May ’20 Brew Report, Pt. 2: Comp-letely Nuts

“Comp-letely Nuts,” or the apparent consensus surrounding Ikoria‘s flagship mechanic. Two weeks back, we looked at the interesting new decks popping up using companion, because why wouldn’t they? Today, we’ll explore the rest of May’s entrants in a final goodbye to companion in Modern as we know it.

Mo’ Mana, Mo’ Problems

You of anyone should know that, Modern! Regardless, the next two decks found new, companion-centric ways to produce and enjoy heaps of mana.

Jund Field, XAKX47X (5-0)

Creatures (6)
Dark Confidant
Gilded Goose

Planeswalkers (4)
Wrenn and Six

Artifacts (5)
Mishra’s Bauble
Nihil Spellbomb

Enchantments (1)
Seal of Fire

Instants (9)
Assassin’s Trophy
Fatal Push
Kolaghan’s Command

Sorceries (10)
Hour of Promise
Inquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize

Lands (25)
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Bojuka Bog
Field of the Dead
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Nurturing Peatland
Overgrown Tomb
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Westvale Abbey
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream Den
Nihil Spellbomb
Seal of Fire
Boil
Collective Brutality
Damping Sphere
Engineered Explosives
Veil of Summer
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“If you print it, they will built it,” or however that old adage goes from Field of Dream-Den. Nowhere does it ring truer than in Jund Field, a deck built around the too-good-for-Pioneer Field of the Dead, albeit in an unconventional way: no Primeval Titan shenanigans here. Instead, the cheaper, one-time Hour of Promise gets the nod, with caution thrown to the wind re: Confidant flips, a move enabling everyone’s favorite companion.

As for Confidant itself, the creature serves to immediately pressure (via card advantage) the counterspell-packing interactive decks, namely UGx, that would otherwise have a field day against someone looking to resolves five-mana sorceries. So does Wrenn and Six, another two-drop that plusses every turn upon resolution and guarantees the land drops needed to hit Hour on-curve.

In the meantime, the more surgical Fatal Push and Inquisition of Kozilek, as well as the more general Assassin’s Trophy and Thoughtseize, are all included in high numbers to give the deck a fighting chance against whatever faster thing opponents happen to be doing.

Zirda Abundance, PP8_ (5-0)

Creatures (27)
Zirda, the Dawnwaker
Devoted Druid
Birds of Paradise
Elvish Mystic
Llanowar Elves
Noble Hierarch
Stoneforge Mystic

Artifacts (6)
Umbral Mantle
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice

Enchantments (4)
Leyline of Abundance

Instants (4)
Collected Company

Lands (19)
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Razorverge Thicket
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Zirda, the Dawnwaker
Life Goes On
Path to Exile
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Veil of Summer
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Zirda Abundance employs a simple philosophy: run 4 of everything and get to the combo as quickly as possible. The combo? Zirda, the Dawnwaker and Umbral Mantle, a no-frills package that turns any number of un-sick mana creatures into lumbering death machines. Lending that artificer’s touch is Stoneforge Mystic, which not only tutors half the combo (the other half, of course, awaits patiently in the sideboard if it can’t just be found by Collected Company) but provides an alternate gameplan with Batterskull.

In a deck full of mana dorks, why not run Leyline of Abundance? Provided it starts in the opener, the enchantment turns every dork into two, yet another interaction that was deemed a little crazy for Pioneer and only recently caught on in Modern.

The sideboard is also full of four-ofs; Path to Exile disrupts other creature decks, Ranger of Eos adds grinding potential and a more reasonable combat plan, and Veil of Summer stops anyone from messing with the Plan A.

Just Swingin’ Thru

Don’t be fooled by all that big-mana bombasticism—Moden’s still plenty friendly to attackers. After all, Mono-Red Prowess sits stubbornly on top of the metagame. But of course, not even the top dawg is immune to the spirit innovation.

Grixis Prowess, BLUEDRAGON123 (5-0)

Creatures (15)
Sprite Dragon
Abbot of Keral Keep
Monastery Swiftspear
Soul-Scar Mage

Artifacts (4)
Mishra’s Bauble

Enchantments (4)
Seal of Fire

Instants (15)
Cling to Dust
Kolaghan’s Command
Lava Dart
Lightning Bolt
Manamorphose
Mutagenic Growth

Sorceries (3)
Crash Through
Unearth

Lands (19)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Mountain
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream Den
Abrade
Collective Brutality
Fatal Push
Nihil Spellbomb
Surgical Extraction
Thoughtseize
Tormod’s Crypt
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Prowess is accommodating Lurrus at any price; usually, that means splashing black, as seen in BR and Jund versions. Grixis Prowess continues the trend, with black for Lurrus (and, it supposes, Unearth/Fatal Push) and now blue for Sprite Dragon. No other blue stuff here. But if we’re comfortable stretching into green for just Tarmogoyf, why not stretch into another color for a different beater?

Sprite offers a few perks over Goyf—the haste; the evasion. And it doesn’t use the graveyard. Not that people are bringing in grave hate just to combat Lurrus, but the companion’s presence has certainly exacerbated the amount of incidental hate floating around, not to mention that Lurrus itself boasts palpable synergy with Nihil Spellbomb. It’s at least nice that Sprite is a threat that can’t be incidentally shrunken mid-combat by a mainboard Spellbomb.

Jeskai Prowess, PONCHONATER55 (6th, Modern Challenge #12152345)

Creatures (16)
Seeker of the Way
Abbot of Keral Keep
Monastery Swiftspear
Soul-Scar Mage

Artifacts (5)
Mishra’s Bauble
Pyrite Spellbomb

Enchantments (4)
Seal of Fire

Sorceries (4)
Light Up the Stage

Instants (12)
Lava Dart
Lightning Bolt
Path to Exile

Lands (19)
Bloodstained Mire
Inspiring Vantage
Mountain
Sacred Foundry
Sunbaked Canyon
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream Den
Angel’s Grace
Kor Firewalker
Soul-Guide Lantern
Wear // Tear
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Splashing black into Prowess isn’t the only way to run Lurrus. The card’s hybrid mana symbols also allow white to be chosen as the splash of choice, a move that comes with Seeker of the Way for a lifelinking edge in the aggro mirror and Path to Exile for Modern’s notoriously chunky creatures.

UB Slitherwisp, WOTC_COVERAGE_DAMONA (5-0)

Creatures (15)
Slitherwisp
Brazen Borrower
Brineborn Cutthroat
Snapcaster Mage
Spectral Sailor

Sorceries (4)
Thoughtseize

Instants (16)
Deprive
Drown in the Loch
Fatal Push
Force of Negation
Logic Knot
Neutralize
Opt
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare

Artifacts (1)
Nihil Spellbomb

Enchantments (3)
Omen of the Dead
Omen of the Sea

Lands (81)
Creeping Tar Pit
Flooded Strand
Island
Mystic Sanctuary
Polluted Delta
Sunken Ruins
Swamp
Watery Grave
60 Cards
Sideboard (15)
Nihil Spellbomb
Aether Gust
Ceremonious Rejection
Collective Brutality
Disdainful Stroke
Flusterstorm
Mystical Dispute
Shadow of Doubt
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Here to diversify the aggro section is UB Slitherwisp, a deck built around the mostly shrugged-at creature from Ikoria. So long as players deploy a flash spell each turn, Slither does a fine Dark Confidant impression. While it’s practically as fragile and a full mana more expensive than Bob, Slither also dangles the possibility of more cards in front of pilots, and this deck is built to draw 2-3 off the Nightmare per turn cycle. Of course, more draws means more flash cards, which keeps the wheels turning. Most impressively, UB Slitherwisp doesn’t feature any companions!

(Full disclosure: this deck is not as good as Prowess.)

Companion-scade

Companions are strong. What if they also had cascade? Well, one of them does, and it’s starting to make a name for itself in Modern.

Gyruda Combo, MASHMALOVSKY (5-0)

Creatures (24)
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Ashen Rider
Obstinate Baloth
Phyrexian Metamorph
Primeval Titan
Restoration Angel
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sylvan Caryatid
Wurmcoil Engine

Sorceries (8)
Farseek
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

Lands (28)
Blast Zone
Castle Garenbrig
Cavern of Souls
Field of the Dead
Forest
Gemstone Caverns
Ghost Quarter
Godless Shrine
Overgrown Tomb
Plains
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Swamp
Swamp
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Bojuka Bog
Broken Bond
Chalice of the Void
Collective Brutality
Damping Sphere
Engineered Explosives
Gaddock Teeg
Winds of Abandon
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The standard Gyruda Combo attempts to cast the Demon Kraken from the sideboard or otherwise by reaching six mana on turn four through even-mana’d means including Sakura-Tribe Elder and Sylvan Caryatid. Then, the deck starts cascading, with Restoration Angel and Phyrexian Metamorph copying Gyruda for additional triggers. It eventually hits a fatty such as Ashen Rider, which breaks the chain once the deck has hopefully generated a huge board.

Primeval Titan is one such fatty, and can be cheated out early via Castle Garenbrig. The Modern stalwart allows for a Plan B featuring Field of the Dead.

Madcap Gyruda, DANNY_BAMBINO (5-0)

Creatures (24)
Platinum Emperion
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Dragonlord Kolaghan
Inferno Titan
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Primeval Titan
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sylvan Caryatid

Enchantments (2)
Khalni Heart Expedition

Sorceries (6)
Farseek
Madcap Experiment

Lands (28)
Blast Zone
Bojuka Bog
Castle Garenbrig
Cavern of Souls
Field of the Dead
Forest
Gemstone Caverns
Mountain
Nurturing Peatland
Overgrown Tomb
Radiant Fountain
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Cavern of Souls
Radiant Fountain
Abrupt Decay
Boil
Collective Brutality
Damnation
Damping Sphere
Massacre Wurm
Obstinate Baloth
Slaughter Games
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Madcap Gyruda follows a similar principle, but dips into Madcap Experiment to attack opponents from yet another angle. Khalni Heart Expedition is also employed here to help with ramping, while Dragonlord Kolaghan aids in ending games on the combo turn.

Big Green Gyruda, YPRINCIPE (5-0)

Creatures (24)
Terastodon
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Primeval Titan
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sylvan Caryatid
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Wurmcoil Engine

Artifacts (4)
Chalice of the Void

Sorceries (4)
Farseek

Lands (28)
Blast Zone
Bojuka Bog
Castle Garenbrig
Cavern of Souls
Field of the Dead
Forest
Gemstone Caverns
Overgrown Tomb
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Swamp
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Sideboard (15)
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Boil
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Damping Sphere
Slaughter Games
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
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Big Green Gyruda takes the Primeval package featured in the previous two decks and makes it a central focus of the strategy, maxing on Castle Garenbrig and supplementing Titan with other big green dudes like Terrastrodon. Wurmcoil Engine becomes especially attractive given Castle, which builds cleanly into six mana. The artifact is great at stabilizing an aggressive board before going for the combo.

Take It All In

Love ’em or hate ’em, companions are probably not going to stick around in this capacity for much longer. Wizards’ announcement in a couple days should put an end to their reign of terror in Modern. As always, we’ll have the scoop on that once the news drops. So stay tuned, and in the meantime, cast as many Dream-Den-dwellers as you can this weekend!

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