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Modern is in a strange place right now, where aggro decks are competing with Nahiri decks for dominance. If the Nahiri decks can make their removal and Snapcaster Mages line up just right, then they crush the various linear aggro decks and dominate a weekend. If the control variants play the wrong combination of removal to fight against decks like Affinity, Dredge, or Infect, then they just die. There are lots of variants on aggro that try to prey on the Nahiri deck’s dependency on efficient spot removal, and today’s deck is no exception:


In many ways, this is a bad aggro deck for Modern. You aren’t as low-to-the-ground as something like Infect. You don’t have the overwhelming synergy of Affinity or non-interactive elements of Burn. This leaves you with a suite of creatures that are eminently killable and miscellaneous pump spells that lead you into two for ones.

The thing is that this is a deck that has a lot going for it specifically in aggro mirrors. Sure you don’t deploy cards as efficiently as something like Affinity. However, the rate that you’re getting on bodies is absolutely absurd. This is an aggro deck that’s great at blocking; forcing opponents to spend their tricks early and often if they want to keep attacking. After all, Glistener Elf plus Pendelhaven or Noble Hierarchs can pretty freely attack into the likes of Snapcaster Mage and such.

Kalonian Tusker, on the other hand, almost always demands a pump spell. Avatar of the Resolute allows you to stay ahead of Inkmoth Nexus. Strangleroot Geist blocks multiple times to buy you time to stabilize the ground. There’s also Dungrove Elder at the top end which forces you opponent to have either a sweeper or Liliana of the Veil immediately, or risk just dying to a giant hexproof monster.

In addition to the efficient creatures, this deck also has a handful of cheap interactive spells. Vines of the Vastwood and Dismember are just as good as always, providing one-mana means of shutting off opposing removal or creatures. Rancor rewards you for the raw size of your creatures and, most importantly, allows you to kill players out of nowhere with Aspect of Hydra. Aspect of Hydra can easily be as good as or better than Become Immense.

If you’re looking for a cheap entry point into Modern with a deck that has enough game to keep up with the top tier decks, this might be a great place to start. Your threats match up very well against the removal of the format, particularly with Vines of the Vastwood to protect your biggest threats. Dungrove Elder is a particularly potent threat in a format where sweepers are scarce. You may not have the same raw power or efficiency of the other strategies in Modern, but sometimes all you need are a few giant monsters.


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