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Revenge of the Goons

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At a point in Modern where everyone is trying to fight over Become Immense, Temur Battle Rage, and Cranial Plating, it may be time to consider a different kind of aggro deck. People are trading in Pyroclasm for Path to Exile, and Anger of the Gods for Lightning Bolt. Maybe it’s time to try going wide instead of big. That’s exactly the tact that Wanchez took for this Modern RPTQ:


This is a deck that is built to overwhelm people trying to win with spot removal. The idea is that all of your threats are cheap, hasty, and that you can rebuild quickly to keep the pressure up. If your opponents are trying to win by trading Abrupt Decay and Liliana of the Veil activations with your Goblin Guides and Wild Nacatls, it’s unlikely that the game is going to go well for them.

But, even though Wild Nacatl and other Zoo cards have been legal in Modern for many years, it’s rarely emerged as a dominant strategy. What makes this deck different? It’s the density of Reckless Bushwhacker and Goblin Bushwhacker. These cards, particularly in conjunction with Burning-Tree Emissary, allow you to apply enormous amounts of pressure, either early in the game or as a means of recovering after a removal spell, sweeper, or Snapcaster Mage plus spot removal spell. We’ve certainly seen this strategy before, but there’s a couple of choices that seem especially exciting to me.

Vexing Devil is a card we don’t see much of in Modern, because there are a number of efficient ways of interacting with it. That means that your opponents can opt to let you have the devil, but never actually take damage. The math on this changes substantially when there’s a Reckless Bushwhacker involved, which is exactly why Vexing Devil is a great fit. Similarly, Dryad Arbor is a card that can represent a few surprising points of damage in a game where you’ve flooded out.

If you’re looking to get aggressive in Modern, but aren’t interested in fighting through Path to Exile, this seems like a very reasonable place to go. Swarming the board with large, aggressive creatures that are resilient against most of the efficient removal spells in the format is great, and being able to combine Reckless Bushwhacker with Atarka's Command means you can end a lot of games before they really get started.


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