The Devil Went Down to Modern

Thanks to last week’s Banned and Restricted announcement, fans of Magic: the Gathering are now free to once again play and enjoy the Modern format, Eldrazi free.

The Eldrazi Winter has been lifted and a sweet, fair, springtime is finally at hand.

Hooray for Fair Magic in Modern

Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey-Hey-Hey, Goodbye.

It looks like Jace, Aaron, and pals finally got things under control in Zendikar and put those giant Spaghetti Monsters to bed.

Not only do I get a break from Eldrazi (and a muzzle on GR Tron), but the announcement also gave me some fun new cards to mess around with:

Are we in the midst of a blue renaissance?

It is worth noting that for the most part, “unbanned” cards have not proved highly impactful in Modern. Not including the cards that started banned in Modern, Wizards has banned an additional 18 cards and only unbanned 4.

The most impactful unbanning is Nacatl (but it started unbanned, got banned, and was unbanned—make up your mind!). Of the other 3 unbanned cards, I would describe them as role-players at best.

My line of thinking is that Wizards has proven over the past several years that they are extremely conservative with unbannings in Modern (i.e., historically, they haven’t unbanned a card that became anything close to tier 1). My expectation (amid the rabid excitement for Vision and Sword) is that these cards will be “fine” but not format defining.

The world is once again safe to play fair decks in Modern and the Wiz has given you some sweet new cards to play in your blue-based control decks. What better way to celebrate this fun, new iteration of Modern than to straight up skip all that jazz and go straight for the most offensive, busted, and unfair deck in the format?

To Hell with Fair Magic in Modern

I don’t just want to play this brand new Modern format—I want to literally raise hell in this format.

BR Grishoalbrand

Brian DeMars

First and foremost, the deck produces more turn-2 kills than I feel is acceptable for Modern. To be honest, I don’t believe turn-2 wins are acceptable, period.

Basically, any hand that has a turn-1 Faithless Looting, a Griselbrand, and a Goryo’s Vengeance wins on the second turn almost every time if the opponent doesn’t stop you. That is a lot of pressure.

Also worth considering—if people are going to go deep on Sword of the Meek and Ancestral Visions in the coming week because they are new, sexy, and exciting, it’s perfect to position yourself with decks that end the game very quickly before they can set up all that late-game nonsense.

Wow—if you would have lived 5 more turns, you could have done lots of cool stuff!

Only 2 Colors

I much prefer the 2-color builds of this deck over the Grixis version.

The blue version adds Serum Visions, which is admittedly a great card in a deck like this, but comes at a steep cost: adding a third color.

Back in the old days, everybody used to splash blue in Type I.

There are times when things are too good to pass up. I don’t believe that this is one of those times… I also noticed that a lot of the Grixis Reanimator decks were not even playing 4 copies of Visions. If the card isn’t even important enough to play 4, why am I splashing an entire color for it?

In Modern, there is the misconception that splashing a third color is “free.” Technically, it is very easy to be able to produce 3 colors of mana. The combo of fetchlands and dual lands ensured that if I drew lands that they would sync up to make all the colors I needed.

The biggest resource that is actually at risk here is life points. In my estimation, the blue splash likely costs at least 2 life every game. In a deck trying to draw a ton of cards with Griselbrand, those matter. It could be the difference between winning and losing.

The Fable of the Demon, the Wurm, and the Cyclops

Once upon a time…

The key to the Reanimator deck is to put the biggest, baddest Demon of them all into play and use it to draw a ton of cards.

You can do it in 2 ways.

Once the Demon is in play with haste, you can use it to draw a lot of cards.

Once you start drawing cards with Griselbrand, you don’t ever want to stop, which is where the Shoal combo comes into play. It is not uncommon to be able to draw through your entire deck immediately after Griselbrand comes into play.

Once you start chaining Nourishing Shoals and Worldspine Wurms, and draw through your entire deck, you set up a situation where you can use the Spirit Guides to reanimate a second monster in the same turn. The monster of choice is Borborygmos Enraged since it is great at winning the game on the spot with a hand full of lands!

Spirit Guides + Desperate Rituals + Through the Breach is also a reasonable way to cheat your Demons and Cyclops into play.

It doesn’t much matter how they get into play as long as they make it onto the field. The deck is very much a one-trick pony, but it is very good at executing the one thing that it does well. The deck is not only great at doing the one trick, but also at doing the one trick very quickly.

Assuming you are able to make the Demon, Shoal the Wurm, and make the Boryborgamos Enraged, you will live happily ever after.

There are lots of ways to play Modern. I suggest going fast. After the last few bannings, it feels like reanimate Demon may make a run at being the best broken deck in the format. The pure speed alone is something to pay attention to.

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