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Deck Highlight: Modern Jeskai Ascendancy

 

Modern Jeskai Ascendancy by Nilsfit

 

I have Jeskai Ascendancy as the most broken card that never was. When it came out, it seemed like it would be busted, and while there was a brief moment where it did some good work, that was largely subsidized by the brokenness that was Treasure Cruise more than anything Ascendancy was doing. I also played the token version to a nice 0-5 at PT Brussels, which may be coloring my perception here. 

In any case, I’m still a sucker for Ascendancy decks, and when I spotted one in the Modern 5-0’s, I was in. 

 

Header - The Game Plan

Get out Jeskai Ascendancy, then use Fatestitcher or Emry, Lurker of the Loch to repeatedly cast spell after spell after spell. Emry plus Ascendancy plus a zero mana artifact that sacrifices goes infinite, and you eventually start generating mana off untapping Fatestitchers. If you start without Emry, Fatestitcher makes all your cards generate a mana and a draw, which makes it easy to draw your deck and eventually combine Underworld Breach and Lightning Bolt for the win.

This deck has a lot of filtering and card draw, with the ultimate goal of just playing Ascendancy with mana up. That’s not too tough an ask, which is why this deck is sweet. Underworld Breach offers a strong backup plan, as you can Breach into Ascendancy fairly easily, especially if you have some Moxes or other cheap artifacts.

 

Header - Key Cards

Jeskai AscendancyUnderworld Breach

 

These are your combo cards, and you can’t win without drawing one. Luckily, Emry flips over cards to fuel Breach, and this deck has like 25 cards that draw a card, so finding these isn’t hard.

 

Emry, Lurker of the LochFatestitcher

 

These generate all your mana while going off. You can even use Ascendancy to discard Fatestitcher, meaning that you don’t need to have played or discarded it before going off. Emry also makes Mox Amber tap for mana, which is very important.

 

Teferi, Time Raveler

 

Teferi is the combination disruption-plus-engine card, as it makes Mox tap for mana and bounces plus draws cards. Teferi is a busted Magic card and a godsend for combo decks like this one.

 

Monastery MentorLightning Bolt

 

These are your win conditions. Bolt and Breach do a lot of damage in one turn and Mentor is for the games where you do a bunch of stuff but don’t go full infinite. You also sometimes win by just attacking with a 20/21 Fatestitcher, so don’t worry too much about how you’re going to close out the game.

 

Mox AmberChromatic StarEngineered ExplosivesMishra's Bauble

 

You need a lot of cheap artifacts for this deck to function, and all of these cost zero (or close, in the case of Star). They also offer some nice utility and lead to sweet value games with Emry.

 

Sleight of HandSerum Visions

 

More cantrips let you smooth out your draws and find the combo pieces. Plus, these help you go off harder when you have Ascendancy going, making them good before or during the combo.

 

Header - Mulliganing

This deck really wants to see Emry plus cheap artifacts early, though it will accept cantrips into Ascendancy as well. In general, if your hand doesn’t have any combo pieces, you have to have a good amount of card draw for it to be keepable. Hands full of Explosives and Fatestitchers aren’t going to cut it.

 

Emry, Lurker of the LochMox AmberChromatic StarHallowed FountainLightning BoltFatestitcherJeskai Ascendancy

 

Keep. It’s a one-lander, but you have turn two Emry plus Mox, and this hand could easily kill on turn three.

 

Teferi, Time RavelerLightning BoltMishra's BaubleFlooded StrandSteam VentsChromatic StarUnderworld Breach

 

Keep. This hand is a little light on combo pieces, but Bolt into Teferi is good interaction, and Bauble plus fetch means you can get some card selection going.

 

Engineered ExplosivesFatestitcherUnderworld BreachPath to ExileScalding TarnSeachrome CoastPlains

 

Mulligan. This hand doesn’t do anything and it’s lacking all the combo pieces. 

 

Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t bring back Fatestitcher until after you play Ascendancy, so that even if they have removal, you get at least one untap off it (and possibly more if you have instants).
  • Keep track of cards in graveyard for Breach. Sometimes you can play a nice value Breach if you have seven or eight cards in the bin.
  • Consider holding excess lands to discard to Ascendancy. This deck is rarely gated on mana, so lands after your fifth often do nothing for you.

 

Header - Ascending from the Underworld

The addition of Breach excites me and makes me think this deck has a new lease on life. Of course, I’ve been burned by Ascendancy before, but into the breach once more we go. This deck is just too sweet to pass up and I’m ready to battle with it again.

 

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