With the upcoming Modern Pro Tour I’ve been going through the decks that I’ve built in the past, revisiting them, tuning them for the current metagame and seeing how much potential there are in the current format in the hope of finding something great for the Pro Tour. I built a lot of decks over the years and I did find a few that showed promising results. One of these I will share with you today.
As in my last article on Modern this deck wants to play an interactive or controling game while also having a way to finish the game quickly if the interaction you have doesn’t match up well against what your opponent is doing. I believe this to be a critical part of a controling deck in Modern, since you simply cannot sufficiently prepare your maindeck to beat all the wide spectrum of decks that are viable. And even if you do have the right tools for the job a decent amount of your interaction will be badly matched and thus you are liably to “draw the wrong half” as they say.
The deck I have to you solves this issue by casting an 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 as early as turn 4 of the game. This tends to alleviate any problems of, for example having dead removal spells against a 《Scapeshift》 deck.
2 《Steam Vents》
1 《Hallowed Fountain》
1 《Sacred Foundry》
4 《Flooded Strand》
4 《Scalding Tarn》
4 《Tolaria West》
1 《Desolate Lighthouse》
1 《Ghost Quarter》
-Lands(23)- 1 《Endless One》
1 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》
4 《Serum Visions》
2 《Path to Exile》
1 《Spell Snare》
4 《Cryptic Command》
4 《Possibility Storm》
1 《Engineered Explosives》
4 《Izzet Signet》
4 《Nahiri, the Harbinger》
So this is something of an exeful I expect. The centerpiece of the deck is 《Possibility Storm》, which makes each player reveal the top cards of their library when they play a spell until they hit something that shares a type with it and cast that card instead. Before you try to read the wall of text on that card. Mainly what this does is let you cast 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 when you cast a 《Endless One》 for X=0. Yes cast, with 《Time Walk》 and everything.
The other two standout cards I guess are 《Tolaria West》, which mostly lets you find 《Endless One》 without having to play multiples and 《Nahiri, the Harbinger》. There have been Jeskai Nahiri decks before and Nahiri does a lot. Going up to 6 Loyalty when you play her as well as digging you further for your combo or 《Cryptic Command》, while letting you discard 《Emrakul》 when you draw her as well as being another removal spell for their creature when you tapped it down or let it hit you the turn before is great versatility.
The rest of the deck is mostly common control cards in 《Cryptic Command》, which is especially great when you can continually use the Tap/Draw mode to gain time while assembling your combo, other counter and removal spells and mana. As well as some one-off tutor targets for 《Tolaria West》, such as 《Engineered Explosives》. I even include 《Izzet Signet》, because getting out either a 《Nahiri》 or a 《Cryptic Command》 on turn 3 can be great as well as speeding up 《Possibility Storm》 by a turn.
Why is this combo good?
Well there are multiple reasons. You want the combo you include in your controling deck to be two things mainly: resilient and compact. For example 《Time Vault》/《Voltaic Key》 is an extremely compact combo that is used in Vintage control decks sometimes in that it only takes up two cards in your deck. The less cards your combo takes up in deckspace the more answers you will have access to, and answers, such as removal or counterspells, are what makes control decks tick.
Relience is how hard it is for your opponent to stop your combo. Resilience is very important, since if you to all that length to assemble your combo and your opponent can just stop it with a 《Lightning Bolt》 for example, that was doing much against your control deck in the first place, then you have a problem. This is why 《Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker》/《Deceiver Exarch》 has not swooped in to fill the void left by 《Splinter Twin》.
Now how high does Possibility Storm score on these metrics?
Compactness: The combo takes up 6 spell slots. 4 《Possibility Storm》, 1 《Endless One》 and 1 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》. 《The Emrakul》 even does double duty by enabling the ultimate on 《Nahiri, the Harbinger》. You also need the 4 《Tolaria West》 for the deck to function but I will not count those since they can easily be played as a land or used to search up something else. 5-6 slots is very low in Modern, since sadly we can’t reach the efficiency or efficacy of Vintage. A comparable deck that has seen some play is U/R breach, which takes up 8 slots.
Resilience: This is where 《Possibility Storm》 really shines. The resilience of this combo is almost unmatched. Of course discard spells and counterspells can interact with you, but those types of spells can interact with pretty much every card. Aside from that people usually have some of the following cards or types of cards to interact: Creature removal, artifact removal, graveyard hate, enchantment removal, land destruction/type changing, 《Leyline of Sanctity》, 《Chalice of the Void》. The most common by far are creature and artifact removal, as well as graveyard hate, all of which do nothing.
You might think that enchantment removal would help but it actually doesn’t, since a) they need to randomly hit it of the top by playing another spell that shares a type, since if they just try to say 《Nature's Claim》 your 《Possibility Storm》 the《Nature's Claim》 itself will not resolve. And b) you can just cast 《Endless One》 without passing priority so they never get a window to even try to destroy your 《Possibility Storm》.
Land destruction can of course try to keep you from casting your 5 mana card, but most of this effect is either 《Blood Moon》 or 《Spreading Seas》 which don’t really affect you as well as 《Ghost Quarter》 or 《Field of Ruin》. And cards like 《Fulminator Mage》 tend to not be effective since you want to drag out the game anyway and have a lot of mana sources. Finally none of the general hate cards affect you either.
Even with discard and countermagic you can dodge a decent amount since of the three played discard spells two (《Inquisition of Kozilek》 and 《Collective Brutality》) don’t interact with your combo and this holds true for counterspells as well, since 《Spell Snare》, 《Spell Queller》, 《Ceremonious Rejection》 and 《Dispel》 don’t hit. Also against discard decks you have the advantage of being able to deploy half of your combo without having the second piece. While something like U/R breach will have to assemble both in hand which can be tough against 《Liliana of the Veil》.
There is another advantage that meshes with compactness. Sometimes your opponent will have a tough time with 《Possibility Storm》 itself, even if you cannot cast 《Emrakul》 off of it immidiately. I’ve had 《Ad Nauseam》 opponents concede on the spot (well after taking a couple of minutes to read the card that is), storm players try to go off and fizzle when their rituals turned into 《Remand》 or their 《Past in Flames》 turn into 《Serum Visions》, 《Collected Company》 turn into 《Path to Exile》 or 《Chord of Calling》 for 0, 《Primeval Titan》 into 《Sakura-Tribe Elder》, 《Scapeshift》 into 《Farseek》 etc. It can really be entertaining.
There are of course some downsides. You are still playing a control deck and can be overrun before you get your gears together, you can have trouble when you draw the 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 and can’t find a 《Nahiri, the Harbinger》 or a 《Desolate Lighthouse》 to discard it although you can search for the latter. Getting your 《Endless One》 discarded is bad news since you then have to win with either 《Nahiri》 or actually draw the 《Emrakul》 and discard it to shuffle both back in. So against decks with discard spells it is usually better to keep the 《Tolaria West》 in hand.
The sideboard has some of the usually modern staple sideboard cards, although I’d like to go into some of the specific ones. 《Bojuka Bog》 is obviously a tutor target for 《Tolaria West》 as well as 《Cavern of Souls》 and 《Pact of Negation》. The 《Cavern》 is a package with 《Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir》 against other controldecks.
This is because the “Each opponent can cast spells only any time he or she could cast a sorcery” clause prohibits them from casting the card they find of the 《Possibility Storm》 since you cannot cast sorceries while unless the stack is empty. So if you play a 《Cavern of Souls》 naming human and cast 《Teferi》 with it at their end of turn and cast a 《Possibility Storm》 on your turn they have no way or window to interact and are locked out.
Aside: When I first built this deck 《Splinter Twin》 was still legal and a large part of the format so I had this package in the maindeck as well as a black splash and 《Mystical Teachings》 which also gave me access to 《Slaughter Pact》 which was great against Twin as well as a great tutor target for both 《Tolaria West》 as well as 《Teachings》.
I therefore had tutors for both parts of this lockout combo which made the matchup against twin almost unlosable since games tended to go long. Also due to the wording on both 《Teferi》 and 《Teachings》 it gave you the possibility of this curve which I thought was sweet: turn 2 《Izzet Signet》, turn 3 《Mystical Teachings》 for 《Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir》, turn 4 eot 《Teferi》 untap 《Possibility Storm》 locking them out of spells.
And then if their board was too large for 《Teferi》 to beat himself you can flashback the 《Mystical Teachings》 on the next turn and because A) 《Possibility Storm》 only works on cards cast from hand and B) 《Teferi》 gives 《Endless One》 flash you could search for 《Endless One》, and cascade it into 《Emrakul》. end aside.
The other sweet card in the sideboard is 《Kozilek's Return》. While this card sees some play in modern sideboard anyway because of its instant speed and ability to kill 《Etched Champion》 in this deck it is extra sweet since you cast the 《Emrakul》, letting you trigger the Return from your graveyard which can come up if their board is so large even 《Emrakul》 isn’t enough.
Also since most people will board out their removal spells against you it comes up that you just cast 《Endless One》 in post board games. When you have Return in your graveyard and you cast 《Endless One》 for 7 or more you also get to trigger it which will usually end the game in the matchups where it comes in.
That’s it from me, do try this deck out as it is both strong enough to compete as well as a blast to play. I tend to get a lot of questions about this, so feel free to ask.
And as always, keep brewing.
German powerhouse who continues to be active in Europe’s premier event and attracts attention. He is also famous as a deck builder. His construction was taken up by official coverage.
In the Pro Tour: Amonkhet, he was undefeated in the draft round, and he won the Top 8 awards with its momentum.