Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week, we are talking about Dragons. More specifically, Dragon Ramp. You might be wondering “why specifically Dragons?” That’s because M19 gave us the wonderfully interesting Sarkhan, Fireblood. If you’ve heard of the Jund Dragons deck that’s been wandering about, this is my take on it, updated for M19.
Sarkhan is perfect for R/G/x for three reasons: One, he is three mana, which means he can be played on turn two most of the time. Two, he digs for threats, something that R/G/x ramp always seems to need. Three, he ramps, letting you play your draconic threats early.
The downside to playing him is that he isn’t compatible with normal ramp threats like Inferno Titan
Dragonlord Kolaghan, while not quite as strong at controlling the board, does punish the opponent for playing multiple copies of the same creatures or planeswalkers, and gives the rest of our creatures haste.
Another reason to play Dragons is that we get a little bit of extra grind and mana fixing with cards like Haven of the Spirit Dragon.
What Dragons Should We Be Playing?
Ok, so we have Dragonlord Kolaghan as a starting point, what other Dragons should we be playing? What are we even looking for? There are two criterion that I used in selecting the Dragons for this deck:
- They must affect the board the turn they are played (haste qualifies)
- Most must be castable the turn you untap with Sarkhan.
This means we are going to be looking at a lot of 5-mana Dragons since Sarkhan guarantees you get to untap with 5 mana.
Let’s take a look:
Thunderbreak Regent is a great way to punish our opponents for removing our Dragons with single target removal. In addition, since he has 4 toughness he dodges the Lightning Bolt-style removal quite well. He affects the board the turn that he comes out by punishing your opponent for removing your Dragons.
Stormbreath Dragon is one of my favorite cards in this deck, mostly because he’s so hard to kill. He doesn’t die to Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, or Path to Exile. In fact, he can’t even be bounced with Reflector Mage! This means that the most reliable way to get rid of him is by either casting Dismember, Terminate, or Supreme Verdict. Not only is he hard to kill though, he is surprisingly difficult to block as well. He can’t be blocked by Lingering Souls tokens, Mantis Rider, or Celestial Colonnade. In my experience if you ever achieve monstrosity with him, it’s usually game over as it deals anywhere between 8 and 11 damage.
Glorybringer has already proven himself several times over as a powerful removal spell on a 4/4 body inStandard. In Modern, 4 damage is enough to kill most threats, though not all, and a 4/4 flier is something that must be dealt with pretty quickly.
Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury is a very scary card that can end the game out of almost nowhere. Imagine that you have a Thunderbreak Regent out on the board and you dash this out; you get to attack for a whopping 12 damage because it’s triggered ability will give them +2/+0. If you have a third dragon, then you’ll deal 21. This card enables the deck to go very big, very fast.
The lesser known Atarka, Atarka, World Render is actually the scarier of the two in this deck, often ending the game the turn that she’s played. Though she can’t really be cast when you untap with Sarkhan, she is scary enough to justify adding her.
Other Notable Spells
Draconic Roar is basically an easier-to-cast Searing Blaze in our deck. With the density of Dragons that we have, we should always be able to pay the additional cost. It gives our deck a little more reach as well as additional removal spells.
Blood Moon is a bit of a non-bo with our Havens, but it’s so powerful that it doesn’t really matter. Blood Moon gives a lot of free wins on it’s own, and slows down a lot of other decks considerably. When combined with our dragons, we present a bit of disruption accompanied with a fast clock.
Anger of the Gods is especially good in our deck because it only hits our Birds of Paradise. Because we go so deep on our Dragons, we are somewhat vulnerable to strategies that go wide, like Elves. This card helps us clean up some of those creature matchups that might otherwise give us trouble.
Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you like my take on what Modern Dragons should look like. I don’t think the deck will win any Grands Prix, but it should be a blast at your local Modern FNM.