Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week Modern has been getting a little steamy with all of the Runaway Steam-Kin decks that have been running around. The Magic streamer h0lydiva has been playing the Steam-Kin to a surprising number of 5-0 finishes. The deck honestly looks like one of the sweetest brews I’ve seen in a long time, so I’m excited to get a chance to play it this week. That being said, just goldfishing with this deck is a blast. Enough hype though, let’s take a look at the deck:
So now that we are looking at the list, what does this deck actually do? In broad terms, the plan of this deck is to generate lots of mana, then dump it into burn spells to kill your opponent, refuel with Bedlam Reveler, then repeat until your opponent is dead. The way the deck does this though is pretty unique to Modern, and most closely resembles Storm rather than Burn. Runaway Steam-Kin is an absolute house in this deck, allowing you to cycle through your deck, generate ludicrous amounts of mana, all while being a 4/4 beater most of the time. Bedlam Reveler is another all star in this deck, rewarding you for playing so many rituals and cheap spells by drawing you more cards and thus more Steam-Kin fuel. The final piece to this puzzle is all the advantage you get from discarding cards. With 3 copies of Fiery Temper, and 4 copies of Arclight Phoenix, this deck doesn’t really mind discarding cards very much. A final note on the mainboard is that some versions of this deck are also playing a copy or two of Insult // Injury, which I actually rather like a lot as it allows you to go even bigger, as well as give you a few extra points of burn if you need them. The sideboard has a few interesting choices as well, with Shrine of Burning Rage coming in when you really need to dome your opponent for absurd amounts of damage. I’m a little surprised that we don’t see something like Haze of Rage in this deck, but there are really a ton of interesting card choices for this deck. Regardless of how this deck does in the long term, I think it’s a really sweet and unique shell.
Though admittedly I haven’t really played with the deck too much, I wanted to put my own spin on the list and I came up with something that looked like this:
It’s similar to the list above, but one key difference is Young Pyromancer, a card that I think is absolutely perfect for a deck like this, that just plays a ton of spells every turn. Even if you are just spinning your wheels, you are at least getting 1/1 elementals out of the deal. I don’t know how good Experimental Frenzy is, but I absolutely want to give it a test run as it has the potential to be bonkers. There’s a bit of a non-bo with Bedlam Reveler, but it might still be okay. The other deck that I considered was more spell-based and runs Empty the Warrens and Battle Hymn, but it need more refinement and testing before I feel comfortable posting a list.
But what if you went a different direction with Steam Kin? What if you built more towards the Bushwhacker plan? More all in, and less value oriented? Well a little while ago, Marijn Lybaert posted a decklist that was subsequently tweaked by Frank Karsten into this:
As many people have subsequently pointed out, this deck is actually able to kill on turn 1, though it is rather unlikely according to Karsten. If you’re curious the combination of cards needed to pull that off is: mountain, Simian Spirit Guide, Steam Kin, 3x Pact of the Titan, and a Goblin Bushwhacker adds up to 20 damage exactly. I think that this deck is probably the most all-in deck that exists in Modern as you have no real way of ever paying for Pact of the Titan. There isn’t really much else to say about this deck as its game plan is pretty straightforward.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments.