Sometimes a deck will fall out of favor, only for the deck to come right back into dominance later. Mason looks at three such decks in Modern!
Modern is a format that is constantly evolving and changing. While some things like Izzet Murktide stay in the spotlight, some decks have moments when they are in the spotlight then fade away for a while, only to return brighter than ever. Sometimes it’s metagame forces, sometimes it’s new cards, other times it’s a new approach to the deck. Today we will be going over three decks that were once in the spotlight of Modern, faded out, and are coming back again.
Since the release of Modern Horizons this deck has been a player in Modern, quickly being a proactive deck that could take advantage of Lurrus. However after the banning of Lurrus the deck fell to the side, not because the game plan wasn’t good still, but because of Four-Color’s rise to dominance. So how can we be talking about the deck if Four-Color is still the best deck in the metagame?
Well, it’s twofold. First, lots of Four-Color players are teching out more and more for the mirror, and that has players cutting cards for other match-ups. This leads them to typically choose not only spots that they are historically good in, but also have been played less. In those two weeks since these changes have been settled in we have seen Hammer pop up all over MTGO challenges.
The other reason is players have adapted to what’s going on in the meta and figured out how to build their decks in a post-Lurrus world. When Lurrus first got banned players rushed to figure out what toys they could now play without the Lurrus restriction. There were a lot of tools after all; Teferi, Time Raveler, Sword of Fire and Ice, Nettlecyst, Kaldra, and the list goes on. Players have settled mostly on having a Kaldra and a Nettlecyst in the main, but we do see things change from time to time which is a strength of this deck.
Hammer continues to present a fast, proactive game plan that puts your opponent under the gun right away. While not as grindy as it once was with Lurrus, the format is moving in a way that doesn’t highlight that weakness and instead shines a spotlight on the strengths of the deck.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, this is the meme list so that casuals get excited, Mason does some sales for Card Kingdom, and we move on. You would be mistaken! I fully believe in this new version of the deck. So make sure you’re looking closely, because it is very different then it was last time it was a player in the format. Before the deck was all in on getting a huge number of permanents into play For the Glimpse turn. That led us to playing more cards that don’t function in a “real” game of Magic. Now the deck has trimmed all of that (outside of Khalni Garden) and instead just plays the elemental package.
Elementals has been a deck that pops up as a response to the Four-Color Control deck in Modern. Elementals presents a more midrange-value game plan. It uses cards like Risen Reef to out-grind the Four-Color decks and looks to play a very consistent game with both four Eladamri’s Calls and four Ephemerate to maximize value. This has led them to very easily take down the Four-Color decks but have problems in other match-ups by being a very slow and fair deck. This deck looks to take that value plan that the normal deck leans on, and use that as the backup plan with the main plan to have a huge burst of advantage and board presence from the Glimpse resolving. You can very easily play a completely normal game with this deck and not worry about the cascade stuff until you start falling behind. This is a real strength your deck has that others do not. A sort of potential reset button.
Another huge advantage this deck has that the old builds did not have is Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. We have seen this card pop up in both Pioneer and Standard and be a total powerhouse. This is one of the Modern decks that uses it best. The extra mana is a huge boon to this deck and the ability to reuse our elementals or just trigger Risen Reef multiple times is a huge appeal, but the card also just generates a lot of game pieces for a single piece of cardboard. That is crucial to the cascade portion of the deck.
All in all this deck looks like a total meme but plays out like a scalpel to cut through all the value game plans people are presenting.
Just five months ago, this was the best deck in Modern when Lurrus was around. Now it is coming back into vogue to remind players why the cheap threats and disruption plan is so good. Our own Michael Rapp wrote all about the deck a few weeks ago, so you can check his article here.
The big reason this deck is coming back (outside of Ledger Shredder) is it sporting a good Four-Color match up for a fair deck. Often most decks playing traditional Magic can’t compete with the amount of card advantage those decks can produce. However, this deck has the ability pick apart the hand with discard and present fast threats that take over the game and don’t give Four-Color the time it needs.
All of these decks have come back to be real players in the metagame. So if one of these was a favorite for you, now is a great time to sleeve them back up and get some great games of Modern in!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.