Hello Everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week we are going to take a look at all the new Arclight Phoenix decks that did well in the SCG Vegas event. These decks were out in force at the event. Just anecdotally, it was difficult to walk around and not see a deck that was running the new 3/2 recursive flier in the teams portion. Even in the 30-man side event I played in there were 5 phoenix-style decks not including my own. It’s clear to me that Phoenixes are here to stay, given the variety of decks that have had success.
First up we have Mardu Phoenix which is a more aggressive take on Mardu Pyromancer.
There are a few key differences between this list and a typical Mardu Midrange list. First is obviously the namesake Arclight Phoenix, but we also have maindeck Surgical Extraction and Gut Shot making appearances as well. They are obviously in there to help you hit your three spell minimum for Phoenix. The spiciest card though has to be Flame Jab. Flame Jab is a card that I have seen in some mono red lists before, but works especially well in a more controlling list letting you turn your excess lands into damage. Collective Brutality works especially well with Phoenix, allowing you to choose mulitple modes while not really losing much, if any, value. Really what Phoenix does for a deck like this is kind of the same thing that Tarmogoyf does for Jund, or Death’s Shadow does for it’s namesake deck. It allows you to turn the corner very quickly, putting a fast clock on your opponent while also giving you the ability to draw aggressively and just flat out race your more aggro based opponents.
Izzet Phoenix reminds me a lot of the Izzet Drakes list that’s been performing well in Standard. A lot of that is of course due to the 4 Crackling Drakes in the mainboard. The rest of your cards are meant to cheaply churn through your deck as quickly as possible, trying to find your Phoenixes and Bedlam Revelers while also activating your Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror. Thing in the Ice works especially well with Reveler, as it has the “horror” creature type, meaning it doesn’t get bounced by the flip ability of Thing. Phoenixes also work well with Thing because they don’t activate until the combat step, allowing you to get in an absurd amount of damage. Thought Scour is the other big inclusion as it lets you put your deck into your graveyard more quickly for both Phoenix and Reveler. Speaking of Reveler, this is a bit off topic, but an important interaction for Reveler is that it reduces its cost through things like Damping Sphere, which did pop up at the SCG over the weekend. This means that if there’s a Damping Sphere in play and you’ve cast 2 spells this turn, your Reveler costs 8RR, so if you have 8 or more spells in your graveyard you still only have to pay RR to cast him.
Anyway that’s all for this week! Let me know what you think of the new Phoenix decks in the comments and have a good rest of your week!