We all know by now that Urza’s Saga is one of the most powerful cards in every single format where it’s legal. And yet, most players never look beyond the top couple of Urza’s Saga archetypes in their format of choice.
Hardened Scales is an extremely powerful and resilient artifact-based aggro deck. It seeks to take advantage of various synergies with +1/+1 counters and doubles all of these synergies with its namesake card. While all competitive players are now wise to the gameplay patterns of Colossus Hammer, Hardened Scales can produce equally impressive draws that attack from angles which people are both unfamiliar with and underprepared for.
In my opinion (as well as that of AspiringSpike, who wrote the original Deck Guide that this Update is based on), Hardened Scales is the most underplayed deck in Modern. It’s powerful, resilient, consistent, grindy and got a ton of upgrades from Modern Horizons 2. I particularly love that this deck makes for challenging and engaging combat steps. There’s room to outplay opponents, and Hardened Scales is an archetype that greatly rewards the skill and experience of its pilot.
It’s always tempting to frame things as a simple question of, “is this deck good?” But such a question ignores how much differently a deck will perform in the hands of one pilot or another.
This can be a particularly big problem when it comes to Modern. Belcher, Amulet Titan and Yawgmoth are all examples of powerful competitive decks that shine in the hands of a master, and fall flat in the hands of a novice. Hardened Scales is yet another. It’s very difficult to play perfectly, and some of the play patterns can be unintuitive. That being said, with enough time and practice (and with the help of a good Deck Guide!) any player can master any deck. If Hardened Scales is a deck that interests you, spending time to learn it won’t be time wasted.
This Guide is not meant to be an exhaustive resource for how to pilot Scales, but is meant to serve as an introduction so you can dive into some games with a reasonably high chance of success!