Welcome back to Modern Monday on ChannelFireball! For those of you who have kept up with the column for a while, you know that I’ve piloted a Smallpox deck or two over the years, but this one seemed a little bit different.
Piloted by Magic Online user pelli to a 5-0 finish, Monastery Mentor and Dark Confidant are 2 cards that I always want to see in play more often because they’re just that strong. Oh, also, Death Cloud. Yeah.
The deck looks like a combination of Smallpox, tokens, and an interesting Myth Realized list I took a look at a bit ago. It has elements of all of those decks, but I can’t help but feel that 1 Shambling Vent and 2 Flagstones of Trokair are too few—the latter is definitely one of my favorite interactions. Oh, also, Mana Tithe, guys! Let’s Force Spike some peeps.
This was an emotional rollercoaster! At first I felt like the deck wasn’t doing very well—there were times when it seemed like it was puttering out—then I would end up winning through something crazy like a Death Cloud! The deck doesn’t exactly have crazy draws or anything like that. Sometimes Death Cloud or Monastery Mentor can just “get there,” and there is a surprising amount of land destruction in the deck.
One of my biggest complaints about the deck throughout the series was that it had no way to deal with artifacts. Or enchantments for that matter! This is criminal for a white deck. I mean, there are so many oppressive and game-winning artifacts and enchantments in the format—can you really not be bothered to include some Disenchants? I felt like I got lucky to be able to get under those Ensnaring Bridges, and I really had to work for it. The same is true for cards like Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, a little deck known as “Affinity”—you name it!
One of the sideboard cards I had in lieu of artifact and enchantment answers seemed a little... off. Despite being effective at times, Suppression Field came across as a weird choice when you have so many activated abilities of your own, most notably multiple planeswalkers, Marsh Flats, Tectonic Edge, and Old Shambly. Those are a lot of useful abilities that you stifle for a card that can be replaced with something more specific, like Stony Silence or Pithing Needle. Just my two cents, but I’m not even sure what dominant deck you’re bringing this in against that can’t simply play around it in the late game.
Another thing that struck me as off for a white deck was trouble dealing with planeswalkers. Maybe Oblivion Ring would help the deck out, or even the aforementioned Pithing Needle. Usually I dislike Pithing Needle because you need to know what you’re naming, and if the opponent has multiple offenders, you could choose the Sorin when they have only Lilianas in hand. And if you wait to name something, they’ll get a use out of whatever you’re naming. Either way, it’s kind of a necessary evil in Modern, and having a way to deal with an opposing Liliana of the Veil could be a real boon. Maybe we’ll find our answer in Modern Masters 2017 when Council's Judgment is made Modern legal. A boy can dream, no?
Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later!