in case your opponent overcommits.
The sideboard is quite flexible but I tailored it based on my childish understanding of the local meta.
Fracture is there for Blood Moons, Wrenn and Six, Leylines. Would change this to Disenchance to be easier on the mana if your meta is filled with Blood Moons.
Sunset Revelry for the hyper-aggressive decks like Elves and Burn. You need to buy some time to set your game up. You can play a better game if you have chump blockers and a bit more life. The card draw might come in handy if you’re losing the attrition war in the beginning.
Chalice for all the cascade decks, but a Chalice set on 1 is also very feasible since we’re not running any 1 CMC card in our deck. This can be a very useful sideboard against decks that run a lot of cantrip like Opt, Consider, Lightning Bolt, and even a possible sideboard against Infect that play Glistener Elf and Mutagenic Growth
Mystical Dispute is to help us stack the odds in our favor against Murtide, or opposing Teferis. It’s basically our catch-all against control decks.
And finally, Leyline of the Void is to fight against other graveyard decks like Dredge, Loam, Yawgmoth, and Underworld Breach decks.
I am planning to run this deck at my local LGS for FNM and see how it handles. On paper, it looks fun, and I can’t wait to get the cards from the mail!
It’s nice to be back writing a bit. I missed brewing and playing!
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