Fatally Pushing into Modern

It’s not every day that a new card gets spoiled and I am like “I want this now!”. That I get so excited about a card that I want to talk about it, want to brew with it. Today, however, was one of those days….

It should come as no surprise to many that this is the card I’m talking about:

Why is This Important?

Long have I felt that black based decks needed a good alternative to Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile as a cheap and efficient answer to early aggressive decks. The hero I always thought we’d get would be Innocent Blood, but WotC decided to do even better than that (at least, in most cases). The problem we had before was that 2 mana answers just often end up lining up poorly when 1 mana threats can end the game so quickly (not only looking at infect here, but mostly). Not having this type of answer when on the draw means that you likely just lose against infect in a lot of games, and you’re seriously behind in many others.

Due to this lack of quality removal in black we ended up having the format be warped around fair decks having to play either, or both, of the aforementioned removal spells. This has been the biggest hurdle to a competitive Sultai deck. This has been something forcing many decks into playing the combination of black and red in order to play the “best” removal spell in the format other than the above listed ones (Terminate….).

What this Helps

Every current black deck that wants to play interactive Magic gets a boost from this card. This card is a straight up replacement for Terminate, in my opinion, for Jund, Grixis, and the fringe Mardu decks. It’s also worth including in Abzan, likely having some form of split between this and Path.

The other big place where this helps is all of the decks it enables. Many decks, such as B/W midrange (called “Dead Guy Ale” apparently) or Sultai, have suffered from this drawback for ages and not been able to work out because of it. B/G rock decks as well, where you would have to either take 4 from your Dismember or wait until 2 mana before you could answer anything. Esper has also had the issue of only having a single good removal spell, whereas Jund plays a total of 10 removal spells (4 at 1 cmc, 6 at 2), not counting Liliana of the Veil or Maelstrom Pulse. Another place is enabling a better black splash for Tron or Eldrazi decks, which are pushed to white currently heavily for Path (well, and Eldrazi Displacer in the case of Eldrazi). The format gets to be even more wide open with the addition of this one single card, and it’s going to be amazing.

It’s Not the End

This card certainly isn’t going to ruin the format, either. It’s very good at what it does, but there will always be decks where it just doesn’t work at all. Bogles, Tron, Eldrazi, Goryo’s Vengeance, Living End, Dredge…. These are all examples of decks where this card is not impressive.

More to Come?

This is day one of the Aether Revolt spoilers, which means there’s a lot more to come (even though we’ve already seen quite a few cards). There’s certainly some neat cards out there right now, and some interesting implications from what I hope shows up in Amonkhet. Hopefully we’ll see some more in the coming days….

Chris Wendelboe

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