Preparation

When I watched Stanislav Cifka win the Pro Tour with Eggs, I knew I needed to give the deck a try. It had all the major selling points of a great combo deck:

Punishing: Wins without passing the turn.
Fast: Wins on turn four consistently, sometimes turn three.
Resilient: Hard to disrupt—no unanswerable hosers (except maybe [card]Extirpate[/card]).

I first started playing Eggs at the beginning of this Modern PTQ season, playing one paper and one online PTQ. I did pretty poorly both times. The deck was obviously powerful, but the metagame was hostile. Winning game two or three was often very hard. Storm was the most popular combo deck, and [card]Rest in Peace[/card], [card]Rule of Law[/card], [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card], [card]Mindbreak Trap[/card], and plenty of other Storm hate cards all break up the Eggs combo. Additionally, Pod was packing maindeck [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card] with [card]Spellskite[/card] to protect it from [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card], which is basically a hard lock in game one. As a result, I shelved Eggs for the moment.

For the next paper PTQ, I shifted to UBWG Gifts control. The deck was a blast to play, but reactive decks are a risky proposition in a format as diverse as Modern. I lost my win-and-in to miss Top 8, losing only to Kiki Pod and drawing with a UW control opponent.

Looking for a more proactive deck, I switched to Cylon Invasion (Tron). The Cylons crush Melira Pod, which I assumed would be very popular because it had just won two PTQs the weekend before. This prediction payed off, but I again lost my win-and-in, losing only to Kiki Pod, again (tilt tilt tilt). The same weekend two Cylons invaded the MTGO PTQ, so Team Evil was definitely the place to be, but not for long.

When driving back from the PTQ, I heard through the grapevine that Jacob Wilson won a ChannelFireball 1K with Eggs, and his thoughts on the tournament went something like, “I messed up a lot and it didn’t matter at all—the deck is insane.” With [card]Seething Song[/card] banned, everyone had cut their storm hate, and with the Cylons gaining momentum, that was where most people’s hate would be directed. [card]Stony Silence[/card] is exceptional against Eggs and Tron, but [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card] is just okay while [card]Fulminator Mage[/card], [card]Molten Rain[/card], and [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] are mediocre, and [card]Sowing Salt[/card] is almost unplayable. I thought this combination of factors made Eggs a great deck to play.

The Deck List:

[deck]Main Deck
4 Chromatic Star
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Elsewhere Flask
4 Lotus Bloom
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Reshape
4 Faith’s Reward
4 Second Sunrise
2 Twincast
4 Serum Visions
2 Gitaxian Probe
2 Sleight of Hand
4 Ghost Quarter
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Scalding Tarn
7 Island
1 Plains
1 Hallowed Fountain
Sideboard
4 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Echoing Truth
2 Silence
1 Pithing Needle
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Blind Obedience
1 Rapid Hybridization[/deck]

The list is pretty stock, as there is not much room for change in the core. After playing Cifka’s list for a while, I found the information from [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] invaluable so I cut a [card]Sleight of Hand[/card] for another one. You often don’t have the time or mana to cast all your cantrips anyway, so even when the information’s not relevant it’s nice to be able to cycle. The only other change I made to the main deck was -2 [card]Silence[/card], +2 [card]Twincast[/card]. This swap was largely untested before the Grand Prix, but it made sense in theory.

[card]Silence[/card] is mostly there for counterspells, but [card]Twincast[/card] is also very good in this regard. (The main exception is when your [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] gets [card]Remand[/card]ed on the draw.) Additionally, your plan against [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] and other stack-based graveyard hate is to bring everything back in response with an additional [card]Second Sunrise[/card], let Relic resolve, then sacrifice everything again before letting your first Sunrise resolve.

The problem is that this usually takes at least six mana for two Sunrises, or up to eight mana for two [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], which can be too slow, especially against multiple Relics. [card]Twincast[/card] achieves the same result for less mana, in addition to being a reasonable combo piece in its own right. For me, [card]Twincast[/card] was an upgrade to [card]Silence[/card] in the main, but in the board I would cut the [card]Rapid Hybidization[/card] for another [card]Silence[/card]. UW control is one of the worst matchups and another [card]Silence[/card] would help.

[card]Rapid Hybridization[/card] is good against Pod and Poison, but it’s not much of an upgrade over [card]Echoing Truth[/card], and you’ll never board in all four Echoing Truths and the Hybridization at the same time anyway. (Or at least cut it for a [card]Pongify[/card]—I apologize for not being able to find one to replace the Hybridization before the tournament.) [card]Blind Obedience[/card] is the best alternate win condition, because it blanks [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card] and [card]Pithing Needle[/card] without having to bring in any Echoing Truths, and is a good hate card against Twin and the mirror.

Day One

Round 4 – Ari Lax playing Junk Midrange

It’s important to win game one in this matchup because they usually have [card]Stony Silence[/card] and [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card] out of the board backed up by [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] and multiple discard spells for your Echoing Truths.

+3 (2?) [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], +3 [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], -2 [card]Twincast[/card]

I don’t really like bringing in Leyline here because it only blanks about six discard spells in their deck, but it can be pretty important for protecting your [card]Echoing Truth[/card]s from discard. Leyline’s much better against Jund, because they usually also have [card]Slaughter Games[/card], [card]Jund Charm[/card], and/or [card]Rakdos Charm[/card].

In game two, Ari played [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] and missed his second land drop. I put him on [card]Stony Silence[/card] as it’s the best reason to keep a one-lander against Eggs. Luckily I didn’t get to find out, because I nut drew him for the kill on turn two!

In case you are unfamiliar with the turn two Eggs kill, it goes like this:

Turn 1: [card]Ghost Quarter[/card], [card]Chromatic Star[/card]
Turn 2: Fetchland, [card]Reshape[/card] Star for zero (draw trigger), get [card]Lotus Bloom[/card], cast [card]Second Sunrise[/card], 3-2-1 [BLAST OFF]

And Wizards didn’t even want turn three kills in Modern! I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start off the GP.

4-0

Round 5 – Rbw Burn

In game one I won the die roll, and after he went [card]Goblin Guide[/card] into [card]Vexing Devil[/card], I killed him on turn three.

+4 [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], +1 [card]Blind Obedience[/card]
-2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], -2 [card]Twincast[/card], -1 [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card]

[card]Blind Obedience[/card] is reasonable against his haste creatures, and might gain me some life before going off.

I kept a slower seven-card hand without Leyline in game two which was probably a mistake. It had a [card]Lotus Bloom[/card], so I would probably win on turn four, but that’s pretty risky on the draw. I ended up almost winning at 2 life because my [card]Blind Obedience[/card] prevented him from attacking once with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card], but he had [card]Rakdos Charm[/card] to stop my combo and I lost.

Before game three, my opponent said he couldn’t beat [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], so I drew a good seven with Leyline and won before passing the turn.

5-0

Round 6 – Matt Sperling playing UW Control

This matchup is a nightmare… don’t play Eggs if you expect UW Control. Between [card]Remand[/card] for Bloom and multiple maindeck [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card]s plus [card]Spell Snare[/card] for [card]Reshape[/card] it’s almost impossible to get a Bloom in play. Add [card]Cryptic Command[/card], [card]Mana Leak[/card], and [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], and they’ve got all they need to stop you from ever going off. I saw one of each of the above when I Probed him on turn 4, and knew the match would be very hard. Matt played very well and after never tapping out he eventually killed me with two [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card]s. A lesser player might have tapped low for Geist and lost instantly.

+2 [card]Silence[/card], +3 [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -1 [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], -2 [card]Serum Vision[/card]/[card]Chromatic Sphere[/card]/[card]Elsewhere Flask[/card]

Your best chance is to pressure them early with [card]Silence[/card] or [card]Twincast[/card] when they can only cast one counterspell, or mise a win through mana screw or flood. Unfortunately, game two went exactly the same as game one, and Matt almost never missed a land drop but still drew plenty of gas.

After the match, he informed me that he even had three [card]Stony Silence[/card] to bring in against me!

5-1

Round 7 – UR Twin

This was the only game in the tournament I punted away. Due to my lack of practice with [card]Twincast[/card], when he tapped out to [card]Remand[/card] my [card]Second Sunrise[/card], I Twincasted his Remand instead of my Sunrise. I saw value and I just couldn’t resist! Of course more value would be to still have another Sunrise in hand after returning everything. I fizzled due to lack of Sunrises, and he got to use the Remand again later. I resolved to tighten up for games two and three.

+2 [card]Stony Silence[/card], +2 (3?) [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -1 [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], -1 [card]Elsewhere Flask[/card]

On turn three, I untapped with some baubles in play and Island and [card]Ghost Quarter[/card] for lands. I led off of with [card]Serum Visions[/card], bluffing no lands. He took the bait and Remanded. I played Island, [card]Reshape[/card] and killed him on turn three.

In my upkeep after [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] came off suspend, he cast [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] to tap it. I sacrificed it and went off in response with [card]Second Sunrise[/card] and [card]Twincast[/card].

6-1

Round 8 – Ricky Sidher playing Kiki Pod

He Chorded for [card]Glen Elendra Archmage[/card] to stop my combo in game one, but I had [card]Twincast[/card] so it wasn’t enough.

+1 [card]Pithing Needle[/card], +1 [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card], +1 [card]Rapid Hybridization[/card], +1 (2?) [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-Some combination of [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], [card]Twincast[/card]

Game two was interesting, trying to break up his Pod chain with [card]Rapid Hybridization[/card]. I ended up killing his [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] in response to [card]Phantasmal Image[/card] so he could only copy his one-drop. However, next turn he Glen Elendra’d me, which I could only answer one half of with [card]Echoing Truth[/card].

He blew up some of my Eggs with [card]Harmonic Sliver[/card] and [card]Qasali Pridemage[/card], but I still won on turn four.

It’s pretty amazing to play an artifact combo deck that easily beats an [card]Ancient Grudge[/card]. In testing against Tron, my opponent’s line on the play was turn three—[card]Seal of Primordium[/card] your Egg, turn four—Karn your Egg, turn 5—Mindslaver, kill you. Unfortunately, after he Karn’d my Egg he never got to untap because I killed him easily. Eggs is definitely the most unfair thing you can do in Modern. It often feels like everyone else is playing Standard or Draft and you get to play Legacy Storm.

7-1

Round 9 – Cedric Phillips’ friend playing Cedric’s Cylon Invasion

I lived the dream, and [card]Twincast[/card] my [card]Second Sunrise[/card] in response to a [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] activation on turn four off a Reshape “ritual.” Needless to say, he lost.

+1 [card]Pithing Needle[/card], +2 [card]Echoing Truth[/card], +1 [card]Blind Obedience[/card]
-1 [card]Gixatian Probe[/card], -[card]2 Sleight of Hand[/card], -1 [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card]

[card]Slaughter Games[/card] is the only card you really care about post-board. It’s possible you could board in Leyline, but it’s pretty hard for them to actually cast [card]Slaughter Games[/card], so I chose to race it. [card]Boomerang[/card] is another card I considered for the board, and it is much better than [card]Echoing Truth[/card] in this matchup since bouncing their land is basically [card]Time Walk[/card]. It might be right to cut one Echoing Truth for a Boomerang because you hardly ever board in all four Echoing Truths and it has a similar effect. The downside is that it’s harder to cast.

As a side note, if I play Tron again, I would consider running [card]Memoricide[/card] over [card]Slaughter Games[/card]. It’s much worse against Scapeshift, but you can cast it on turn three which is much better against Eggs and other combo.

8-1

I was stoked to X-1 Day One, and super tired after a long day of “Egging some fools out.” I read the coverage of Brian Kibler (Domri Naya) vs. Joe Raines (Eggs) with a bunch of other Nor Cal guys over dinner. “Honest man… honest creatures… honest man… honest creatures…” We had a good laugh and it helped me relax for Day Two.

Day Two

Round 10 – Living End

This whole match was very awkward.

I couldn’t draw [card]Second Sunrise[/card]s to save my life, and he couldn’t draw lands or cascade spells. He eventually stopped my combo by exiling my [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] with [card]Faerie Macabre[/card], but he took so much damage from [card]City of Brass[/card] and [card]Street Wraith[/card] that I was able to just [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card] him three times.

+2 [card]Stony Silence[/card], +2 [card]Echoing Truth[/card], +1 [card]Nihil Spellbomb[/card], +1 [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card] (Cage doesn’t actually do anything, but I forgot!)
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -4 [card]Serum Visions[/card]

His board plan was very strange. He boarded out [card]Living End[/card] for [card]Suppression Field[/card], which slows me down but doesn’t lock me out. He also had multiple [card]Faerie Macabre[/card] that I had Sunrise/Twincast to play around, but he still got my Lotus, which slowed me down. Luckily, he was also glacially slow, because his plan was to kill me with terrible Limited creatures. As a result, we went to time, but he said he would have conceded to an [card]Echoing Truth[/card], which I would have eventually drawn. Usually [card]Echoing Truth[/card] is for [card]Leyline of the Void[/card] in this matchup, but I guess [card]Suppression Field[/card] sometimes happens too!

9-1

Round 11 – Shahar Shenhar playing Jund with White

Game one, he Liliana’d my hand and then half of my permanents, and I still almost won off my remaining Eggs and the top of my deck, but the Sunrise was one card too deep. Liliana ultimate? No problem (almost). Yeah, Eggs is a real deck.

This matchup is basically exactly the same as the Junk deck I played in Round 4, except with potential [card]Rakdos Charm[/card], [card]Jund Charm[/card], [card]Slaughter Games[/card], and [card]Fulminator Mage[/card] out of the board.

+3 [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], +3 [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], -2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -2 [card]Twincast[/card]

It’s possible you should bring in four Leyline, depending on if you expect more [card]Slaughter Games[/card], [card]Rakdos Charm[/card], etc.

Shahar didn’t think I could kill him on my turn three in the third game, so he neglected to kill my [card]Ghost Quarter[/card] with [card]Fulminator Mage[/card] on his turn. On my turn, I [card]Second Sunrise[/card]d on turn three without a Bloom. Luckily, I drew a [card]Reshape[/card] and cast it off the lands I returned with Sunrise. I finished drawing my deck as time was called.

After the game, Shahar told me he had been holding two discard spells, so mise!

10-1

Round 12 – RUG Scapeshift with Creatures

Scapeshift is a pretty easy matchup because they are slow and don’t have enough disruption.

Game one was very interesting. On turn three he cast [card]Vendilion Clique[/card]. You can usually respond to this with [card]Second Sunrise[/card] for value, but I was tapped out. He saw [card]Reshape[/card], [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], [card]Second Sunrise[/card], and [card]Twincast[/card]. After reading [card]Twincast[/card] and tanking, he bottomed it.

After a couple turns of bauble, land, go, I was one mana short of lining up both my Sunrise effects to play though a counter. Instead, I led off with [card]Reshape[/card], which he tapped out to [card]Cryptic Command[/card]. He tried to resolve his Cryptic, but I responded by sacrificing all my eggs and lands twice with a Sunrise. I ended up drawing another [card]Reshape[/card], so I let Cryptic resolve, cast Reshape and won—however, by not letting Cryptic resolve before Sunrising, I was also drawing to [card]Twincast[/card] for the full blowout. Eggs really shines when making creative use of the stack.

+2 [card]Silence[/card]
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card]

The most important thing in this matchup is sneaking through Sunrises for value to set up a [card]Reshape[/card]/[card]Lotus Bloom[/card] turn with extra mana. Ironically, you often accumulate more lands than the ramp deck, which is very important for playing around [card]Mana Leak[/card] and [card]Remand[/card].

11-1

Round 13 – Robots

+1 [card]Pithing Needle[/card] +2 (3?) [card]Echoing Truth[/card] -2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] -1 (2?) [card]Sleight of Hand[/card]

In game two, he [card]Blood Moon[/card]ed, which probably slowed him down more than me. I suspended [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] on turn two and actually didn’t die before it came off!

12-1

Round 14 – ID with David Sharfman playing Scapeshift
Round 15 – ID with EFro playing Jund with White

12-1-2

Quarterfinals – Brian Kibler playing Naya Midrange

You can watch the match here. I really wanted to qualify for PT Dragon’s Maze, so this was most the important match of the tournament for me. I was excited to play against Kibler because I’m a fan of him as a player and I like his stream. It also didn’t hurt that he was playing a sweet [card]Domri Rade[/card] deck that I couldn’t possibly lose to.

+4 [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], -2 [card]Twincast[/card]

I decided to board in all my [card]Echoing Truth[/card]s, because the only way I lose is to [card]Stony Silence[/card] or maybe [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card].

Won the PTQ! I wanted to win the next two rounds of course, but I had already achieved my main goal.

Semifinals – Eric Froelich playing Jund with White

Written and video coverage here and here. I probably should have lost to Shahar playing EFro’s deck in round eleven, so I definitely knew the matchup wasn’t easy. I think it’s probably 50/50 or worse. I also knew it was very important for me to win game one, as the next two would be much harder.

He had a good draw game oen, with turn two [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] on the play. I had to figure out how to give myself the best chance to go off once my [card]Lotus Bloom[/card]s came off of suspend, and I was able to hold on to one Sunrise effect, which was enough.

+3 [card]Echoing Truth[/card], +3 [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card]
-2 [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], -2 [card]Twincast[/card], -2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card]

In game two, he cut me off of mana with [card]Fulminator Mage[/card], and because I didn’t have any suspended Blooms, [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card] was a big problem. I had to go for a [card]Reshape[/card] blind the turn before I would die—and hit! Unfortunately I bricked too many times after that. I thought my probability of winning even after hitting with Reshape was only about 15% anyway.

In our final game, I suspended double [card]Lotus Bloom[/card], which is very important against [card]Fulminator Mage[/card], [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card], and discard. On turn two, I cracked a fetch to cast [card]Elsewhere Flask[/card], but decided against it so I would be able to cycle my two [card]Chromatic Sphere[/card]s in response to [card]Stony Silence[/card] if he had it.

Cracking the fetch was a small mistake because usually it’s right to save them for value with Sunrise, but as long as EFro hit his land drop, I would have cracked it before my draw step on turn three anyway—that way I don’t get Mindcensored, and I thin my deck. I guess if I hadn’t sacrificed it on my main phase I would have been able to get [card]Hallowed Fountain[/card] on his end step which could have saved me 2 life later in the game. Luckily, he didn’t have the [card]Stony Silence[/card], and I was able to win easily once my Blooms came off of suspend.

Finals – Sammy Tukeman playing UWR Control

Written and video coverage here and here. After looking at his deck list, I thought, “Well this is the end of the line for me… another nightmare UW control matchup.” I could definitely win game one, especially since he lacked [card]Remand[/card]s for my [card]Lotus Bloom[/card]s, but after board two [card]Surgical Extraction[/card], two [card]Stony Silence[/card], and two more counterspells would make games two and three very hard. This matchup scales dramatically based on the skill level of the UW control player. Sammy was in the finals of a GP, so that’s something, but I didn’t think he would be quite as hard as Matt Sperling.

He had a bunch of terrible cards in his deck for game one, and luckily he drew a lot of them. He [card]Mana Leak[/card]ed my first [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] on turn four, which gave me a window to [card]Reshape[/card], [card]Second Sunrise[/card] him out.

+2 [card]Silence[/card], +2 [card]Echoing Truth[/card]
-2 [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], -1 [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], -1 [card]Elsewhere Flask[/card]/[card]Chromatic Sphere[/card]

I only boarded in two Echoing Truths, because I knew I had to get a little lucky to win, and his deck would give me enough time to draw one.

Game two—Nut draw! On turn three I was able to bait his [card]Mana Leak[/card] with my [card]Silence[/card], and I decided to go for it because my chances were not getting any better with time. I [card]Ghost Quarter[/card]ed myself in order to cast [card]Reshape[/card], praying he didn’t have one of his three [card]Spell Snare[/card]s. He didn’t!

When I cast [card]Second Sunrise[/card] I left [card]Conjurer’s Bauble[/card] in play because if I couldn’t bottom my [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] in response to [card]Surgical Extraction[/card] I would lose. Surgical would get my active Bloom either way, but this way I would be able to try to win the long game. Even though I left up Bauble, it would be right for him to Surgical my Bloom if he had it, so I knew for the next iteration of my combo I wouldn’t have to play around it. As it turned out he didn’t have it, so I won the GP!

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun playing this Modern season, and getting to know the format from different angles. I think a big part of my success at GP San Diego was accurately predicting the metagame based on my experiences leading up to the tournament with Gifts and Tron. As for Modern going forward, the format will stop evolving as quickly because the PTQ season just ended. It’s hard to say what will be well positioned for GP Portland, but I hope I can figure it out. Eggs is the most powerful thing you can do in the format, so if people aren’t prepared, they will lose to it. Any hand that has [card]Reshape[/card], [card]Second Sunrise[/card](s), eggs, and lands is very capable of winning turn three, which is counter to the stated goals of Modern. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wizards bans [card]Lotus Bloom[/card] for this reason.

That said, I’m definitely not locked in on Eggs for Portland, because who knows if the format will remain as well positioned for Eggs. It probably won’t be, considering my success. It’s possible Eggs might become as hated on as Storm was when it was legal, which could make it a bad choice. It’s a big advantage to be practiced with Eggs, because even if you realize Eggs is the best deck to play in Portland, it is not a deck you can audible into without experience.

Big thanks to Michael Boland for testing, lending me Gifts and Team Evil, and lot of good times! Also thanks to Jason Janasiewicz, Marina Fagundes, and Tim Froehlig for fun GPT’ing. Thanks Sam Brownlee for about half of the Eggs deck; thanks to my Dad for getting me into Magic, and everyone who’s helped me grow as a player over the years—you know who you are!

Until next time, have fun “egging some fools out!”

Nathan Holiday

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