Apologies for the delay of Modern Monday this week! I was in Portland attending a wedding with my good friend Justin Vickers. We might as well start calling Modern Monday something like “Modern Random Day of the Week” if this keeps up, but I’m not sure you guys actually mind the delay.

Either way, this week we’re taking a look at a deck I’ve tried to avoid showcasing for some time now: the 8 Rack list that Tom Ross used to Top 8 the most recent Open this past weekend. Take a look.

4 Dismember
2 Funeral Charm
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Mutavault
4 Raven’s Crime
4 Shrieking Affliction
4 Smallpox
16 Swamp
4 The Rack
3 Thoughtseize
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Wrench Mind

2 Asylum Visitor
2 Death’s Shadow
2 Deathmark
2 Disfigure
1 Flaying Tendrils
1 Leyline of the Void
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Waste Not

The deck has been around for some time now, and it’s definitely powerful. I’ve just avoided it because it ends up fulfilling the criteria of the decks I dislike most in Modern by disallowing one player the ability to interact with the other. Its sole purpose is to force players to discard every card they draw, denying them the ability to cast their spells. This is basically on par with land destruction or old school Counterspell decks in terms of levels of interaction.

All that being said, the deck did perform exceptionally well this weekend for what seems like the first time ever in a high level event. That being the case, I figured we might want to take a look at it.

Yeah, like I said, definitely powerful. It’s actually a pretty good feeling to have your opponent at ten or so life with two Rack-esque cards on board and zero cards in their hand. It’s oftentimes a win in two turns as you might have noticed. They’ll usually take six damage on their first turn, then, even if they simply hold the card they draw, they’ll take another five on their next turn.

The deck is actually surprisingly straightforward, but it does have some tricky decisions, like what to discard to Smallpox and when to discard extra lands to Raven’s Crime. Ultimately though, you’re forcing your opponent to discard their cards while trying to find a card that will repeatedly deal them three damage per turn.

A lot of the previous versions of the deck ran things like four Dark Confidant, but Tom’s version omits the great one. In fact his list has zero creatures in the main deck, aside from the four Mutavaults if you want to count those.

Another common component is often Ensnaring Bridge, as you also tend to have few cards in your hand. While Abrupt Decay is one of the strongest weapons against us, killing both The Rack and Shrieking Affliction, it’s very possible for us to force them to be discarded before we even play one of our finishers. Otherwise, the deck really ends up benefiting from the lack of creatures; it can potentially leave our opponents with a good deal of dead cards like Path to Exile and Terminate.

While I didn’t feel great about piloting the deck, you can’t really deny its power level. After all, it did take The Boss to the Top 8, and we did manage to win all of our matches with the deck. Be sure and let me know what you guys think if you do or have tried out the deck. I’ve love to know if it’s the real deal in Modern, because I’m sure people are going to start sleeving it up more frequently.

Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week!

Frank Lepore
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