Are you looking for a sweet, slightly under the radar Modern deck to play at GP L.A.? Well, I may have just what the doctor ordered all lined up and ready to go.
I would consider Modern to be a relatively known format. For the most part, everyone knows what the good decks are. Some of the decks may cycle in and out of favor depending upon what is popular in the metagame, but the format is a collection of strategies everyone has mostly heard of.
You can bet the majority of tournament players have identified this trend and are brewing up ideas, plans, and technology to improve their matchups against those decks.
RG Valakut Ramp
The idea behind selecting RG Valakut is that it has good matchups against 2/3 of these popular decks and actively dodges all of the hate people will be playing for those decks.
Different versions of the deck have been popping up and performing well on MTGO in the past week, but this is the version that I like best so far. It was originally designed by Matias Hunt.
I like this version. It’s streamlined and very effective at doing the same thing every single game. Turn 5 is always “prime time” when you are playing this deck.
All Titan, All the Time
You have Summoner’s Pact to find it. You have Nahiri, the Harbinger to find it. And you have Through the Breach to haste it up if necessary. If you ever get to untap with a Titan, you are 99% likely to win. A tall order? Sure, but it is also very easy to win the game once you have 2 Valakut in play even if they kill your Titan.
The deck also has a very, very potent and unfair “nut draw” that can produce turn-3 wins.
Turn 1: Suspend Search for Tomorrows.
Turn 2: Play Farseek.
Turn 3: Cast Search for Tomorrows off suspend and play a 5th land. Cast Through the Breach and put a hasty Primeval Titan into play. The first trigger gets 2 Valakut. The second gets 2 Mountain (dealing 12 damage and then Titan attacks for 6 with trample). Also, every subsequent Mountain you play deals 6 damage!
Take an Oath
The new printing that makes this deck much better is Oath of Nissa.
The card increases your chances of finding Primeval Titan on time and also helps to smooth out your draws by finding lands and/or 4-drops.
Nahiri is another card that I’m excited to be playing with in this deck.
All of the modes on this card are quite good. The +1 filtering ability is good because it helps ensure you hit land drops and dig toward having a threat on 6 mana. The -2 ability is a great defensive ability that allows you to kill opposing creatures and most importantly, Blood Moon!
Obviously, the -8 ability is fantastic because it tutors up a Titan, puts it into play, and then gives it haste. Hasty Titan = GG.
The last cool interaction with Nahiri is that if you have an Oath of Nissa in play, you can actually cast Nahiri under Blood Moon (since Oath says you can use mana as though it were any color for casting planeswalkers). So Nahiri can be easily cast under Blood Moon and then you can exile Blood Moon for value! How sweet is that?
Hate Dodgers in the 24th and a Half Century
One of the elements I really like about RG Ramp is that it is linear and powerful, but it also dodges a lot of the hate that people are directing at the “best decks” right now.
Ramp doesn’t use the graveyard. Decks like Abzan, Reanimator, and Living End are all decks that use the heck out of the graveyard. People understand how good these decks are and are packing lots of graveyard hate and so playing a linear deck that doesn’t use the ‘yard is a nice place to be.
Creatures have also become the hotness of the moment in Modern: Company, Infect, Affinity, Jund, Boggles, etc. What do all of these decks have in common? They are full of cheap, efficient creatures.
You are a land combo deck that doesn’t care that much about removal. Sure, it is fine to kill your Titan, but by the time you actually cast it, chances are that it is already too late…
In addition to being good against removal spells, your deck is also good at picking on creature decks.
You have a bunch of board sweepers to help stabilize against aggressive decks like Affinity, Collected Company, and Zoo.
One last tidbit that I think positions the deck nicely in Modern:
While Eye of Ugin was specifically banned in order to take a bite out of the Eldrazi menace, it had some other far reaching side effects. Most importantly, it severely injured decks like RG Tron that relied on the card to generate late game inevitability. Summer Bloom happened before the Pro Tour but is another land-centric combo deck that left the format in the past 6 months.
It is safe to say that Tron is down right now. Whether it will get back up, change colors, and re-establish itself is yet to be seen. Nonetheless, Tron has not been winning and is not getting played to the extent it was before Eye of Ugin was banned.
One side effect of the “busted land combo decks” getting banned is that people stop playing as much sideboard and main deck hate directed at “busted land combo decks.” Guess who benefits from this trend? People who are playing “busted land combo decks” such as RG Ramp.
RG Valakut is making a strong blip on my radar and the fact that it preys on the good decks, dodges much of the hate, and is underestimated makes right now the perfect time to go prime time.