Chances are if you play almost any amount of Modern, you’ve encountered the boogeyman of the format: Four Color Yorion. Chances are you’ve also lost to it, because, well, it is all of the best cards in Modern jammed into one deck. The card quality is through the roof, the card advantage is off the charts and their matchup against creatures is incredibly strong.
But if you, like many others, are frustrated by Omnath, Locus of Creation and its gang of free elementals, worry not! Today, I have three decks with a good Four-Color matchup. Yes, an actually a good Four-Color matchup — not like the way people say they have a good Izzet Delver matchup in Legacy (spoiler alert, they usually don’t).
Yes, it’s actually Temur Scapeshift in the year 2022. Don’t worry, I also had to check my calendar. It turns out that Temur Scapeshift put up three top eight appearances in MTGO challenges this weekend like it was 2017.
It also turns out Scapeshift is built to just kill you on turn four or five nearly every game. And when combined with the fact that Four-Color Yorion struggles greatly with interacting on the stack, you have a winning recipe for success.
Four color Yorion is usually just packing a set of Counterspell in the main deck (which actually isn’t even always there) as their only defense against a Scapeshift in game one, which means you take the free win. Games two and three often involve some Flusterstorms, but a Flusterstorm of our own and a set of Veil of Summer makes it pretty simple to force through a Scapeshift. Even if you can’t resolve a Scapeshift, Four-Color Yorion is bad at pressuring opposing life totals, so you can often win with natural Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle draws and just playing lands.
While Remand has fallen off the Modern radar over the last couple of years, it can be used to great effect against Four-Color. Many of the powerful spells in Four-Color are clunky by normal Modern standards, which means getting to Remand an Omnath looks a lot like Time Walk, and Remanding something like an evoked Solitude is also brutal. I know I definitely wouldn’t want to be the Four-Color player on the opposite side of the table from Temur Scapeshift.
Jeskai Breach is a deck I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit over the course of the last couple of weeks, and part of that is the strong Four-Color Yorion matchup. First things first: as stated above, Four-Color is weak to combo strategies, and Jeskai Breach happens to have a good combo plan.
Also, because the Four-Color player has to respect the combo plan so much, that opens a window for Breach to play a fair game with Ragavan, Ledger Shredder and Urza’s Saga. Emry, Lurker of the Loch is also quite strong in this matchup since it can either pick up a Mishra’s Bauble every turn to keep the cards flowing or combo pieces that have been hit with something like a Boseiju, Who Endures.
While it is true that Four-Color has a lot of tools in the matchup, none of them are true knockouts. A savvy Breach player can navigate around them.
Boseiju? Easy — an Underworld Breach in the yard solves that. Once you cast Breach, immediately cast second Breach from the graveyard and, as long as you have mana or are going off with Mox Amber, you’ve beaten Boseiju.
Dress Down? Teferi, Time Raveler any time before Thassa’s Oracle does the trick. They have to respond to Teferi, who will bounce the Dress Down and not allow the opponent to replay it, letting Oracle win in peace.
And finally, if the opponent has too much hate to combo through, chances are they’re pretty weak to the combat step.
On the surface, this matchup is intricate with many moving pieces to consider, but with some practice I find it favors Jeskai Breach.
The only thing Four-Color hates more than decks that win primarily with instants and sorceries is decks that don’t give them time to set up their value engines. Burn happens to do both of those things very well.
Sitting across from Burn, you know you’re on roughly a four turn clock. Burn does also get a boost from attacking early, as creatures are a repeatable source of damage. However, much of Four-Color’s removal is either sorcery speed or leaves them down on cards, making it likely that Burn’s creatures will get at least one hit in.
The best ways to beat Burn are: race them, lock them down or gain a lot of life. Four-Color can’t race them and can’t lock them out. Four-Color can gain life in chunks if Onmath resolves before a fetch land hits the battlefield, which will gain your opponent seven life over the turn cycle.
Get aggressive, keep hands with a lot of direct Burn spells and you’ll find yourself in a great spot against Four-Color.
I know I am certainly guilty of getting frustrated playing against Four-Color, and I think more players feel that way as time goes on. Thankfully, while Four-Color is a great deck, it isn’t unassailable. These three proactive strategies are strong choices into a field full of Four-Color, which should chase off the Murktide players who would like to prey on these decks.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @RappaciousOne for questions, comments or feedback. And also as, always I’ll see everyone back here next Friday!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.