Alex Bianchi won GP Pittsburgh with an interesting and innovative Jeskai Twin deck (you can read his tournament report here). As a long time Twin player who greatly enjoys flirting with Jeskai strategies, this excited me far more than it should. That said, his decklist looked, frankly, confused to me. One Wall of Omens? Two Restoration Angels? Three Splinter Twins? One Kiki-Jiki? What are we playing here – Twin or Jeskai Control? I’m pretty sure the optimal Twin strategy is a vanilla UR, as those two colours have all the tools you need without any help. At the same time, a Jeskai control deck requires every individual card to have an impact on the game, lest you draw a bunch of blanks and fall behind.
So how do you end up with the end result (a resilient and versatile Jeskai deck) while maintaining the fun, options, and play of a Twin deck? The answer is a bit of an old deck… UWR Kiki. Originally this deck turned up in a metagame full of BGx decks as a Twin-like answer to Abrupt Decay’s dominance – Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki can combo through it! Abrupt Decay is no longer quite the same percentage of the metagame, but that doesn’t mean this deck has no place. I drafted up the version of the deck I’d want to play in the current Toronto metagame.
This deck might not have gained much from recent sets – Vryn’s Prodigy isn’t good in a deck looking to blink creatures – but is still as fun as ever. It’s very capable of randomly turning the tables in a game where an opponent stumbles and putting them on a one or two turn clock with Colonnades, 3-power fliers, and burn spells. The combo kill gives you an edge that you wouldn’t otherwise have in unfair matchups, and blinking Vendilion Clique is way better than it looks.
One notable omission is Cryptic Command. The card is obviously very powerful, but in a deck with Restoration Angel, you already have a lot of real estate in the 4-drop slot. We also need to cast Kiki-Jiki in a UW deck, and cutting Cryptic lets us play all-stars like Ghost Quarter and Desolate Lighthouse, which lets us pitch Kiki and Mana Leak when they’re dead in awkward games.
But enough of this blast to the past. You have a set of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy from Standard and desperately want to play it in Modern. You tried a bunch of Grixis decks but found yourself losing all the time. What you need… is Sultai Jund! Chef Tony at Face to Face Games Toronto asked me to come up with a Sultai deck in Modern, and I felt it was only fair to trade a brew for the fair trade coffee he brews me every day (sorry).
I love BGx, but I hate Dark Confidant’s role in Jund due to the deckbuilding constraints he puts on you. Abzan bores me to tears, because you’re encouraged to play slow, unexciting cards like Lingering Souls and Siege Rhino. Vryn’s Prodigy, however, fits snugly in the 2-drop slot, is insanely fun to play with, and feeds plenty of graveyard synergies in a BGx deck. It’s also at its best flashing back efficient sorceries, and Thoughtseizes are integral to this deck. We’re off to the races!
Before I go any further, I have to mention that this list is mostly untested. In theory, it should have a very favourable matchup against any unfair decks due to its propensity to play at least 3 Thoughtseize effects per game. It should also crush any and all midrange decks due to its access to overwhelming card advantage. It should also be extremely bad against Burn and Affinity. One “easy” solution to some of the deck’s aggro problems would be to add a certain number of Kitchen Finks to the sideboard, but the available manabase strongly encourages green being light, rather than heavy, which is required for Finks.
Instead of going too far down the path of altering the mana, I’d rather recommend not taking this strategy for a spin in an aggro-heavy metagame. Imagine flashing back Rain of Tears against Tron. That’s what you want to do. Live the dream. Enjoy the brews.