Jund is Making the Ultimate Sacrifice in Standard!

Jund Sacrifice has been around for a while of course. We saw it win the Mythic Invitational IIV in the hands of Piotr Glogowski better known as Kanister. Reid Duke is ever the Jund Afficionado in all formats and he has also written a lot about the deck.

Since Companions hit the scene the deck has taken on a new evolution. Strangely it hasn’t been contorted to fit a companion into the mix. It’s powerful enough to take on decks with an extra card surprisingly. What we’ve seen is a push to going under, but then over the top. Let me explain a bit further.

The old iterations of Jund Sacrifice would use Korvold, Fae Cursed King to obtain a large amount of card advantage fast. Then it would use Casualities of War to decimate the opponent’s side of the board. With the rise of Jeskai Lukka and cards like Elspeth Conquers Death (ECD), we now see more of a go under plan in terms of working around the clause of ECD that it can only target permanents with an average converted mana cast of three or more.

The new lists look something like this:

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3072066

Bolas’s Citadel is the piece of this deck that’s new from past iterations. It comes down and with the Scry 1 ability on Woe Strider or by using Trail of Crumbs the deck can be manipulated to put down a large amount of permanents at the cost of not that much life. Once a Mayhem Devil hits the board and you can activate Citadel, you’ve likely won because that’s 20 damage.

There are a few flex spots to the deck so that a player can customize it however they so choose. You’ll probably wonder about my main deck choice of a singleton Soul-Guide Lantern. I wanted it in the sideboard, but I also wanted every other card in the sideboard. So, I fit the one that cycles and can sometimes be really powerful into the main deck.

I decided to play a 25th land where others are playing 24. I generally prefer to have excess mana as opposed to the opposite and side on the higher side of things typically. Most stock lists however do not play a 2nd Castle Locthwain.

The key elements for beating Lukka “AKA the boogeyman of Standard” is utilizing Trail of Crumbs to assemble the combo. It’s important to not let them also combo and steal all our lands before we can do so. Applying pressure in the early turns is important for this reason as well as boarding into multiple duress.

For the more aggressive opponents’ decks Citadel can often come too late and too high of a price. The sideboard strategy of bringing in Korvold as a throwback to versions of old and paired with Massacre Girl to sweep boards is a fun alternative. I personally like to keep at least one copy of Citadel in for almost any matchup.

My personal preference on Thrashing Brontodon is it’s better than Cindervines because the body can play a dual role. ¾ is basically a house against Obosh decks and can also deal with Grafdiggers Cage if they bring it in. Robber of the Rich is essential copies five and six of Trail of Crumbs for the Lukka Matchup and also other control variants.

It’s important to get your reps in with any deck, but this deck in particular can be quite important. I would also suggest that anyone interested in the deck tries it out online before attempting it in paper as well. The reason is there are one billion different interactions and triggers that are important to note. If an opponent has a Saga out on two for instance and you have a Mayhem Devil, you can utilize its going up to three sacrifice to finish off a Teferi planeswalker that’s on one loyalty.

Using Trail of Crumbs you want to maximize your ability to sacrifice food without paying the cost. Either by using Gilded Goose or by bringing back Cauldron Familiar. Do not forget that Cauldron Familiar can be used to Sacrifice multiple food with only one return from the dead if you so choose. Although if you have Woe Strider out you are better off returning it and getting to Scry some more.

Maintaining a high life total is important for maximizing a Citadel draw in later turns. Some turns you’ll want to dig for your win condition by setting up multiple activations of Trail of Crumbs. Other games you’ll just play Turn One Cat, Turn Two Double Oven, Turn Three Mayhem Devil, and if the opponent can’t meaningfully disrupt these cards. You’ll have lethal damage on Turn Four with no other cards needed.

There’s of course a lot more you’ll continue to discover as you play the deck more and more. However, that’s all for now, but be sure and check back next week for more on the Modern meta game. Modern is shifting fast we can stay on top of it together. Thanks for reading as always and If you’re hungry for more, check out my stream or Vods on Twitch.com/EliKassis.

Beating Companions with Ad Nauseam

Hello everyone, my name is Ryan Donkin (GR_DONKIN on MTGO) and I’m here to tell you all about what we can learn from my first place finish in the Lotus Box League Modern event with Ad Nauseam. Here’s the decklist we played for that day:

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3031488

Going into this tournament, I knew that the decks to beat were going to be Yorion Scapeshift and RB Prowess. This was great news to me as Ad Nauseam is a strong favorite in this field. Scapeshift plays expensive counter magic that folds very easily to Pact of Negation, and RB Prowess struggles a great deal when sitting across the table from a Leyline of Sanctity.

Yorion Scapeshift uses permanent-based cantrips and ramp spells to generate large amounts of card advantage. The deck also runs a suite of tempo-oriented counter spells to ensure there is enough time to resolve a game winning Scapeshift. The problem with this plan however, is that Remand and Cryptic Command cost 2 and 4 mana respectively while Pact of Negation from Ad Nauseam costs 0. This gives us a game winning mana advantage when interacting on the stack.

RB Prowess is a burn deck that grinds so hard it makes Jund look silly. The addition of Abbot of Keral Keep gives the deck another source of card advantage in the form of an aggressive threat. Cling to Dust is also another powerful synergistic tool for this deck as it provides yet another source of grindy card advantage while still being a flexible piece of interaction. While this particular deck does have discard spells to give it an edge vs Ad Nauseam in game one, it folds even harder to Leyline of Sanctity out of the Ad Nauseam sideboard.

What do these two decks have in common? Why were these two decks so successful in this tournament? The answer is simply one word: companions. Lurrus and Yorion are not only a free 8th card you are guaranteed at the start of the game, they also provide copious amounts of card advantage throughout the course of the game at seemingly no cost. This information leads me to our first big takeaway: Card advantage does not matter when the game ends on turn four.

Ad Nauseam simply does not care about how much incremental card advantage the opposing deck can create, and while the card advantage provided by these companions seems free, the awkward truths about these pushed 2020 rares makes them uncastable against Ad Nauseam. Let’s talk about Lurrus and Yorrion decks in general.

The biggest detriment to Lurrus is that it is a 3 mana play that has zero impact the game before turn 4. It simply does not interact with Ad Nauseam’s game plan in any way. There is a running joke within my Twitch community that Lurrus is the Modern Time Walk and it really plays out that way. The Lurrus opponent will tap out on turn three for a 3/2 lifelinker that maybe draws a card, then Ad Nauseam untaps on 4 and wins. There is never a good time to resolve Lurrus vs Ad Nauseam.

Yorion has the same problem as Lurrus but more so. How in the world does a five drop matter in a game that is slated to end on turn four? It doesn’t! Yorion cannot be deployed until after turn four, and by then it is too late. To make matters worse, the Yorion player is running 80 cards, which decreases their ability to specific haymakers or interaction.

By threatening to win the game on turn four, opposing decks built around their companions cannot utilize them effectively. This became very clear to me when reflecting on my matches for the tournament, I won all five of my Yorion Scapeshift matches, and three of my four RB Prowess Matches.

Another learning moment I had during this tournament was how I changed my decklist to account for the fact that it was an open decklist event. This means that both players had access to their opponent’s exact deck list before the match begins.

I think that this kind of information provides a huge advantage to both players, but how can this information be best utilized? The answer is to change your decklist to reward aggressive mulligans, and to build your sideboard in a way that makes it difficult for your opponent to sideboard effectively.

When talking about Ad Nauseam, I have always been the biggest advocate for Sleight of Hand. Sleight of Hand is an excellent card in Ad Nauseam because it gives you immediate card selection. There’s nothing quite better than hitting a Lotus Bloom off a Sleight of Hand on turn one! The main reason for Sleight of Hand however, is to fix good hands that are bad in a particular matchup.

A few examples of this are:

  • Keeping a good hand with no white card vs RB Prowess
  • Keeping a good hand with no Lotus Bloom vs G Tron

Sleight of Hand puts us on a fast track to getting those pieces sooner than later, which is important when trying to win on turn four. When I found out this tournament was an open decklist, I realised I no longer needed Sleight of Hand. I could afford to mulligan more aggressively to get an ideal hand in game one.

Another thing that gave me an edge in this tournament were the large haymaker creatures in my sideboard: Sphinx of the Final Word and Chandra & Awakened Inferno. I never brought these cards in against any deck that day, but they still helped me win. You may be wondering how, but the answer again lies in the fact that this was an open decklist tournament.

My opponents see these uncounterable threats in my sideboard, and they must respect them when making sideboarding choices. This could mean leaving in wraths post-board for the Sphinx, or perhaps even siding in Aether Gust for Chandra. I never needed these cards to win the game that day, but I’m sure the mind games from the sideboard gave me an edge.

If you’d like to hear my thoughts going into the tournament as well as all the gameplay from the day with my commentary, you can watch my video of the event here. I also stream Ad Nauseam multiple days a week on Twitch. My streams on Wednesday are always focused on educating people on how to best pilot Ad Nauseam!

That’s all I have today. I hope you enjoyed reading my explanation on why Ad Nauseam is a natural predator for companion decks, as well as how to better improve your decklist for an open decklist tournament.

Thanks so much for reading,
-Ryan

Store Reopening Update

Dear valued customers,

(un message français suivra)

I would like to provide you with some updates:

Face to Face Games retail locations (Montreal and Toronto)

Both the Montreal and Toronto stores will be reopening their doors in the coming days: Toronto on May 20th, and Montreal on May 25th.

The following services and products will be available:

  • Online order pick-up
  • Buy order drop-off
  • Supplies and sealed products

The following services will not be available immediately, instead they will be phased in over time:

  • Play space and events
  • Buying and selling of TCG singles

Free shipping and trade bonus

The following orders will continue to have free shipping:

  • All Montreal and Toronto in-store pickups
  • All orders over $30 (singles only): free 1st class shipping
  • All orders over $100: free expedited shipping

We will continue to offer the 35% trade bonus until both our in-store and Tour buy stations re-open.

F2F Tour

It is with great sadness that we have decided to permanently suspend the F2F Tour. While our initial decision to temporarily halt the tour was being reassessed monthly, we have decided to cancel all future events until they can be done in a safe manner. 2020 was shaping up to be a record year for attendance, and we plan on returning bigger and stronger than ever. For more information please contact events@facetofacegames.com.

On-line orders

We apologize for the delays and backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have rented additional space to increase our daily order output, while at the same time making sure that we are providing our staff a safe and comfortable work environment that complies with government regulations. We hope to be completely caught up by June 1st and would like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Your positive comments and messages of support have been a big moral boost to our staff during this crisis.

Commander 2020 singles

Commander 2020 singles did not ship out on May 15th as originally planned. This was due to external factors that resulted in our supply being delayed. We will be shipping those orders out this week. For more information please contact customerservice@facetofacegames.com.

Thank you once again for your continued support,

Très chers clients,

Nous souhaitons aujourd’hui vous transmettre les mises à jours suivantes :

Les magasins Jeux Face à Face (à Montréal et Toronto)

Nos deux magasins vont bientôt rouvrir leurs portes : le 20 mai pour celui de Toronto, et le 25 mai pour celui de Montréal.

Les services et les produits suivants seront disponibles :

  • Retrait des commandes passées en ligne
  • Dépôt des cartes que vous nous avez revendues en ligne
  • Achat d’accessoires de jeu et de produits scellés

Les services suivants ne seront en revanche pas disponibles immédiatement, mais seulement lors d’une date ultérieure encore à définir :

  • Espace pour jouer et tournois
  • Achat et vente de cartes à l’unité

Livraison gratuite et crédit magasin bonus

Toutes les commandes suivantes continueront de bénéficier de frais de livraison gratuits :

  • Retraits aux magasins de Montréal ou Toronto
  • Toutes commandes de plus de 30$ (cartes à l’unité seulement) : envoi par courrier standard gratuit
  • Toutes commandes de plus de 100$ : frais de livraison gratuits

Et nous continuerons d’offrir 35% de bonus en crédit magasin jusqu’à ce que nos magasins et nos stands sur les événements proposent à nouveau le rachat de cartes.

Circuit F2F (F2F Tour)

C’est avec énormément de tristesse que nous avons décidé de définitivement suspendre le circuit F2F (F2F Tour). En effet, bien que la suspension du circuit était jusqu’à maintenant réévaluée tous les mois, nous avons cette fois-ci décidé d’annuler tous les événements futurs, et ce jusqu’à ce qu’ils puissent à nouveau se dérouler en toute sécurité. L’année 2020 s’annonçait pour nous comme une année record en termes de nombre de participants, nous reviendrons donc plus grands et plus forts que jamais. Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter events@facetofacegames.com.

Commandes en ligne

Nous nous excusons pour l’accumulation de retard dans le traitement des commandes due à l’épidémie de COVID-19. Nous avons loué davantage d’espace de travail afin d’augmenter notre production, tout en nous assurant d’offrir à nos employés un espace de travail sécuritaire et conforme aux réglementations gouvernementales. Nous espérons rattraper ce retard d’ici le 1 er juin et souhaitions vous remercier pour votre patience et votre compréhension. Tous vos messages et vos commentaires positifs nous sont allés droit au cœur en cette période difficile.

Cartes à l’unité Commander 2020

Les cartes à l’unité Commander 2020 n’ont pas été envoyées le 15 mai comme cela était initialement prévu. Cela est dû à une combinaison de facteurs externes qui a résulté dans un retard d’approvisionnement. Ces commandes seront envoyées cette semaine. Pour plus d’informations, vous pouvez contacter: customerservice@facetofacegames.com.

Merci encore de votre soutien,

Scapeshift Just Got a Big Friend

The landscape of Modern has changed dramatically with Ikoria hitting the digital world. So much so, we may see bannings to help moderate the powerful mechanic that is Companion.

The two big standout companions have been Lurrus of the Dream-Den and Yorion, Sky Nomad. This has caused Modern to almost resemble Legacy with a flurry of Delver of Secret type decks. Which has also caused a burst in the popularity of Burn. On the flipside we have the newer bigger midrange meta. Yorion has allowed for a consistent big drop and a revitalization of the spells that have come before it.

For competitive magic there’s typically a balance to any healthy format. There’s All-In Aggro, Mid-Range, Control, and Combo. Typically, Mid-Range is meant to keep the Aggro decks in check while getting chewed up by Control. Combo comes in as an X-Factor that trumps Mid-Range typically, sometimes fares well against Control, but can be weak to Aggro.

Now that we see a large rise in the Mid-Range as the race to stop Burn increases in the meta. We look to see how we can one up everyone else that is on the same level. I wrote about the power of Scapeshift awhile back shortly before Companions hit the mean streets. Scapeshift utilizes cards in the deck to function as a one-card win condition. The limiting factor was that you needed sufficient Mountains in the deck to use with Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. That’s where Yorion comes in, the 80-card builds make this much simpler.

For those that haven’t had the pleasure of pulling off a Scapeshift win. Let me give a simple explanation. Scapeshift allows you to select all your lands. You then search your library for one or two copies of Valakut the Molten Pinnacle and at least six Mountains. For each copy of Valakut that is grabbed it deals three damage per mountain put into play simultaneously.

Scapeshift is a sacrifice upon resolution spell. Meaning you do not lose anything if you try and fail. Someone can disrupt the number of Mountains you have in play and the having five other Mountains clause does indeed check upon resolution a second time. Luckily there aren’t many people playing Boomerang anymore and Cryptic Command probably would have been used on the Scapeshift itself.

Many pros have been posting their decklists to Twitter and even though Edgar Magalhaes wasn’t the first to come up with the idea. His list appealed to me the most. As he put it, how many bad cards can Yorion make up for? To me his list ran the least number of bad cards. Let me share the list and we can go into the weeds.

[deck title=Scapeshift by Edgar Magalhaes]
[Companion]
1 Yorion, Sky Nomad
[/Companion]
[Lands]
1 Breeding Pool
3 Ketria Triome
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Mystic Sanctuary
2 Prismatic Vista
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Snow-Covered Forest
5 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Stream Vents
3 Stomping Grounds
2 Valakut the Molten Pinnacle
2 Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Ice-Fang Coatl
4 Sakura Tribe Elder
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Arcum’s Astrolabe
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Abundant Growth
4 Remand
4 Growth Spiral
4 Search for Tomorrow
4 Cryptic Command
4 Scapeshift
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
2 Aether Gust
3 Mystical Dispute
3 Anger of the Gods
1 Flame Slash
3 Veil of Summer
2 Weather the Storm
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3037421#paper

It’s immediately funny to me that decks like these run more lands than the Legacy lands deck would sometimes play. This is of course important because the deck wants to optimize getting to the seven-land base requirement of utilizing Scapeshift.

The Arcum’s Astrolabes, Abundant Growths, and Ice-Fang Coatls are all cheap effective cantrips that increase the power level of Yorion. Cards like Remand and Cryptic Command are sufficient disruption typically as you race to win with a big Scapeshift.

When you’re playing with 80 cards a 15-card sideboard becomes less effective. The odds of drawing a card with only a couple copies goes so far down that additional copies become necessary. The compensation for this is to ditch certain sideboard hate for some matchups and focus primarily on the other matchups that we can affect.

Looking at Edgar’s sideboard it seems that he is prepared to encounter Burn and counter-magic, mostly ignoring the rest of the very large diverse field that is Modern. Thankfully many of these cards are versatile enough to come in against some of the other matchups. Veil of Summer for instance is also effective against Black disruption decks like Jund.

The Flame Slash is definitely the spell that has me the most confused and my best guess is it’s just a free flex spot. The one copy is inconsistent enough that it will very infrequently come up anyway. The only cards in the sideboard not printed in the last year are the Flame Slash and Anger of the Gods interestingly enough. In the main deck we have 24 copies of cards also printed in the last year. For those keeping track that’s over 1/3rd of a 95-card deck that are all new.

One of the things that I think makes this deck even better is the printing of Ketria Triome. The fact that it counts as a mountain and produces all the colors of the deck, can cycle in the late game if you’re flooding out and can be searched out with a fetch land makes this a powerful addition. There are only 11 Mountains in the deck and you’ll need around 5 Mountains to remain in the deck when you resolve a Scapeshift. Definitely keep that in mind as you’re using your fetch lands.

I’m somewhat surprised to not see any Snapcaster Mages in the build. I think it’s easily a powerful addition to the deck for presenting a third approach. Lightning Bolt, Snapcaster Mage, Flashback Lightning Bolt was a common play in old Modern and I can easily see it being effective here again. Yorion also allows for Snapcaster to be somewhat reusable.

Some corner case plays I can see that you should be aware of include using Cryptic Command to return Yorion to your hand. This allows you to draw many extra cards if you have the right board presence. I can see wanting a Bojuka Bog and Field of the Dead somewhere in the 95 to provide additional leverage with your Scapeshifts. This may not become important until this deck catches on further however. There’s always the common Uroza play of using Mystic Sanctuary + Cryptic Command + the additional draw of Uro to keep countering or tapping continually.
I would rate the power level of this deck at around a 9 out of 10. Also, that its ease of play is much lower than the average Modern deck. I would recommend it for any meta that consisted of a heavy amount of Tron, Control, or even Prowess. Traditional Burn decks can present a problem however and anyone that wants to can easily hate this deck out after sideboarding. Luckily it’s fresh and new and currently outside of the meta.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading as always. See you next week!

Orzhov Constellation is Out of This World!

Welcome friends, I’m talking about Standard with you today. Sorry devoted Eternal crowd, but have no fear. We will return to our regularly scheduled broadcasting next week!

If you’re like me, you got tired of the typical rat race in Standard. I decided to brew something special up. I have really enjoyed playing with Hateful Eidolon and of course I love card advantage… who doesn’t? So Orzhov Auras was born!

Let’s start with the deck as I like to do and then we can get to the talkie talkie.

[deck title=Orzhov Auras]
[Creatures]
2 Ajani’s Pridemate
4 Alseid of Life’s Bounty
2 Aphemia, the Cacophony
4 Hateful Eidolon
4 Stonecoil Serpent
[/Creatures]
[Enchantments]
4 All That Glitters
4 Dead Weight
3 Mire’s Grasp
[/Enchantments]
[Spells]
2 Drill Bit
2 Karametra’s Blessing
2 Call of the Death-Dweller
3 Mythos of Nethroi
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Godless Shrine
2 Indatha Triome
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Plains
6 Swamp
2 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Silence
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Duress
3 Eidolon of Obstruction
3 Extinction Event
3 Light of Hope
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
3 Soul-Guide Lantern
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2994839#paper

You’re probably wondering what most of these cards do. Well none of them are particularly powerful on their own. They do however make for excellent synergies when banded together.

We have 12 plays for turn one between Alseid of Life’s Bounty, Hateful Eidolon, and Stonecoil Serpent. This hopefully gets followed up by another powerful play on turn two. Either enchanting a one drop with All That Glitters or playing Aphemia, the Cacophony or Ajani’s Pridemate.

Eight of the one drops have lifelink which will grow Pridemate immediately upon attack. Those same eight copies are enchantments, so if the creature is removed by a spell, you’ll play Aphemia ideally and net four power on turn two with additional abilities.

Some of the easiest games you’ll have are when Hateful Eidolon is the turn one play. Then you spend several turns using Dead Weight and Mire’s Grasp to destroy your opponents creatures, drawing cards with each lethal spell.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den is of course the Coup de Gras. Meaning the powerful consistent spell we get to summon when the time is right. I say the time is right because many people are playing cards like [card]Elspeth Conquers Death[/card]. We only have our companion as a target since the rest of the deck has a converted mana cost of less than three. So the play lines are typically wait until the ideal moment to spring Lurrus. Then ride the cat’s powerful ability the rest of the way home.

Having lots of life-linking abilities and the ability to grow your creatures makes for easy matchups against most of the aggressive decks in the format. Red decks often feel like byes whereas go big strategies like Yorion and Fires can be a bit trickier. Luckily this deck is not a known quantity and those go big strategies are still metagaming for the mirror mostly.

Main deck cards that used to be reserved for sideboards like Aether Gust, Mystical Dispute, and other targeted color based cards are mostly ineffective against this color combination. So we have inherent value in making some of our opponent’s decks functionally weak in our matchups. In addition, it’s seldom that anyone has any sideboard cards prepared for us.

Now let’s talk sweet plays because honestly that’s what I’m all about when I’m building a brew. The cool thing is after laddering to Mythic with this deck I got to pull off just about all of the plays I’m about to tell you about.

Karametra’s Blessing on any of our enchantment creatures or a creature enchanted by [card]All That Glitters[/card] is functionally a counter for [card]Shatter the Sky[/card] and typically brings our power above four so we also get to draw a card. If this play wasn’t powerful enough it gives it hexproof against any targeted removal spells. I know this one’s a simple one, I’ll get more complex as we go.

[card]Mythos of Nethroi[/card] has a bonus ability if we have green mana available. So I have tweaked the mana base to include six sources of green that I believe do not hurt the consistency of the deck significantly. This way we have answers to Planeswalkers, but also Fires of Invention and Wilderness Reclamation. Since these cards are the fuel for a couple of the big strategies, it’s nice to have main deck answers that are flexible. Then post board we can bring in Light of Hope to answer others.

Okay so [card]Stonecoil Serpent[/card] has protection from multi-colored spells. Most of the powerful cards in Standard are multi-colored. If you can turn one play a Serpent, turn two play an All that Glitters, then turn three play a second copy with a [card]Drill Bit[/card] to ensure the opponent doesn’t have a Shatter the Sky. Most decks in the format will immediately lose to this line of play.

If you have a [card]Call of the Death-Dweller[/card] in hand, we can run Lurrus of the Dream-Den out almost immediately. Not many decks are equipped to deal with the cat two turns in a row. On top of which they’ve likely already killed one of your earlier plays as well. This allows you to recur an Alseid almost indefinitely and grind out most opponents.

On occasion you’ll have the opportunity to have two Hateful Eidolons out. When you attack and the opponent is playing little to no creatures, you can use your Karametra’s Blessing to attack for more damage, gain more life, then post-combat use Dead Weight twice on your own creature. This draws four cards for you and cycles away two cards that were effectively useless in the matchup. I once did this with three Eidolons out and turned two Dead Weights into 6 cards.

A good opponent will start to respect [card]Karametra’s Blessing[/card]. So it’s usually a good idea to sideboard them out when you’re not sure what to remove. This works better with open decklists of course. Remember that if you want to level up in magic, you’ll need to know how to bluff on some attacks. This means forcing your opponent to respect the Blessing.

[card]Dead Weight[/card] and [card]Mire’s Grasp[/card] can be used in conjunction on opposing creatures to take down larger sized ones. Remember that Eidolon draws you cards for each Aura attached. So we still net an advantage on these exchanges with Eidolon out. In some cases it can be advantageous to put a couple Dead Weights on a 6/6 Shark Typhoon before using Mythos of Nethroi to destroy it. Thus netting you additional draws via the Hateful Eidolon.

The sideboard is fairly straight-forward for the deck and typically there will be lots of bad cards in our main for certain matchups. Light of Hope as discussed above for Fires and Reclamation. Those matchups we do not want Dead Weight/Mire’s Grasp.

Duress similarly comes in for those matchups to remove the obstacle answers, but also great for removing planeswalker problem cards or sweeper effects.

[card]Soul-Guide Lanter[/card] is excellent versus any deck leaning on the graveyard. This will typically be other Lurrus opponents but also some builds of Bant and Sultai lean on either Uro, Cavalier of Thorns, or Tamiyo, Collector of Tales. These decks also do not require small removal spells.

[card]Eidolon of Obstruction[/card] is nice for disrupting the decks with lots of Planeswalkers like Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils. Having it cost one additional mana to active the ability effectively neuters them on several turns and limits decks from making multiple plays in the same turn. The additional bonus here is Eidolon of Obstruction is an enchantment itself. So it feeds into Aphemia, All that Glitters, and the whole deck really.

[card]Extinction Event[/card] is mostly for any decks playing Gyruda or Obosh as their companions. Since it can be a one-sided sweeper and the exile is effective in many of those matchups. It felt better than a traditional sweeper because we normally want to be progressing our board state with creatures as well. I would bring these in against Cavalier versions of Fires as well.

The most common method of finishing off the opponent with this deck comes from Alseid of Life’s Bounty. Giving a creature protection from a color against most decks is enough to make it unblockable. If the creature is a large Pridemate or has an All That Glitters on top of it, you can generally ride that method home to victory. Just do not forget if you give a creature protection from White to make it unblockable the All That Glitters would fall off. Luckily many of the White creatures in the format are multi-colored and also contain Blue.

Alright that’s all for now. I expect I will continue to work more on this deck over time. I welcome any feedback from anyone else wanting to give it a swing. It definitely performed the best for me overall when laddering. The most common opponents in BO1 ladders are mono red and that’s our most favorable matchup. Be sure and come back next week for my latest article on another sweet deck in Modern!

UPDATE: Yorion Fires has spiked as the best deck and this is how I would adjust the deck to combat that.

[deck title=Updated Orzhov Auras]
[Creatures]
4 Alseid of Life’s Bounty
2 Aphemia, the Cacophony
4 Hateful Eidolon
4 Stonecoil Serpent
[/Creatures]
[Enchantments]
4 All That Glitters
3 Dead Weight
2 Kaya’s Ghostform
2 Mire’s Grasp
[/Enchantments]
[Spells]
3 Drill Bit
4 Karametra’s Blessing
1 Call of the Death-Dweller
3 Mythos of Nethroi
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Godless Shrine
2 Indatha Triome
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Plains
6 Swamp
2 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Silence
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Duress
2 Eidolon of Obstruction
2 Extinction Event
2 Heliod’s Intervention
2 Light of Hope
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1 Mythos of Nethroi
2 Soul-Guide Lantern
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2994840#paper

Lurrus is Meow-Tastic!

If you tuned in last week you learned all about the powerful new mechanic Companions. Much like Planeswalkers did, Companions seem set to shift the dynamics of Magic forevermore.

Planeswalkers represented a recurring, stackable threat. Each usage made the cost that much more worthwhile. If left unchecked, they would eventually amount to an insurmountable advantage.

Companions on the other hand are capable of bringing consistency and an 8th card to the starting hand size. When you think of it in this way it sounds kind of absurd…. And it is. Especially considering that many of these cards are good enough to play in the main deck.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den in particular is a card that seems to be storming all formats. Even playable in Modern Storm as a companion and currently being tool boxed with in Lotus Field Storm lists. Lurrus has taken every format to a new axis and I am going to focus on an old Modern list that I feel has gotten a very powerful new upgrade.

[deck title=Jeskai Breach!]
[Creatures]
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
4 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1 Thassa’s Oracle
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Arcum’s Astrolabe
1 Chromatic Star
3 Engineered Explosives
1 Generous Gift
4 Grinding Station
4 Mishra’s Bauble
3 Mox Amber
2 Seal of Fire
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Underworld Breach
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
2 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Steam Vents
1 Sunbaked Canyon
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Aether Gust
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
3 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Generous Gift
1 Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
1 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Seal of Fire
1 Vendilion Clique
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

First thing to point out is that I am not playing Lurrus as a Companion, so I am not bound to its deck restrictions. The nice part here is it frees us up to play Emry, Lurker of the Loch which is a pivotal card in the deck.

Lurrus acts as Emry’s 5th-8th copies. In some instances, it outperforms Emry. If you have Lurrus and Grinding Station you can begin to grind yourself in the hopes of milling over a Breach. Then using Lurrus, cast Breach from the yard and continue to combo off for the victory. Many games will be gone with a quick Lurrus and a recurring of Seal of Fire blasting away all the opponent’s threats.

For those unfamiliar with how the deck works. Grinding Stations mills for three cards and you’ll target yourself with this ability. Ideally sacrificing a 0-mana artifact to do so (Engineered Explosives, Mox Amber, or Mishra’s Bauble). Then using Breach you’ll replay the 0-mana artifact. Which will untap Grinding Station and set you up to repeat the loop. Once you’ve milled away your deck and cast Oracle, you win!

Mox Amber and Emry allow you to combo off with just an untapped blue source after playing Breach and Station. Essentially you mill yourself until Emry is in the yard. You will need a 2nd artifact on the board if you’re comboing off underneath this restriction or eight cards in the graveyard. Then you’ll cast Emry and use Amber over and over to play anything you want. The eight cards in the graveyard is so that you can eventually play a 2nd artifact to meet Emry’s reduction cost while still having enough cards in the graveyard to cast Emry itself.

The Chromatic Star can enable an alternative kill in some scenarios with Seal of Fire. Playing Teferi, Time Raveler while “Going Off” can also help protect against certain answers. A singleton Generous Gift in the main and side is for decks packing Karn, The Great Creator, but also serves as a flexible spot to deal with other threats.

For burn we get to bring in Burrenton Forge-Tender. Tender can negate an Eidolon from Burn for the whole turn on top of countering a lethal spell. With Lurrus it can be recast and protect the 3/2 Lifelinking body of Lurrus. This allows for life gaining attacks and can be a pivotal advantage.

Sai, Master Thopterist and Saheeli, Sublime Artificer both come in to threaten problem planeswalkers. They also provide an anti-graveyard-based strategy for victory. Monastery Mentor was also considered in this slot but I deemed it too easily killed in this new and current meta. Also, the synergies these two cards provide with the rest of the deck is enticing. With Saheeli, Station, Breach, and any 0-mana artifact. You can mill the opponents deck away. Each cast of the artifact creates another 1/1 artifact, which untaps Grinding Station another time and feeds it another artifact to sacrifice. Whereas Sai allows you to sacrifice unneeded artifacts for additional card advantage as well as give you the alternative win con of milling out your opponent.

Lavinia is an excellent card vs Tron decks but also combo decks like Griselbrand Neoform. The extra advantage to Lavinia being Legendary is it enables Mox Amber to produce mana. Vendilion Clique is similar in this regard and when we are trying to press for micro-advantages, Clique is great for surprising the opponent. It can take a planeswalker out while also manipulating their hand or your own.

Teferi, Time Raveler is one of the best ways to ensure our strategy doesn’t lose to counterspells. It also enables Mox plus gives us tempo and card advantage.  There are games I’ll play an Underworld Breach, recycle Mishra’s Bauble a bunch of times and then use Teferi to bounce Underworld Breach to my hand. This allows me to draw a bunch of cards and then combo kill on the next turn.

There will also be scenarios where you can cast Station and Breach but not have the mana requirements for Thassa’s Oracle. However, if Oracle is in your hand and you’re not facing lethal on your opponent’s turn, you’ll mill away the majority of your deck, untap and cast Oracle for the win.

Against decks like Humans my preferred method of victory is leaning on Emry or Lurrus and Engineered Explosives. Repeatedly wiping away their board presence often ensures their defeat. Lurrus has been shown to be an excellent threat for pressuring the opponent in multiple ways as well. The cat’s ability to bring back Station or Breach really brings this deck over the top in my eyes.

So far, I have only been able to test the deck in Magic Online leagues due to our present circumstances with Covid-19. I have fareed quite well starting out with a 4-1 into two 5-0’s. Once I knew I was onto something I knew I wanted to write about it because Lurrus is definitely a top runner for a banning. The funny part is the cat might get banned before we even get to own a physical copy of it or sling it in a live tournament.

That’s all for now, but be sure and check back next week for more. Modern is shifting fast and I plan to stay on top of it. If you’re hungry for more now check out my stream on Twitch.com/EliKassis.