Every new set, I’m on the lookout for inspiration from the new set to break Standard for the Pro Tour. But what inspired this article has nothing to do with Standard, but with Modern. Some may say that Harsh Mentor will be the best card from Amonkhet in Modern. I say that not only will Harsh Mentor most likely never see play, but that the card I’ll be talking about will change an entire mainstay archetype in Modern. I give you…
Vizier of Remedies
So where does this unassuming lady fit in? If you think about it, Vizier’s ability is similar to a combo card we’ve seen plenty of in Modern: Melira, Sylvok Outcast. Actually, when it comes to making persist creatures such as Murderous Redcap and Kitchen Finks come back infinite times, it does exactly what Melira, Sylvok Outcast does. So why would Vizier of Remedies be better? Well, it’s not legendary, and that’s nice and all, but that’s not the real reason.
The real reasonVizier of Remedies is better is because of the combo with Devoted Druid. Once you untap Devoted Druid and put a counter of it, Vizier of Remedies is a replacement effect that instead says there’s no -1/-1 counter placed on it, allowing you to do this infinite times. The reason why Melira doesn’t work the same way is because Melira says no -1/-1 can be placed on creatures you control, meaning that instead of replacing the counter, it stops you from being able to pay the cost of Devoted Druid. This means that you can’t activate the untap ability at all! Even Melira’s ability versus Infect matters less than ever with that archetype being pushed out by Death’s Shadow!
All right… so we assembled infinite mana, what do we do with it? Personally, I’ve been interested in having another mana sink in the deck besides Gavony Township, and since Shadows of Innistrad was released, I’ve wanted to try Duskwatch Recruiter in the deck. It’s going to be the perfect for when you have infinite green mana, giving you the ability to get any number of creatures out of your deck. With that, you can find Walking Ballista and kill them right away, making it as big as you need.
So why don’t we just have 3 Walking Ballista in our deck instead of taking time to fool around with Duskwatch Recruiter? The reason is that Walking Ballista is neither a good hit off Collected Company or something you’d want to search for with Chord of Calling.
You could go even deeper, playing either Starved Rusalka or Beastcaller Savant instead of Walking Ballista to preserve all of your hits with Collected Company. Starved Rusalka lets you gain infinite life the same turn you have infinite mana once you find Kitchen Finks, with green mana working in place of Viscera Seer, while Beastcaller Savant gives you a black mana to cast Viscera Seer. But I think 1 fewer hit off Collected Company is worth playing Walking Ballista, since then you get to kill immediately with the combo, as well as being a pretty good card on its own when you draw it manually.
If you play Devoted Druid turn 2, you want as many ways to win the following turn as possible if it doesn’t bite the dust. Ways to do that are by having 1 of the 3 Vizier of Remedies in your hand, as well as Duskwatch Recruiter in your hand—the easy way.
You can also exchange either Vizier of Remedies or Duskwatch Recruiter for Chord of Calling, since using Devoted Druid twice nets you 5 mana together with a land drop the following turn. The last option is to cast Collected Company to either hit Vizier of Remedies with Duskwatch Recruiter, Chord of Calling, or Walking Ballista in your hand, or just both Vizier of Remedies and Duskwatch Recruiter right away. As you can see, there are a lot of ways to get there once Devoted Druid survives the turn. If there’s ever been an argument for always killing the Bird, it hasn’t been more true than with the release of Amonkhet.
With the pieces we want settled, let’s move to the list.
If you’re accustomed to other Abzan Melira Company lists, you can see that the combo doesn’t take up much space. The reason is that the combo pieces just replace something similar from the previous version. Vizier of Remedies replaces Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Devoted Druid replaces Wall of Roots. Devoted Druid is a lot more fragile than Wall of Roots, especially against burn spells such as Lightning Bolt. This would normally be a problem, but with Lightning Bolt on the decline to make room for Fatal Push and Path to Exile for Death’s Shadow Jund’s Tarmogoyfs and Death’s Shadows, it’s the perfect upgrade. Even Duskwatch Recruiter is excellent on its own!
Much of the deck is the same. I believe this is the best shell for the Devoted Druid plus Vizier of Remedies combo because not only does Vizier of Remedies pull double-duty with the Viscera Seer plus Kitchen Finks combo, but the entire combo is a hit off Collected Company and can be found with Chord of Calling.
With Vizier of Remedies being so great, working for both combos, why play 1 copy of Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit that only works for one of the combos? Like the old combo with Melira, Sylvok Outcast, with both in play and the rest of the combo pieces, you can make your creatures infinitely large too. As a last note, remember that if you pair Devoted Druid with Gavony Township, it can net you 2 mana each turn to make the process go more smoothly.
I believe in this new iteration of the deck, and I might run back the archetype this summer at GP Copenhagen, hopefully this time with the improvements to not miss my win-and-in! Do you think the combo improves the deck? Let me know in the comments below!