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Bulletproof Ideas


Enduring Ideal is a card that I always thought would see a ton of play in Modern. This card was a dominating presence in both Standard and Extended back in its time, and given the high concentration of powerful, hateful Enchantments in Modern, it seemed like only a matter of time before the deck took off. Unfortunately, there hasn’t really been a consistent enough way to cast the namesake spell quickly enough or a consistent enough way to stall out the game until you can. Ari Lax is looking to change that, and I’m excited to see how this take on Epic spells plays out:

The key to Enduring Ideal decks has always been finding a way to accelerate into the namesake spell. In Standard it was done with cards like Wood Elves, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Pentad Prism. In Extended, it was Lotus Bloom and Tinder Farm. There’s never been an engine fast enough to make Enduring Ideal worth considering over something like Scapeshift. At least not until recently.

Recently, the format has shifted in such a way that there are a ton of cheap enchantments that can just end the game. Between Leyline of Sanctity and Runed Halo, there are a lot of decks that just can’t efficiently interact with that combination of cards. Runed Halo in particular doesn’t target, and is an incredible answer to cards like Inkmoth Nexus and Death's Shadow. Even a card like Ghostly Prison can buy you an enormous amount of time early on in the game, and Porphyry Nodes is all but unbeatable for fair creature decks, especially combined with these other lock pieces.

The trick is that these pieces all give you a ton of White mana symbols that stay in play early on in the game. Suddenly, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is an efficient way of ramping into Enduring Ideal. This means you have incidental access to consistent mana that can happen to ramp you into Enduring Ideal, all while playing cards which can make it incredibly difficult for your opponent to progress their game plan.

But what do you do once Enduring Ideal resolves? Depending on how exactly your opponent plans to interact with you, there’s a number of routes you can go. Dovescape is a pretty good target, since it will turn off your opponent’s ability to do anything but make bird tokens. That can be followed up with Sphere of Safety and Greater Auramancy to prevent your opponent from being able to attack with enough creatures to realistically pressure you. Peace of Mind and Phyrexian Unlife are great against decks that are attacking your life total. Form of the Dragon and Luminarch Ascension are both reasonable with conditions. There are a myriad of routes you can go, particularly after sideboarding to more directly attack your opponent’s strategy, such as Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, and Story Circle.

If you’re looking to play a deck that can efficiently prevent anything your opponent does from mattering, this is a deck with a strong pedigree in other formats, and which has substantially improved with recents sets and metagame shifts. It’s honestly a little surprising that we haven’t seen much Enduring Ideal to this point in the format, and I can’t wait to see if this deck has what it takes to keep up.

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