Yesterday was Modern Monday and, with our new format, we now stream the matches live on my Twitch channel on Monday, alerting readers of the deck we’ll be playing and of the stream itself in an article here on NumotGaming.
Then, on the following Tuesday (today), we post the matches for those who missed them along with our thoughts in article form.
The deck we took a look at yesterday was pretty ridiculous and managed a Top 8 performance at an SCG States event in the hands of Tim Goodine. It hoped to utilize the combo of Pili-Pala and Grand Architect to create infinite mana, then win the game via cards like Hornet Queen or the much cooler Spawnsire of Ulamog. The deck looked crazy and I was pretty excited to try it out.
1 Void Grafter
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
1 Hornet Nest
2 Obstinate Baloth
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Reclamation Sage
Modern is typically pretty wide open, and sometimes we have some really good luck with decks that might not look like they offer very much on the surface. Considering this list actually breached the Top 8 of an event, I felt like it had a shot at falling into that category. Heck, we even had the Eternal Witness/Cryptic Command/Aether Vial combo to take advantage of if applicable. Let’s see how the deck fared for us.
Okay, so let’s get the biggest problem out of the way now: every single mana we want to generate with Pili-Pala and Grand Architect takes exactly seven clicks on Magic Online. This meant that it took nearly 350 clicks in order to generate enough mana to kill our opponent with Blue Sun’s Zenith (which was a sweet win condition, by the way). This is just too many clicks to be efficient, and far more than a deck like Splinter Twin ever needed. Even at about five clicks per iteration, Splinter Twin only needed about 20 iterations at most, maxing out at about 100 clicks, which isn’t even close to 350. I actually think we would have won our last match had we more than a minute on our clock. This combo just isn’t very reasonable to emulate on Magic Online, unfortunately, and is much easier in real life where you can simply demonstrate the loop and say “I’m going to make one million mana, cast Spawnsire of Ulamog, activate him, them cast Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to kill you.”
Outside of the technicalities of pilot, I really liked the idea of the deck. We might need more to protect our combo pieces though, as we’re pretty susceptible to things like Kolaghan’s Command and Abrupt Decay. Thinking about it, I also wasn’t sure what the purpose of Hornet Queen was. If we’re even in a position to Chord of Calling for a Hornet Queen (which would cost ten mana) we can probably just make infinite and go off.
The deck also gave us some mana troubles at times. This seems like it’s going to happen when you have a deck that has cards with UUU, UUU, UU, GGG, GGG, GG, and GG in their casting costs. Every Ghost Quarter was one step away from a Cryptic Command. Modern is a format where you simply need to play cards like Ghost Quarter, but we definitely felt the pain of that here. I would definitely considering adding more cards like Yavimaya Coast, or even the full set of Hinterland Harbor. I have no desire to be stingy with the lands that produce both blue and green here.
In the end I think this deck was actually pretty sweet. The only problem is that it could use a little tweaking, it had some mana issues, and it probably can’t reliably be tested on Magic Online. Heck, we were literally a turn away from winning in both games against Goryo’s Vengeance. Other than that I don’t think our results were truly indicative of the deck’s power level or potential. We could also add something like Engulf the Shore (or similar) to deal with decks like Elves that seemed to be problematic for us. All in all, if you’re looking for something fun, feel free to give this deck a try. I promise your matches won’t be as grueling in real life as they were on Magic Online.