Welcome back to what will assuredly be another Modern Whateverday! You see, for the last nine or so days I’ve been without power thanks to Hurricane Irma. So, uh, that was good times. Aside from the neighbor’s tree falling on my house, not having access to a computer, hot water, air conditioning, or a washer and dryer, I actually got away pretty unscathed. So I’ve got that going for me. All that being the case though, it should explain why you saw fewer videos from me on the site and why I was unable to stream through all that mess.
But here I am, and I’m taking a look at a spicy number that my buddy, the one and only Zac Elsik, managed to 5-0 a Magic Online League with as UTDZac.
As many of you might know, Zac is known for his rather eccentric deck lists, and this one is no exception. At first glance, it may look like a bad version of Abzan or Kiki-Chord, but there’s a lot going on underneath the hood here.
While I’m always eager to take Siege Rhino for a spin in Modern, I’m even more eager to return them to play for additional Lightning Helices via Séance. Surprisingly enough, Séance is actually a super efficient card advantage engine. While you don’t get to keep the creatures it creates, and it awkwardly doesn’t give them haste, there are still a ton of abilities that are going to trigger from the enchantment. Commune with the Gods and Satyr Wayfinder, both from Theros, ensure that you can consistently fill your graveyard with creatures.
Well, that was a surprising turn of events. If you only happened to watch the first round before turning it off due to the efficient loss to Death’s Shadow, be sure and stick it out. Things get interesting afterward.
Note that I had some pretty decent results and I only played a Birds of Paradise on turn 1 in a single game. While Birds of Paradise is always a powerful play, I wonder if they’re even necessary here, given their lack of synergy with Séance. I wonder if adding a few more Coiling Oracles and two of something else might be better. I can easily see adding a Thragtusk or a second Huntmaster to the main deck, but these suggestions of course require heavier commitments to both red and blue mana, which the Birds conveniently helped with. Considering how good Restoration Angel is with every creature in this deck, I can see adding a second Angel as well.
Often a sideboard card at best, Lone Missionary was pleasantly impressive here. Being able to gain between 4 and 16 life from the main deck actually gives you a pretty reasonable game 1 against decks like Burn. There was definitely a point where I wished it was targeted so I could kill a Death’s Shadow, however.
In a perfect world, Zac plays a turn-1 Birds of Paradise into a turn-2 Fulminator Mage, killing a land, then playing a turn 3 Séance to reanimate the Mage on the opponent’s upkeep to kill a second land. This isn’t super easy to pull off and hasn’t actually happened for me, but I didn’t feel like it hindered my game plan very much. While I didn’t face many problematic lands, it seems worth it to keep an answer in the main deck, just in case I run up against creature-lands, Academy Ruins, Tron pieces, etc.
This deck was a lot better than I was expecting. It turns out that when you get multiple uses out of your 187 creatures, they’re even better. While I would, as usual, love to make some of my own personal tweaks to the list, I can’t deny the power of its game plan. I definitely recommend that you pick up some copies of Séance and give this one a try.