Amulet Titian is Back in Modern

Amulet Titan Makes A Comeback in Modern

Michael Rapp Modern

At several points in Modern’s history, Amulet Titan has been the best deck in the format. It was once so dominant that Summer Bloom had to be banned to bring the deck back to a realistic power level. Over the years, Amulet Titan has taken on a variety of shapes: combo-heavy builds with Summer Bloom and Hive Mind, slower and grindier builds with Field of the Dead, and the current build with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Since the release of Modern Horizons 2, Amulet Titan seemed to have vanished from the competitive Modern metagame. But in recent weeks, the deck has made a triumphant return. In light of all this, I’ve been thinking about what changed, when it’s best to play Amulet, and what cards Amulet players should be on the lookout for. 

The Deck

Before we jump into Amulet’s place in the metagame, let’s take a look at some recent versions of the deck. 

There are two major camps of Amulet players at the moment: those on Team Karn, the Great Creator, and those on Team Cultivator Colossus. While the core gameplay is still largely the same, the decks do enough differently that it’s worth discussing both. 

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The Karn version of Amulet Titan has more midrange properties, thanks to the flexibility of the wish board. Having a variety of tutor targets means you’re often ready with a silver bullet against a huge chunk of strategies. Another reason to play Karn is it gives you a powerful thing to do when you’re short on mana or if you don’t have an Amulet of Vigor. Bridging the gap between turn two and whenever you cast a Primeval Titan is the name of the game when it comes to winning with Amulet, as that’s when you’re most likely to get run over. The extra bonus is that Karn provides some “free” hate against Hammer Time, Belcher and other decks with important artifacts. 

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Cultivator Colossus is a new addition to Amulet Titan from Crimson Vow. It’s undeniably powerful, as a seven-mana creature in Modern should be. Amulet Titan’s high land count is perfect for Cultivator Colossus, which lets you turn extra lands in your hand into additional cards. If you have an Amulet of Vigor in play, not only are you likely to draw a few cards from the trigger, but you can pretty easily make enough mana to cast a followup Primeval Titan. The biggest benefit of Cultivator Colossus is that it gives you more high-power, combo-esque draws, and some added insulation against Solitude.

Why Amulet’s Popularity Declined

When Modern Horizons 2 released, things were looking quite hostile for our old friend Primeval Titan. Food decks featuring Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar were all the rage. Unfortunately for Amulet players, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar can deal six damage basically whenever it wants, making the prospect of killing with a Titan much harder.

Izzet Murktide was also a big player at the time, and Counterspell and Unholy Heat do a great job at keeping Amulet Titan in check. Trading six mana for one was an enormous tempo loss that was hard to recover from, and Murktide Regent and Dragon’s Rage Channeler could easily finish the job.

Meanwhile, Mardu Lurrus (and every deck with white available) was maxing out on Prismatic Ending. Ending is a great main deck answer for Amulet of Vigor, which slows down the Titan deck considerably.

Living End has been another popular choice since the release of Shardless Agent. Violent Outburst was one of the last cards that Primeval Titan wanted to see, as an instant speed Living End would often end the game on the spot. 

Solitude (MH2)

Elementals exploded onto the scene shortly after people realized just how good the evoke cycle of Elementals is. Solitude was everywhere, and the only thing worse than a one-mana answer to Primeval Titan is a zero-mana one. 

What’s Different Now?

For starters, the Food decks are barely a blip on the radar right now, which is good news for decks trying to win with creatures. The best versions of the RBx decks are now Rakdos and Grixis, and Prismatic Ending has much smaller representation than it did previously. Elementals has morphed into the Four-Color Yorion decks — which, while still powerful, occupies a smaller metagame share than Elementals did at its peak.

Crashing Footfalls took over as the dominant cascade payoff, which put Living End on the backburner. That’s great news for Amulet Titan, which can easily beat a couple 4/4’s.

The largest boon for Amulet may be the strength of Hammer Time and the popularity of Burn. As Modern players geared up for the midrange arms race ushered in by Elementals, Hammer Time and Burn showed up and forced players to interact early and often. Interactive elements were stretched thin to cover more bases, leaving room for linear decks to exploit existing deck building decisions. 

Cards To Watch Out For

Amulet Titan is in a great position right now, but the metagame can always adjust to it. If you’re an Amulet player, here are some cards to look out for from your opponents.

Dress Down has gained a lot of traction since the early days of Modern Horizons 2. Once exclusive to Grixis Death’s Shadow, it has now expanded to Grixis Lurrus, Azorius Control, and Izzet Murktide lists. Dress Down is the reason why some Amulet players opt to keep playing Karn, the Great CreatorDress Down will just kill Cultivator Colossus, which has to be one of the biggest one card tempo swings in all of Modern. Dress Down is still powerful against both Primeval Titan and Dryad of the Ilsyian Grove; you can even catch them without two green sources to pay for Summoner’s Pact on occasion. Amulet players should be wary of Dress Down and do their best to mitigate its effect.

While Blood Moon isn’t always lights out against Amulet Titan thanks to basic Forest, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and Outland Liberator, it is still quite powerful. Given the rise of Four-Color Yorion, Blood Moon has started popping up in more sideboards over the last few weeks, the most notable of which are Izzet Murktide and Temur Footfalls. 

I, for one, am interested to see if Amulet can carve out a spot in the top tier of the Modern metagame, and things are looking promising. As always, I’ll be keeping an eye on how Modern develops. If things stay the same, Amulet Titan isn’t going anywhere soon. 

I’ll see everyone next week with more Modern content. As always, you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for any questions or comments.