Modern Living Lore Tips and Tricks

I’ve played the Living Lore Modern brew and it is everything I would want in a deck of Magic cards. It produces absurd wins from various positions. Massive drains and burn outs from bizarre combinations.

I’ve also found the deck to be extremely difficult to play—really mind-bending. I’ve found myself reading and re-reading cards… “how does this work exactly??” It really makes you think, which to me is the mark of a good deck.

After making a handful of mistakes while learning this deck I’m here to share that information with prospective pilots. This deck is tricky, but this article is meant to make the complex simple.

First, the list:




There’s a lot of different things going on here so let’s break it down step by step.

This is your easy-mode victory. If you cast Enter the Infinite you can pick up your deck and use Simian Spirit Guides to Lightning Storm the opponent out on the spot.

Lightning Storm does 3+2x for each land. With only 10 lands you can do 23 damage which is enough to beat most opponents. Important note for Magic Online players: make sure to hold priority with alt or ctrl while casting this spell or you can’t charge it up.

If you lose Lightning Storm to your graveyard you have Snapcaster Mage to re-buy it. You also have Pentad Prism + Thoughtseize to clear the way just in case.

You need to get Enter the Infinite in your graveyard to cast later via the combo, and these are your ways to do it.

Izzet Charm is especially good here as the destructive modes can clear you a Scavenging Ooze or counter a problematic spell on your winning turn.

Living Lore is your first way to cast Enter the Infinite. Make a 4-mana 12/12 and send it into combat (with haste from Hall of the Bandit Lord!)

Crack Living Lore for Enter the Infinite and win!



Spellweaver Helix can do the same as Living Lore while dodging combat. You need a second copy of a cheap sorcery and you can pick up your deck and win.


When using Faithless Looting with Spellweaver Helix you will deck yourself after picking up your deck if you can’t Lightning Storm as an instant in response. Otherwise Conflagrate would be a better option, but for this reason you need Lightning Storm.

Living Lore is a 4-mana 7/7. Send it into combat and crack it for Cruel Ultimatum. Drain them for 3 cards, 5 life, a creature, draw 3 cards, gain 5 life, pick up Living Lore. Replay Living Lore with Cruel Ultimatum under it again.

It’s a loop!


Spellweaver Helix again works nicely as a Cruel Ultimatum enabler that doesn’t rely on combat.

Cruel Ultimatum + Spellweaver Helix + Faithless Looting turns the 2nd Faithless Looting into the 1st and 2nd Cruel Ultimatums which digs 10 cards for the 3rd Looting which is the 3rd and 4th Ultimatums for game.

Cruel Ultimatum + Spellweaver Helix + Raven’s Crime loops the 2nd Raven’s Crime with retrace. Every Ultimatum draws 3 cards toward a land to Ultimatum again.


Cruel Ultimatum is meant to be cast in this deck. You have 28 mana sources in your deck and can ramp to Ultimatum fast.

Count your mana and be careful in discarding mana sources. Look for any opportunity to cast this spell.

One Cruel Ultimatum won’t win the game, but the effect is massive and can lead to a win.

Access to alternate win conditions is a must! Opponents are going to be sideboarding in various kinds of hate spells.

One big fatty can really flip the script and lessen the reliance on having to combo to win.

I’ve tried playing with only one of these creatures in my sideboard but didn’t draw it enough. I like playing 2 or more to make sure I draw it when I need it.

Echoing Truth is an important sideboard card for removing Leyline of Sanctity. This card is worth boarding in any time the opponent shows white mana.


Echoing Truth is a game-winning spell out of the sideboard—use it!

It’s a tough call between Flame Jab and Flame Slash. Flame Jab has the retrace mechanic to combo with Spellweaver Helix + Cruel Ultimatum but Flame Slash clears out much bigger creatures.

Either way playing 4 of one or the other is smart to combo with Spellweaver Helix. Better to pick one and play 4 than to play 2 of each in this deck.

In order to fight through counterspells, more copies of Thoughtseize are a great way to clear the way. Cavern of Souls is another tempting option to sneak Living Lore into play, with the downside of not being good at casting Cruel Ultimatum.

While sideboarding you can morph into a control deck in various ways to go along with your new heavy-hitting finishers.

You have access to counterspells, better removal spells, a sturdier mana base, and more.

There’s a lot of flexibility for the pilot here—you can go with manlands, cheaper threats like Vendilion Clique, or draw spells like Think Twice.

Playing Living Lore

Overall I find this deck to be extremely satisfying, difficult to play, and ultimately rewarding.

It casts absurd, fat, game-winning spells, does it in bizarre ways, and can defeat competitive decks along the way.

Finally and most importantly (for me) this deck really stretches the thinking. The deck weaves a deep web of interactions and will weave a deep web of thoughts in the pilot’s brain.

I hope you find as much pleasure from this deck as I have. Have fun and let me know how it goes!

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