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Sending the Cats to the Astrolabe


It's pretty incredible how much of an impact tiny enablers can have in Magic. Little one mana commons that do a bunch of things to tie your deck together and end up being more impactful than the most expensive of mythic rares. Faithless Looting just got banned, Ancient Stirrings is still one of the best cards in Modern, and now we have another one that is tearing up every format from Vintage to Pauper.

Arcum's Astrolabe

When Modern Horizons was being previewed there were plenty of things to be excited about; two-mana planeswalkers! A new Force of Will and Timetwister! Canopy lands! But history may end up showing us that one of the most important cards in the set was actually just a little one-mana artifact that could do it all.

Time Stamps:

Match 1 - 00:10:37

Match 2 - 00:54:19

Match 3 - 01:11:17

Match 4 - 01:50:55

Match 5 - 02:18:28

While it's amusing that it took my trying a four color version of the deck to add Arcum's Astrolabe to the Saheeli Cat combo, just seeing how it interacted with the entire deck made it a clear addition to the normal three color version of the deck.

Saheeli Rai
Felidar Guardian

The most important thing in a deck like Saheeli Combo (a combo deck based around the infinite combo with Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian) is making sure your combo pieces have other applications in a normal game of Magic beyond just comboing. Felidar Guardian is great for flickering other planeswalkers and Saheeli Rai can copy Snapcaster Mage for some value, but we want more. We also don't want to have to resort to subpar two-mana enabler cards like Wall of Omens or Spreading Seas. Enter Arcum's Astrolabe.

Arcum's Astrolabe

We can Arcum's Astrolabe it with Saheeli Rai to make her -2 ability into "draw a card." We can flicker it with Felidar Guardian to make his enters the battlefield ability "draw a card." We can bounce it with Teferi, Time Raveler whenever we want to draw two cards. All of this at the slight cost of a few more fetchlands and less pain from shocklands.

While this league wasn't ideal, I took a slightly updated version of this deck to a PTQ yesterday and just missed Top 8 with a 5-2 record. The deck is consistent, powerful, and great at grinding, while also being able to kill people on turn four. It's hard to understate how potent that is in such a wide open Modern format. If you love your Snapcaster Mages and Lightning Bolts and long for the days of Splinter Twin, give Jeskai Saheeli a spin!

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