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Moist Mardu Revamped

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Hey everyone!

I've had a hard time breaking away from Lurrus in Modern, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of options. Grixis Shadow is my default proactive Lurrus deck, but there are always different reactive versions, too.

Grixis Lurrus performed well for me recently and my cousin, Stephen, qualified for the PAX Championship. Any pile of Rakdos cards combined with Lurrus is a recipe for success at this point so it's only a matter of time before the number of Santifier en-Vecs pick up to compensate.

I originally played Moist Mardu when Grixis value piles were the talk of the town and now we have come full circle. Grixis decks have trouble with enchantments and Sanctifiers which makes Prismatic Ending a good option.

Omnath Piles are very fun to play so it's nice to have the option to play a four-color pile with Lurrus. That cat makes everything better.

It was also exciting to rebuild Moist Mardu because Modern Horizons 2 was relatively new at the time of the first pass. We know much more about the Modern format six months later.

Here's my updated version:


A fourth color added changes how we look at some cards compared to Grixis Lurrus while other parts stay the same.

The Spells

4 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer - Moist Mardu plays out like Grixis Lurrus because the primary creature base is the same. Ragavan is so much better on the play versus the draw that I wouldn't consider playing second on purpose.

Ragavan's treasures help fix your mana more than Grixis variants. A Swamp, treasure token, and Prismatic Ending can take down a Blood Moon. The treasure can also make Green mana for Prismatic Ending x=5. The second turn ramp for a kicked Tourach on the third turn is also a relevant play against Hallowed Fountain control decks.

4 Dragon's Rage Channeler - There are plenty of 1-for-1s in this deck and DRC ensures you don't flood out. I typically avoid using Drown in the Loch to protect DRC because I can recast with Lurrus in the mid game. There isn't a matchup where I would board out Channeler in any of the Lurrus decks so far.

3 Thoughtseize - I keep finding myself to be unimpressed with Inquisition of Kozilek because it misses evoke elementals and payoffs from linear decks such as Karn and Primeval Titan. Four Thoughtseize in the seventy-five is my goal, but six discard spells is too many in this deck because the games drag out and they're weak topdecks.

1 Inquisition of Kozilek - I didn't even want the second Inquisition against decks where Thoughtseize shines. It's best against Lurrus decks, but falls apart elsewhere. The damage from Thoughtseize is what stops me from playing four in the maindeck. I can slowroll creatures to give the opponent time to draw removal for IOK to take.

4 Unholy Heat - Even with four colors Unholy Heat is still the cream of the crop for early interaction.

3 Prismatic Ending - The main draw to playing White cards. I can interact with a wider range of permanents compared to Grixis Lurrus. Exiling Kroxa and undying creatures against Yawgmoth are just some of the scenarios where the permanent answer is relevant.

I originally began with four Prismatic Ending, but the sorcery speed and high mana cost came up too often to want the full set. White is also the splash color so it can be tricky to double-spell in the early game.

1 Terminate - The eighth removal spell can take down Primeval Titan and Murktide Regent. Every land in the deck can add Black or Red mana. I was also happy with Terminate in Grixis Lurrus as hard answers were nice when the games went long.

A new feature of this removal suite is I don't have to lean on Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt to round out the interaction. All of the removal is versatile and scales well into the late game.

4 Drown in the Loch - I played fewer Drowns in prior versions of Moist Mardu, but it's just the best card available to close the game. Make sure you plan your lands ahead of time to double-spell with Drown as the White and Blue mana can't all be fetched with Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats.

2 Kolaghan's Command - Like Grixis Lurrus, the second Command ensures I can fetch Lurrus into potential hand disruption more often. Chalice of the Void is no problem for this deck as I can shatter it with Command or exile with Prismatic Ending.

1 Snapcaster Mage - Again, Grixis Lurrus and Moist Mardu want a maximum of one Snapcaster Mage. Snap is most likely to flash back Drown in the Loch or Expressive Iteration which requires two Blue mana. I prioritize fetching the second Blue when possible in anticipation of drawing the Snapcaster.

It's possible to be more aggressive with the 2/1 creature as it can be recurred with Lurrus and Koloaghan's Command.

2 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger - Kroxa remains to be the best finisher in these slower Rakdos decks. It's a great payoff for digging through the deck and interacting with the opponent at every turn. Kroxa is still the reason I don't want lands in my deck that don't produce Red or Black; sorry Island, Plains, and Hallowed Fountain.

2 Kaya's Guile - Prismatic Ending is the versatile removal spell to justify dipping your toes into the fourth color, but Kaya's Guile is also a prize.

Grixis decks can be pulled in many directions because their interaction is more efficient than White, but that comes at the price of utility. I can exile graveyards with Lanterns and Spellbombs, gain life with Collective Brutality, and kill big creatures with Terminate. Kaya's Guile does it all, but asks you to pay one more mana.

Three mana gets two modes which are most commonly the opponent sacrificing a creature and gaining four life to undo Thoughtseize and fetch lands. Exiling the graveyard is relevant against Living End, Dredge, Reanimator, and Lurrus mirrors, but beware it fights with Drown in the Loch. The 1/1 spirit deals more damage than you would expect because it demands a removal spell and can trade with Ragavan.

There are an equal number of Kaya's Guile and Kolaghan's Command in the maindeck. Plenty of decks don't overlap between these two effects so I can justify playing more in the sideboard. When Command is weak in the matchup I can substitute them with two more Kaya's Guile. If Guile is weak in the matchup I can swap them with the extra Kolaghan's Command and Wear // Tear.

On the surface a full playset of Kaya's Guile in the seventy-five looks like a lot, but I would be swapping them with more narrow and efficient answers to graveyards, big creatures, or life gain. I get more bang for my buck if I just play the maximum amount of Guiles.

4 Expressive Iteration - It's great when the strongest card in Constructed is a draw spell because it's less likely to be banned. I'll continue playing four in nearly every deck I build until I can't.

4 Mishra's Bauble - Stop boarding them out.

The Mana

The fourth color does add some tension, but it's a base-Rakdos deck that can interact in the early turns to stabilize.

Ten Fetch Lands

4 Bloodstained Mire - Mire continues to be the best fetch land. This is because Kroxa is at the top of the curve so I don't play Hallowed Fountain. It finds both basics, the five shock lands, and the Raugrin Triome.

3 Scalding Tarn - The remaining six fetch lands find one basic, Raugrin Triome, and four out of five shocks. Tarn misses Swamp and Godless Shrine. Finds Watery Grave and Steam Vents for untapped Blue sources to enable Snapcaster Mage.

3 Marsh Flats - This fetch land misses Mountain and Steam Vents. Watery Grave is the untapped Blue source to find, but grabs both Godless Shrine and Sacred Foundry.

Five Shock Lands

The deck plays every combination of shock lands that produce the Moist Mardu colors except Hallowed Fountain. Blood Crypt is a common land to begin as it casts the most 1-drops, Prismatic Ending being the exception.

Blood Crypt works well with Raugrin Triome as you have access to four colors of mana and casts Drown in the Loch and Expressive Iteration.

1 Raugrin Triome - I don't think I've cycled Raugrin Triome yet. Whenever I can take a turn off I will fetch the powerful tap land.

2 Blackcleave Cliffs - Similar to Blood Crypt, this land works best with Raugrin Triome. Excluding Death's Shadow means I can support the fast lands.

1 Darkslick Shores - In the past I only played Blackcleave Cliffs, but Shores has earned its place. The Black side of the card works well with Raugrin Triome and it can cast a fair amount of 1-drops. It's also the second Blue source for the mid game for Snapcaster Mage or turns where you cast both Expressive Iteration and Drown in the Loch.

1 Mountain and 1 Swamp - This is the safest basic land choices for the Grixis-based decks. The Swamp helps combine with Treasure to Prismatic Ending Blood Moon. Prismatic Ending is the only spell you can't cast for a single mana with Mountain or Swamp.

Island and Plains, like Hallowed Fountain, doesn't cast Kroxa.

Overall, the mana base is tricky in this deck, but it's not too different from Grixis decks. You may need to plan a couple turns ahead to make sure you don't run into a color bottleneck.

The Sideboard

2 Kaya's Guile - Since Guile does a lot of things at a less efficient rate than the Grixis tools I'm choosing to play more copies in the board in an effort to free up space to fight other decks. It's a Terminate, Collective Brutality, and piece of graveyard hate all in one.

1 Kolaghan's Command - The third Command is primarily for Hammertime and Amulet Titan. I don't want the third Command against Rakdos Lurrus mirrors because I prefer extra Kaya's Guile.

2 Wear // Tear- Also for Hammertime and Amulet Titan. I don't like Kaya's Guile in those two matchups because of Ornithopters and Arboreal Grazers.

2 Alpine Moon - The second copy is mostly for Tron as Moist Mardu is slower than Grixis Shadow and I need more control over the mid game. Wear // Tear also handles Urza's Saga.

1 Spreading Seas - The third land hate card in the sideboard is made possible by Kaya's Guile. I normally don't have room for more than two copies of a hate effect.

2 Aether Gust - Aether Gust is a very versatile card. The only reason I don't want it in Grixis Death's Shadow is that I don't have room for more two-drops given there are only nineteen lands. Gust can interact with Primeval Titan, Blood Moon, and Crashing Footfalls.

1 Thoughtseize - The fifth discard spell. When my life total doesn't matter I'm happy playing four Seize.

1 Engineered Explosives- Prismatic Ending, Snapcaster Mage, and Kaya's Guile can take care of Santifier en-Vec. The Explosives is one extra card for Rhinos and I can board it in against Sanctifier decks for extra insurance. If your metagame dictates a different sideboard card this is one I would cut.

2 Tourach, Dread Cantor - If you told me I would revisit Moist Mardu in four months and include a triple Black spell I wouldn't have believed it. Tourach remains the best hammer for Hallowed Fountain matchups even with White thrown into the mix. I don't want to maindeck Tourach because I need to skew my fetches toward Black mana.

Tourach is important against Omnath Piles because they have so many powerful topdecks. It's essential to have a way to get back into the game with a haymaker.

Beyond Aether Gust I don't want additional counters in the sideboard for fear of overloading on interaction of my tertiary color. Spell Pierce is good in Grixis Shadow, but not in Moist Mardu where I'm almost splashing Blue and the game goes long.

This is the most fun deck I've played in Modern so far. It has the tools to interact with every deck and still has those nuts Ragavan draws on the play. Give this deck a spin!

Thanks for reading!

-Kyle

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