Wizard with a Knife - Brewing in Modern

Justin Clouse | 16 May 2014 14:00
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Geist of Saint Traft

I originally started out this article with a brief discussion of netdecking vs rogue brewing, but it quickly became apparent that that really is a topic for an article all on its own. Just to keep things simple, suffice to say there are sometimes edges and advantages to be found in playing something unexpected. Your opponent might misplay thinking you're another more popular deck, fail to play around a card they don't normally see or just flat out not know a card well enough to realize its full effect on the game. Recently I've been tuning a list that aims to take advantage of some of these aspects, something I've been affectionately calling -


Fair warning, I don't proclaim to be some masterful deck builder, this is just some 75 cards sleeved together that's been working well for me. In truth, it's more or less a restructuring of existing cards known to the format than it is a brand new deck.

The origin for this list came out of a desire to try a different style of deck in Modern. I've played everything from Twin to Affinity to Storm and even a healthy dose of Bogle mixed in. While all these decks are vastly different in gameplan and design, they are all based around a lot of synergistic cards working together. Synergy certainly has the potential to be very powerful, but it also tends to be easier to disrupt with a few key sideboard cards. The deep card pool for Modern opens up some pretty hateful sideboard options, and it can get frustrating to lose to essentially a single card. Wizard With A Knife was designed to be a "good stuff" deck, what it lacks in synergy it makes up in overall quality.

The first iteration was pretty rough, it focused too much on the idea of putting a sword on Geist of Saint Traft, had a single Swamp to flashback sideboarded Lingering Souls and also had a playset of Mutavault instead of some more sensible utility lands, but it did solidify the deck firmly into two colors. While UWR is a pretty popular combination in Modern, the deck kind of builds itself and just becomes another Geist of Saint Traft midrange build as cards like Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix are too good to ignore. Freeing up from a third color gives us the space to play around with cards, and after cutting some of the cards that weren't working I've landed on the current build, which looks and plays very similar to a flash deck. The goal is to play a pretty controlling game with removal and counters until you can find a place to stick a threat. The gameplan then shifts to become more tempo oriented, using the spells to disrupt your opponent and protect what's chipping away at their life total.

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