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Cheap Horror


Amonkhet brought Cycling back in a big way, and that’s exciting for Standard and Limited gameplay, but does Cycling have any implications for eternal formats? In Modern, there’s at least one deck that cares quite a bit and picked up a number of interesting tools. Let’s take a look at Living End in a post-Amonkhet Modern:

Archfiend of Ifnir
This deck only wants a couple of things. Chief among them is large creatures with cheap cycling costs or creatures with interesting interactions. To that end, the addition of Desert Cerodon, Horror of the Broken Lands, and Archfiend of Ifnir is absolutely huge. These cards are replacing the likes of Deadshot Minotaur, Pale Recluse, and other mediocre cyclers. This improves your ability to generate an enormous amount of power off of just one copy of Living End to get your opponent dead immediately.

For those unfamiliar, the way this deck functions is by spending the early turns cycling creatures to dig through your deck. Then at some point around turn three, you can cast a cascade spell to flip into Living End to sweep your opponent’s board and put all your creatures into play. This interaction is particularly powerful when you have creatures with interesting effects. Ingot Chewer and Shriekmaw are mainstays in the sideboard for this purpose, though Archfiend of Ifnir may render Shriekmaw unnecessary. Similarly, Fulminator Mage is a brutal effect to have access to against midrange and control strategies, while Beast Within has relatively little downside.

The real reason to consider picking this deck up again is Archfiend of Ifnir. This card gives you a game plan against everything from counterspells to graveyard hate. If your primary gameplan isn’t going to work, you can just cast an Archfiend and start cycling away. Top tier decks like Affinity and Abzan Company, as well as other reasonable strategies like Elves and Merfolk, care quite a bit about their creatures. With the density of cheap cycling effects, it’s not unreasonable for you to untap and sweep your opponent’s board.

All in all, this has always been a reasonable deck, and it’s picked up a number of tools that increase the efficiency and versatility of the deck. The deck has a surprising amount of play, especially against control strategies, since you can just cast your threats. It can also be built in a number of different ways, such as by leaning more heavily on the likes of Simian Spirit Guide. If you’re looking for a deck that crushes creature decks and has game against everything else, Living End might be a great choice for the foreseeable future.

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