June ’19 Brew Report, Pt. 2: Aria of Brews

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Picking up where we left off last week, today we'll continue unearthing the new tech found in July's MODO dumps. Let's dive right in!

Cutesy Combos

Combo is alive and well in Modern, and probably always will be. Novel ways to win on turn four are in tall supply since the format's card pool is so deep. First up today is a deck revolving around Solemnity.

Mono-White Solemnity doesn't go the usual route of using Solemnity with Phyrexian Unlife out of a prison shell, although it does boast that combo out of the sideboard to shut down damage-based decks. In Game 1, it's more interested in going off with persist creatures and a sacrifice outlet: Blasting Station for damage, or Altar of Dementia for mill. When a creature with persist dies while Solemnity is on the battlefield, it returns from the graveyard without a counter, letting pilots sacrifice it an arbitrary number of times.

Altar gives any deck looking for it a generic sac outlet, which enables decks like Mono-White Solemnity that already have access to another. But also giving the deck a big boost is Lesser Manticore, the best persist creature this side of Kitchen Finks. Manticore does a solid Grim Lavamancer impression in longer games against creature decks by gunning down enemy forces. Mono-White Solemnity isn't really looking to play fair, but Manticore gives it some semblance of a plan if it needs to.

Bant Snow, by MAYODOMINARIA (5-0)

Bant Snow is a deck I brewed up myself some weeks ago, and focusing on the same combo: Teferi or Narset with Day's Undoing. This deck adds some extra tech, chief of all moving the Rest in Peaces to the mainboard. Opt is given the nod over Noble Hierarch, and more expensive cards are added, from Jace, the Mind Sculptor to the miser's Teferi's Puzzle Box.

I feel that most of these fixes make the deck slower in the name of consistency that isn't necessarily needed. But I do like maining Rest in Peace in this climate.

New Takes

Some existing decks have also seen fresh updates lately.

This is just the first Bridgeless Hoggak list that appeared online after the banning, but the deck has by now proven itself a significant force in Modern even without the infamous enchantment. Hedron Crab seems to have been mostly abandoned.

Echo Urza isn't as much a new take on the Urza, Lord High Artificer decks we've seen at the top tables as a new strategy entirely. It revolves around Riddlesmith, a first-time-in-Modern creature that loots through the deck as pilots deploy artifacts. Crucially, this looting function dumps Echo of Eons into the graveyard so pilots can flash it back. Activating the shiny new Timetwister lets players refill on artifacts to cheaply deploy, keeping the cycle going and looting through the deck.

Simian Spirit Guide greases the wheels here, shortening the clock by resolving a payoff early. Saheeli and Sai are also here as legendary ways to benefit from playing many artifacts in a row.

Seeing Red

Burn may have dominated for much of Modern's history, but now the format is home to a variety of red-based aggro decks, including Skred and Goblins. New ones also continue to poke their heads out of the woodwork.

Rakdos Arcanist runs none other than Unearth alongside Dreadhorde Arcanist, recreating a new combo we explored in detail last week. But there are no Elemental synergies here, despite there being plenty of the creature type in the deck between Lightning Skelemental and Seasoned Pyromancer's tokens. Instead, Gurmag Angler makes a rare appearance outside of Grixis Shadow and Hollow One as raw bulk available as early as turn two. Hazoret can't resolve until later, but defeats many decks single-handedly when it does.

Mono-Red Phoenix evokes blazing starts, powered either by the deck's namesake bird or by 1/2s with prowess. Both Monastery Swiftspear and Soul-Scar Mage are absent from Big Phoenix, the latest spin on the strategy. Card quality is prioritized here over speed, and the non-Phoenix threats serve to refill pilots on cards once they've become low on resources. Mono-Red runs ritual spells to power out its creatures early and improve the synergy with Phoenix, which was perhaps shaky in the prowess builds, decks fundamentally split between two gameplans. Having rituals improves Blood Moon out of the side.

A Grave Future

With Hogaak again rising in Modern, the future is uncertain. Will the deck continue to prove oppressive? How many new decks will break out in the coming months? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you have a lead on any promising tech!

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