A year or so ago, when Urzatron, Amulet of Vigor, and other unfair decks were on the rise, we saw a Blood Moon deck start showing up. Between Red and White, you have access to all manner of efficient interaction and hateful enchantments. As the metagame starts to get too narrow, it becomes increasingly likely that you can find a suite of hate cards that you can use to shut large portions of the metagame out of games. With Krark-Clan Ironworks, Tron, and Infect on the rise, NickSnack thinks this might be the time to come back to the Red-White Prison deck:
White-Red Prison - Modern | NickSnack, 5-0 Modern League
- Planeswalkers (11)
- 2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- 2 Gideon Jura
- 3 Gideon of the Trials
- 4 Nahiri, the Harbinger
- Lands (23)
- 8 Plains
- 1 Wooded Foothills
- 2 Field of Ruin
- 4 Clifftop Retreat
- 4 Sacred Foundry
- 4 Temple of Triumph
This deck is laser focused on beating specific types of decks, and is at its best when the format starts to become narrower so you can tune your suite of hate cards. If the hate cards you choose to play line up with what your opponents are doing, this can be a deck that is brutally efficient at prevent its opponents from even getting to play.
This deck starts with a giant pile of sweepers. Anger of the Gods, Wrath of God, and Urza's Ruinous Blast are all powerful sweepers in the format. Urza's Ruinous Blast is particularly interesting because it leaves your Planeswalkers behind and hits troublesome Cranial Platings and hexproof creatures. This gives you game against all the tribal decks, Noble Hierarch decks, and Affinity. Backing up your sweepers, you have Blessed Alliance and Lightning Helix. Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile may be more efficient, but these removal spells both help you keep your life total high, and Blessed Alliance is a boon against Infect decks and other decks with singular hexproof threats.
Blood Moon is one of the cards that allows this type of deck to exist. Blood Moon shuts out greedy control and midrange decks while also turning off key non-basic lands like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Inkmoth Nexus. One of the problems with Blood Moon as a primary strategy is that opponents can frequently find ways to win from under a Blood Moon if they are given enough time. So the question is, how can this deck quickly close out a game?
The answer appears to be a diverse cast of Planeswalkers that force your opponent to play into your hate cards. Gideon of the Trials and Gideon Jura both force creature-based strategies to overextend into your sweepers if they want to be able to break through and actually win the game. Nahiri, the Harbinger does a great job of shutting down miscellaneous artifacts and enchantments while given you card selection and slowly ticking up towards cheating in Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Chandra, Torch of Defiance can kill medium sized creatures and threatens help you find key prison pieces or slowly deal the full 20 points of damage all on her own.
One of the most interesting and exciting things about this style of deck is the sideboard. You have Simian Spirit Guide to power out all manner of game-ending hate cards, so which ones you opt to play is always interesting. NickSnack appears to focus on creature-based decks by having the full set of both Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile to let you overload on removal against decks like Humans and Infect. We’ve also got Rest in Peace for various graveyard decks, Tarmogoyfs, and Snapcaster Mages, as well as Squee the Immortal to slowly pull ahead against control decks. Depending on what you expect to see, these could easily be Stony Silences, Chalice of the Voids, Rule of Law, or Leyline of Sanctity, all of which love to be cast ahead of schedule with Simian Spirit Guide or other ramp effects.
If you’re tired of letting your opponents have fun doing unfair things, this style of deck seems like a good choice for the current metagame. Sweepers seem powerful, and more and more decks seem to be attacking along a few, narrow axes of unfair interaction. It may just be a great time to play a very hateful deck in this Modern format.