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OshKosh Obosh (in Modern!)


While Companions (yes, we're talking about companions again; if you didn't gather that from the title, you have no one to blame but yourself) have been the topic of conversation for the last few weeks, it has mostly been in the form of Yorion and Lurrus. And Gyruda. Which you would know if you read last week's article about my companion rankings!

No, this week we're talking about Obosh, the Preypiercer in Modern, in the form of two different rg lists.

The first list was one I had come across on Twitter by Kevin Whang in the following Tweet.

In it, Kevin talks about the following list, and how he not only just 5-0'd a Magic Online League with it, but how he's also 18-2 in his past 20 matches. Take a look.

More so than even Obosh, the thing this deck tells me is that both Seasoned Pyromancer and Klothys, God of Destiny are both Modern staples at this point. Being able to either a) discard excess copies of Utopia Sprawl or Blood Moon in the late game, or b) discard nothing with an empty hand, to draw two cards, is considerably strong. And let's not forget that discarding excess copies of Pyromancer is kind of like discarding Lingering Souls. We can also discard excess gods, since they're already legendary and quite difficult to remove. All in all, this is a great home for Seasoned Pyromancer.

While it may not seem like it, Obosh can deal a heckuva lot of extra damage in this deck. Lighting Bolt deals six. Glorybringer attacks with haste for eight, and can kill 8 toughness creatures. Klothys, God of Destiny deals four damage per turn. These are sizable numbers that really add up turn after turn if Obosh isn't dealt with.

It is worth noting, however, that the deck does only have the one copy of Obosh (as is the trend with companions), so if the opponent does manage to deal with it, via something like Dismember or Path to Exile, then that's the end of that. So one thing I would assume is that you want to cast Obosh after you have a few Bolts in hand you can fire off, or a Glorybringer you can attack with. Obosh does also add two devotion for the purposes of attacking with Klothys as well.

The deck is actually surprisingly straightforward and is really reminiscent of the rg Ponza deck in Modern that tries to destroy all the lands with things like Stone Rain and Pillage and the full suite of Blood Moons, of which Kevin chose to run the 2/2 split. Only we're focused much less on land destruction here, and more on just out-valuing and damaging our opponent with things like Kitchen Finks, Tireless Tracker, and Bonecrusher Giant. If there was ever a rg value deck, this looks like it. Blowing specific opponents out with Blood Moon effects, or dropping an Obosh for lethal are just kind of bonuses that go along with that.

The other deck is surprisingly similar, and was submitted by long time stream supporter ewyourskinny. It's another rgObosh deck, but with a much different goal.

So here we are again. Four more Arbor Elves. Four more Lightning Bolts. Four more Seasoned Pyromancers. Four more Blood Moon effects. Four more Utopia Sprawl. You get the point. The decks are strikingly similar when it comes to their base-level cards, but their endgame strategies are quite different. This version is trying to cheat an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play with both Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast and the classic Through the Breach.

This deck was actually submitted as a deck donation, and I'll likely be playing (and tweaking) it on stream some time later this week. Lukka's second ability actually does a nice birthing pod impression when the only creature in your deck that costs more than three mana is Emrakul. One issue that was mentioned was that, when you exile a 1-drop, you do have a chance to hit Seasoned Pyromancer instead of Emrakul. That's a significant power difference, and we might need to figure out the best way to mitigate that.

I like this deck because you have cards that reward you for both drawing Emrakul and not drawing Emrakul. It's like Schroedinger's Emrakul in that way: its okay both in your hand and in your deck at the same time.

Both this deck and Whang's deck are similar in their early game - between turns one through three - where they both want to ramp, disrupt mana, and endeavor to cast their five-drops, whether that's a Glorybringer, an Obosh, or a card that puts Emrakul into play. This version is a bit more ambitious, however, and keep in mind that Emrakul does 30 damage if you do happen to have an Obosh in play. While that's usually overkill, it does ensure a victory in situations where your opponent might be at 17 life or something.

One issue with Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast - or two issues, rather - is that the creature that enters the battlefield is neither cast nor has haste. This means that Emrakul is going to be sitting on the battlefield for a full turn before she sees any action, unfortunately. I mean, there aren't that many cards in Modern that can disrupt that, but something like a Teferi, Time Raveler would be able to bounce her back to your hand. So you can see the pros and cons with both "cheat" cards. Through the Breach only puts her into play for a single turn, but you are attacking them that turn. Lukka, on the other hand, keeps the alien in play, but she just gets to sit there vulnerable for a turn. While one may be better than the other depending on the situation, having eight ways to get an Emrakul into play is pretty great, and Lukka is doing something that Birthing Pod and Eldritch Evolution never could: ramping you from a one- or three-mana creature into a 15-mana creature.

Both of these decks go to showcase once again, not only how powerful companions can be, but also how minimal a lot of their restrictions are. As you can see by Whang's 18-2 record, he's not losing very much by only playing cards with odd converted mana costs. In fact, both decks actually don't get that much from Obosh, considering it costs five mana, and is often the most expensive thing you can be doing in the decks. But it helps, and both players have decided that having access to this specific card at the beginning of every game was worth the restriction it imposed. While I'm not in love with companions, and I may think they were a huge mistake, we pretty much have to live with them in the more fair formats, like Pioneer, Modern, and Standard (if we can even call Modern such a thing).

That being said, there was an announcement about a scheduled Banned and Restricted announcement next week, on Monday the 18th

As you can see, however, Wizards clarified that it's only looking at Vintage, Legacy, and Brawl formats. Weird flex, but okay. One thing to keep in mind is that Vintage is a format where all cards are legal (outside of ante cards). They don't ban cards in Vintage, they restrict them, so I'm curious to see what solution they come to for companions considering they're essentially already restricted.

Anyway, rg decks aside, that's all I have for this week. Let me know what you think of these rg shells with Obosh in Modern down below in the comments, and remember to use promo code FRANK5 for 5% off all your cool stuff! Thank you guys so much for reading, I love you all, and I hope you're staying safe. I'll see you next week!

Frank Lepore

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