Modern Neoform Combo

Chantelle CampbellModern

With the introduction of Neoform in War of the Spark, a brand new Neoform deck has started seeing play in Modern. Popularized by Piotr “Kanister” Glogowski, the deck features a combo that can win as early as turn one or two.

Neoform Combo

1 Pact of Negation
4 Summoner’s Pact
4 Serum Visions
1 Noxious Revival
1 Wild Cantor
2 Dissenter’s Deliverance
2 Manamorphose
4 Neoform
1 Lightning Storm
4 Eldritch Evolution
4 Nourishing Shoal
1 Laboratory Maniac
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Allosaurus Rider
2 Autochthon Wurm
4 Chancellor of the Tangle
2 Griselbrand

3 Spell Pierce
1 Rapid Hybridization
1 Pongify
2 Pact of Negation
1 Dissenter’s Deliverance
2 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Chalice of the Void
2 Engineered Explosives

The Combo

So, how does this combo work?

First, you’ll want to put an Allosaurus Rider into play by paying its alternative cost. Then, you can sacrifice Allosaurus Rider to either Neoform or Eldritch Evolution and get yourself a Griselbrand.

From there, the deck behaves like Grishoalbrand, a deck I’ve covered here previously. Nourishing Shoal will help keep you afloat as you activate Griselbrand’s ability and draw as many cards as you need.

Finally, you can exile three Simian Spirit Guides to cast Lightning Storm and discard all the lands you’ve drawn. (Note for MTGO players: discarding lands to Lightning Storm requires holding priority – something I learned the hard way).

The Mana Generators

The Neoform deck runs as few as 15 lands, so you’ll need cards like Simian Spirit Guide and Chancellor of the Tangle to generate mana in the early turns. Chancellor’s pregame effect enables you to combo on turn one, whereas otherwise the deck would likely always be waiting until turn two or later. Making green is important, given that both Neoform and Eldritch Evolution require it.

The Combo Enablers

Chancellor of the Tangle serves multiple purposes in this deck. In addition to providing some handy turn one mana, it’s also a great card to exile to cast either Allosaurus Rider or Nourishing Shoal. However, the best card to exile to Shoal is Autochthon Wurm: at 15 mana, it gives you enough life to activate Griselbrand twice. (In a pinch, an extra Allosaurus Rider will do, too.)

Manamorphose is another great role-player in this deck. For example, if you end up with a hand with one or more Simian Spirit Guides, Manamorphose can filter that mana into the blue or green that you need. It’s also another fine card to exile to put your Allosaurus Rider into play.

Wild Cantor may not enable a turn one kill, but it does set you up for a turn two or three combo. Meanwhile, Noxious Revival can put important combo pieces on top of your library so you can draw them with Griselbrand. Of course, both of these cards can also be exiled to cast Allosaurus Rider.

Other flex slot cards include Serum Visions, which helps you dig for your combo pieces. You can also try Samut’s Sprint, which can give your Griselbrand haste and net you some extra life!


Like most combo decks, Neoform Combo often falls prey to disruption. This can come in the form of hand disruption like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, or counterspells like Remand or Spell Snare (you’ll usually combo off before your opponent has the mana to cast Cryptic Command). Additionally, Grafdigger’s Cage is great one-mana option to turn off your Neoform or Eldritch Evolution.

Personally, I like cards like Leyline of Sanctity to turn off hand disruption, and Pact of Negation to protect you from counterspells. (You don’t have to worry about paying for Pact if you win the turn you cast it). Cards like Dissenter’s Deliverance or Nature’s Claim are also great options against hate cards.

Tips and Tricks

The deck plays a full playset of Summoner’s Pact, which enables you to tutor up an early Allosaurus Rider or an Autochthon Wurm. Having extra copies of both of those cards is a huge boon to the deck.

At the start of the game, you should prioritize opening hands that include an Allosaurus Rider and either Neoform or Eldritch Evolution. This deck often needs to mulligan aggressively, so be sure to devote time to mulligan decisions as you practice.

Don’t be afraid to exile a Manamorphose or an Eldritch Evolution to your Nourishing Shoal, if necessary. Any life you can gain enables you to draw more cards and find your combo.

Keep track of how many Simian Spirit Guides you’ve used. It takes three Simian Spirit Guides (or two and a land) to cast Lightning Storm; if you used one to cast Eldritch Evolution and have no land available for the turn, you’ll need another red source to cast Samut’s Sprint for the win.

If your Lightning Storm of Simian Spirit Guides end up in the last seven cards of your library, you can cycle Manamorphose to dig for them without decking yourself. Just make sure you’re making red mana with Manamorphose!

Going Forward

While I think Kanister’s list did well because of the London Mulligan, there are a few changes I would make going forward, especially if the Vancouver Mulligan remains in effect.

My ideal list looks something like this:

Test List – Chantelle Campbell

4 Summoner’s Pact
4 Nourishing Shoal
2 Autochthon Wurm
4 Eldritch Evolution
4 Neoform
1 Lightning Storm
4 Manamorphose
4 Wild Cantor
2 Samut’s Sprint
4 Allosaurus Rider
4 Chancellor of the Tangle
2 Griselbrand
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Botanical Sanctum
1 Forest
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Breeding Pool

3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Leyline of the Void
4 Pact of Negation
3 Nature’s Claim
3 Chalice of the Void

I think increasing the land count to sixteen or seventeen is important when we get to see fewer cards during mulligans. Additionally, I would choose to run Wild Cantor over Serum Visions, though both set you up for later turns in different ways (mana availability vs. card filtering).

However, this deck feels extremely powerful even without the London Mulligan. There is also plenty of room for innovation, and I’m excited to be sleeving up Griselbrand again for future Modern tournaments.