Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings.  This week while we wait for the return to the return to Ravnica spoilers that should be coming sometime soon, I thought that it could be fun to look at a card that I think is criminally absent from Modern.  I am talking about Tamiyo, Field Researcher.  This is a super powerful card that basically saw no play because it was competing with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and really broken Kaladesh decks.  Back when Bant Eldrazi was a deck, I briefly tested it in there, and it always overperformed when I drew it.  So let’s look at what this planeswalker actually does, shall we?

[+1]: Choose up to two target creatures. Until your next turn, whenever either of those creatures deals combat damage, you draw a card. 

This is Tamiyo’s bread and butter ability.  Believe it or not this is her way of protecting herself while also being a way for you to gain card advantage off your own creatures.  You can even drop Tamiyo onto an empty board against your opponent’s creatures, activate this ability on those creatures, then on your opponent’s turn, if they attack with those creatures, you get to draw 2 cards.  If they attack and have enough to kill Tamiyo, that’s like gaining 5+ life while also drawing 2 cards.  Not a bad deal.

[-2]: Tap up to two target nonland permanents. They don’t untap during their controller’s next untap step. 

This is the second way she can protect herself as she can make sure that your opponent’s creatures can’t untap to attack her or you.  It can also be used offensively to make sure that your opponent can’t block with specific creatures for up to two turns.  Pretty simple ability, not much else to say here, other than to remember it can tap anything but lands.  So it can help slow your opponent down if they have Mind Stone or something similar.

[-7]: Draw three cards. You get an emblem with “You may cast nonland cards from your hand without paying their mana costs.”

This is definitely one of the scarier planeswalker ultimates, but it takes 4 turns to be able to ultimate, which is a long time to control a planeswalker.  It should probably end the game on the spot though.

Theoretically, Tamiyo should bury the opponent in card advantage and best goes into an creature-based midrange strategy that can take advantage of that fact.  Looking at decks in Modern, I think that currently there are 2 decks that can best utilize her.  The first is Bant Spirits, and the second is Bant Knightfall.

First I thought I’d take a look at Bant Knightfall, which if your unfamiliar, is a combo/value deck based around Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm.

I modified a list that got second at a modern SCG IQ last year and it turned out as such:

Bant Knightfall


Collected Company forces us to make some concessions and keeps us from running the full 4 Tamiyo like we would want while still having removal and the combo.  That being said, your Tamiyos act like more Companies in the card advantage that they give you.  The 8 one-drop mana dorks also help ensure that you’ll be playing Tamiyo at least a turn early, if not sooner.

Now for…

Bant Spirits:

The more I look at Bant Spirits as an archetype the more I like it.  Though Humans has more disruption in their shell, Spirits has more fliers and some more toolbox cards in Remorseful Cleric and Selfless Spirit.  Though Tamiyo mostly fits with what Bant Spirits wants to be doing, attacking and drawing cards, I am a little wary about her in this deck since we mainly want to play our spells at instant speed.  Still, I think she’s powerful enough to at least be a sideboard card in the deck against control or midrange if she doesn’t work out mainboard.


Anyway, that’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed the article, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments.

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