It is no secret that since the banning of Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Four-Color Yorion has carved out its spot as the best deck in Modern. Yes, yes, I know the metagame percentage of Izzet Murktide, but Four-Color has an artificially low play rate due to its high price on Magic Online. Tournament data suggests that Four-Color Yorion performs much better than its metagame percentage would indicate. If you’re looking for a deck to take down Four-Color Yorion, look no further than these three decks!
First thing first, before we look at what beats Four-Color Yorion, we should get to know the enemy. This list won the Dreamhack Dallas 10k, piloted by Card Kingdom’s own Mason Clark.
Four-Color Yorion is a known quantity at this point so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it today, but it is important to identify a key weakness. Four-Color Yorion is notably bad at interacting on the stack, and they’re vulnerable to decks with a lot of graveyard synergy. Speed is also important—Yorion decks often need time to set up their defenses and value engine, so fast decks can also exploit Yorion that way. Let’s take a look at the other decks!
First up we have Calibrated Blast, a straightforward combo deck that deals large chunks of damage thanks to its namesake card. Mason’s Yorion list only has four copies of Counterspell and one Flusterstorm in the 95 to interact with a Calibrated Blast on the stack. There are four copies of Endurance in the 95, but that will only stop the back half of Calibrated Blast, which isn’t a big deal because the front half may just kill them.
Calibrated Blast is incredibly simple, thanks to being able to abuse the London Mulligan rule. You can almost always mulligan until you find a Calibrated Blast. Because a huge portion of the deck is lands, you don’t worry about mulling low in search of a Blast and not being able to find lands. Blast does have some blanks in the decks however, the only creature that you want to draw against Four-Color is Scion of Draco, which can be instrumental against Yorion given you’ll likely need to sneak in a couple extra points of damage thanks to Omnath’s life gain. Instant speed is huge against Four-Color, you can let them use their mana to start pressuring you, and then when they’re tapped out or low, unleash the blast! When Calibrated Blast can force its opponents to respect it and apply early pressure that means Shadow of Mortality can make an appearance, creating a road block for all but the biggest creatures in Modern. I would expect to see more Calibrated Blast showing up if Four-Color Yorion continues to be the best deck.
Belcher is often seen alongside Balustrade Spy, and Undercity Informant, to give the Belcher/Oops plan additional robustness. I tend to like the Oops all Spells variant a bit more, but there are a lot of copies of Endurance and other kinds of Graveyard hate roaming around Modern. This makes the straight up Belcher plan is more appealing. Belcher, like many other combo decks, is trying to kill in one turn. The goal is to use various rituals and other mana sources to create seven mana in order to both play and activate Goblin Charbelcher. Since all the Mythic Double Face Cards (MDFC) are spells on the front, but lands only on the back, Goblin Charbelcher doesn’t see them as lands, so Belcher can never hit a land, making it deal a ton of damage. Four-Color Yorion runs into similar problems as Calibrated Blast, where they just don’t have enough cards to reliably interact with Belcher. Four copies of Pact of Negation, four copies of Veil of Summer, and An Offer You Can’t Refuse makes it trivial for Belcher to fight through whatever counter magic the Yorion player may have. Belcher has one of the best matchups against slower midrange decks like Four-Color Yorion in all of Modern and is a great choice if you have the bird serpent in your sights.
Living End is the best deck on this list overall, but maybe the worst against Four-Color Yorion, which is wild, because it still has quite a good matchup. Four-Color simply has more sideboard cards that have text against Living End than the rest of the decks on this list. Four Counterspell, four Endurance, four Teferi, Time Raveler, three Chalice of the Void, and a Flusterstorm is a lot to have against Living End, but it doesn’t seem to matter because of how both decks are built. A savvy Living End pilot can handle an Endurance and a Counterspell against a deck that struggles to apply pressure, such as Four-Color Yorion.
That is the secret of playing Living End against Four-Color Yorion—you kind of have all the time in the world to set up a good Living End that you can adequately protect. Living End simply just goes over the top of the Four-Color deck, which is used to being the biggest deck in Modern and beating up a lot of decks one step smaller than it. Living End can easily put 10+ power into play on turn three with Force of Negation backup, which just isn’t something that Four-Color Yorion is equipped to deal with. Depending on how your sideboard is built, you can also play a flash game plan with Endurance, Subtlety, and occasionally Brazen Borrower if Four-Color opts to overload on ways to beat Living End. Living End is not only one of the best decks in Modern period, but it is excellent against Four-Color which gets it bonus points, expect to see this at any tournaments.
That is all I have for this week. Hopefully if you’re looking to beat Four-Color Yorion, picking up any of these three decks will give you a solid chance. As it turns out Four-Color Yorion is held back from complete dominance by its negative combo matchups, which is why it so happens that I covered the decks I did for today. As always you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions, comments, and feedback. I’ll be right back here next week with some more Modern knowledge for everyone! In the meantime, show those Yorion players what’s what.
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.