It’s no secret that Modern is my favorite format. I love that it is more powerful than Standard, but not as powerful as Legacy where it often feels like I can’t play the kind of decks I enjoy (mana dork creature decks for the most part). Because the format is played so infrequently at the PT and GP level, there are quite a few decks I’ve worked on that didn’t quite get there that are perhaps just waiting for that final piece to be printed, or even just the right person to figure out some combination that I missed. This week, I thought I’d showcase a few of these concoctions and explain what I felt they were lacking.

Human Reanimator

How it Works

You mill yourself with dredgers and discard outlets until you can Unburial Rites an Angel of Glory’s Rise, returning a Fiend Hunter, a Wild Cantor, and an Undercity Informer. You Fiend Hunter your own Angel, then sacrifice it to the Informer to mill your opponent and return the Angel to play, allowing you to continue your loop. If they’re playing an Eldrazi, you can mill yourself until you hit the Malcontents, and then loop that until they die.

Why it’s Good

When we were testing this deck before PT Fate Reforged, we were astonished at how easy it was to essentially mill your entire library by turn 4, making this deck kill by then very consistently. A big breakthrough was realizing you can play Wild Cantor instead of Burning-Tree Emissary, occasionally speeding you up by a full turn.

What’s Wrong With it Then?

This deck was incredibly good at always killing opponents by turn 4 assuming they weren’t killing you before then. The problem is that most decks in Modern actually are capable of goldfishing before then or have some form of interaction that makes things challenging. So much of your deck is consumed by either the reanimator engine or the dredge engine that there’s basically no room for spells that stop your opponent from executing whatever their “combo” is. Beating a Path to Exile on the Angel was also a challenge, although sometimes you could still win from there with a pile of reanimated dorky Humans or by just doing the same thing again next turn. Basically, be on the lookout for either a more resilient way to win with your library in your graveyard, or perhaps some kind of metagame shift where things slow way down and consistent turn-4 kills without interaction are good enough.

0-CMC Control

How it Works

Admittedly not my own design, I ran into this very intriguing deck on MTGO a few months ago. Despite looking very similar to classic Ad Nauseam Combo, this deck is a very different animal. Because the overall CMC of the deck is so incredibly low, you can actually realistically kill opponents by just casting Ad Nauseam without an Angel’s Grace, drawing a ton of cards and flashing back a large Conflagrate.

Why it’s Good

Your combo deck that previously required 2 cards now only needs 1 (although it’s obviously guaranteed if you have both)! You also gain some equity by confusing your opponent who may just let your Ad Nauseam resolve believing that you can’t actually kill them without having cast the Grace first. You also get to play Mox Opal, which can be used as a Lotus Petal, letting you replace some of the Simian Spirit Guides while speeding up your combo a bit.

What’s Wrong With it Then?

You sometimes die to flipping too many Ad Nauseams, but that’s actually relatively rare. More frequently, you have a problem with finding your namesake card because of the relatively low cantrip count. You also sacrifice the ability to kill at instant speed, meaning that you can’t respond to your opponent’s end-of-turn Deceiver Exarch by just killing them. Note that you can still jam an Ad Nauseam at the end of an opponent’s turn and use the cards on your turn to kill them. I’m not really sure what it would take to fix these problems, but the core idea of the deck is so cool and interesting that it’s worth keeping an eye out for more cards that might help provide consistency or a true instant-speed kill.