Welcome back for another Modern Monday…on, uh, Wednesday! Apologies for this week’s delay, but we were off at PAX West working with Bethesda and Elder Scrolls: Legends (which you should definitely check out and play).

As you may or may not know, one thing I consistently search for in Modern is a decent Mardu deck. They always end up falling short! Well, this week we’re taking a look at a pretty interesting Mardu list that Magic Online user carlos03 piloted to a 5-0 finish. The deck isn’t interested in playing things like Dark Confidant or Young Pyromancer. No, it’s more of a control deck with the Nahiri, the Harbinger/Emrakul, the Aeons Torn combo thrown in. Take a look.

2 Arid Mesa
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
1 Crackling Doom
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Ghost Quarter
1 Gideon Jura
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hero’s Downfall
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Lightning Helix
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Lingering Souls
4 Marsh Flats
1 Mountain
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger
4 Path to Exile
2 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Shambling Vent
2 Swamp
3 Thoughtseize
4 Wall of Omens

1 Anger of the Gods
2 Blood Moon
2 Damnation
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Extirpate
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
2 Slaughter Games
2 Surgical Extraction

The reason I always felt like Mardu decks should perform better is that they have access to two of the most relevant things in the Modern format: disruption and removal. This is one of the reasons why Jund and Abzan are so powerful, you know…because they contain…four…of the five colors in Magic…that all have powerful spells. Okay, maybe they’re not related, but I’m eager to find out.

We did it! We found a Mardu list that can actually win some games against some top tier archetypes! Truth be told, I liked this list a lot. Lingering Souls worked great with both Nahiri, the Harbinger and Liliana of the Veil. And a lot of our late game threats were sizable and hard to remove, like Gideon Jura and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

Hero’s Downfall is finding its way into more and more decks, as it’s a great answer to cards like Nahiri, which is growing in popularity, or literally any creature in the format. Thanks to the U/B deck we tried out a week or so ago, every time I see Liliana of the Veil I stop and wonder if it should instead be Liliana, the Last Hope, just because she performed so well in the deck.

One problem we ran into was that Blood Moon was a little difficult to deal with. The same with cards like Detention Sphere. Sure, we have Engineered Explosives in the sideboard, but that’s not really ideal. In order to put it on three we either need to have all three colors after a Blood Moon comes down (in which case it seems like we’re already fine), or we need to preemptively play the Explosives before the Blood Moon comes down, which is not the best. I would much rather see something like Wear/Tear or even a Disenchant or two in the sideboard. Stony Silence could also be great against Affinity or Tron, since I’m not sure how we fare against those.

Finally, everyone out there building decks, please, I implore you, especially if your main creatures are Elspeth and Lingering Souls tokens…please use Curse of Death’s Hold over Night of Souls’ Betrayal. It only costs one more mana! That’s it! And it provides such a significant advantage! It’s not even legendary. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how else to help you! Please…less betrayal, more curses!

That’s all I have for this week. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next Monday!

Frank Lepore
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