Part I: The Worst Kept Secret in All of Kaldheim
Here's a deck:
Black/Red Valki | Modern | Phill_Hellmuth, 4-0 Modern Preliminary
- Creatures (22)
- 2 Murderous Rider
- 4 Bloodbraid Elf
- 4 Magus of the Moon
- 4 Seasoned Pyromancer
- 4 Simian Spirit Guide
- 4 Valki, God of Lies
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Demonic Dread
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Blood Moon
- Lands (24)
- 1 Forest
- 1 Swamp
- 1 Snow-Covered Forest
- 1 Snow-Covered Swamp
- 1 Overgrown Tomb
- 1 Stomping Ground
- 2 Blood Crypt
- 2 Prismatic Vista
- 2 Wooded Foothills
- 4 Blackcleave Cliffs
- 4 Gemstone Caverns
- 4 Verdant Catacombs
Here's a play pattern [that, being the worst kept secret in all of Kaldheim, I assume you know].
Play Violent Outburst.
Alternately, play Demonic Dread.
You only have one class of card that costs two mana or less, which is Valki, God of Lies.
So, you make:
Except, actually you make the Valki's opposite number (or at least opposite side).
Is Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter a great seven casting cost card? I'm not sure. I think that it would have been playable as part of the total package, given the fact that the front side is priced so right.
But the reality is, in 2021 - Modern at least - no one is playing Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter for seven mana. It is a heck of a card for three mana!
So, what do you do with Tibalt once it's in play?
You can start Milling both players (which is, in essence, drawing a card). While it might take a while, this is actually a possible route to victory! If the opponent has a creature already (which maybe they had to, if your catalyst was Demonic Dread) you might kill it. Either route is effectively drawing extra cards thanks to that first of many, many lines on Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter.
But more than anything else in the near term, Tibalt has colossal loyalty; at least given the fact that you can expect it to come out so early. PHILL_HELLMUTH's version plays four copies of the Unluckyman's Paradise - Gemstone Caverns - and Simian Spirit Guide. It can make that Tibalt very, very quickly. Even on the draw. Especially on the draw.
This version also has a little something extra going on.
And it's not removal.
But not the prolific PHILL_HELLMUTH; not this time at least. Two copies of Dismember, only. Instead, this deck packs a somewhat consistent (and mostly coherent) Cascade sub-strategy.
There is only one class of two mana card. So, if you have Demonic Dread or Violent Outburst you can pretty much only hit Valki, God of Lies. If you play Bloodbraid Elf, you can of course Cascade into one of the other Cascade cards. But if you don't? You can still win the lottery.
You might not have an auto-win in every matchup, but if you hit one of these quickly enough, you can lock out the opponent's fetch lands (especially, as we will see below, the Islands-grabbing kind). You can severely slow down a Tron deck while putting 5 power into play (three of it hasty)... And, of course, you can fail.
- Seasoned Pyromancer - I'm sure you might actually want this sometimes... But it's not like you can aim for it. At least it is a very good card.
- Murderous Rider - Probably pretty good sometimes! Might not be the biggest hit, but might be troublesome. Flexibility is a thing. Lifelink is a thing.
- Dismember - Kind of like Murderous Rider, except awful. Kind of like Murderous Rider... Except that it can completely whiff. At least you won't be paying life for Dismember unless you actually want to.
- Simian Spirit Guide - Kind of like Magus of the Moon, except instead of locking out the opponent, it causes you to question all the choices you made leading up to this humiliating fail state. Important to note: This isn't really that bad. It's not good, but so much of the rest of PHILL_HELLMUTH's most recent design are, it becomes an acceptable part of the range.
Now, we already said that the Cascade-for-Tibalt part of this deck was the worst kept secret in Kaldheim. So, what is special about this build? Check out the sideboard:
Part II: It's Like Leyline of the Void, 2021
No, this deck can't really cast Mindbreak Trap fair and square. Among other things, it can't really have more than one copy of Gemstone Caverns on the battlefield. So Mindbreak Trap - which barring a rules change or ban hammer coming to Modern - should prove one of the most important tools you can fish out of your bag of holding.
Mindbreak Trap - given that it can't be cast normally at all in this deck - only functions when the opponent cast three cards. That means - barring Bloodbraid Elf - it doesn't even work in the mirror! It does however give you cover for when - instead of Valki, God of Lies - the opponent's Violent Outburst Cascade flips over Tibalt's Trickery.
Part III: The Most Important Play Pattern That Doesn't Even Exist Yet
Consider this deck:
Tibalt's Trickery | Modern | BnR, 5-0 MTGO Modern League
- Creatures (4)
- 4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- Lands (51)
- 1 Island
- 2 Forest
- 2 Snow-Covered Forest
- 1 Bojuka Bog
- 1 Ghost Quarter
- 1 Khalni Garden
- 1 Tolaria West
- 1 Vesuva
- 2 Blast Zone
- 2 Flooded Strand
- 2 Polluted Delta
- 2 Radiant Fountain
- 2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
- 2 Wooded Foothills
- 3 Cavern of Souls
- 3 Field of the Dead
- 3 Mystic Sanctuary
- 4 Breeding Pool
- 4 Castle Garenbrig
- 4 Scalding Tarn
- 4 Steam Vents
- 4 Stomping Ground
In case you looked at PHILL_HELLMUTH's Jund deck and said to yourself, "That doesn't seem fair. Isn't Jund supposed to be fair?" ... This deck is the really unfair build.
BNR has got, oh, around fifty-one lands. Some of them do some things. But they're mostly there to be not-spells.
This deck has a very specific play pattern. Mulligan. Hard. Mulligan into Violent Outburst. You can mulligan into one land and one Violent Outburst and still have a really high likelihood of being able to play it on turn three. After all, you're about 5/6 to pull a land every time, right?
You actually cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn! So, you get the extra turn and a boat load of Annihilator.
There are potential fails. Your lands can all be Blast Zones and Bojuka Bogs. You can accidentally draw the Tibalt's Trickery (which isn't terminal, but will really slow you down). And unlike the Jund / Cosmic Imposter version, you have very little fallback if the opponent has any interaction.
... But that's not the only kind of interaction worth talking about.
What we just described may not be the worst kept secret in all of Kaldheim... But it's only a mildly less famous new play pattern than Valki, God of Lies. So, what is The Most Important Play Pattern That Doesn't Even Exist Yet?
Check out the mana base:
If you keep a hand with this desk... Presuming you have any idea of what you're doing... The opponent can assume you have [at least] one Violent Outburst. If they have a Thoughtseize, that's effectively like Mind Twisting you for your whole deck.
But it's not terminal. You can use any fetch land - Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta, Scalding Tarn... Okay maybe not Wooded Foothills - to get Mystic Sanctuary. Activate the fetch before you draw and you can draw the Violent Outburst that was just a second ago in your graveyard. Tibalt's Trickery shenanigans can proceed to ensue.
What's the problem then?
Merely that there aren't four copies of Mystic Sanctuary of course!
One Mystic Sanctuary is great against Thoughtseize... But another problem is any permission spell, The opponent is going to counter Tibalt's Trickery, not Violent Outburst. That means that on any recovery mission, you will need to access two different cards from your graveyard. With two fetch lands you can try again in a single turn cycle.
So, what's the problem?
You can only do this once with three copies of Mystic Sanctuary. Four copies, though, let's you actually try it twice. For a Blue deck to keep breathing through four Mystic Sanctuaries, it will have had to successfully resolve three permission spells. Which, in context, is a lot more than two.
So, recommendation: Add the fourth Mystic Sanctuary. This is a rare case where - given the enormous number of lands already - I think the deck would literally be better at sixty-one cards with the fourth than sixty with only three.
Not that I'm recommending that. Find a cut. But sixty-one would still be better than cutting the fourth fetch target.
Though it rarely comes up in a deck designed almost purely to be explosive, the land base does have function built in, especially for the sideboarded games where something like a Mindbreak Trap would otherwise render the deck toothless.
Castle Garenbrig can hard cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn a little early; or Primeval Titan more strategically so. It has a reasonable Titan strategy package, with Field of the Dead and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle as alternate ways to win should Emrakul and / or the main game plan be neutralized.
Part IV: Everyone's Part of the Problem
U/W Valki | Modern | GrandDrou, 10th Place MTGO Modern Challenge 2/7/2021
- Planeswalkers (3)
- 3 Teferi, Time Raveler
- Sorceries (3)
- 3 Supreme Verdict
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Ardent Plea
- Lands (23)
- 1 Snow-Covered Island
- 1 Snow-Covered Plains
- 1 Breeding Pool
- 1 Hallowed Fountain
- 1 Ketria Triome
- 1 Raugrin Triome
- 1 Reflecting Pool
- 1 Savai Triome
- 1 Steam Vents
- 1 Watery Grave
- 1 Zagoth Triome
- 2 Gemstone Caverns
- 2 Mana Confluence
- 4 Flooded Strand
- 4 Polluted Delta
Just when you thought it was only Jund scumbags being scumbags... is on the same wavelength! It even splashes for Simian Spirit Guide (which makes for some actual redundancy) and other Red cards, like Bonecrusher Giant. Commandeer seems like the absolute coolest card given what's going on all around (if not as purely effective as PHIL_HULLMUTH's innovation). The thing I like best about this deck is that - because Ardent Plea is an enchantment - you can reload with Teferi, Time Raveler.