October ’20 Brew Report, Pt. 1: New Horizons

Halfway through the month, October seems to be following in September’s footsteps, giving us new decks from the new cards and interesting takes on existing archetypes. Today, we’ll look at developments in ramp, midrange, fish, and combo. Let’s get to it!

Come Om, Come All

Omnath, Locus of Creation is more than just a Standard all-star (and forced-retiree). The creature has been tearing up both Pioneer and Modern in more ways than one. Last week, we looked at Omnath Ramp, the default shell for the Elemental; this week, we’ll check out its recent applications with combo and other value elements alike.

But first, who remembers this deck?

Jeskai Saheeli, WTNOF (5-0)

Creatures (7)
Snapcaster Mage
Felidar Guardian

Planeswalkers (10)
Narset, Parter of Veils
Saheeli Rai
Teferi, Time Raveler

Instants (19)
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Helix
Path to Exile
Peek
Remand
Valakut Awakening

Enchantments (3)
Spreading Seas

Lands (21)
Arid Mesa
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Plains
Raugrin Triome
Sacred Foundry
Snow-Covered Mountain
Steam Vents
Sulfur Falls
Sideboard (15)
Abrade
Anger of the Gods
Ashiok, Dream Render
Celestial Purge
Dovin’s Veto
Monastery Mentor
Mystical Dispute
Rest in Peace
Supreme Verdict
Timely Reinforcements
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Oh yes, that’s a finish from Copy-Cat in 2020! But there’s more, Copy-Cat fans… what if I told you this deck was due for a makeover?

Omnath Saheeli, PATXI (5-0)

Creatures (9)
Felidar Guardian
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Planeswalkers (12)
Saheeli Rai
Teferi, Time Raveler
Wrenn and Six

Enchantments (8)
Oath of Nissa
Utopia Sprawl

Instants (6)
Path to Exile
Remand

Lands (25)
Breeding Pool
Flooded Strand
Forest
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Ketria Triome
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Plains
Prismatic Vista
Raugrin Triome
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Tranquil Thicket
Waterlogged Grove
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Aether Gust
Celestial Purge
Cleansing Wildfire
Dispel
Dovin’s Veto
Fiery Justice
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Lightning Helix
Mystical Dispute
Veil of Summer
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Omnath Saheeli is a relative newcomer to the format, but it’s already taking it by storm. Besides the recent list featured above, the deck has placed in multiple preliminaries and plenty of 5-0 dumps. In light of all these Four-Color Saheeli results, the previously teased Copy-Cat list reveals itself to be something of an anomaly, perhaps just an old-timer returning to an old standby after seeing the combo get some love in the format.

Saheeli Omnath’s calling card? Topping off the masterfully grindy Omnath-Uro shell with the Copy-Cat combination, yielding a way-too-hot-for-Standard Modern abomination. To make room for Saheeli, the deck abandons much of its land-ramping magic, and adds interaction in the form of… other planeswalkers.

Remand, once one of Modern’s beloved counterspells but now a scourge of trade binders everywhere, even makes a rare appearance here as a way to interact and ramp at the same time: if players manage to sap an opponent’s whole turn, perhaps by say, countering their own Omnath, they get to untap, draw, and make a brand new land drop. Remand targeting an escaped Uro is also big game, making the card a trump in the mirror akin to Veil of Summer against targeted discard decks. And it’s great against ritual strategies like Charbelcher, too!

When it comes to mashing engines together, though, the following Omnath list really takes the cake.

Yorion Niv-Mizzet Omnath, GOBERN (5-0)

Creatures (15)
Niv-Mizzet Reborn
Bloodbraid Elf
Keranos, God of Storms
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Renegade Rallier
Snapcaster Mage
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Planeswalkers (7)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Wrenn and Six

Enchantments (8)
Abundant Growth
Utopia Sprawl

Instants (13)
Abrupt Decay
Assassin’s Trophy
Kaya’s Guile
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Helix

Sorceries (7)
Bring to Light
Dreadbore
Maelstrom Pulse
Supreme Verdict

Lands (30)
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Indatha Triome
Ketria Triome
Misty Rainforest
Overgrown Tomb
Prismatic Vista
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Plains
Snow-Covered Swamp
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Boil
Cleansing Wildfire
Crumble to Dust
Dovin’s Veto
Fatal Push
Unmoored Ego
Veil of Summer
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

No clever deck titles here — Yorion Niv-Mizzet Omnath is exactly as you’d expect, with Bloodbraids implied and Bring to Lights… admittedly, serious contenders for being in the name. Otherwise, this deck is pretty straightforward: slam a high-impact five-mana spell and drown opponents in value.

Omnath picks up where Niv can leave off, functioning as a pseudo-five-drop with tons of immediate impact. Players can just cast it, play a fetch, and crack it at their leisure to lock in two landfall triggers. And Bring to Light can search either the Dragon or the Elemental, situation depending, to bury opponents properly.

The sideboard gets to tap into a mini-toolbox featuring Boil (Uro decks), Crumble (Tron), Ego (combo, not least the Charbelcher decks), all-purpose interaction like Veil, Push, and newcomer Cleansing Wildfire, and of course, Yorion, Sky Nomad. Should opponents find ways to stick enough spokes in this deck’s wheels, Yorion lurks in the sideboard waiting to bail it out. And all for a paltry 3 mana!

Hey There, Little Guy

Synergy-based creature aggro had a big month, and I don’t just mean Prowess.

Aspirant Ballista, NHA37 (10th, Challenge #12216047)

Creatures (33)
Luminarch Aspirant
Auriok Champion
Giver of Runes
Hangarback Walker
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Ranger of Eos
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Skyclave Apparition
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Walking Ballista

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Lands (23)
Cavern of Souls
Field of Ruin
Horizon Canopy
12 Plains
Silent Clearing
Sunbaked Canyon
Sideboard (15)
Aven Mindcensor
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Damping Sphere
Dawn of Hope
Giant Killer
Path to Exile
Rest in Peace
Wheel of Sun and Moon
Worship
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

David wrote a deep-dive exposé on Death and Taxes earlier this week; that deck’s enjoying unprecedented success thanks to Skyclave Apparition. Other decks wielding the Spirit are also cropping up, including this curious contraption: Aspirant Ballista.

The deck employs Luminarch Aspirant and Heliod, the Sun-Crowned pump the constructs up to gun down creatures and flood the battlefield with tokens. Ranger-Captain of Eos and Ranger of Eos both can tutor up whichever contruct is needed in a given moment, as well as protection in Giver of Runes.

Eldrazi Company, SEASONOFMISTS (5-0)

Creatures (30)
Eldrazi Displacer
Skyclave Apparition
Birds of Paradise
Charming Prince
Flickerwisp
Giver of Runes
Tidehollow Sculler
Wasteland Strangler

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Instants (4)
Collected Company

Lands (22)
Brushland
Caves of Koilos
Concealed Courtyard
Eldrazi Temple
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Plains
Razorverge Thicket
Silent Clearing
Swamp
Wastes
Sideboard (15)
Archon of Emeria
Auriok Champion
Damping Sphere
Gaddock Teeg
Gaea’s Blessing
Qasali Pridemage
Relic of Progenitus
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Eldrazi Company also packs Skyclave Apparition, indeed a great creature to cheat out with Collected Company. And apparently, so are Displacer and Strangler. No Thought-Knots here, though: the 4 Temples are mostly included to support Displacer’s ability, which creates oodles of value with many creatures own but is quite impressive when blinking the Apparition. Apparition also provides a steady stream of targets for Strangler… both ways!

Rules Were Made…

Banned Standard creature? Yep, dutifully slotted into my Modern deck. X creatures minimum alongside Collected Company? Check; I ain’t getting got by my own spell. But Magic isn’t just for rule-followers, which is why Garfield invented combo. And modern’s no stranger to combo, which is why this month brings new developments in the macro-archetype!

Oops! All Spells, GYYBY297 (3-2, Preliminary #12216063)

Creatures (20)
Balustrade Spy
Narcomoeba
Phantasmagorian
Salvage Titan
Simian Spirit Guide
Undercity Informer
Vengevine

Artifacts (11)
Pentad Prism
Sword of the Meek
Talisman of Resilience

Enchantments (4)
Leyline of Sanctity

Instants (1)
Nexus of Fate

Sorceries (24)
Agadeem’s Awakening
Creeping Chill
Emeria’s Call
Pelakka Predation
Sea Gate Restoration
Shatterskull Smashing
Turntimber Symbiosis
Sideboard (15)
Goblin Charbelcher
Intervention Pact
Mountain
Nature’s Claim
Pact of Negation
Thoughtseize
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Oops! All Spells is the Goblin Charbelcher deck, but in reverse. That is, its Plan B of Ballustrade Spy and Undercity Informer has been made the main attraction. Charbelcher still sits patiently in the sideboard for the right matchup. With this combo, the deck mills itself until the battlefield is flooded with dredge creatures and multiple Creeping Chills have been fired off, then attacks for victory; Nexus of Fate is here to prevent a complete deckout, unlike the Legacy version of the deck, which wants to empty its library.

Eschewing Belcher for game 1 makes the “landless” deck less cold to Karn, the Great Creator, a mainstay in Eldrazi Tron decks. Belcher can come in when opponents inevitable reach for graveyard hate, as the artifact totally ignores that type of interaction. As such, Oops! All Spells is a bit more resilient than Belcher over the course of a match, while the latter may be more consistent.

Enduring Ideal, RINKO (28th, Challenge #12216053)

Sorceries (4)
Enduring Ideal

Instants (4)
Silence

Artifacts (4)
Lotus Bloom

Enchantments (26)
Blood Moon
Cast Out
Dovescape
Form of the Dragon
Gideon’s Intervention
Greater Auramancy
Leyline of Sanctity
Nine Lives
On Thin Ice
Phyrexian Unlife
Solemnity

Lands (22)
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Needleverge Pathway
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Sacred Foundry
Snow-Covered Plains
Sideboard (15)
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Blood Moon
Gideon’s Intervention
Boil
Containment Priest
Hushbringer
Pithing Needle
Torpor Orb
Wheel of Sun and Moon
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Enduring Ideal is an age-old Modern deck that gets just a little bit better with every few sets or so. New haymaker enchantments are bound to be printed here and there, and the same can be said of effective white disruption. New faces this time around include On Thin Ice, a high-reward removal spell; Nine Lives, time-buyer extraordinaire; and Needleverge Pathway, newest of all.

Nine Lives is a great fit for this deck, since opponents are likely to be locked out before its self-exiling trigger can be reached through conventional means. In the meantime, though, it lets pilots find their other answers to whatever opponents are pressuring them with.

Needleverge finds its stride in a deck like this one, that doesn’t fetch but loves painless, flexible lands to smooth out its mana. Thanks to the new land, Ideal has little trouble stretching to splash red, which affords it access to heavy-duty land hate in Blood Moon and Boil.

Cold, Not Cool

While the temperature are beginning to drop in some of our homes, Modern is showing no signs of cooling off, especially not with Omnath roasting everything in sight. Will the Elemental take over yet another format? Tune in at the month’s close to find out!

Leave a Reply