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Thopter Stopper

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There were two high-profile unbannings in Modern this last go around: Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek. In the following weeks, we saw an initial surge in popularity as people tried to figure out where these new cards might fit into the format. Since then, we’ve seen a steady decline, and almost disappearance of Sword of the Meek. It turns out that this combo just isn’t that absurd in a format full of poison damage, Skullcracks, and Abrupt Decays. Marc_31 is looking to change that with an interesting take on the Thopter/Sword combo:


Most of the decks we’ve seen, up until this point, featuring the Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combo were Esper or Jeskai variants, some of which made use of Gifts Ungiven and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. The issue with these strategies is they’re built around casting and resolving 4-drops, and then spending a few more turns messing around with actually assembling the combo. By that point, you’re just dead; every aggressive deck in the format is more than capable of racing, even if you’ve got disruption.

Marc_31’s take is different because it doesn’t lean on the Thopter Foundry combo. Instead, he’s just playing an artifact engine in a Grixis shell. You have to swap Jace, Vryn's Prodigy for Thirst for Knowledge, and you don’t have space for the likes of Ancestral Vision, Liliana of the Veil, or Goblin Dark-Dwellers. Instead, you get to use Nihil Spellbomb to contain cards like Snapcaster Mage, Tarmogoyf, and Prized Amalgam. You also get to utilize Thopter Foundry in conjunction with Spellbombs and Darksteel Citadels to bolster your life total while generating blockers for Inkmoth Nexus and Signal Pest. At some point down the line, you’ll loot into one of the copies of Sword of the Meek, but there’s no real rush because of how efficient the interactive elements are.

A huge advantage of playing Grixis over Esper is the addition of Pia and Kiran Nalaar. Sure, making a ton of Thopters and gaining some life is great, but it’s not going to help against the likes of Blighted Agent or Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Enter Pia and Kiran Nalaar. Now you can turn excess copies of Sword of the Meek, Darksteel Citadel, or Thopter tokens into a tangible board advantage that takes away some potential outs from opponents.

All in all, this is a very interesting combination of the Grixis Control and Thopter-Sword archetypes. The shell of Snapcaster Mage, Kolaghan's Command, and efficient interaction give you plenty of game against the linear decks, while Thirst for Knowledge and the Thopter combo let you pull ahead once you’ve disrupted your opponent’s strategy. This combination may now have the raw power of Ancestral Vision or Nahiri, the Harbinger, but the versatility of Kolaghan's Command and Terminate may make it all worth it.


 

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