Modern Musings: Decks of Devastation Michael Shapiro July 16, 2017 Modern Musings 2 Hour of Devastation is finally here, and that means it’s time for brewers everywhere to show off their shiny new decklists. Two weeks ago we looked at my picks for the cards that most interested me from Hour of Devastation. Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at cards from the set that I looked at previously and try to figure out if they are in fact viable in modern. This week we’re going to be looking at Ramunap Excavator, what existing decks it might slot into, and the potential it has to spawn a new archetype in modern, Lands. Let’s get to it! Lands (the deck) The printing of Ramunap Excavator has me very excited to see a “lands” style deck in modern. Of course, there a few issues with this, as lands in legacy wins the vast majority of the time with Dark Depths, a card that’s banned in modern. In addition to this, Exploration isn’t legal. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of effects that duplicate the exploration effect in modern (albeit for more mana). Unfortunately for us, there really isn’t another land that packs as much punch as Dark Depths. So what I did is look through all about 400 nonbasic lands that are in modern for any lands that could replace Dark Depths. Two cards in particular struck my eye (no pun intended): Both of these cards are interesting because they do something when they hit the graveyard from the battlefield. God’s Eye in particular is good because it synergies with itself due the the legend rule, whereas with Dunes, we are going to have to find another way to get rid of it. And as it turns out, this is a lot harder than I originally thought. It seems as though WOTC doesn’t really like printing cards that make you sacrifice your own lands, go figure. The best sac outlet that I found was beauty: I honestly forgot that this card existed. But it works pretty well with our plan to sacrifice our lands for value. Of course, while we’ll prefer to be using our Ghost Quarters on the opponent, we have the option of using them on our own lands if we need some extra token value in a pinch. Next, we need to make Gods’ Eye and Dunes dangerous. The easiest way to do this is to increase the number of land drops that we can play a turn. These are our Exploration replacements, they allow us to do silly things like create three 2/2 zombies every turn with Dunes of the Dead. Finally, these are our cards that reward us for playing so many lands. Retreat to Emeria is our finisher in this deck making two to three activations of it very lethal on most reasonable board states. Courser of Kruphix is some incidental life gain as well as some library manipulation with fetchlands. 4 x Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai3 x Dunes of the Dead2 x Ghost Quarter4 x Windswept Heath3 x Wooded Foothills3 x Temple Garden3 x Horizon Canopy1 x Mortuary Mire2 x Forest (347)1 x Plains (331)3 x Azusa, Lost but Seeking 3 x Sakura-Tribe Scout1 x Oracle of Mul Daya3 x Courser of Kruphix4 x Renegade Rallier4 x Ramunap Excavator1 x Eternal Witness4 x Life from the Loam4 x Sylvok Explorer1 x Crucible of Worlds3 x Claws of Gix3 x Retreat to Emeria Buy This List Honestly there are so many possibilities for building this deck that I had a great deal of trouble coming to rest on this particular version. There are things like the cycling lands which could be better than the Horizon Canopys because of Life from the Loam, I’m unsure as a case could be made for either. Claws of Gix might end up being too cute and not actually useful enough to warrant. I look forward to the bazillion hours of play-testing it’ll take to figure out this deck, because honestly, it looks like a blast. Bonus: G/W Emeria 4 x Windswept Heath2 x Ghost Quarter3 x Temple Garden7 x Plains (331)4 x Flagstones of Trokair4 x Emeria, the Sky Ruin3 x Sun Titan – Foil – Prerelease Promo1 x Eternal Witness3 x Ramunap Excavator2 x Restoration Angel 3 x Flickerwisp4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder3 x Renegade Rallier4 x Wall of Omens2 x Satyr Wayfinder2 x Azusa, Lost but Seeking2 x Wrath of God2 x Path to Exile3 x Banishing Light2 x Claws of Gix Buy This List That’s all for this week, next week we’ll be looking at the viability of Reason // Believe. Thanks for tuning in! 2 Responses Ben Iverach-Brereton July 17, 2017 While you would have to adjust the mana base to add red, would Greater Gargadon work better than Claws of Gix for your sacrifice outlet? It only costs you a mana once, and is harder to deal with; suspending it can’t be countered, and it’s not a permanent that can be destroyed. The downside is that you have a limited number of activations, but it also gives you a big hasty creature at the end. Not to belittle Claws of Gix, mind you; that gem has served me quite well in a number of Commander decks. Reply Michael Shapiro July 18, 2017 A good suggestion! Greater Gargadon is actually on my “to test” list for this deck, though there are a couple issues with it. First, as you mentioned we would have to adjust the mana base to add red which is no small task as the existing mana base is pretty tight. I feel if we play the gargadons, a R/G deck might be the better route instead of trying to go three colors. And in reality the R/G deck might be better due to the extra threat Gargadon provides. Second, while Greater Gargadon’s suspend is generally not answerable, he is pretty vulnerable to Wasteland Strangler. That being said there are more decks that run artifact hate than Wasteland Stranglers, so its probably worth it. -Mike Reply Leave a Reply to Ben Iverach-Brereton Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.