Deck of the Day: Evolution Combo (Modern)

An infinite mana combo, the ability to stop an opponent from ever casting a spell as early as turn 2, or just a solid beatdown deck. This deck definitely does some cool and powerful things!

Many Magic players have tried to break Eldritch Evolution since it was first spoiled. While some exciting possibilities have emerged as a result, I wouldn’t define any of them as breaking the card. You’re looking at an effect that’s inherently card disadvantage and mana disadvantage since you have to cast the creature you’re sacrificing and the Evolution. Since Evolution costs 3 and the creature you’re searching up can only cost up to 2 more mana than what you paid for and sacrificed, this isn’t easy to exploit, but it does give you strong synergy with creatures that provide value when they die, as well as finding silver bullets. It also offers up some serious combo potential in Modern if you’re able to cheat a creature onto the battlefield.

Now there are plenty of ways to cheat creatures onto the battlefield, but that tends to be the conceit that entire decks are built around. Putting that effort into making Eldritch Evolution work feels like you’re wasting time. Allosaurus Rider changes that. You can cheat it onto the battlefield without jumping through any hoops. In a nearly mono-green deck, it’s academic to cast the Rider on turn 1 albeit with some pretty substantial card disadvantage. The ability to get your 7-drop onto the battlefield so early is mitigated by the card itself. Allosaurus Rider is effectively a vanilla creature with no ability and with power and toughness one greater than the number of lands you have on the battlefield. A turn-1 2/2 creature that cost you two cards to cast is far from broken, but it still has a CMC of 7. This means that with any turn-1 accelerant, you can play a turn-2 Rider, cast Evolution, and you’re off to the races!

A turn-2 Evolution sacrificing Allosaurus Rider offers you a couple options that can effectively win the game. You have Iona, Shield of Emeria to make it so your opponents can’t cast any spells (or at least most of their spells), which can effectively end the game on turn 2. You can also go find Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite to effectively end the game against creature decks. You also have a few more silver bullet creatures to search up after sacrificing a smaller creature for value, such as Sigarda, Host of Herons as a hexproof, flying threat or Thragtusk to swing a race. You can also sacrifice those 5-drops later to go find your Elesh Norn!

You’re going to need some mana acceleration to make sure that you can cast a turn-2 Evolution. Utopia Sprawl is excellent as it fixes your colors and also plays around removal spells. An opposing Lightning Bolt does nothing against a turn-1 Sprawl into turn-2 Rider-plus-Evolution—there is no chance to respond to any of these effects before Iona is on the battlefield. Arbor Elf gives you additional acceleration as well as a combo with Utopia Sprawl. Turn-1 Elf into turn-2 Sprawl gives you access to 4 mana immediately and up to 6 mana on turn 3!

Evolution isn’t the only combo in the deck. You also have Devoted Druid as a way to accelerate your mana from 2 to 5 on turn 3. With Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid, you can make infinite mana. This lets you cast a big spell or use Duskwatch Recruiter to draw all of the creatures in your deck. From there, you can use Rhonas the Indomitable to gives a creature infinite power plus trample and Polukranos, World Eater to just clear a path.

Chord of Calling gives you another level of consistency. This lets you find a Devoted Druid or Vizier to make infinite mana, or once you’re there, you can go get the Recruiter or Rhonas to use the infinite mana to win the game.

Voice of Resurgence and Eternal Witness provide some value. Voice plays well against interaction, especially countermagic, by giving you Elemental tokens that can win the game on their own. Eternal Witness protects your combo pieces and allows you to do a number of cool tricks. A turn-1 mana creature into turn-2 Evolution can find a Witness that immediately returns Evolution. This gives you access to a turn-3 Evolution on your Witness to go find a Sigarda or Thragtusk. You can also Chord for Witness as an effective “ramp” spell, since Witness will return the Chord but with an extra creature on the battlefield for a bigger Chord convoke next turn!

Adding Allosaurus Rider to an Eldritch Evolution combo deck gives you a way to shut out the opponent early on in the game. With a deck that has plenty of other combos and cool synergies laced throughout, this is an excellent take on an exciting archetype.

Evolution Combo

KAAAS2306, 5-0 in an Modern Competitive League


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