Modern decks that take multiple turns in order to win the game have been my bread and butter for a while now. I remember the first time I played the archetype was over 3 years ago, in March, 2014 on TCGplayer. The deck performed amazingly and it was pretty much love at first sight. Since then, there have been numerous variations on the archetype, especially with cards like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Part the Waterveil, and Dictate of Kruphix seeing print. And excitingly enough, last weekend at Grand Prix Las Vegas, we saw the archetype finally break through and breach the Top 8 in the hands of Daniel Wong! But there was another list that performed well a week prior…
Despite not having recorded an episode of our podcast, Freshly Brewed, in over a month, Ali Aintrazi still seems able to find some success at large events. Who knew that his skill didn’t come directly from our discussions? He secured a Top 8 finish at the SCG Modern Classic in Charlotte with the following list.
Now there are definitely some exciting cards in this list that I don’t normally see: Narset Transcendent, Nissa, Steward of Elements, and Seasons Past to name a few. The deck does take a much different approach to the archetype, eschewing Howling Mine and Dictate of Kruphix for more planeswalkers. This makes the deck seem a lot more like a Savor the Moment/Doubling Season deck than a turn-taking deck, but it does indeed take turns as well.
Unfortunately, when I went to play my first round, the Magic Online client crashed about two turns into the game. I had a pretty spicy hand too. It didn’t come back up for a bit, so my match was lost to the ether.
Unfortunately, when I went to play my second round, I was playing against Enduring Ideal. Guys, if there’s one thing I say week in and week out on Modern Monday, it’s that I don’t recommend playing white without ways to deal with enchantments or artifacts. There are just too many things that you can face in this format to lose to silly cards like Ensnaring Bridge, or, I don’t know, numerous enchantments.
The following rounds didn’t go much better. With only 3 Cryptic Commands in the deck, you don’t have a tremendous number of ways to disrupt your opponent. One thing the other turn decks have going for them is that they don’t usually have creatures, so that blanks a lot of removal. This version does have creatures, so my Jaces and my Hierarchs have sizable targets on their heads. The same is true of my Utopia Sprawled lands. It felt rare that I had enough mana to cast a planeswalker and a Time Warp effect in the same turn. Often this meant casting a planeswalker, hoping it survived the turn, then Time Warping.
I wish I had more disruption like Spell Pierce of Dispel, just to make sure my key spells resolved. I’m not sure how Ali did it, but the deck has a ton of decisions to make, and I often worry about timing out or sequencing incorrectly. Regardless of my results, the deck has some fun cards, a proven result, and a ton of choices to make on any given turn. For this reason, I still suggest you give it a try if you’re looking for something unique in Modern!