3 Exciting Modern Decks

Mason ClarkModern

Sometimes the most interesting decks in a format live in the fringe! Mason takes a look at 3 Modern decks poised to make a splash.

Modern is a format with so much depth and places to explore that players are always making waves and figuring out new synergies. It’s been a while since we have taken some time to explore the more fringe parts of the format. So today we are going down the road less traveled and looking at some of the more exciting decks in Modern!

Asmor Food Combo

The chef is back and she has a new accomplice. Ledger Shredder shows its full power here, not only as a backup threat, but also as a card that helps find and fuel the main plans of the deck. We have seen just how frustratingly annoying cards like Ovalchase Daredevil have been with cards like Cookbook, but that combination with Ledger Shredder often means the discard drawback is significantly less costly.

Time Sieve and Academy Manufactor allow this deck to really go off in a way not seen since Thopter Sword combo back in 2010. This combo, while not always a guaranteed loop, does eventually reach that point and provides an angle of attack the Asmor decks lacked before. Asmor has always been really good at taking over the board and preventing singularly large threats from taking over the game. Now with Time Sieve you not only have outs to other combo decks, but an unfair aspect to your deck that it was sorely lacking.

Most great decks in Modern have an “unfair” angle to them. Now that can be as simple as Ragavan and clearing the way for the card, or the powerful plays available to Living End. Asmor gaining that element with the combo puts this deck ever so closer to striking distance as a top deck in the format.

Prison Tron

Nothing says exciting like a Prison deck! Well at least to me.

Prison is an archetype that has fallen off the map over the last few years. From the increase in powerful answer cards like Prismatic Ending and Force of Vigor basically KO’ing the archetype, to things like Ragavan putting absurd pressure on the early game, these types of decks have fallen to the wayside in Modern. Luckily that might be changing. The format is warping around a few decks, and when that happens, Prison can rise up and find the right tools for the job.

Prison did get one new card recently with Urza’s Saga. Saga has a unique set of tool box engine cards in this deck. Things like Cookbook serve as a way to beat Burn, while also preventing an Ensnaring Bridge from being turned off. Cards like Welding Jar, Relic of Progenitus, and Pithing Needle are great one-ofs in the deck, allowing you to have answers to the diverse threats Modern presents.

This deck also uses a card that hasn’t seen too much light in current Modern: Serum Powder. When playing this deck you’re often trying to assemble a Chalice or Bridge early, and having a card that allows you to hard mulligan to those cards is strangely appealing. Once you’re already so committed, taking this approach is much more appealing than for other decks in Modern.

The reason to play this deck is two fold; first you have no desire to play the four-color decks, which essentially feel like prison decks given just how many answers they have and the ability to lock out the opponent. The second is you’re looking to exploit Karn, the Great Creator. This is a card that continues to impress in Modern. We highlighted the card a few weeks back in the Gruul Druid deck, but here it’s serving a different purpose. Instead of looking to be a flexible threat, Karn plays primarily as a flexible answer in this deck, which gives this deck a unique way to exploit the card while still having access to Ballista for big mana kills (though much more fairly then previously covered). 

Calibrated Blast

The meme is no longer a dream. Calibrated Blast has been a meme deck since the release of Modern Horizons 2. Two key parts to the deck have gotten some real upgrades with the last two sets; loading up on huge fatties that you hope to reveal to your Blast and dome your opponent for a huge chunk of damage. And stocking up on utility lands to give you some play given how many uncastable cards you have to play to enable the strategy.

To start, Shadow of Mortality is a thirteen-mana card that you can actually cast. The implications here are actually massive. In Magic there is sort of this unspoken rule called the rule of 8. The general idea is that if you have 8 of an effect that is enough to see it reliably and possibly make your strategy more consistent and, by default, viable for decks that are needing that singular copy to make a strategy work. You see decks like Yawgmoth in modern “cheat” this rule by having 8 cards that can search up Yawgmoth, making it very reliable that you find your key card. Shadow of Mortality is your second castable threat. Before the deck just had Scion of Draco as a threat they could actually play while also allowing for some defense against the opponent attacking you. Being able to actually stick a decent sized threat and deal damage is huge for this deck, especially given the weird stat lines on the bodies. Both cards cost a huge amount of mana despite being cast for very little, which means cards like Prismatic Ending are just useless against these threats, and in the case of Shadow you also survive a single Unholy Heat as well. All of this combines to having threats that do require some hoops to jump through to get in play, but are very likely to stick onto the board once you have jumped through them.

The other big get for this deck is the channel lands from Kamigawa and the new Triomes. The Triomes are fairly obvious as to why they are good; better mana and more lands we can exchange for cards while we look for our Calibrated Blasts. The channel lands give us access to so many spell-like effects while not bumping up against our cascade spells. Much like the threats above, being able to have moments of playing a real game and interacting is something this deck desperately wants but can’t go overboard on given the weird restrictions. So these lands are a huge get for the archetype.

That’s all for Modern today. The format always has way more going on then just the top decks you hear people talking about. Despite those decks being very good and often the best things to be doing, it doesn’t mean they are the only things to be doing.