Hareruya Pros Blog
Updating Modern CopyCat with Stoneforge Mystic
Hareruya Pros Blog
In my last article I wrote about some of the 《Saheeli Rai》 & 《Felidar Guardian》 shells I’ve worked on in Modern.
Since then we’ve not only rid the format of some of its top tier decks by banning 《Faithless Looting》 and 《Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis》, but the unbanning of 《Stoneforge Mystic》 is also great news for the CopyCat archetype in Modern.
《Stoneforge Mystic》 gives the deck access to a 2 drop threat that is synergistic with both halves of the combo, making it just about the perfect card for the archetype. So let’s go ahead and jump into some decklists that I’ve been working on this week since the announcement.
This is very similar to a deck I left you with in my last article. Even before the banned list update I had been working on it, so I already had some general improvements that weren’t correlated to including 《Stoneforge Mystic》.
While 《Wrenn and Six》 is very powerful, this deck is mostly just using it help play a lower land count than normal. Using 《Tranquil Thicket》 and 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 can help turn Wrenn’s [+1] into nonland cards, which makes it a lot more valuable.
As for 《Stoneforge Mystic》, in all of my decks you will see at least 1 copy of 《Batterskull》. 《Batterskull》 is pretty obviously the best generic thing you can get with Stoneforge, and main reason why Stoneforge is so good at pressuring your opponent.
In this deck I also like 《Sword of Feast and Famine》 because I think it has access to enough card draw/selection that you can use a lot of mana in a single turn, and the discarding helps disrupt other combo decks which are likely among your problematic matchups.
It’s also worth noting that both 《Sword of Feast and Famine》 and 《Sword of Light and Shadow》 are the only two Swords that you can have equipped to a creature you control and still use Saheeli’s [-2] on that creature. I don’t completely exclude all other Swords from my decklists, but I do value that interaction while deckbuilding.
I think this deck is well set up to come out on top of midrange and control matchups. You usually can keep up in value with those decks and find yourself in spots where your opponent is immensely pressured by the threat of your combo, but may also have to use their resources on your value cards, or perhaps a 《Batterskull》.
I still like 4 Teferi a lot, a one-sided 《Defense Grid》 is incredibly welcome in this deck, and it also offers an answer to problematic permanents that could keep you from comboing.
This deck is a bit weaker to big mana and combo strategies however, and if you want to improve those types of matchups I’d recommend moving in the direction of the next deck I have for you.
Using the full eight mana-dorks can give us a lot of speed and even give us access to a turn 3 win. On top of that 《Stoneforge Mystic》 can just make the mana-dorks less embarrassing all around, as they not only make nice equipment targets, but having access to more mana is important with equipments.
This deck obviously has a problem with cards that punish 1 toughness creatures such as 《Wrenn and Six》 or 《Plague Engineer》, but if for whatever reason those cards fall out of favor and combo or big mana strategies arise, I wouldn’t be scared to look towards mana-dorks (and maybe only 《Noble Hierarch》) to increase your speed.
In my last article I mentioned how I usually end up adding Green to CopyCat combo to help pressure our opponents. Now that we have 《Stoneforge Mystic》 we may be able to move back to straight Jeskai and still have a good amount of pressure. Here is how I would update the more traditional style of Jeskai CopyCat:
《Snapcaster Mage》 still remains awkward in my mind, and now is made even more awkward as we go lower on instants and sorceries to make room for 《Stoneforge Mystic》. Having the twelve one mana instants and sorceries still probably makes it good enough, and allows you to find spots with Guardian or Saheeli to get your value. I think now with Stoneforge we can move away from 《Snapcaster Mage》 entirely while still being only Jeskai.
This version is pushed towards beating the big mana strategies of Modern. We get access to some nice noncreature targets for our combo pieces to get value out of in 《Arcum’s Astrolabe》 and 《Spreading Seas》.
The deck features 《On Thin Ice》 over 《Path to Exile》 due to our own 《Blood Moon》s, but it’s not like 《On Thin Ice》 is strictly worse than 《Path to Exile》. In the world of 《Stoneforge Mystic》 it’s nice to have something that can answer Stoneforge before they untap with it without giving your opponent a land.
Because of our low creature count I’ve omitted any Swords entirely in favor of two 《Batterskull》s. In general I think this path is underrated looking at all 《Stoneforge Mystic》 decks I’ve seen so far. I think it won’t be rare that you’d prefer 2 《Batterskull》s over 《Batterskull》 and any other Sword. The problem in some spots with the Swords is that you risk investing a ton of mana (the cost of the creature, the cost of getting the Sword into play, and the cost of equipping) to only end up trading it with a 1 mana removal spell. While ultimately in terms of cards you are only trading 1 for 1, this exchange happening, especially multiple times, can leave you with a big tempo loss that results in defeat.
Lastly, I have a really strange version of Jeskai Saheeli that I’ve been wanting more cards to fill in the pieces with. 《Giver of Runes》 was the first thing that made me look at the decklist again, and now we have 《Stoneforge Mystic》 to really help increase the power level.
I’m not sure how good 《Thalia, Guardian of Thraben》 is in Modern right now, but I think with only Saheeli and 《Aether Vial》 it doesn’t hurt us too much to play it ourselves. 《Giver of Runes》 naturally plays out as sort of a lightning rod which is a welcome addition to the deck, and 《Thraben Inspector》 and 《Militia Bugler》 offer some great value targets for your combo pieces.
On top of that with our heavy white mana base, we get access to 《Auriok Champion》 in the sideboard. This unlocks a different infinite combo when combined with 2 《Felidar Guardian》s blinking each other to give you infinite life. It’s possible if 《Auriok Champion》 is ever well positioned enough in Modern you could look to play them main deck, and maybe even squeeze in a 《Restoration Angel》 or two to have more redundancy.
I’ve been seeing a lot of CopyCat decks floating around Twitter and Twitch recently and I’m really happy to see that. I think the archetype just needs more exploration and it can really prove itself as one of the top Modern decks.
As always, thank you for reading, and feel free to ask questions or share your Modern brews with me @JacobNagro on Twitter.
Jacob Nagro (Twitter)
Jacob Nagro Jacob Nagro is a pro player from United States. His first appearance was GP Denver 2016 where he made top 8 with UW Flash. He keeps trying hard and his effort was paid off as the Silver Level Pro in the 2016-2017 season. He played a spicy RB Bridgevine deck featuring Greater Gargadon and Bloodghast at the Pro Tour 25th Anniversary. His team went 7th place and he became a Gold Level Pro with the impressive record.