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Mardu Lurrus in Modern

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Hey everyone!

I've been playing a lot of Modern lately and only playing Jeskai Stoneblade isn't enough for me. I want to practice with tangential strategies in case the metagame takes a sharp turn. There are also a ton of fun decks to play so I don't want to miss out.

My favorite aspect of Jeskai Stoneblade is that it's able to deal with a wide range of permanents thanks to Prismatic Ending. I don't want to lose a game to one problematic permanent. so I feel that I have more agency over matches when I play White removal. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon's Rage Channeler are arguably the two strongest creatures in Modern, so I'm looking to pair them with Prismatic Ending if possible.

RIW Teammate, Zach Allen, told me about his version of Mardu Lurrus that sounded interesting. It plays many of Modern's most powerful cards and is able to interact with a wide range of decks.

Here's the current list Zach and I refined:


At a high level, this deck operates like traditional Rakdos Lurrus: play early threats and disrupt with discard and removal.

The Maindeck

Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Lurrus of the Dream-Den is the incentive to build the deck lean. A big turnoff about the Mardu Shadow deck was that Lurrus's lifelink was not always desired. As you return to paper events, remember to reveal your companion! I also had to get used to counting up to fourteen cards when sideboarding.

I've seen versions of Rakdos Lurrus in the past with a very light splash for two Prismatic Ending in the main deck. I prefer three Prismatic Ending and two Kaya's Guile in the maindeck so I can prioritize fetching White mana early.

Prismatic Ending's greatest strength is exiling Rest in Peace and Sanctifier en-Vec, two problematic cards for Rakdos Lurrus. I just named two sideboard cards, but swapping removal to answer post board threats means I effectively have a smaller sideboard. It's more efficient to play some in the main deck. The removal in the board is there to increase the absolute amount of creature interaction rather than make upgrades.

Zach was very high on Kaya's Guile and began playing three in the sideboard. I began with two in the maindeck, but now play a third in the board because it has also exceeded my expectations.

Kaya's Guile
Kaya's Guile fights for a similar spot on the curve as Kolaghan's Command. It's weak against Hammertime, but better against Ragavan decks. The best reason to play Kaya's Guile is I don't have to maindeck Terminate because it's an answer to Murktide Regent.

Guile is also very strong against opposing Rakdos-based Lurrus decks because Kroxa is one of the best ways to close out a game in mirrors. Exiling their graveyard in the middle of the game and answering a threat can be backbreaking.

Adding White makes the manabase more painful than the traditional Rakdos Lurrus deck, so I gain life often with Kaya's Guile.

Rakdos Lurrus typically plays three Kolaghan's Command at the top end and then augmented with a Tourach, Dread Cantor. Adding White enables me to play four powerful 3-mana instants which lowers the curve. Four mana spells fight with escaping Kroxa on curve.

Grixis Lurrus decks play card advantage such as Snapcaster Mage, Kolaghan's Command, and Expressive Iteration; three copies of Kroxa help fight them on this front. The 6/6 threatens to end the game in a couple turns.

Dauthi Voidwalker
Dauthi Voidwalker is the other spell that strongly dictates the manabase. There are twenty-one lands and nineteen of them produce Black mana. Voidwalker shines in matchups where removal is less effective, making the deck more diversified. I can steal a big threat after discarding it with Thoughtseize or just keep my opponent's cards from going to the graveyard.

Voidwalker is a good card to recur with Lurrus because it can sacrifice each turn. I can cast any spell with a void counter so be sure to track the exile piles separately in paper.

Since Voidwalker has shadow, I board them out frequently against creature decks without a threatening spell to steal. I have plenty of removal in the board making the numbers line up well so far.

The Leyline of the Void effect from Dauthi Voidwalker is deceptively strong in Rakdos Lurrus mirrors because when it dies to removal it will exile the spell as well as anything surveilled by opposing Dragon's Rage Channelers, making delirium harder to achieve.

A cool trick against Living End is to discard Dauthi Voidwalker with Kolaghan's Command or kill it so it will then return to the battlefield once the opponent cascades. After Living End finishes resolving, it will be exiled by the Dauthi Voidwalker that just entered the battlefield. The following turn you can sacrifice Dauthi Voidwalker to cast Living End effectively undoing the original spell and you even end the sequence with the Voidwalker in play.

Dragon's Rage Channeler
Dragon's Rage Channeler is very strong in this deck. Mardu Lurrus operates on four lands which leaves plenty of attractive cards to surveil to the graveyard. As the graveyard fills, it becomes trivial to escape Kroxa to clear out the opponent's remaining cards in hand and keep Delirium enabled.

The Dragon's Rage Channeler must attack if you have delirium, so Kroxa can purposefully take away cards in your graveyard to make her a 1/1.

After playing with Modern Horizons 2 cards for a while, I believe Dragon's Rage Channeler is the best card in the set and extremely versatile. I do not sideboard this card out in any matchup.

I play seven maindeck discard spells and the last Thoughtseize in the board. This is a fairly stock split and it has worked well so far. Inquisition is strong in Lurrus mirrors as it's effectively a pain-free Thoughtseize.

In prior years it was conventional wisdom to cut hand disruption in discard mirror matches. I didn't fully agree with that in the past, but now that Lurrus is in the equation I really like discard in mirrors. It's reasonable to keep all four Inquisitions and a Thoughtseize. For this reason, I don't want to play cards in my sideboard specifically for the mirror. It's also worth noting that most removal spells in the board will trade down on mana for Dragon's Rage Channeler and Ragavan.

There are plenty of decks in Modern that don't care about creature removal spells, so I must lean on discard to interact early and often. If you cut removal spells from the deck there still needs to be enough cheap cards in the post board configuration.

There are rare cases where Thoughtseize and Inquisition want to target yourself to discard Kroxa or fuel the graveyard to escape. At the very least it can be cast to generate triggers from Dragon's Rage Channeler.

Unholy Heat
Unholy Heat doesn't answer many threats specifically outside of Primeval Titan, but it's just one of the best removal spells to cast on rate alone. I value being able to interact in the first two turns of the game and Unholy Heat is part of that critical mass of disruption.

Lightning Bolt is stronger than Unholy Heat because you will not always have delirium enabled. One of the most common creatures to target with Red removal is a delirious Dragon's Rage Channeler making a guaranteed three damage valuable. There are also plenty of ways to deal small amounts of damage such as Kroxa and Kolaghan's Command so Bolt can also close out the game. I like Lightning Bolt against most decks, but it can be sided out against Amulet Titan because Unholy Heat and Prismatic Ending are strong in the matchup.

Mishra's Bauble is unreasonably good in this deck. It enables a surveil with Dragon's Rage Channeler, can be cast by Lurrus, enables delirium, and creates card selection with fetch lands. I typically write down my opponent's hand immediately after a discard spell, but I wait until the opponent draws the card I see to avoid giving them knowledge of what they draw ahead of time. This also gives me time to remember my upkeep draw trigger. If my opponent Baubles me, I draw the card upside down to remember it's known information.

The manabase has some differences compared to stock Rakdos Lurrus. Wear // Tear in the sideboard over Shattering Spree means I don't need to play Graven Cairns to filter all of my Black mana from Dauthi Voidwalker into Red.

Most Rakdos Lurrus players advise against Savai Triome for a third color for sideboard Engineered Explosives. I agree with this wisdom and do not play the Triome despite playing White cards. A land entering the battlefield tapped is a serious drawback in Lurrus decks that focus on velocity.

Shizo, Death's Storehouse grants Ragavan, Lurrus, and Kroxa fear. I don't play Shinka because it doesn't cast Dauthi Voidwalker.

The Sideboard

Unsurprisingly, adding White has provided a serious boost to the sideboard.

Wear // Tear is one of the strongest sideboard options available in Modern. It's able to destroy Urza's Saga on the first turn or generate a 2-for-1 for three mana. Since Kaya's Guile isn't great against Hammertime I have a nice swap.

Engineered Explosives destroys Rhino tokens and is very strong against Hammertime as it kills Sanctifier en-Vec. I'm going to explore playing a third copy because I want as many ways to kill Sanctifier as possible. I have four Prismatic Ending so two is fine for now.

Dark Confidant is in the board for the same reason as Thoughtseize: to have enough early spells when removal isn't good. Many of these matchups don't focus on the life total which allows Bob to find more hand disruption.

Chalice of the Void and Void Mirror are for cascade decks. Chalice can also be extra insurance against Amulet Titan as x=0 counters Summoner's Pact.

If you happen to put a void counter on Karn, the Great Creator with Dauthi Voidwalker you can find a Void Mirror against Eldrazi Tron.

Remember that void cards don't typically work well with each other. If you cast a card with Dauthi Voidwalker it will be countered if a Void Mirror is on the battlefield. Mishra's Bauble is the only card that gets countered in your deck by Chalice x=0 or Void Mirror.

It's a consideration to play a Gaea's Blessing in the sideboard over the second Void Mirror if mill picks up in popularity. The deck is much stronger thanks to Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Emrakul can be Thoughtseized if it's naturally drawn, but prevents Lurrus from being a companion.

Terminate and Kaya's Guile are mainly for Murktide Regent, but additional removal spells after board can come in for Thoughtseize and Dauthi Voidwalker against creature decks. The same can be said for Prismatic Ending which will likely play better post board.

Give this Deck a Try!

As Lurrus decks become more popular, Rakdos-based decks will be expected to face more Sanctifier en-Vecs and need to evolve. This deck is very fun because there are so many decision points and information to track.

Thanks for reading!

-Kyle

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