Wizard with a Knife - Brewing in Modern

Justin Clouse | 16 May 2014 14:00
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Sword of Fire and Ice card

And here are the aforementioned swords. Originally the list was much more committed to them with three of the swords in the main and a second Steelshaper's Gift, but that was a bit too ambitious. I even briefly considered the hilarity of running all of them just to have that one in a thousand game that I get to equip them all. Having more than two or three was prone to having all these swords and nothing to suit them up, and frankly getting even one sword online is often enough to swing any game heavily in your favor. For the mainboard, Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow give us the best suite of protection and more importantly provide card advantage, something that say Sword of War and Peace doesn't even though it's protections line up nicely with the format staples. This makes them especially useful for breaking up long grindy games.

Oh sideboards. As I mentioned earlier, Modern has a pretty deep card pool, and there's just not enough space in your 15 to fit in all the cards you'd ideally want to run. This makes sideboarding a bit of an art form.

Batterskull can come in against any grindy match-up, it's a card truly capable of winning all on its own. Sometimes you'll want it against fair decks, but the 5 mana cost can be pretty steep depending on how fast the opponent's deck is. While the cost of 4 life sounds pricy, Dismember can still prove invaluable to have around as more spot removal. We also get to offset some of the life loss by not taking as much damage from our lands. Pretty much every controlling mirror is going to be decided over a counter war, so Dispel is just a very cheap way to come out on top once the dust settles. Grafdigger's Cage and Relic of Progenitus go hand in hand as our graveyard disruption and Grafdigger's Cage has some additional play against Birthing Pod decks. These slots have been tricky since not only do we also have access to Rest in Peace but the question of what to include hinges on how much we care about turning off our Snapcaster Mages. Combined with Cavern of Souls on wizard, Meddling Mage gets to come down an heck all kinds of havoc. For instance, name Living End and watch your opponent squirm under needing to play out their 5 mana 4/4s fairly. Spellskite is just a work horse of the Modern format, it's not always the best card, but it has a lot of play against a lot of decks. This lets you free up some space in the 15 for other cards knowing that Spellskite's got your back. Affinity is a popular deck, usually around 10% of the metagame, and a fair amount of our mainboard is pretty bad against it. So having a pair of strong sideboard cards, Stony Silence, against that deck is a must. Sword of Feast and Famine can slot in for whichever sword lines up worse against the current deck. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is just a beast. Once he's in play it's impossible for your opponent to have any counterspell fights with you as they can only play at sorcery speed. I've had opponents just scoop to him coming in end of turn with a Cavern of Souls in play.

So that's Wizard with a Knife or UW Flash if you're feeling more mundane. It might not suddenly be tearing up the pro tour, but it has served me wins at Win-a-Boxes and FNMs. I'm very keen to continue tuning the list and playing it extensively in the upcoming Modern PTQ season. What changes would you make to the deck? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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