Thanks to everyone who participated in the second community Brew Off!! Again we received over 100 deck submissions with a variety of clever ideas of how to take advantage of Near-Death Experience.
While I am picking only 1 winner, as always I hope you enjoyed participating in this fun experiment and learned something useful along the way.
Now, let’s see what people came up with!
Near-Death Experience Combos
Worship with Near-Death Experience was a commonly submitted combo, for good reason. To win with Near-Death Experience you have to leave yourself vulnerable at 1 life.
Worship solves this problem by protecting you and setting up the win.
Plunge into Darkness and Spellskite
Plunge into Darkness and Spellskite were two of the most common ways to get down to 1 life. Plunge into Darkness is a versatile instant-speed dig that can set your life total at the end of the opponent’s turn.
Spellskite is a great Modern card that hoses many decks and can adjust your life total all the way down to 1 or 2 by itself.
Both of these cards work great.
Wall of Blood and Volcano Hellion
Lots of builders had the idea to drain their own life total with lands—fetchlands, shocklands, painlands, life payment lands of any kind.
I’m a big fan of this approach because you don’t need additional cards to reset your life total—that ability comes from the foundation of your deck.
Hex Parasite/Vampire Hexmage and Lost Auramancers
However, using 2 cards and 6-8 mana to find 1 card that costs 5 mana is not value. It’s trading down on both cards and time.
This is a sweet combo but let’s save it for digging up Omniscience.
Master of Cruelties and Soul Conduit (!)
There were a lot of hilariously convoluted combinations to get yourself to 1 life submitted.
While these combos tickle the brain, competitiveness is an important consideration in picking the top deck—fast and consistent is important.
Near-Death Experience Runners-Up
It was hard to pick just one winning deck this time around with so many sweet brews submitted. It’s hard to even pick runners-up as there were at least a dozen decks that really stood out.
Let’s look at some of the best/my favorite submissions.
Most Intriguing Shell
The most intriguing shell I saw was from David Warshawksy with an Enchantress/Enduring Ideal-powered Near-Death Experience deck. I love both of these strategies and merging them into one in Modern is something I want to do.
David Warshawsky’s Near-Death Enchantress
Most Versatile Combo Deck
The overall most versatile deck was presented by Thibaud Ginoux. This deck is full of different strategies—self life loss for Death’s Shadow and Avatar of Woe beatdown, control elements in Thoughtseize and Damnation, and of course Near-Death Experience for the win.
Best Control Deck
There were a few great control decks submitted, but what I consider to be the best control deck was presented by Joao Marreiros. This brew uses the obnoxious Sylvan Caryatid + Worship lock, and dedicates only Mana Confluence and Spellskite to adjust your life for the Near-Death Experience win.
I especially like Pact of Negation to force through victory on the final turn.
João Marreiros’s Until My Last Breath
Near-Death Experience Winner
There were many great brews, no perfect brews, but necessarily one winning brew.
I selected the deck that looked the most fun for me to play—this deck looks competitive, explosive, tricky, and inevitable. There are a variety of unique combos in this version and it comes together in a shell that makes sense.
But before that, there are several ways to keep you alive:
My only nitpick is that Genesis Hydra does not make sense in the 2-mana slot. While this technically follows requested guideline formats, Genesis Hydra belongs at the cost where it is intended to be played.
Cost sorting is merely a tool for improved idea communication, and there are times where strategically breaking this rule makes ideas clearer, and that is the case with X-spells.
Overall though, this is still my favorite submission this time around.
Again, thanks to everyone who participated making this column a success, and I’m excited to continue and grow with this new tradition!