There I was, in the midst of winning Game Day this past weekend, when I saw it. Hollow Ones and Vengevines being toyed with on the card store TV displaying the latest Modern Open. I was immediately intrigued. You see, people were speculating about the Modern applications of Hollow One early in Hour of Devastation spoiler season—and it turns out that it’s quite easy to cycle and discard cards in the format with Faithless Looting, Tormenting Voice, and the entire Living End archetype.
Well, Julian Grace-Martin seems to have put his money (or at least his entry fee) where his mouth is. He took the following list to the Open in Syracuse last weekend and finished 10-5 with the deck, landing him in an impressive 35th place. Take a look.
As you can see, the basic premise is to discard and cycle all the cards you can with multiple purposes: To cast cheap Hollow Ones, to get Vengevines into the graveyard, and to have more cards to delve for things like Hooting Mandrills and Become Immense.
The deck bears a strong resemblance to other aggressive decks with Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage (this could basically be Jund Death’s Shadow if you added Death’s Shadow) and Dredgevine decks. Of course it’s always nice to see our old pal Vengevine getting some attention.
There are some interesting choices here, but let’s take a look at how the deck plays before you question them!
I’m torn on this list. While it can have some explosive moments, it does fall prey to some serious durdling as well. That being said, I can never turn away a good Vengevine. One change I would make is to swap the Cathartic Reunion for Tormenting Voice. There were so many times I wanted to discard one card (specifically Vengevine) or didn’t have the requisite two cards in hand. Sure, this is less synergy with Hollow One, but truth be told, you don’t have a ton of cards you can discard in this deck. Add in things like Bloodghast or Lingering Souls and I’ll be on board with the Cathartic Reunions.
My other issue is with the 2 copies of Leyline of the Void in the sideboard. I like having graveyard removal, and graveyard removal that’s one-sided at that, but… you can’t actually cast these. I think when you’re unable to actually cast Leyline, you either want 4 or 0. Your odds of drawing one in your opening hand when you only have 2 are pretty small, but your odds of hitting one throughout a game when the deck has this much velocity are much larger. Sure, you have lots of ways to loot them away, but you’re not playing sideboard cards simply to discard them.
The Domri Rade in the sideboard also seemed a bit random and I wasn’t really sure where to apply this bad boy. Ideally, Grace-Martin can chime in and let me know! Modern being what it is, I could also see adding another Blood Moon, because that’s just a solid card.
I think one of my only complaints was that the deck didn’t feel like it had enough threats. You’re looking at 4 Hollow Ones, 4 Vengevines (which are rarely cast) and 2 Hooting Mandrills. The 1-drops are all great, but you’re not playing a deck that can really take advantage of their chip damage, so they’re less impressive than normal. The problem is that I can’t really think of any other creatures you’d want over the ones you have, especially because it’s important to make sure they’re cheap and can be cast in multiples.
Another week, another Modern deck that surprises me and goes to show the depth of the format. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you later!