Modern is a format with a deep and rich card pool. Too often, cards get overlooked and underplayed. Sometimes, that’s because of metagame factors, sometimes it’s because of the power level of the cards… and sometimes, it’s due to a simple lack of exploration.
Death’s Shadow is a deck that everyone who plays Modern is well aware of. But although its namesake card was printed all the way back in Worldwake, it took six years for it to become the Modern staple it is today. I truly believe that Modern has more cards like this that are just never found, and articles like these are my attempt at changing that.
Today’s article is all about finding new homes for Urza’s Saga. When I asked Twitter to name an underplayed card from Modern Horizons 2, a large group of players responded with Saga. That surprised me a bit, because Saga has seen quite a bit of play since it was printed – Amulet Titan adopted it first, and it eventually made its way into Hammer Time and Jund Saga.
But I think what those players are getting at is how much potential Saga has beyond the decks we know. It’s simply so powerful that many players, myself included, feel that we haven’t tested the card in enough shells. If you have some Urza’s Sagas you’re looking to play, and the top decks in Modern aren’t really your thing, we have three new decklists for you to try.
This deck, first popularized by Aspiringspike, is a great place for us to start looking at Urza’s Saga. The goal is to assemble a three-card combo: Lightning Greaves, Crackdown Construct and another creature. Moving the Lightning Greaves between the two creatures will give the Crackdown Construct an additional power and toughness with each move, so eventually, it’ll have infinite power and toughness.
The Oswald Fiddlebender deck looks to make this combo more consistent with various tutor targets, allowing for a diverse gameplay and ways to lock out certain strategies. Urza’s Saga provides redundancy by helping you assemble the pieces you need, while also allowing this deck to have a Plan B of grinding our opponents out with huge Constructs. Stoneforge Mystic also pulls double duty as a way to fetch up Lightning Greaves for the combo or grab Kaldra Compleat to grind out wins. The deck has a lot of moving parts, but it plays out surprisingly smoothly on paper.
The Fiddlebender deck was first brought to my attention by someone who had suggested that something might be missing from the deck. The core of the deck seemed like a good fit for Emry, which would allow the deck to win more fair games while also working to assemble the combo faster. She quickly made this version of the deck to abuse the power of Emry.
While it’s less all-in on the combo, this deck is able to play to the Oswald Fiddlebender plan a bit better as well. “Upgrading” your artifacts is a powerful strategy, especially when you can use them to make huge Constructs with Urza’s Saga. With the addition of Mishra’s Bauble and Emry, we also get a level of redundancy that can be challenging for decks like Jund and Grixis Shadow, which are trying to trade card-for-card.
We played this deck a bit, and while it was good on both the combo and midrange axes, there was an aspect to this new blue-white build that intrigued me even more: the artifact payoff cards.
UW Artifact Stoneblade
When we added blue to the deck, we also changed some of the answers and interaction we were playing. One of the cards we tried out was Metallic Rebuke. Rebuke has always been borderline playable in Modern, but in this deck, it was incredibly easy to pay just one mana for it while still developing the board.
Another underplayed Modern card that piqued my interest was Dispatch. Dispatch is very strong, but historically, you could only play it in aggressive decks, where Galvanic Blast was usually just the better choice. Here, we have no such desire to be a hard aggro deck, so Dispatch makes sense.
We eventually settled on Metallic Rebuke, Dispatch, and Portable Hole as the core answers of the deck. While it may not be as versatile as Prismatic Ending, Portable Hole has become an undercover all-star this deck. It always costs a single mana, and it adds to our artifact count, which is a nice bonus.
Urza’s Saga has so many more potential uses than we have time to explore today. Honestly, I could see myself writing a Part Two of this article someday, looking into how you can pair Saga with cards like Elvish Reclaimer. Regardless, Saga is a tentpole of the Modern format, and with time, it’s bound to find its way into even more powerful decks.
What have you been doing with Urza’s Saga? Tweet at @masoneclark and let me know!
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.