As you shift from Standard to Eternal formats, the power shifts away from creature-oriented decks in favor of decks fueled by spell casting shenanigans. As the density of efficient instants and sorceries increases, spell-based decks become more capable of sculpting a game plan and disrupting the opposition for long enough to pull ahead with powerful haymakers. What exactly the haymaker is changes depending on the format or the metagame, but whether it’s Cryptic Command, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Treasure Cruise, or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, these cards let you absolutely bury your opponent in cards or just kill them outright. There’s a new take on this style of spell-fueled strategy in Modern, and Sneak-Show-Eternal has an exciting take on it:
Thing in the Ice Ascension ? Modern | Sneak-Show-Eternal, 5-0 Modern League
- Spells (33)
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 4 Lightning Bolt
- 4 Manamorphose
- 4 Serum Visions
- 4 Sleight of Hand
- 4 Thought Scour
- 4 Visions of Beyond
- 3 Pyromancer Ascension
- 1 Commandeer
- 1 Flame Slash
This is a deck that is focused on playing a very high density of cheap instants and sorceries. Lightning Bolt and Flame Slash provide early interaction, while all the Blue cantrips help you churn through your deck and sculpt a game plan. With the amount of card selection available, Snapcaster Mage is a fantastic source of card advantage, and lets you rebuy matchup-specific haymakers, particularly in sideboarded games.
This strategy typically revolves around any of three cards. Thing in the Ice provides a quick clock in matchups where you need to apply pressure. Additionally, it’s a powerful sweeper against aggressive decks like Affinity, and is particularly powerful against something like Infect or Bogles since Thing in the Ice doesn’t target when it transforms. Young Pyromancer is missing from this build, but is relatively common. This threat, combined with a plethora of cheap cantrips, gives you a great way to grind out card advantage against control and midrange mirrors. Of course, with Pyromancer Ascension in the deck, you don’t really need to grind out small advantages with Elemental tokens.
Pyromancer Ascension gives the deck a way to combo out and win the game if opponents get too focused on Snapcaster Mage and Thing in the Ice beatdowns. The density of cheap cantrips makes it easy to turn on your Pyromacner Ascensions, and Manamorphose and Visions of Beyond make it exceptionally unlikely that you fizzle. With the ability to find and turn on multiple Pyromancer Ascensions, it’s not hard to deal at least 20 points of damage with Snapcaster Mages and Lightning Bolts.
The most interesting addition to this deck is Bedlam Reveler. This is a card that enables the deck to expend resources to keep the board stable or force your opponent to use up their interactive spells. Then you can reload and start applying pressure. Much like Pyromancer Ascension lets you combo out, it’s not hard to imagine turns with upwards of eight Prowess triggers thanks to Gitaxian Probe and Manamorphose. That means that Bedlam Reveler is yet another way to steal games from an unsuspecting opponent.
This is a deck with a lot of angles and plenty of flexibility, along with the ability to play cards like Young Pyromancer, Delver of Secrets, and Monastery Swiftspear if you need to be more aggressive. Given the density of cantrips, it’s also easy to maximize the power of splashy singletons like Disdainful Stroke or Hurkyl's Recall depending on the matchup. The resiliency of the deck to hyper aggressive decks like Affinity and Infect, combined with the ability to combo out against fair decks makes a great option for Modern.