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Void Elementals


Chalice of the Void

Everyone in the know will tell you that in Modern, Chalice of the Void has never been stronger. It can stymie not only Hammer Time but also the top Izzet decks featuring Dragon's Rage Channeler. Chalice on zero hamstrings Crashing Footfalls and stops cold Living End. If you happen to face a deck where Chalice of the Void isn't good, it's likely because they're playing it maindeck against you. Either way, it pays to bring a deck that can tussle with the ol' double-X.

Cavern of Souls
Risen Reef

Tribal Elementals may be the best Chalice of the Void deck in Modern. Not only can you play through it with Cavern of Souls, but your heavy hitters all cost three or more. Lay your first Chalice of the Void on X = 1, to impair your opponent; then you can knock them out with X = 2, while clearing the board the same turn with Fury. On top of all that, Chalice of the Void protects your Risen Reef from most of the format's removal.

Early in the new Modern format I wrote about Elementals playing every incarnation but Grief. Since then, I've worked on the list and wielded it to top-four a $1k tournament. The archetype is strong, hilarious, and full of interesting decision points. One choice we have to make is what turn-one play we should include in our deck. This article will present two variants, the first with the biggest beast in the Modern format.

Arboreal Grazer

First thing's first. Let's talk Arboreal Grazer. We certainly have other options for this spot, and I'll feature another decklist that plays Ephemerate main. I led with the version I played in the tournament with the 0/3 beast. The truth of it is, this herbivore can save your bacon. He blocks Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer all day. He can spare you eight points of damage from Murktide Regent. Most importantly, he blocks Inkmoth Nexus, which might otherwise K.O. you with Colossus Hammer. Arboreal Grazer can give you a turn of survival, while ramping you another turn faster. You can even attack with it alongside your companion. In total, I call that incredible upside, if you have the card on turn one, and if you don't run out of lands.

Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave

To satisfy this beast's appetite, I upped the land count to twenty-five, including two double-faced cards in Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave and Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn. These fulfill multiple deck-building needs: raw land count, pitch spells for our incarnations, and flood protection. I often cast Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave and am able to consistently do so, with the mana rush from Omnath, Locus of Creation. That exaltation of angels will clinch a game. Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn is far weaker when cast, but it's more important to have another Blue card to pitch to Subtlety.

The deck has fewer resources to exile to Subtlety than you might think, as you rarely wish to discard your draw engine of Risen Reef. Even so, I felt the card was uniquely powerful against Murktide Regent, and I value it even higher than Endurance against that archetype. Having access to both those cards provides you a dual-threat at instant speed. They both give you some game against controlling strategies. As the meta changes, you can and should alter the incarnation counts. You should also consider other options for the one-drop slot.

Prismatic Ending

Prismatic Ending is a good card that can play through Chalice of the Void. It has a lower ceiling on power level compared to Arboreal Grazer but also a higher floor. The Green creature is much worse as a late-game topdeck, especially if you have Chalice of the Void in play. Prismatic Ending still has game against Hammer Time and wily monkeys, and it can exile problem permanents like Wrenn and Six. If Arboreal Grazer were less important as a blocker against the format's key threats, I would make the simple swap to Prismatic Ending. That said, I don't feel the need to do that yet.

Yes, I did consider Utopia Sprawl. Its ramp is more fragile than Arboreal Grazer and makes you more vulnerable to creatures. I don't mind playing more lands, when the benefit with Omnath is so great. With that point in mind, some people include Wrenn and Six. Without Utopia Sprawl, the card isn't castable. (You would also have to cut Primal Beyond.) I wouldn't play it over Chalice of the Void. If you can fit all the necessary cards into the list, go ahead. I believe they're better together than including Teferi, Time Raveler; the deck doesn't need more 3-drops.


An upside to cutting Arboreal Grazer is that it simplifies your mana. No longer do you need to produce Green turn one, in addition to White. Even when leading with the beast, I wanted the option to side into Ephemerate. Often, I would cut Chalice of the Void in sidedboarded games, either because it isn't critical against my foe, or they are more ready for it. The lock piece is at its best in game-one's. In the more grindy post-board battlefields, Ephemerate is my weapon of choice. Blinking any creature in the deck gives you value, especially if you have one or more Risen Reef. And it opens up plays like turn-one Fury; turn two, attack for six.

It is a shame to leave such a potent tool in the sideboard, even though we couldn't cast it through Chalice of the Void. You do have the option of shrugging off the non-bo and simply playing all the strongest cards maindeck. Some games Ephemerate will be trapped in your hand, a fraction of which you can still make use of it with Solitude; but. the worst-case scenario may still be an acceptable cost. If you plan to cast Chalice of the Void on turn two, you may be able to use Ephemerate turn one. And it's not as if you have the lockpiece every game. You may also choose to deploy it on X = 2.

This version has the upside of freeing up sideboard slots. A downside is losing the Arboreal Grazer. Your Risen Reef will be slower to hit play, making you lose cards if you're forced to evoke incarnations early. Also, Fury isn't Grief. You shed value by blinking it turn one. Your foe won't have enough creatures to kill, and they can toast your elemental with a Lightning Bolt before you establish Chalice of the Void.

Sideboarding Notes

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