Neoform Combo in Modern

Modern is supposed to be a format where decks kill on turn 4 regularly and occasionally kill on turn 3. When a deck kills on turn 3 too regularly in Modern, it usually meets the ban hammer. Today, I’m going to talk about a deck that regularly kills on turn 2 or 3, and even has some potential for turn-1 kills: Neoform Combo.


Neoform Combo

3 Breeding Pool
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Yavimaya Coast
1 Island
2 Griselbrand
4 Allosaurus Rider
2 Autochthon Wurm
4 Chancellor of the Tangle
4 Wild Cantor
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Eldritch Evolution
4 Neoform
4 Summoner's Pact
4 Nourishing Shoal
1 Lightning Storm
4 Manamorphose
2 Samut's Sprint
1 Noxious Revival

4 Nature's Claim
4 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Pact of Negation
2 Leyline of the Void
1 Laboratory Maniac

The goal of this deck is to use either Eldritch Evolution or Neoform to turn an Allosaurus Rider into a Griselbrand. Once you have Griselbrand in play, Samut’s Sprint and Nourishing Shoal keep your life total high and the cards flowing. Once you’ve drawn your deck, you can Spirit Guide out a Lightning Storm and finish off your opponent.

The nut draw, for example, is a five-card turn 1 kill: Chancellor of the Tangle, Allosaurus Rider, Gemstone Mine, Neoform, and a green card. With this hand, you can reveal Chancellor, play Mine, play Rider exiling Chancellor and another green card, and immediately Neoform it into an angry Demon.

Now that you know what it’s aiming to do, let’s talk quickly about some card choices in the deck:

Samut's Sprint

Samut’s Sprint: Not all lists play this, but I like having something else to find with Griselbrand draws that can gain life besides Shoal. Children of Korlis is a more powerful option, but requires a Cantor or Manamorphose to convert Spirit Guide mana to white.

Lightning Storm

Lightning Storm: Storm is better than other win condition options like Conflagrate because it is less vulnerable to things like Leyline of the Void. Some lists play a second win condition like Laboratory Maniac in the main, but I’d rather throw it in the sideboard to not dilute the main. Sideboard slots aren’t that powerful in this deck anyway.

No Card Draw: Some lists play things like Serum Visions, which may be correct, but I’m reluctant to play with too many non-green cards.

No Serum Powder: Despite being a deck that wants to kill on turn 2, it’s simply too awkward to Serum Powder away cards you have limited copies of like Lightning Storm.

While this deck isn’t too tough to play, there are a few tricks to keep in mind:

  • Pay close attention to what you have left in your deck. Sometimes you may need to wait a turn to combo if you’ve used too many Spirit Guides.
  • You don’t always have to go crazy activating Griselbrand. If you’re under no pressure, waiting a turn can be good.
  • Make sure to wait to put Allosaurus into play right before you cast Neoform/Evolution. That way, your opponent will not have an opportunity to play removal on the Rider before it evolves.
  • Be careful about Lightning Storm being the bottom card of your deck. Use Summoner’s Pact and Manamorphose to make sure that your cards in deck count is a multiple of 7.

Should This Deck be Banned?

The next question with Neoform Combo is if it’s even worth investing the time and dollars in learning and purchasing this deck when it might be banned. While it is very fast and scary, this deck is also vulnerable to disruption. For example, every discard spell not only takes you off a combo piece, but takes away a green card that could’ve helped you to play a Rider.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to say if this deck will be banned. What I can say for sure is that it’s an absolute blast and if you’re the type of player who enjoys combo’ing off on early turns, I think it’s worth a shot. Until next time, enjoy Lightning Storming your opponent out on turn 1.

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