I love the Modern Format and I deeply want it to be accessible to everyone. I can’t do anything to increase the availability of underprinted cards like Wrenn and Six or Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, but I can design fun and relatively inexpensive decks for players to get their foot in Modern’s door. Like I mentioned in my previous budget Deck Guide, I’ve never liked the fact that new players don’t have good budget options for Modern outside of decks like Burn or Mono-Red Prowess. Different archetypes attract different types of players, so it’s my goal with these budget deck guides to provide semi-competitive decks around $200 for various archetypes. For today’s Deck Guide, I’ll be focusing on a beloved ramp/control strategy: Simic Reclamation.
Here’s the list:
Budget Modern Simic Reclamation by Evart Moughon
Before we go over some of the card choices, here’s some general knowledge you need about the archetype.
This strategy is based around resolving Wilderness Reclamation and leveraging the overwhelming mana advantage Reclamation provides to slowball out of control. You take advantage of the mana advantage with card draw spells like Fact or Fiction and big powerful instant speed plays like Shark Typhoon and Nexus of Fate. The deck buys time to play Reclamation with interactive spells like Counterspell, Remand, Dismember and Ice-Fang Coatl.
Reclamation decks are usually Temur or Sultai, usually splashing for efficient one-mana removal spells like Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push. I’ve mentioned this before, but building functional three-color mana bases on a budget is very difficult, but you can build totally solid two-color mana bases without spending hundreds of dollars on fetchlands. This deck also gets a powerful and well-positioned piece of interaction that Temur and Sultai usually can’t afford to play due to color requirements: Blast Zone.
Blast Zone plays really well with Wilderness Reclamation, as you can play it, add the appropriate number of counters in your main phase, then sacrifice the Blast Zone in the same turn in your end step after Reclamation untaps it. It’s also really powerful in the current format. Even without Reclamation powering it up, it kills Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler and absolutely demolishes the Hammer deck.
Reclamation decks have always been somewhat fringe playable in Modern; they tend to be somewhat dependent on the metagame. They’re decently well positioned at the moment since they tend to be favored against opposing big mana decks like Tron or Amulet TItan, control decks and against removal-heavy midrange decks like Jund. Reclamation decks tend to be poorly positioned versus fast aggro like Burn or Prowess and spell-based combo decks like Storm. So plan accordingly when choosing to pick up this list.
To expand further on some of the card choices:
Nexus of Fate is the most expensive card in the deck, both in mana cost and dollar cost. It might seem like an easy omission when building a budget deck, but it’s really important to keep the deck functioning.
Nexus of Fate is a one-card infinite turn combo. With four copies of Fact or Fiction and 16 spells that cantrip, you can draw through most of your deck relatively quickly. The more cards you draw, the more likely you are to find Nexus of Fate turn after turn after turn after turn. And if you can draw your entire library, your last card will always be Nexus of Fate and you can take infinite turns. You do need an unchecked Ice-Fang Coatl or a Shark token to win though. You can actually deal infinite damage with a single Ice-Fang by taking infinite turns, which can beat infinite life combos like Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Spike Feeder if you break up their combo first.
Shark Typhoon and Reclamation were a force to be reckoned with in Standard, and are still a dynamic duo in Modern. The card is really irreplaceable in this archetype as the flexibility of Shark Typhoon being a solid option at any point in the mid and late game is invaluable. You’ll also win a surprising amount of games by hardasting the Typhoon, but you should usually only do so when you’re not in danger of dying and when you’re confident that your opponent doesn’t have an answer to a six-mana enchantment.
The biggest weakness to Simic Reclamation over its three-color counterparts is the lack of one-mana removal. While Dismember, Ice-Fang Coatl, sideboard Gut Shots and Blast Zone can all help compensate for this weakness, you’ll definitely feel the absence of good targeted removal in a deck like this. So when piloting this deck, it’s important to understand which answers you need and how quickly you need them.
For example, If you know you’re playing against Hammer Time, most hands that don’t contain Blast Zone will be much weaker than hands that do. Consider mulliganning accordingly. Hands with a Counterspell and a Reclamation are crucial to beating big mana strategies, so consider mulliganing away hands with too many Ice-Fangs and Typhoons. As you play this deck, like any deck, you’ll come to understand what a winning hand looks like in a matchup. So as you pilot and playtest, I encourage you to ask yourself “what needs to go right for me to win this matchup?” and try to plan accordingly.
Remand is a card you don’t see much in Modern at the moment, and it isn’t the best possible option for any deck including this one. But this deck does need a density of at least eight counterspells to function in my opinion. Archmage’s Charm would normally be the natural fit for counterspells five through eight, but the card not only puts us over budget, the triple blue casting cost is exceedingly difficult for our budget mana base to support. Which is a good segway to my next topic, upgrading the deck.
If you end up picking up this list and want to transition the deck into a non-budget version I would recommend doing so in the following three steps:
- Pick up blue fetchlands. Most of the fetchlands for Reclamation decks can be any of the blue ones, since playing with Archmage’s Charm and Counterspell requires an almost completely blue mana base. You’ll want at least eight for either Temur or Sultai, but any blue fetchland should be interchangeable.
- Choose either Temur or Sultai, and pick up the appropriate Triomes, shocklands and inexpensive cards like Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push.
- Pick up Snapcaster Mages and Archmage’s Charm. Like I mentioned earlier, Archamage’s Charm won’t really be playable until you have an upgraded mana base, so you’ll want to get it as soon as your mana base restrictions allow. After you get your mana base upgraded and your Archmage’s Charms, I would recommend picking up Snapcaster Mage. While Snapcaster is a good card in these decks, it’s pretty replaceable and shouldn’t be the priority when spending your dollars.
- Lastly, I would recommend picking up the three-color specific expensive cards: Wrenn and Six for Temur or Abrupt Decay for Sultai.
Here are sample lists for the upgraded Temur and Sultai Reclamation. Between the two, I would recommend Temur, but Sultai has its own strengths and I understand wanting to avoid Temur to avoid buying Wrenn and Six.
Modern Temur Reclamation Upgrade by Evart Moughon
Modern Sultai Reclamation Upgrade by Evart Moughon
As always, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this deck if you end up picking it up. Before you go, here’s a sideboard guide for the budget version.
In: +3 Spell Pierce (it’s alright to board up a few cards versus Mill as long as you don’t have other cards you’d like to cut)