Modern Goblin Charbelcher by Bob49
Goblin Charbelcher has been a Modern standout since Zendikar Rising gave us the spell-lands, but recently it’s started to dominate. I figured it would be good to check out what the Belcher fanatics have been up to, since it’s been racking up the wins.
Use red rituals to cast and activate Goblin Charbelcher, which is lethal thanks to none of the double-faced cards counting as lands while in deck. Alternately, cast Recross the Paths and stack your whole deck, setting up a couple different kills.
This deck is completely based around the interaction between Zendikar double-faced cards and cards that care about lands. Goblin Charbelcher always kills the opponent, Recross the Paths lets you stack your entire deck, and the combination makes for a fast and efficient combo deck.
Boom goes the dynamite. Without Belcher, this deck would have a much tougher time winning the game, as this is a win condition that works quickly and comes out cheaply (especially in matchups where you don’t need to activate it right away).
In the “totally against the spirit of the card” camp, we have Recross the Paths. In this deck, it’s three mana to order your deck the way you please, which gives the deck a lot more consistency and lets it escape from tough situations. I’ve seen Recross let Belcher players wriggle out of multiple lock pieces, as getting to stack your entire deck is that powerful.
Another key part is Reforge the Soul. With Recross, you can guarantee drawing this, making it a two-mana Wheel of Fortune, which is better than a card restricted in Vintage. It lets you come back from low-resource hands, and sets up some elaborate kills.
These red cards help generate mana (and fix colors), with Strike It Rich being the one you play before the turn you go off. Your fastest kills come from drawing a bunch of these.
One of the reasons this deck just popped off recently is the addition of Pyromancer Ascension. Thanks to Recross the Paths, you can set up a turn where you get two counters on Ascension and start copying Manamorphose, Rituals and Bala Ged Recovery, culminating in a Spikefield Hazard kill.
Your opening hand with Belcher is basically the early game, as it’s critical to keep a hand that leads to an early kill. This deck is here for a good time, not a long time, and besides Recross the Paths, doesn’t have much in the way of card selection or draw.
- An early Charbelcher. Can you play a Belcher on turn two or three (activating it a turn later)? If so, this hand is likely good enough.
- Do you have Recross the Paths on turn three (or turn two with Strike It Rich or Ritual + Manamorphose)? That’s a fine place to be.
- Do you have Valakut Awakening and a ton of Rituals/Strike It Rich? This is borderline, but worth considering. Similarly, the ability to cast turn two Reforge is good enough as well.
If you don’t have Belcher, Recross or a lot of mana plus Awakening/Reforge, you should mulligan. This deck is consistent enough that it can win off five or six cards easily, and keeping an all-mana seven-card hand or a hand with Belcher but no accelerants is usually not worth it. It changes a little after sideboard, as your opponent will have more disruption, which means you want resources more than pure speed, but in game one you should definitely mulligan aggressively.
I also wanted to touch on some ways to combat Belcher, as many readers will be interested in how to defeat the new (old) menace. Here are some cards that are good against them, with the caveat that this deck is a lot more resilient than earlier lists. A top-decked Recross or Reforge can beat discard, removal can take out lock pieces and pure speed is still always a danger.
In general, the cheaper the counter the better. Force of Negation is clearly the best, and the one-mana counters are great as well. Keep in mind that Veil of Summer comes in, so the all-counter plan won’t always work.
Discard slows the deck down, but doesn’t beat it without pressure. It’s ideal to play discard alongside a fast clock, as top-decks get around discard nicely (especially top-decked Wheel of Fortunes).
These can stop the deck from winning, but rely on staying in play to do so. Force of Vigor and Fury are particularly good at answering them, so pressure is again a necessary element. Thalia and other cost-increasers do a great job of needing to be removed and making it more expensive to do so, which is why she’s such a strong card in general.
It’s hard to argue against this deck’s recent results (multiple Modern Top 8’s each weekend), and I’ve been impressed when seeing it in action. It does take a lot of practice, especially the Recross part, so make sure you get your reps in if you want to pilot it. Good luck!