Sunday mornings at GPs mean one thing for the coverage team: the segment known as Good Morning Magic, where Team Coverage showcases the wildest, spiciest, and most absurd decks to make it through to Day 2. Last weekend’s Good Morning Magic was one of the most entertaining starts to a day of GP coverage that I can remember, and as a result I wanted to share some of the amazing ridiculousness that was showcased—including, happily, the deck lists involved.
The dream is alive. Richard Beeby crashed into Day 2 of GP Prague with a deck that plays the purest form of Magic, going after the library rather than the life total. Old classics such as Glimpse the Unthinkable, Mind Funeral, and Archive Trap have been bolstered with more recent additions such as Manic Scribe and Fraying Sanity, pushing the deck from “fringe” to tier—well, not one, certainly not two… tier five? Seems fair.
An incredibly important card in this deck is, of course, Ensnaring Bridge. Much like any deck that plays the Bridge, it tends to be central to the deck’s success—it’s just too easy to overrun this list with creature-based aggression if it can’t hide on the other side of a Bridge. When it can, however, oh my goodness. It’s very, very difficult to fight against the mill plan, as most decks have very little in the way of defense.
While Glimpse the Unthinkable and friends are all very good at what they do, the really scary cards are the “engine” cards with ongoing mill effects. Mesmeric Orb and Fraying Sanity are difficult-to-answer threats that synergize magnificently and can swiftly tear a library to bits.
There’s a danger to playing this list, however. You run the very real risk of actually aiding opponents who are on Hollow One, Bridgevine, Dredge, and the like, and that’s not a great position to be in. Luckily, the sideboard options (especially Leyline of the Void and Surgical Extraction) are excellent in shoring up these weaknesses in post-board games.
On a brighter side, however, there are some magnificent payoff cards in this deck. If you’ve never activated a Shelldock Isle, you’re missing out—it’s a wonderful feeling. Plus, Visions of Beyond is actual, literal Ancestral Recall a lot of the time, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Jeskai Pyromancer Ascension
My good friend Wayne Dillon (who insisted I mention how “very handsome” he is in this article) brought this little number to GP Prague, and kicked off his tournament with a 7-0 start before Day 2 turned a little sour as he headed toward the Top 8 cut. Nonetheless, this deck attacks on a very unique angle and is well worth showcasing.
As you might expect, Pyromancer Ascension is the most important card in the entire deck and the single focus of its main game plan is to land an Ascension and to get it online as swiftly as possible. To that end, every instant and sorcery in this list is a 4-of, with cantrips for consistency, Faithless Looting and Manamorphose for velocity, and Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix to kill everything on sight.
An active Ascension makes Bolts deal 6, turns Opt into a 1-mana Divination with upside, and transforms Remand into the most insane value engine you’ll ever come across. For example, with Ascension active you can wait for them to cast a spell you want to bounce, respond with something like a Bolt, then Remand their spell and your Bolt (the copied Bolt still resolves). This leaves you up two new cards with the Bolt still in hand!
This deck is unlike other Faithless Looting decks in that you want to be much less proactive in casting it, instead holding it in reserve to either find lands or mitigate flooding, depending on the situation. Additionally, keep a close eye on the cards in your graveyard, and when lacking Ascension prioritize casting spells that aren’t already there (for example, if you can choose between Serum Visions and Opt and already have Opt in the bin, play the Serum Visions).
Your wins will be split between Awoken Horror beatdown and Ascension-fueled Burn. This list is at its best against decks that play creatures that die to Lightning Bolt—not a bad place to be in a format dominated by aggressive decks like Humans.
Don’t sideboard too heavily with this deck. The main deck is pretty tight and becomes a lot worse when messed with. Essentially, you want multiple copies of whatever the most impactful spell in the board is. Monastery Mentor comes into play against their sideboarding strategies, replacing some number of Revelers, Things, and even Ascensions.
Strap yourself in—this one is absolutely bonkers. Yet another artifact-based combo deck reared its head this weekend, and it’s a real humdinger. Core-Nucopia revolves around “cheating” counters onto Astral Cornucopia with Surge Node and Coretapper, then uses the ridiculous amounts of mana produced to eventually pull together an infinite mana combo.
There is so much going on in this deck that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The key play is to get an Astral Cornucopia into play—not difficult, given the many ways to tutor it out—and then start charging it up. A Filigree Sages will go infinite with a Cornucopia with at least four charge counters (allowing you to place infinite counters on your Surge Nodes, too). From there, use Tolaria West, Artificer’s Intuition, Inventors’ Fair, or Whir of Invention to fetch Walking Ballista or Orochi Hatchery to close out the game.
It’s a marvelously confusing and complex combo deck, and—unlike KCI—doesn’t have a heavy reliance on the graveyard. Whir of Invention allows you to play a toolbox component, with cards such as Ensnaring Bridge, Crucible of Worlds, and Sorcerous Spyglass all helping out in problematic matchups. You can even tutor up an Engineered Explosives and put charge counters on it with Surge Node!
Light on interaction, this deck is the definition of a glass cannon combo deck and the sideboard can only help out so much. Rather than play the usual disruption in the board (outside of Beast Within), Core-Nucopia relies on strong defensive cards like Spellskite, Welding Jar, and Padeem to nullify opposing interaction.
This deck had some very convincing performances on camera in Prague, and while I don’t think it will be joining the upper echelons of the Modern format anytime soon, it’s a hilarious deck with a crazy angle of attack, so I’ll have a lot of fun taking it for a spin in the lead-up to Detroit and Stockholm.
The wide-open nature of Modern right now is the perfect breeding ground for marvelous decks like these, and I’m pleased to see that they’re doing well enough to make Day 2 at a GP—no mean feat. With plenty of Modern events on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing what future installments of Good Morning Magic bring!