So here it is, the deck tech to follow up on my previous article. I’ll be discussing card choices, why I decided to include the cards I did, and a break down of some of the key interactions you’ll face when playing with or against this deck.
- 2x Cryptic Command
- 1x Electrolyze
- 1x Izzet Charm
- 4x Lightning Bolt
- 2x Lightning Helix
- 2x Mana Leak
- 3x Path to Exile
- 3x Remand
- 1x Spell Pierce
- 1x Spell Snare
- 1x Think Twice
- 1x Academy Ruins
- 1x Arid Mesa
- 2x Celestial Colonnade
- 1x Desolate Lighthouse
- 3x Flooded Strand
- 2x Hallowed Fountain
- 3x Island
- 1x Mountain
- 1x Plains
- 1x Sacred Foundry
- 4x Scalding Tarn
- 2x Steam Vents
- 3x Tolaria West
- 2x Anger of the Gods
- 1x Counterflux
- 1x Crumble to Dust
- 3x Dragon’s Claw
- 1x Endless One
- 1x Negate
- 1x Pyroclasm
- 1x Sphinx’s Revelation
- 2x Stony Silence
- 1x Supreme Verdict
- 1x Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
This is the deck list that I’ve been running these past few weeks. The sideboard is obviously heavily meta dependant, however the main deck I feel is pretty solid. Right, let’s get stuck in.
Some of you may be looking at this deck list wondering what exactly it’s trying to do. Although there are only two of them, both creatures contribute to our main win condition, and that’s attacking our opponent with a 15/15, flying, annihilator 6, can’t be countered, protection from coloured spells squid-beasty.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn – She may just be the most powerful creature in Magic, or at least the best one to cheat into play. We can do this via two lines:
- Casting Endless One with a Possibility Storm in play, exiling cards until you hit the only other creature (Emrakul) and cast that instead
- Using the ultimate on Nahiri, the Harbinger and putting Emrakul into play
Endless One – This creature actually has more than simply the functionality I described above. Although that may be it’s main reason for being in the deck it also has some utility:
- It can be played simply as a blocker for Nahiri if she seems to be the path to victory, or to prevent lethal assuming you have some way to shuffle it back into the deck
- It also has the amazing ability to block Etched Champion, which is actually a lot more relevant than you might imagine in the Affinity matchup
Cryptic Command – As you would expect, this card is played for it’s extreme utility, providing that essential counterspell, a last minute way to stall your opponent’s attackers before you win, or even simply drawing you a card. Another great property of it is that it gives you a way to bounce Tolaria West (which we’ll get to later) and Endless One, which once again comes up way more than you would expect.
Electrolyze – When this card is good, it’s great. In matchups such as Infect, Affinity and Elves, this often becomes a 2 for 1, or potentially even a 3 for 1 in it’s best case. At its very worst it provides 2 damage to your opponent and cycles itself, which could drop them to that crucial 15 to then end the game with one swing of Emrakul. I like.
Izzet Charm – Talking of utility, this cards ability to loot away Emrakul, OR counter an opponent’s spell, OR kill a creature is fantastic. You never want more than one, but it provides that little bit of something that other cards can’t.
Lightning Bolt – I’d expect this one to be fairly obvious to most of you. Simply put it’s one of the most efficient pieces of removal legal in Modern, and in a pinch it can also have a hand in ending the game.
Lightning Helix – Similarly to Lightning Bolt, this card is extremely efficient at removing opposing threats whilst also padding your life total. 3 life might not sound much to you now, but in a deck like this every point matters.
Mana Leak – Decent counterspells are hard to come by in modern, however Mana Leak is more than you could really ask for at 2 mana for a spell that’s so easy to cast. In the early game this card excels in the early-mid game, so use them whilst you can!
Path to Exile – Perhaps the best removal spell in modern, this bad boy with take down almost any threat you care about. If Lightning Bolt can’t do the trick, then most likely this can. Be wary of using it before turn 3 or 4 though – ramping your opponent is still very relevant in most mathups, especially if they’re light on lands.
Remand – On the face of it this card seems pretty poor, but in actual fact in a lot of cases it effectively makes you opponent skip a turn. Stalling the early game is the key to this deck, so anything you can do to prolong it is usually a good idea. A cantrip on a counterspell? Great!
Spell Pierce – Like Mana Leak, this card has a best before date, but I can’t help but run it for those all to delicious “Gotcha!” moments. This is not a card people usually play around, so use this to your advantage.
Spell Snare – Some of Moderns biggest threats are in the 2 CMC slot, so having a 1 mana hard counter to them is often a great feeling. Better on the draw than on the play, but even then it gives you breathing room for those tap-lands.
Think Twice – With all the looting effects and counterspells in this deck, this card is a perfect 1-of. It wreaks of card advantage, just bear in mind aggro decks really don’t mind you wasting a turn to cycle a card.
Serum Visions – In my experience, card selection is vital in a control deck, and this provides a cheap way to do just that. Find the card you need, when you need it.
Supreme Verdict – Since we aren’t going to be playing many creatures( if any), this card stands out as an auto-include to me. Most of the modern metagame is centred around creatures, so being able to destroy them all is ideal. Even it’s name is awesome.
Possibility Storm – The reason we’re playing this deck. For those of you that don’t understand how this card works, here’s a brief summary:
Say you cast an instant:
- First you exile the instant you cast with Possibility Storm‘s trigger
- Then you exile cards off of the top of your library until you find another instant
- Then you decide whether you want to cast that instant or not
This applies to creatures, enchantments, and all other spells (ie, not lands). Something to note – this effects all of your opponent’s spells too!
You never want to see 2 in your hand which is why there are only 2 in the deck, but this card has some crazy interactions. Here’s just a few things I’ve done with it in play:
- Cast Endless One to instead cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- Cast Engineered Explosives to instead cast Batterskull
- Cast Lightning Bolt at the beginning of my opponent’s combat step (targetting myself of course), to instead cast a Cryptic Command, tapping my opponent’s creatures and bouncing Tolaria West to then win on the following turn
- Cast Serum Visions and cleared my Elf opponent’s board with Supreme Verdict
As you can see, this card can make the game extremely complicated, however since you will likely be more versed with it being in play than your opponent you have the upper hand.
Endless One was the first creature to be printed that could naturally be cast for 0 mana that wasn’t an artifact, which meant that artifacts could be run without potentially ruining the combo. Here are the two artifacts I believe are best suited for the job:
Batterskull – This hulking beast of an equipment is what the deck needed. An alternative win condition AND a way to gain life other than through Lightning Helix. Casting Engineered Explosives with P Storm in play also finds it guaranteed. It is a firm stop in the road for any aggro deck, and is a threat that can just keep coming back. Yum.
Engineered Explosives – This card has picked up more and more steam in modern as of late, and the fact that we can cast it with up to 3 counters on it AND are able to run Academy Ruins is a big deal. Looping this is extremely hard for decks like affinity and zoo to deal with.
Nahiri, the Harbinger – This card is an excellent fit to this deck. Not only does it provide an alternative win condition, it also improves the card quality in your hand, and even brings a way to remove those pesky enchantments and artifacts that you couldn’t get rid of before. It puts a huge amount of pressure on your opponent to get it off of the board as quickly as possible, and on an empty board is extremely hard to stop. Unimpeded, this card wins the game in 2 of your opponents turns, which is the particularly impressive thing about it. Nice job Wizards.
Academy ruins – This card is in the deck solely for looping Engineered Explosives, as many decks find that incredibly hard to beat. It also comes with the added potential to buyback Batterskull. Nice.
Celestial Colonnade – If all else fails, you can rely on old ‘Serra Angel on a stick’ to finish the job. Something to note is Vigilance is super relevant on this card, so it’s even better than you first thought. That’s right, even BETTER.
Desolate Lighthouse – In grindy matchups this land is perhaps the best card in the deck. Giving you chance to improve the card quality in your hand whilst also preventing you flooding or mana screwing is a big deal. Way to go Loothouse!
Tolaria West – Finally, we have arguably the neatest piece of the Possibility Storm puzzle. Having access to an uncounterable tutor effect for Endless One, Engineered Explosives, or any one of your utility lands is beyond powerful. Don’t be afraid to put it into play however, as bouncing it with Cryptic Command to then transmute it is a real thing. It even taps for Blue mana! What more could you ask for from a land?!
I will start by saying that the metagame I play in tends to revolve around fast creature based strategies such as Affinity and Zoo, with the odd Kiki Chord thrown in there for good measure. This being said, the mainboard is favoured against most other control decks, but is generally worse against aggro, so you might find your sideboard looking similar to this regardless:
Anger of the Gods – A nice turn 3 sweeper that has the added bonus of ruining Dredge’s day. Lovely
Counterflux – For matchups involving counterspells on the other side of the board, or, even better, Storm/Ad Nauseum.
Crumble to Dust – Tron is a thing, and the matchup in my experience is heavily favoured for Tron. You have been warned. Also it hits manlands, which is nice.
Dragon’s Claw – Burn is probably our worst matchup, so having access to a few anti-red cards is good. It even triggers off of OUR bolts!
Endless One – It’s nice to have multiples against Thoughtseize decks, but the actual reason this is here is to fend of Etched Champion. It sounds bizarre, but it works, and not many people catch on to that until it’s too late.
Pyroclasm – Sometimes you have to sweep before turn 3.
Sphinx’s Revelation – I’m not actually sold on this, as most games you’ll never reach past 6 mana, but if you resolve it for X=3 or more then it’s basically game over, so I’m willing to at least try it out.
Supreme Verdict – Maybe 3 is too many, but at least you’ll be sure to draw one, right? Right?
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir – My favourite card in this sideboard, Teferi is great against any deck trying to cast counterspells, is excellent against Living End, and with a Possibility Storm in play reads “Your opponent can’t cast spells”. Basically, if your opponent tried to cast a spell, the spell is exiled by Possibility Storm, and then when they try and cast the spell they hit off of it they can’t, because they’re not casting it at sorcery speed since this is all part of Possibility Storm‘s trigger. That’s right. He’s that awesome.
If there is enough interest I’ll write some more about specific matchups and sideboarding tips. Alas, that is for another day. There are a few other cards I’d like to talk about also, such as Chalice of the Void and Pact of Negation, but I’m sure we’ll get round to it at some point. Perhaps after another few tweaks here and there…
And that concludes this deck tech! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, and hope even more that some of you will try it out and have as much success as I have had with it and more.