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Modern Knightfall Combo

Battle for Zendikar is full of Modern gems, and Retreat to Coralhelm is yet another. I’ve received a deluge of comments and deck lists demonstrating how this versatile new enchantment combos with Knight of the Reliquary. I’ve already seen some impressive lists that suggest this combo will be popular and competitive. Let’s take a look at how it works:

Tap Knight of the Reliquary, sacrifice a land, get a new land, untap Knight of the Reliquary, rinse, repeat, attack for 20. That’s the basic starting plan, but it requires some attention to the mana base.

Each fetchland costs a life point but gives you two Retreat to Coralhelm triggers. This means you can untap other mana creatures for extra mana or tap down their blockers.

You also need to have a good number of Forests and Plains to sacrifice. Shocklands can be painful, but the new battlelands and basics work great as well.

While most of your opponents blockers will be tapped, you still have to fight through hexproof blockers, and colorless creature-land blockers like Mutavault or Blinkmoth Nexus.

To punch through, you could finish with either Rogue’s Passage for pure evasion or Kessig Wolf Run for trample.

Without Kessig Wolf Run you are going to need 18 fetches + Forests + Plains for a 20-point attack, but Kessig Wolf Run really eases the burden. Each land along the way can double-up by pumping and producing mana, and each fetchland can potentially triple-up by untapping a mana creature.

Mana Base

A land base like this has the potential to give Knight of the Reliquary +19/+19 from the graveyard and +9/+0 and trample from Kessig Wolf Run for a 30-damage swing.

30 damage is excessive, but your upper limit is limited by the amount of life you have to pay into fetchlands and shocklands. It costs 8 life to go through the fetchlands and another 8 to get mana out of all of your shocklands. So you max out at 30 with a 16-life payment, and scale it down from there.

Knight of the Reliquary is good on its own, and Retreat to Coralhelm is okay, so the obvious use of this combo is in a Bant midrange or aggro deck with a Plan A beatdown/Plan B combo strategy.

Getting started on turn 1 is going to be great, so Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise need little explanation. However, they deserve special attention as an Ensnaring Bridge buster when combined with Kessig Wolf Run. This is increasingly important with the current metagame.

Bant gives you several options of impressive 3-drops to pair with Knight of the Reliquary. Take your pick.

End-of-turn Collected Company, grab Knight, grab Eternal Witness, pick up Retreat to Coralhelm, untap, win. Alternatively, Chord of Calling can go straight for the Knight, but the value of Collected Company is hard to pass up.

Bant also offers a variety of utility options.

And you have access to the best white and blue interactive spells.

Together we can expect initial Bant KnightFall decks to look something like this, though the specific card choices will vary by pilot.

Bant KnightFall

However, I’m interested in exploring a crazier direction. Prismatic Omen is a “fix” for the mana base, works with Scapeshift, and works very well with Bring to Light.

I’ve been daydreaming about Prismatic Omen for a while, and this is an exciting way to put it to use. It’s pretty far out there, but it’s head scratching in all the right ways.

Omen KnightFall

Modern Knightfall

The Retreat to Coralhelm plus Knight of the Reliquary combo is both good enough and exciting enough in Modern to make a splash. We are already seeing it plugged into Bant decks like the first deck list. But I’m also interested in further exploring it in a Prismatic Omen direction like the second list.

What do you think? How would you tweak these lists? What would your own version look like? How can we expect this new combo to fit into and shake up the metagame?

Discussion

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