Modern Martyr of Sands by TumorBR
I’ve noticed something from playing and watching a lot of Modern lately. More than any time in recent memory, the format seems to be about attacking with creatures and damaging the opponent’s life total. Sure, there are a few popular decks – Amulet Titan comes to mind – that don’t exactly fit this mold. However, a quick look at the most recent Modern Power Rankings shows Red Prowess, Death’s Shadow, Burn, Death and Taxes, Colossus Hammer, Dredge, Jund, tribal decks and Collected Company decks driving the metagame.
This dynamic is exploitable. One easy way to do it is to tap into the extremely potent life gain synergies available in Modern.
Martyr of Sands is one of the best life gain cards ever printed. If you’re willing to build around it, it’s easy to convert two mana into 12 or 15 life. Importantly, it comes attached to a cheap creature which can be recurred in order to effectively lock opponents out of the game.
From there, you can recur and reuse Martyr with Orzhov Charm, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord and Emeria, the Sky Ruin. Speaker of the Heavens is a life gain payoff card which, conveniently, can also be found with Ranger-Captain.
The rest of the deck takes the form of a normal Orzhov Midrange deck with a Stoneforge Mystic package and efficient removal spells that can win games on its own. The sideboard is full of potent hate cards like Damping Sphere and Aven Mindcensor to shore up weaknesses against opponents who might be undaunted by a high life total.