Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week we are going to take a look at a deck that has been out of the meta for a while, Jeskai Ascendency, and see if reminding the world of this forgotten titan can bring it back. Maybe adding an Arclight Phoenix or two might help.
First, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the deck here is a sample list:
It probably looks a bit strange, but the deck actually can be quite scary. The general game plan is to play Jeskai Ascendancy, unearth Fatestitcher, then use him to untap your lands to cast your 1 mana spells to give him +1/+1 and untap him and loot. You repeat this process until you’ve gone through your deck and he is large enough to kill your opponent all on his own. You can use Fatestitcher’s ability to tap down any blockers that they might have to be able to push through. Your plan B is to cast Lingering Souls and just play enough spells in a single turn that your tokens are lethal fliers. This is one of the beautiful parts of a deck like this: if your opponent plays a Damping Sphere you can just play a token strategy and beat down with Lingering Souls, playing 1 or 2 spells a turn to buff them up for a quick clock.
Thus we have come to the heart of why you should play a deck like this: it’s very resilient to hate. You think they are going to side in graveyard hate? You side out your Fatestitchers and side in Monastery Mentor and Young Pyromancer. Are they playing a creature deck with threats you just have to kill? Side in Grim Lavamancer and shotgun down their board in a single turn. This also allows you to launch damage directly at their face if they simply have too many creatures to tap down.
The biggest downside to this deck is that you are fairly reliant upon resolving Jeskai Ascendency and keeping it in play to win. Fortunately, enchantment removal is fairly rare and the deck runs a plethora of ways to grind through your deck looking for the Ascendency.
But what if we put a slightly different spin on the deck? What if we threw in Arclight Phoenix and just went all in during the combat step after our Phoenixes are attacking? It means that the deck probably has fewer chances to fizzle, and it has no problem getting the Arclight Pheonixes into the graveyard thanks to our key card. As a bonus, we don’t even have to make too many changes to the deck, since its gameplan is so aligned with what Arclight Pheonix needs to work.
As you can see, there isn’t too much difference, save for Arclight Pheonix replacing Lingering Souls. I think that Arclight could give this deck new life as it allows the deck to win without having to combo off quite as hard. Before, there was always some chance that you would fizzle before getting to enough damage to actually kill your opponent, whereas now each Pheonix you discard acts like three spells worth of pumps.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Let me know what you think in the comments! Next week we are going to be looking at some cards that have yet to be broken in Modern.