Ixalan cards that are already on Magic Online are now available to be used in the Leagues. That means people are trying the brand new (old) blue instant that’s legal for the first time in Modern.

I don’t think anybody knows for sure where Opt will land in Modern. Is it better than Serum Visions? Better than Sleight of Hand? Which decks will want which? If your deck is going to be filled with counterspells and instants, it stands to reason that Opt is going to be a powerful option. The more mana you can leave untapped, the more options you have available. Serum Visions being a sorcery forces you to tap mana on your turn, and the effect is only marginally better Opt in many decks. Being forced to draw before you scry gives you less access to a card you may need immediately, such as digging for land.

One deck that really does a great job of loading up on instants revolves around Madcap Experiment and Platinum Emperion. With no other artifacts in your deck, this gives you a 4-mana 8/8 that stops your life total from changing. This is game over against a number of decks in the format. Some have a few ways to deal with Emperion, but you have counters and a fast clock. A burn or Affinity deck might have zero outs other than throwing enough burn at the Emperion to kill it.

This deck also functions similarly to a Blue Moon deck. The full playset of Blood Moons can lock your opponent out of casting many spells. By resolving a Blood Moon before your Madcap Experiment, even decks who may have had answers to the Emperion in something like Kolaghan’s Command may not have a basic Swamp in play to resolve them. This can buy you enough time to set up or make sure they can’t interact with your win.

You’re also playing a Snapcaster Mage deck. A third of your deck is instants, and you can use them aggressively with Snapcaster. This also makes Opt better, as being forced to Snap for a Serum Visions requires you to tap out on your own turn.

Lightning Bolt gives you an efficient removal spell and a great combination with Snapcaster Mage to deal with threats cheaply. You can also burn someone out in conjunction with your other creatures.

Vendilion Clique and Nimble Obstructionist both give you flash flying threats that end the game in a hurry and disrupt your opponent. Clique can mess with their hand or allow you to cycle an otherwise bad Emperion sitting in your hand, while Obstructionist provides a unique effect in a Stifle to stop abilities few other cards could.

For your counter suite, you have a plethora of options. Remand is a key tempo play that buys you the time to get Emperion into play or protect it for a turn. Spell Snare gives you early interaction for many of Modern’s most powerful spells, and Cryptic Command is a huge payoff for playing lots of blue mana. Countering spells, tapping down their team, bouncing problematic permanents (especially if Blood Moon is now shutting down replaying it), and drawing a card? Sign me up!

With enough card draw, some silver-bullet spells give you additional options. Abrade is a nice early removal spell that doubles as a Shatter. This is awesome against Affinity to kill their creatures or Plating, and works against aggro and Lantern alike. Dismember and Electrolyze provide you with some additional removal against bigger creatures like Gurmag Angler or to kill multiple small creatures in attrition battles.

Whether Opt is the right way to go for many blue decks is yet to be seen, but it’s an awesome additional to Madcap Emperion!

Madcap Emperion

IHUMAN, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League