In the wise words of DJ Khaled, "ANOTHER ONE!" For the third week in a row, I've had a successful run at a Regional Championship Qualifier, this time a finals appearance with Four-Color Omnath Control. The list I played was courtesy of my friend, @GavinBennettMTG, whose name you may recognize from my UW Control article a few weeks ago. Gavin won an RCQ the week prior with the same 95, so I trusted his recommendation when he said it was cracked in half. Sure enough, the deck didn't disappoint.
The Four-Color archetype focuses on slowing down the game with flexible, early interaction in Prismatic Ending backed up by various two-for-ones such as Expressive Iteration and Ice-Fang Coatl to build up card advantage. It utilizes Wrenn and Six and A-Omnath, Locus of Creation to guarantee land drops and create a life total buffer so that aggressive decks lose steam. Meanwhile, A-Teferi, Time Raveler shuts down control strategies while providing a tempo advantage.
Once both players are in top-deck mode, the Yorion, Sky Nomad companion can come in to draw extra cards with Omnath, Coatl, and Abundant Growth, reset loyalty on planeswalkers, or exile additional threats with City of Solitude.
This tried and true core has been extremely successful at dismantling the other popular decks in the Modern metagame. Anything trying to play fair will ultimately tire itself out against this "good stuff" deck.
What I Like
The current flavor of the month with the Omnath deck is a Traverse the Ulvenwald package including game-winning threats like Emrakul, the Promised End, and even Sundering Titan for the mirror match. It also has a handful of slots for Eternal Witness and Ephemerate. These cards provide an additional value-oriented core as well as a tutorable way to close out the game for an archetype that can accidentally run out the clock. However, this package struggles a bit when it comes to combo-style decks as the only countermagic is Counterspell proper.
What I like about this build of four-color is that it's closer to a straight UW control deck, just splashing for a few high-impact spells. There's no fiddling around with Akroma, Angel of Fury, Abnormal Endurance, Risen Reef or other tribal shenanigans. Instead, it gains access to Archmage's Charm and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Charm provides additional forms of interaction against combo decks (where the archetype tends to struggle) as well as card draw in a pinch.
Teferi is especially powerful when combined with Omnath's second landfall trigger. A typical sequence is landing Omnath on turn 5, playing and cracking a fetchland, then using the additional mana generated by Omnath to cast Teferi. Teferi upticks and untaps two lands for its controller to then hold up Counterspell. Having access to 11 mana's worth of plays and going up two cards at that stage of the game is often enough to break parity and take over.
What I Don't Like
I know it comes with the territory, but bringing this deck to a paper tournament is a slog. Every round will either go to time or close to it, commonly with 1-0-1 record wins. This means planning plays ahead of time and trying to keep up the pace with the more dexterous aspects of the deck, like knowing which lands to fetch and finding them quickly. Also important—bring snacks! There will be no time between rounds to get something to eat, so pre-packaging something is critical to offset the mental fatigue. This tournament was seven rounds before the cut to Top Eight, and I played the mirror a total of five times. Expect that to be the standard.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I don't have much to critique about the actual composition of the deck. I was unimpressed with Nimble Obstructionist in the sideboard, which primarily was meant to answer Emrakul's cast trigger in the mirror. However, this sequence still leaves the opponent with the 13/13 creature, and holding up three mana for a Stifle effect, albeit an uncounterable one through a Teferi, Time Raveler, is still too much.
I'd be interested in replacing it with Tale's End, a cheaper Stifle variant with the added benefit of being a clean answer to opposing planeswalkers and legendary creatures like Omnath. Incidentally countering Boseiju, Who Endures and the rest of the channel land cycle is a big plus too. It can even counter the exile trigger from an opposing Solitude or hose an opposing fetchland for an early game advantage.
Speaking of Boseiju, it's likely incorrect for the deck to have zero copies in the 95. The blue lean in the mana base is already taxed by snow-covered basics to support Ice-Fang Coatl's conditional deathtouch ability, which was the thought process against having it. However, seeing as this is a slow-to-win Wrenn and Six deck, it's at a natural disadvantage against Tron. Boseiju hedges against that matchup while giving up minimal ground elsewhere. It's possible the deck simply replaces spell slots with a copy or two of the channel land and calls it a day. Alternatively, Castle Vantress could be the cut, but it was an absolute powerhouse in the five separate mirror matches I played.
Going forward, I think the best build of the Omnath deck may still be the Traverse package, but maintaining some number of Archmage's Charms and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. They overperformed throughout the day and I was happy whenever I drew them. My run in the event was, fortunately, able to sidestep Living End and other graveyard strategies, but this list included zero graveyard interaction due to the limited number of green spells to make Abnormal Endurance worthwhile. There was also just not enough sideboard space to devote to more targeted hate like Relic of Progenitus. If decks like Dredge start to show back up in greater numbers, some corrective measures may be called for.
Given that this build was not my personal brainchild and I will likely make some edits (as described above) for a future run, I'm foregoing a sideboard guide. Don't worry, I'll be sure to post my changes on Twitter in time for your next big event, so be sure to follow me there. I'll catch you all next week!