Deck of the Week: Krark-Clan Trawler Eggs

To my mind, few archetypes exemplify the spirit of Modern better than Eggs. For anyone not already familiar with the deck, just looking at a list is likely to induce head-scratching and incredulity. Just how, exactly, does this utterly insane pile of unplayable chaff win a game of Magic, our hypothetical newcomer to Modern may ask. Many of its cards aren’t even playable in draft! And yet, in the synergy-driven Modern format, some intrepid brewer was able to think up the concept, find enough requisite pieces to reach a functioning critical mass, and tune it to (near) perfection. So much so that it even merited a swing of the banhammer, if largely because of its horrendous effect on coverage and round time. Eggs is almost like a microcosm of the entire format’s purpose and history, boiled down to one deck.

After the retirement of Second Sunrise, Eggs hasn’t exactly put up stellar results. People have messed around with various Krark-Clan Ironworks and/or Open the Vaults shells, but rarely to top finishes. The release of Kaladesh block, with its design focus on artifacts and build-around-mes, was bound to revitalize some crazy combo in Modern, and Eggs is one of the beneficiaries. People have explored Whir of Invention‘s potential to impact the archetype, including on Nexus, but it might be that Scrap Trawler was the more fateful printing.

You may have heard mention of these innovations recently, and various writers have discussed it elsewhere. Take a look at Eggs in its new digs, as piloted by MTGO user danabeast7 to a 5-0 League finish:

Krark-Clan Trawler Eggs, by danabeast7 (5-0, MTGO Competitive League)

Creatures (10)
Scrap Trawler
Glint-Nest Crane
Myr Battlesphere
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Artifacts (30)
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Codex Shredder
Everflowing Chalice
Ichor Wellspring
Krark-Clan Ironworks
Mox Opal
Prophetic Prism
Terrarion

Instants (1)
Faith’s Reward

Sorceries (4)
Ancient Stirrings

Lands (15)
Darksteel Citadel
Academy Ruins
Botanical Sanctum
Forest
Inventors’ Fair
Sanctum of Ugin
Tendo Ice Bridge
Sideboard (15)
Battle at the Bridge
Leyline of Sanctity
Nature’s Claim
Pyroclasm
Seal of Primordium
Surgical Extraction
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

As with that other pile of unplayable nonsense, Lantern Control, the stamp of Kaladesh block is all over this one. Forgetting Botanical Sanctum (whose cycle was bound to be completed eventually), we see Inventors’ Fair, Glint-Nest Crane, and Scrap Trawler as new additions in the maindeck. Other players are still playing around with the potential of Whir of Invention, too. They endeavored to make an entire block to sate Johnny’s bizarre desires, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see cards from Kaladesh appear in weird combos many more times in the future.

Many of this deck’s pieces are the typical Eggs fare, but it’s telling that we see only one copy of the Sunrise effects that previously defined the archetype’s central strategy. That single Faith’s Reward can presumably be used to win the game in the same fashion as before, but it’s flanked by no additional copies, nor Open the Vaults. In its place appears a different recursion engine, Scrap Trawler.

In true Eggs fashion, the combo isn’t a clean, infinite loop that can be shortcutted, but rather a series of fiddly maneuvers that will vary on the exact order of cards drawn and available in hand. (So you can perish any hope of a coverage-friendly Eggs anytime soon.) Basically, every artifact you sacrifice to Krark-Clan Ironworks will recur one of lower mana cost, usually ending in Mox Opal. Then you replay the Opal, sacrifice it in turn for three mana (two off Ironworks and one off itself) and continue going off. Scrap Trawler can’t recur just any artifact off of a given trigger, so careful management of sequencing is pretty important. As you churn through your deck with Spheres, Stars, Prisms, and Baubles, you will likely draw into Myr Battlesphere. Then it’s just a matter of making your land drop (Sanctum of Ugin), casting the inimitable battleball, and tutoring up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

I had the privilege of goldfishing a few hands with a similar decklist this weekend, and let me tell you: this is way more consistent than it sounds. My friend, who piloted the deck to first place at a local Team Modern event, explained that turn-three kills were routine. That’s another check against Mox Opal, mind you, but I wouldn’t worry yet. As we all know here at Nexus, the application of the turn-four rule always considers resiliency and metagame share. And this deck looks easy to hate out.

For one, the central combo piece, Scrap Trawler, has several card types that are vulnerable in Modern. As with the matchup against Cheeri0s, any deck that came prepared to answer creatures has a ready-made maindeck solution. Path to Exile, Abrupt Decay, Lightning Bolt, and now Fatal Push—there’s no shortage of ways to axe a 3/2 for three if you need to. Add to this any artifact-based hate like Ancient Grudge, and it doesn’t seem too hard to disrupt the Krark-Clan deck effectively. That’s all to say nothing of the horror that would be a resolved Stony Silence. Ouch!

In my cursory perusal of lists preparing for this article, I discovered little consensus about build, which usually means the community is still figuring it out. Some use Whir of Invention, as I said above, usually paired with Pentad Prism to ease the difficulty of paying for triple-blue. Between Whir and Inventors’ Fair, finding any missing piece should be pretty academic, but as my friend who played the deck this weekend explained, it might not be worth the sacrifice in speed. Other builds run Thoughtcast, to complement Ancient Stirrings in its bid to dig through the library rapidly. Some omit Glint-Nest Cranes or Faith’s Reward, some play around with Mishra’s Bauble.

What nobody is running these days are Lotus Bloom or Reshape. Without the direct reanimation effects of Faith’s Reward or Open the Vaults, the value of Lotus Bloom in this archetype has plummeted. It used to be the single-most important piece required to start going off, which is why Reshape was so important. Now that Scrap Trawler is the engine of choice (which can only bring a Bloom back to promptly suspend it in the exile zone), this package has fallen by the wayside.

The Ever Abrew Modern

At this point I imagine it’s anyone’s guess which version will be the most popular. Either way, it’s an exciting new deck that looks like a blast to play, and I’ll be interested to see how develops in the coming months. I may even have to sleeve it up myself for an FNM or the like—I’m guilty of enjoying durdly combos like this where I get to solitaire while my hapless opponent looks on…

In other news, I’m working on getting some videos out for next week. At this time I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to wrangle from my partner in crime who’s making them, but hopefully we can make it a semi-regular feature. In the meantime I’m interested to hear what kind of stuff you want to see on video. Are you more excited by the weird brews like Krark-Clan Eggs getting put through their paces, or would you rather see deeper strategic content involving the Tier 1 known decks?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week. Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “Deck of the Week: Krark-Clan Trawler Eggs

  1. I really like the look of this deck, especially after seeing it online a few times. It’s just fast and resilient enough to have a chance against hate (unlike its previous incarnation), and while the lists aren’t quite tuned yet (at least in my opinion), it has heaps of potential. Would you expect this to make moves in the metagame? Or is Affinity’s prominence pre-boarding people against it?

    1. If what my friend Jon said was correct, this deck might just beat hate anyway. I’m pretty skeptical of that claim, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

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