Quick List: Aggro Tarmotwin


A few weeks ago, I played a Modern Showdown at Face to Face Games Toronto, and had a traumatizing experience in my top 8 match. It was game 1 against a strong local player, Richard Welch. I knew he was on Tarmotwin. I tried to Lightning Bolt a Bounding Krasis. He had a Spell Pierce. I tried to Roast a Tarmogoyf. He Boomerang’d it. Eventually I made an aggressive Snapcaster/Electrolyze play to try to get ahead. He flashed back his Spell Pierce. Admittedly, I was upset at the time, as those cards aren’t on my short list of playables in Twin. They’re just so mediocre in longer games.

But then I thought about it some more. Maybe there’s a build of Tarmotwin that really doesn’t want to ever play a longer game. I’ve always thought of Spell Pierce in Modern as a card that’s only really reasonable when you want to beat Thoughtseizes and Liliana of the Veil, but it’s significantly more versatile than that if you’re using Tarmogoyf and Splinter Twin to apply massive pressure on your opponent.

So I set out to build a hyper-aggressive proof of concept. As usual, Patrick Dickmann was ahead of the curve, so I had a strong base to work on already. I, however, wanted to try some real spice.

Aggro Tarmotwin – Daniel Fournier

Some of these deviant card choices need a bit of explanation. Remember that this is kind of a proof of concept decklist, and that some of the decisions are a bit… extreme.

Mutavault: While we want to attack a bunch to kill our opponents, our creature count is relatively low. Having our lands be creatures helps a bunch with that. There are a lot of situations where we can use Bounding Krasis or Pestermite to “surprise” our opponents and set up an unexpected Mutavault attack. I’ve always felt like Mutavault is one of the most powerful underplayed cards in Modern. However, if you want to be more reasonable, this would typically be a Ghost Quarter slot in this deck.

Vapor Snag: I love this card. It’s so versatile for one mana. If you’re ahead on board, it’s the best removal spell ever. Flashing it back with Snapcaster feels amazing. In a pinch, it counters removal. If you have one in a graveyard and a Snapcaster in hand, you can Fog a Thrun. I loved this card so much in Standard that I once played a Delver deck with an Unsummon in it to a finish at an SCG Open. The more aggressive we get, the stronger this card becomes. However, in a sane person’s world, this slot would be 1 Dismember and 1 Roast.

Pyroclasm (SB): Typically I would want Anger of the Gods in this metagame, but given that we swapped out our 1/4s for 3/3s, and want to be more efficient on mana in early turns, I have a strong hunch that Pyroclasm is where we want to be at in this deck.

Thundermaw Hellkite (SB): This card is the nuts. People tend to play Keranos, Batterskull, or even Teferi in this slot. Thundermaw Hellkite is equally unbeatable and immediately kills them. You haven’t lived until you’ve played this against Abzan to kill 4 Lingering Souls tokens and attack for lethal. In a lot of Twin decks, this slot is a bit more debatable, but here we’re so focused on killing our opponents that picking the most efficient 5-drop to do that is almost assuredly correct.

Molten Rain (SB): This card used to be fairly popular in decks that didn’t want to play Blood Moon, but fell out of favour recently. I like it in a Tarmogoyf deck because of how good it can be in random slower matchups on the play. It applies life total and land count pressure, which is a very unique combination.

This deck plays out extremely aggressively – your cards are not suited to a long game, so you need to leverage your tempo advantages carefully. Sideboarding should be fairly straightforward. If your opponent is at all heavy on removal, it’s easy to board out of the Twin plan with a bunch of powerful, difficult to answer sideboard threats. You become a bit of a more midrange-centric Delver deck, where you want to land a threat and then set up attack steps to the best of your ability.

Let me know on Twitter (@tirentu) if you have any questions! Share your experiences with the deck or a similarly aggressive build – I look forward to hearing from you all!