If you’re reading this on the day of release, we have just wrapped up every American’s favorite holiday. That special time of year when we can all settle our differences, get together, and bask in the warmth and love of each other’s company as we all communally partake in our favorite pastime. From the young to the old and regardless of background, this time of year is truly something special. Hm? Thanksgiving? Oh no, I’m of course talking about the real holiday that happened last week, Black Friday (and today’s Cyber Monday!).
It’s that wondrous time of year when we all get together at midnight and fuel the capitalist machine, dumping our hard earned dollars into overpriced stand mixers and back massagers that we don’t need, trampling over every granny and child in our path as we do so. Yes, Black Friday is truly the perfect example of American festivity, from its depraved and cutthroat competitive nature to the waste it produces in the name of vanity. For those of us who are slightly less inclined to leave the house, fear not! You too can revel in the American consumerism experience with today’s Budget Modern Deck list! Let’s dive into a deck that exemplifies that same greed and corruption with Mono Black Coffers Control.
Coffers Control is a ramp deck that utilizes the synergy between Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to power out huge bursts of mana turn after turn. This classic Commander staple is capable of turning 5 lands into something like 11 mana, which is on par with what the Tron lands are capable of. It then uses that mana to power out planeswalker threats to stabilize the board, plus huge devastating sorceries to disrupt the opponent or completely turn the tide of the game by stymieing their development by several turns. The deck primarily plays like a midrange deck in the early turns, trading one for one with its opponents resources, until it can pivot into making those big mana plays in the later game.
Lining up at Midnight
The early turns of this deck play out like any typical midrange shell that we’re used to seeing by now. One mana discard spells and removal like Inquisition of Kozilek or Bloodchief’s Thirst snag those early Wrenn and Sixes or Ragavans just to make sure that the opponent can’t easily run away with the game. The deck takes advantage of a good number of spells that scale as the game progresses as well, which create a sense of efficiency in the later turns as the cards never lose relevance as bigger threats are deployed.
Defile, Mutilate, and Tendrils of Corruption all count the number of Swamps in play and scale accordingly, which makes them potent answers regardless of how late in the game it is. The deck also plays a bit of set up in order to reliably lean on its package of lands. Expedition Map usually comes down in the early turns to secure the Urborg or grab additional Coffers, while Profane Tutor can do the same while also finding a key piece of removal or one of the big sorceries if the setup process is complete. While the deck isn’t designed to be a “toolbox deck” per se, it does have access to most of the things it needs at all times through these two tutors.
The typical plan of the deck is to make a hard pivot from relying on the cheap interactive cards to casting the huge sorceries in order to close out the game. However, on occasion, the deck also needs to settle into its Midrange role and rely on some planeswalkers in order to gain enough advantage that it can make that pivot successfully. While the non-budget version relies on staples like Karn, the Great Creator and Liliana of the Veil, we’re instead leaning on LotV-at-home in Liliana, Waker of the Dead.
Sharing the same loyalty ability loadout as the original, Waker of the Dead fills that same role as a disruptive utilitarian that if left unchecked can close out the game on her own. Many games will come down to a topdeck war, which means that Liliana can plus her way to victory either as the primary win condition or as a support role. Ob Nixilis Reignited is also here to keep the cards flowing while also being able to interact with the opponent’s side of the board. While not a tool that’s as regularly relied on as Liliana, he can still prove a potent threat and finisher in his own right.
There are four main spells that the deck wants to dump all of its mana into when the time comes to pivot into ending the game. Mind Shatter can decimate an opponent’s hand creating an insurmountable advantage against the likes of combo or control. Sorin’s Vengeance can usually buy several turns against an aggressive deck if not just win the game outright with its 20 point life swing.
Army of the Damned does what it says on the box, creating an army of up to 26 2/2 beaters that most opponents will struggle to answer cleanly. Invoke Despair is the sneaky one, with its ability to swiss army knife its way through any board state. Worst case scenario, it’s a five mana draw three/deal six. Best case scenario, the opponent sacrifices their entire board, though the real power comes in the flexibility that comes with. Regardless of what the board looks like at the time of casting, this card provides a fair deal and a clean three for one. While not a card that will usually win the game outright, this is the sort of effect that the deck wants to play on repeat to bury the opponent in card advantage while chipping away at their life total.
How does it play?
Coffers Control, at this point in Modern’s History, is in a spot where it can teeter in performance. By that, I mean that the deck doesn’t have very many middling matchups, and usually focuses on attacking specific meta games or play styles, which makes it a rather polarizing choice that typically leaves its success bound to the likes of smaller local events. The deck is certainly flexible enough to attack the broader meta game at large, but its pilot would need to have their finger fairly well on the pulse of the format and call all of their shots correctly to see big success on the larger stage.
That said, the deck is extremely potent when built to attack those smaller meta games, and can absolutely ruin those local events week after week. It’s difficult to answer cleanly as land-hate isn’t nearly as prevalent as it used to be, which when combined with the deck’s disruptive nature makes it a challenge to take down. Mono Black Control in general has been a fan favorite for decades, and this deck perfectly exemplifies that strategy in all of its strengths and weaknesses.
For the Budget build specifically, I thought that it was quite fun to play and build. It offers a unique challenge that isn’t easily replicated in other strategies, and can really reward a thorough knowledge of how specific threats and answers line up. While I wouldn’t recommend this list as an end point, it’s an excellent start for those interested in the Coffers strategy to dip their toes in the water and learn some of the ins and outs of the game plan. It also really tests your own capacity to memorize your decklist and understand the roles that each card plays in each matchup via its tutor package, which is an extremely valuable skill for anyone looking to level up as a player.
Mono Black Control
As always, the first and obvious place to start upgrading is the mana base. In this deck, that means moving up to 4 actual coffers and multiple Urborgs, as well as fleshing out the utility land suite a bit. While Thespian’s Stage copying a Coffers is cute, it’s extremely mana intensive didn’t end up being as potent as I thought it might be. Also multiple Urborgs are essential as even though most decks aren’t packing land-hate these days, those that are will have a field day turning off multiple lands at a time.
The other huge upgrade was mentioned up top, in the threat / finisher package. Karn, the Great Creator offers a huge boon to the toolbox strategy both offensively and defensively, being able to grab prison pieces or huge threats like Wurmcoil Engine or Phyrexian Fleshgorger from the sideboard. I don’t think that i’d recommend trying to upgrade into a version that doesn’t play Karn, as he offers too much to the strategy that costs way too much to be picked up elsewhere.
That’s all for this one! I hope that everyone who celebrates had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, and if you got any good Black Friday fights on camera please remember to share them on social media. I also promise that not every holiday moving forward will comes with a themed article, I just thought that this one was too good to pass up. Until next time, stay safe, play smart, and thanks for reading.