A CUT Be-4 the Storm

Travis Stanley • June 28, 2021

Prismatic Vista by Sam Burley

With Modern Horizons 2 arriving, I thought we would start this article off with a discussion about the first Modern Horizons set and some of what it’s given to Commander deckbuilding. Modern Horizons gave us the incredibly powerful Urza, Lord High Artificer, the terrifying Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and the beautiful Ayula, Queen Among Bears. A slew of 5-colored legends in Morophon, the Boundless, The First Sliver, and a commander who has already appeared on this series, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. Scrolling through the set a few cards jump out at me like Generous Gift, Force of Vigor, and Springbloom Druid as cards that I always see myself putting into decks. Force of Negation and Prismatic Vista are an auto-include in a lot of decks, but due to their price, they aren’t as accessible to folks (by folks, I mostly mean me). I think all in all, MH1 gave Commander players plenty to work with and explore. Looking at MH2, there are quite a few cards that I am excited about and can’t wait to play with and see how they help me win!

Speaking of winners, let’s find out who won last episode’s Finals!

 

Congratulations to Michael! Thank you for showing us that mono-white can get the job done with Mavinda, Student’s Advocate and the might of mono-green Druids with Yedora, Grave Gardener. Another big thank you to Hamilton for making two lovely decks for us to admire. Summoning spirits with Hofri Ghostforge and slinging spells with Octavia, Living Thesis!

As always, I want to thank everyone who participated in this round of CUT! and hopefully I will see them all in future articles! Champions round, anyone?

This week our deck builders were given challenges that were very Modern-centric, here are the challenges again:

  • Commanders must be from Modern Horizons or Modern Masters 2017
  • Must Include at least 5 Planeswalkers
  • Cards must be Modern-legal

How did our deck builders do? Let’s find out! Up first is David!


Yawgmoth EDH, Aristo-Friends

Commander (1)
Planeswalkers (13)
Creatures (21)
Sorceries (13)
Lands (34)
Artifacts (15)
Instants (3)

 

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PROLOGUE

“Oh boy, another Yawgmoth, Thran Physician aristocrats deck, I wonder what jank they brought to the table this time, maybe a Zulaport Cutthroat? If they are feeling particularly risky, maybe a Reassembling Skeleton? Next!”

This is what a person who DIDN’T read the decklist would say, then they would move on to the next deck, then vote for their favorite commander regardless of the other decklists or write-ups. But I can tell you are different, because I can tell you noticed there are 0 enchantments in this deck. No, you did not read that wrong, go and check. Welcome to Yawgmoth’s Enchant-LESS Superfriends!

Also yeah, this is Yawgmoth Superfriends. When I looked at the Modern Horizons commanders, I couldn’t decide who I should go for. I played around with Wort, The Raidmother, but the Planeswalker restriction hits hard in a Gruul deck. Then a thought occurred to me (yes it hurt), why not embrace the planeswalker restriction, and make a superfriends deck? After that, the commander with proliferate tacked on was a natural fit.

 

MAIN PLAN

So you may be wondering, what does the deck actually do? The main plan is to get out a few planeswalkers, as well as some artifacts or creatures with fun counter shenanigans, then proliferate with Yawgmoth as many times as you can to get the planeswalkers into ultimate range. Have you ever seen Sorin Markov’s ability (you know the one) used twice consecutively? Me neither, but this deck will be the one to do it. You can draw as many cards as you want with Mindless Automaton or Oracle’s Vault, both underplayed cards in colors needing some more card draw. You can produce more mana than a green player with Everflowing Chalice or Astral Cornucopia, although said green player may be packing some removal for them… You can keep all those pesky creatures on your opponents boards small or dead with things like Archfiend of Ifnir or Midnight Banshee.

 

REWIND TIME

There are only a handful of cards that can get planeswalkers out of the graveyard, and thankfully most are Modern-legal. Command the Dreadhorde stands out among the rest, being both creature and planeswalker reanimation, but also looks into your opponents graveyards as well. Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering could not be passed up, if only for the flavor.

 

MADNESS

The perceptive few among you may have noticed the abundance of cards with madness, some decidedly mediocre cards if I may add. This is because activating Yawgmoth’s proliferate ability causes you to discard a card. Normally, you can discard a creature for you to bring back later, or is offset by the card drawn from the primary sacrifice ability, but alas, we won’t be using his sacrifice ability unless in the most dire of circumstances. Because of this, I decided to add some madness cards that we can cast off of his ability on the cheap. Things like Alms of the Vein are kind underwhelming, but something like Big Game Hunter can save us or a planeswalker from a big scary goon, and From Under the Floorboards can make us a game-winning boardstate, as well as a bunch of life to boot.

 

OBLIGATORY ARISTOCRATS PACKAGE

Ok, I am in mono-black, I have a commander with a free sacrifice outlet, did you really think that I wouldn’t add any Aristocrats cards? These are mostly in the form of Midnight Reaper or Grim Haruspex for the sweet card draw, as well as the odd Orochi Hatchery for some token generation, and an underplayed card that I was excited to talk about, Dross Harvester. This card is objectively bad, losing 1/10th of your life on your end step, but 2 life for each creature death? Are you kidding? Two creature deaths to offset the downside? That’s chump-change in a fully tuned Aristocrats deck, and imagine how much life you gain off a board wipe, yours or someone else’s! Three creatures here, two creatures there, the token deck with 8-10, you could be looking at upwards of 20-30 life directly after a board wipe. Fumigate, eat your heart out! Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Kokusho, the Evening Star are here too, because the game has to end at some point, and looping these two a couple times will do just that.

 

EPILOGUE

That’s all there is to say I guess, play some planeswalkers, keep ‘em safe, proliferate a few times, profit. Oh yeah, the Enchantless thing… yeah that has no bearing on how the deck plays, I only had 2 enchantments I wanted in the deck and I ended up cutting one, so I thought it would be funny to cut all enchantments, that’s all. I have to say, The modern only restriction was weird for building a commander deck, cards that I thought were legal weren’t legal, and vice versa. I hope you liked it, and make sure to yell at me in the comments for running 34 lands. Until next time (hopefully)!


Thanks David! Can Yawgmoth and his superfriends crowd surf David to the next round? You decide!

Next is Zachary!

 

 

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Y’all like Bears?

That’s right, I’m bringing you a Bear tribal deck built around Ayula, Queen Among Bears. So, I guess the first thing we should talk about are the stars of the show: the bears!

We’re playing every Modern-legal Bear and most of the Shapeshifters available to us. Most of these creatures don’t do too much on their own, but with Ayula out, they either grow one of our creatures or even act as a removal spell. One of the more notable creatures in the tribe is Chameleon Colossus, which can get ridiculously big and protect itself somewhat. We’ve also got Realmwalker, which lets us cast more bears from the top of our deck. Lastly of note is Spirit of the Aldergald, it gains power equal to our snow permanents. Good thing we’re running 32 Snow-Covered Forests.

The other thing we should go over is the other big deck building requirement: the planeswalkers. We’re playing your general assortment of mono-green walkers. Most notable of all however is probably Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate and Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Either of these walkers can easily take over the game by themselves if given the chance.

Now, since we are playing tribal we should take advantage of that by playing all the tribal staples. We’ve got Coat of Arms, Icon of Ancestry, Vanquisher’s Banner, etc. Just about everything you’d expect to see in the classic tribal deck and that are legal in Modern.

Speaking of synergy though, another facet of Ayula we have yet to talk about is her ability to put some +1/+1 counters on our Bears. Because of that, we’re running a bit of support for the counters. Specifically The Ozolith, which can store counters on itself to move onto other creatures when our Bears die, and Hardened Scales, which lets us grow a creature by three instead of two each time a Bear enters.

In terms of removal, we’re playing the standard mono-green package: Beast Within, Krosan Grip, Force of Vigor, and Kenrith’s Transformation. While that’s fewer pieces of removal than we’d normally play, the fact that Ayula herself can act as removal whenever we play a Bear helps a lot.

In order to close out the game though, we almost certainly will need more than just an assortment of Bears. Because of that, we’ve got some pretty nice finishers for this deck. Champion of Lambholt and Craterhoof Behemoth can both help to close out the game over the course of a turn or two. Then, of course, we can play Triumph of the Hordes and infect our opponents out. Perhaps not the most unique way to win, but a reliable one for sure. Also of note are Ayula’s Influence, which can swarm the board with Bear tokens if we can draw enough cards to discard a bunch of lands, and Return of the Wildspeaker, which is one of the many ways we can draw those cards while also providing a decent boost to all our bears if we need to push through for that last bit of damage. Speaking of card draw though…

We have it in the deck. Like, a lot of it. Nissa, Vital Force, Beast Whisperer, Rishkar’s Expertise, Return of the Wildspeaker, Tome of Legends, Vanquisher’s Banner, Guardian Project, Zendikar Resurgent, and Bonder’s Enclave. And that’s just the cards that draw us cards. That’s not even considering the pieces we play that give us more specific card selection like Duskwatch Recruiter or Growing Rites of Itlimoc.

Also, we should talk about how we can protect our board. One of the toughest things to do as a creature-based deck is to maintain a board state against sweepers and edict effects. To help us with that, we’ve got Heroic Intervention to make our stuff untargetable and indestructible, Tajuru Preserver to make it so we don’t have to sacrifice our creatures to our opponents’ effects, and Prowling Serpopard, which makes our creatures uncounterable.

In conclusion, I’m very happy with how well this deck ended up turning out. I wanted to build something fun that can also compete, and I feel that I’ve succeeded in that. I’m especially curious to see what the others I’m competing against have built.


Amazing stuff Zachary! Looks like a pretty grizzly deck you got there!

Our final deck builder presenting is Doug! You may know Doug from his articles over on EDHREC!

Adventure Time! Wort EDH

Commander (1)
Sorceries (25)
Lands (26)
Artifacts (3)
Planeswalkers (5)
Instants (18)
Creatures (21)
Enchantments (1)

 

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Looking through the available commander list, I immediately was drawn to the very first commander I ever brewed (unfortunately as a land destruction build), Wort, the Raidmother. Wort is an odd commander, because it wants to go spell-slinger in colors not really known for that strategy, and also wants creatures at the same time to feed the spell copying. Keeping that dichotomy in mind, it wasn’t long until I ran into Beanstalk Giant, another pet card of mine. I realized that Adventure as a mechanic was perfect for Wort, as the Adventure spells were easily copyable, while the creatures themselves could also be creatures to go aggro or copy spells with. Even better, Adventure cards can abuse cards that let you cast instants and sorceries from the graveyard like Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and Goblin Dark-Dwellers, as they will still go to the Adventure zone after being cast, rather than being exiled.

In other words, I had a means to get a mountain of spells and creatures on the stack all the time, hopefully capped off with huge storm spells like Spreading Insurrection, or just huge X spells I get to copy to kill the table, like Electrodominance. Failing that, in goldfishing this deck showed that it was more than capable of just going the route of typical token swarm, hence the addition of both Overrun and Overwhelming Stampede. It does at times struggle without the commander in play, as is typical of Wort decks. Luckily, there are enough permanent ramp options along with all the rituals, and enough mass draw along with all of the Cathartic Reunion effects, that you can muddle through just fine. You can often get Wort into play early with a ritual, however, at which point things really take off quickly as you start copying rituals for double the mana and Cathartic Reunion effects draw bunches of cards instead of breaking even. From there, it’s easy to get the windmill of cards going until you find a win!


Great way to close it off Doug! What’s a good fantasy adventure without spell-slinging Goblins?

You have now Thoughtseize’d all of the deck builders and dredged through their decks. Now it’s time to vote for which one you think did the best with the challenges at hand. Thank you for reading and remember, if you don’t love it, CUT it!

If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of a future CUT! Article, feel free to send an email to the.only.travis.stanley@gmail.com.