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Black-based midrange variants have been a prominent strategy in Modern since the format’s inception. At first, these decks were powered by Thoughtseize and Bloodbraid Elf. The format then cycled through Deathrite Shaman, Abrupt Decay, and Fatal Push. Sometimes Jund variants are favored. Other times Abzan or even Grixis. But what about straight br?

Empty the Pits
There are a lot of upsides to staying straight two-color, even in a format like Modern where fetchland/shockland mana bases mean you can make three colors happen with a high degree of consistency. The biggest advantage is that you take less damage from your lands. In a format that promotes aggressive and proactive strategies, that’s a substantial advantage. Additionally, you gain small edges against decks that rely on the likes of Blood Moon and Path to Exile, as well as having lands consistently enter the battlefield untapped.

As far as the spells themselves go, this is a pretty typical Modern midrange deck. You have a high density of cheap discard and removal spells backed up by threats that encourage exchanging resources and put you ahead in resource-light games. In particular, Dark Confidant and Gifted Aetherborn help to ensure that you can trade discard spells and removal spells for whatever you opponent happens to be doing while continuing to hit land drops and find further threats to play. As far as winning the game goes, most lists like this lean on Goblin Rabblemaster or Pack Rat as cards that must be killed immediately or threaten to end the game in a matter of turns.

For me, the most exciting card in this deck is Empty the Pits. This is a card that plays very well with this deck’s gameplan of trading a bunch of cards and generating card advantage with Dark Confidant and Gifted Aetherborn. You’re naturally going to end up with a bunch of cards in your graveyard and you can utilize those to generate an instant-speed army of Zombies to close out the game. This kind of instant-speed threat gives you a way to steal games against control decks and unsuspecting opponents who attack a little too aggressively.

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