Once again we will have all the videos included in this very article for this week’s Modern Monday!

While I’ve taken a look at Restore Balance decks before on Modern Monday, this one is a bit different. It was piloted to a 5-0 finish in a Magic Online League in the hands on user Finespoo. Typically Restore Balance decks operate by playing a ridiculous number of Borderposts in order to leave themselves with few to no lands in play with they resolve a…well, Restore Balance. Not only are there no Borderposts in Finespoo’s list, they also have an pretty standard 24 lands. Take a look.

4 Ardent Plea
1 Breeding Pool
1 Copperline Gorge
3 Dismember
4 Durkwood Baloth
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Gemstone Caverns
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Greater Gargadon
1 Island
1 Mountain
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Plains
1 Razorverge Thicket
4 Restore Balance
4 Riftwing Cloudskate
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Seachrome Coast
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Violent Outburst
3 Wooded Foothills

3 Anger of the Gods
3 Ingot Chewer
3 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Ricochet Trap
3 Timely Reinforcements

The deck is more focused on suspending actual creatures like Riftwing Cloudskate and Durkwood Baloth and – it seems – using Restore Balance as a kind of board sweeper before our creatures unsuspend. We’ve also added the Nahiri, the Harbinger combo: a sweet five-card combo that any deck running white and red can pretty easily include. Let’s see how the deck fares.

Every time we end up trying out a deck like this, and ending up with a record like this, I always wonder if we were simply making extremely grave mistakes based on our limited experience with the deck or if there was something fundamentally wrong with the deck. Of course I have my own theories, but you can never be too sure.

For one thing, I think we can definitely use fewer copies of Restore Balance. I don’t think we ever want four, as drawing one (or multiples) in your opening hands is just brutal. It’s kind of like Living End in that way.

Speaking of hands, this deck had so many delicate hands with either too many lands and cards that didn’t really do anything, or too many spells and not enough lands to cast them. To be fair, as we mentioned, the deck is running a very reasonable 24 lands so it’s quite possible this was simply variance. I do think it’s compounded by the fact that a lot of our cards are…well, pretty underwhelming to be quite honest. This makes even our good hands look not so good unfortunately.

You could see that, even in the Jeskai matchup that we won (barely), our deck was still struggling to do anything against their Vendilion Cliques and their Nahiris and their Path to Exiles and their Snapcaster Mages. All we were doing was waiting for our creatures to come off suspension and hoping our Restore Balance wasn’t getting countered. Timely Reinforcements out of the sideboard also felt a little weird when we realized that, if we have three tokens in play, our opponents probably aren’t sacrificing any creatures.

As usually, I love ideas like this. The deck is playing Durkwood Baloth for crying out loud! But I’m not sure that’s enough, especially when we don’t really have any way to meaningfully protect our combo. The original Borderpost version had two ways to ensure there were no lands in play when they Restored Balance: Greater Gargadon and Borderposts. This version only has the former. If I’m missing something, by all means let me know! I’d love to learn more about this list. It just didn’t feel like it was providing enough resistance to stand out against the Modern metagame though.

You can’t win ‘em all, as they say. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you guys next week!

Frank Lepore
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