Building Modern Mardu

I recently played in a small (15 player) event at the new store in Plymouth, with a new take on my old Mardu deck.

I wrote an event report from about 5 months ago with a different build of Mardu, which can be found here. I noticed some issues with that version, which primarily stemmed from a poor closing speed in matches. Since then I’ve added a bit to my collection, and decided to try out a bit of new tech.

Creatures (4)
Bedlam Reveler
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Spells (33)
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Inquisition of Kozilek
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Helix
Liliana of the Veil
Lingering Souls
Nahiri, the Harbinger
Path to Exile
Slaughter Pact
Lands (23)
Arid Mesa
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Godless Shrine
Inspiring Vantage
Marsh Flats
Sacred Foundry
Shambling Vent

Sideboard (15)
Anger of the Gods
Blessed Alliance
Crumble to Dust
Deflecting Palm
Kolaghan’s Command
Surgical Extraction
Timely Reinforcements

This list is slightly different than the one I played in Plymouth, and reflects the list that I played in Manchester last night. Originally I had a Clifftop Retreat that I replaced with the new fastland, and a fourth Bedlam Reveler was cut for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. The mana base is a good place to look to improve the deck, especially since I only own 1 each of Marsh Flats and Arid Mesa, and those are arguably better than Bloodstained Mire here due to their ability to fetch a basic Plains (playing around Blood Moon). I often found the fourth Reveler to be annoying, and would end up with two in hand quite frequently.

The deck functions very similar to Jeskai Harbinger, with the primary change being trading counterspells for targetted discard. The secondary change is removing the blue card draw/filtering for Bedlam Reveler, which often ends up being a 2 mana Treasure Cruise that has a 3/4 Prowess body attached.

The reason I like the idea of Mardu is that it should be very good against many of the top decks:

  • Affinity: 14 direct kill spells against Affinity main deck, paired with Lingering Souls and Nahiri. The primary concern is dealing with Etched Champion. Things get even better post board when we can bring in Anger, more Commands, Blessed Alliance, and Palm.
  • Infect: For the same reasons as above, except we also have Liliana that helps trump them.
  • Jund/Abzan: These decks are very similar, as Mardu is much like a Rock deck. The difference is that if we keep Nahiri out, the Emrakul will win. All we need to do is stop their creatures, and with our abundance of removal that shouldn’t be a huge deal. Sadly, however, we lack a fast clock if Nahiri is not found or is disrupted, and an opposing Liliana can be troublesome.
  • Eldrazi: Similar to above, we have enough removal and lifegain that most of their creatures shouldn’t be a huge concern. Once we put them into top deck mode, our average draws are better than their’s, and we will have more consistent starts.

The other big decks are a bit more troublesome. Dredge can be very hit or miss, but we do have a number of ways to exile things in game 1, and after that we can cut discard for Anger, Extraction, and probably Timely (an argument could be made for Crumble as well, due to how their mana base works out). Burn can also be problematic game 1, depending on if they’re more of a creature heavy or spell heavy hand. After game 1 we get to add in 4 more lifegain spells, Palm which will negate a spell, and it’s possible we want more copies of Kolaghan’s Command for the “kill a guy, discard a card” modes. Tron, however, I imagine is a really, really bad mess that boils down to “am I dead before I can cast Crumble to Dust“. Best dodge it, which may become slightly harder as the rock decks become even more popular.

Overall I found the deck to be super fun and it led to a lot of interactive games. It was quite the change from recently playing Dredge, and was very refreshing.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.