Deck of the Day: Ponza (Modern)

You sleeve up 4 copies of Stone Rain and you have my attention. Any deck that is going after lands on turn 2 has “fun” written all over it in my book. I loved my time playing R/G Land Destruction decks, although there are a few too many tough matchups like Storm. Still, it can definitely do some work.

This is a Blood Moon deck at heart. It prevents Tron from doing its thing, Valakut from dealing damage, and creaturelands from having an impact. Shutting down an opponent’s ability to cast any spells is icing on the cake. Coupled with enough land destruction spells to take out basics and removal to handle mana creatures, you’ve got the backbone of this deck.

Stone Rain—specifically Alpha/Beta Stone Rain—is still in contention for best land destruction spell ever printed. Easy to cast, cheap enough to be impactful, and targets any land—all recipes for leaving your opponents in trouble. With Blood Moon to shut down nonbasics and the low land counts of most Modern decks, you can cut off their ability to cast spells entirely.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss gives you additional land destruction while ramping into your bigger spells. Beast Within gives you the option of taking down a land when a Beast token isn’t a problem, but it’s also a catchall for problematic permanents in Modern.

A turn-3 Blood Moon or Stone Rain is solid, but that’s not your game plan. You’re all about casting these 3-mana spells on turn 2. This means that you’re going to want a whole bunch of acceleration. The best of these comes in the form of Utopia Sprawl. You already want to play a heavy amount of Forests to go with your Blood Moons, but this gives you a card that’s harder to interact with and can get you red mana on turn 2. Utopia Sprawl also combos well with your next best accelerant in Arbor Elf. Arbor Elf is still your best turn-1 play, but because of how well it combos with the Sprawl. A turn-1 Elf into turn-2 Sprawl means you can now tap the enchanted Forest for 2 and untap it with the Elf. 4 mana on turn 2 gives you lots of options and you can get up to 6 on turn 3. Birds of Paradise is the weakest of these acceleration spells because it doesn’t attack or combo with anything, but 8 just isn’t enough for a consistent turn-2 Moon/Rain.

Your creatures pack a real punch. You have Thrun, the Last Troll to get around removal and countermagic. Thragtusk is resilient to removal while getting you back in the game with life gain. Stormbreath Dragon ends the game quickly, and going monstrous when cutting them off from casting spells can end the game even faster. Being immune to Path to Exile and Fatal Push means that it’s really tough to handle this threat against land destruction. Inferno Titan clears the board of whatever creatures might have been hanging around, and it can often kill your opponent in a single swing.

You also have a combo element. You don’t have any need for any other artifacts in here, so you can play the Madcap Experiment combo with Platinum Emperion. For 4 mana, the Experiment will reveal cards from your library until you hit an artifact. The only artifact to hit is the Emperion, so that will enter the battlefield. Because Emperion locks your life total in, you won’t actually take a single point of damage from the Experiment. For decks that don’t have an answer to this 8/8, it can just win the game, or you can wait until another finisher does the job. (Note: Don’t board in Pithing Needle with the hopes of using this combo!)

Your removal can get really big. You have Chandra, Torch of Defiance to kill a creature, make some mana, or get ahead on cards. Bonfire of the Damned is where things get exciting. You do have to draw your cards in that weird Miracle way, but wiping the opponent’s board of creatures and a large percentage of their life total is fantastic. This is your best weapon against Company decks with lots of mana creatures or tough opponents like Affinity.

Stone Rain is still great, and while it may not be as powerful as Mashi’s Pillages, it’s still a great way to win games in Modern!


UNT0UCHAB1E, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League


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