Do You Mardu?

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Strictly Average website for more Modern content. As many of you know the recent Pro Tour (Pro Tour 25th Anniversary) recently concluded, and it was a sweet event. Having Standard, Modern, and Legacy represented throughout the entire tournament was definitely a plus for the tournament. However seeing all of the decks posted was also something to really look forward to as we approached the end of the event.

One of the decks listed really reignited my interest in an archetype I gave up on awhile ago, and this one may surprise many of you.

It was Mardu Superfriends piloted by Luke Bradshaw.

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Creatures
4 Wall of Omens
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Planeswalkers
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Gideon Jura

Spells
4 Lingering Souls
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Thoughtseize
2 Lightning Helix
1 Crackling Doom
1 Painful Truths
1 Dreadbore
1 Terminate

Lands
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Marsh Flats
3 Shambling Vent
2 Field of Ruin
2 Blood Crypt
2 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Godless Shrine
1 Mountain
1 Sacred Foundry

Sideboard
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Damping Sphere
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Stony Silence
2 Wear // Tear

This deck is focused around one 4-cmc planeswalker, and for once it’s not one named “Jace”.

Nahiri, the Harbinger debuted in Shadows Over Innistrad, and I thought her story was pretty sweet. If you’re not familiar with her story you can read about it here. What I really liked about not only her card, but story direction; she was the first White based planeswalker in a pure villain role. A hero who fell from grace, and became that which she fought to destroy. A classic trope from fantasy stories brought to a card game, and it was great.

With that said I didn’t think there was enough in both Red & White to build a proper deck around her, or the story. I always envisioned this as part of a Mardu (White, Black, and Red colored wedge) deck. Using discard and removal to deflect your opponent’s strategies as well as their threats felt very central to a build to allow time to retrieve Emrakul, the Aeons Torn from your deck for the win.

There was a deck with her as the focus that was prevalent shortly after the release of Shadows that was Jeskai (White, Blue, and Red colored wedge). However I personally don’t see Blue as a villainous color, especially when reading Nahiri’s story. I have always been fascinated with what this card can do, and her story is probably my favorite in the current era of Magic: the Gathering storytelling.

So after looking over Luke’s deck I decided I would built it this way:

Creatures
3 Bedlam Reveler
3 Wall of Omens
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Planeswalkers
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger

Spells
4 Lingering Souls
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile
2 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Lightning Helix
2 Thoughtseize
1 Dreadbore
1 Terminate

Lands
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Marsh Flats
3 Shambling Vent
2 Blood Crypt
2 Field of Ruin
2 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Godless Shrine
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Mountain

Sideboard
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Stony Silence
2 Damping Sphere
1 Wear // Tear
1 Crackling Doom

How The Deck Works

You build up your defenses with Wall of Omens, and then play Nahiri, the Harbinger as early as possible. Her abilities will also help you supplement your removal  by either discarding unwanted cards to draw into better options, or using her second ability to exile any creature that happened to attack the previous turn. Once you get to 8 loyalty her mission is complete as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn has been summoned to end the game. That is the most streamlined way to win, but I have included other options here in the deck.

Instead of relying only on planeswalkers like Luke did I added some creatures that had synergy with the overall deck. Bedlam Reveler should be no secret to those who play Modern Magic: the Gathering. These colors have a hard time drawing cards, but with how quickly you cycle through your spells you could play this 3/4 that draws you 3 cards. If you somehow happen to draw Emrakul, the Aeons Torn then Reveler’s ability will discard it once it enters the battlefield, and shuffles your graveyard back into your library so those spells are ready to be used again.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet just exudes villainy. He subjected his people to mindless servitude under the Eldrazi, and won’t rest until all Vampire clans are also similarly subjugated. Your removal spells also help him create zombies to feast on in order to grow stronger, and gains you life along the way. Incidentally he is also graveyard hate against your opponent during game one so don’t miss that ability on this card.

Lingering Souls is also another card that has synergy with the deck, and the overall theme, as Nahiri binds the spirits of her defeated foes to her side as she wreaks havoc.

Those of you familiar with Jund strategies are not stranger to Inquisition of Kozilek. When paired with Thoughtseize these cards can form the needed disruption on the first turn. A lot of key spells your opponents will play will be during the first 3 turns of the game, and by getting them off tempo you can help establish your board state in preparation for Nahir summoning Emrakul.

Since we have creatures running a pair of Kolaghan’s Commands makes sense. Also used as an additional discard spells, and a way to destroy artifacts, this card does a lot more than it’s mana cost suggests. Using the Synergy with Nahiri you can even discard a creature to put it back in your hand before your next upkeep.

Along with Path to Exile, and Lightning Bolt we have a few Lightning Helix to run. While this card may not seem like much, think of it as a 6 point life swing (which is HUGE). A lot of creatures in the format have a toughness 3 or less, and this card helps us stabilize.

In the sideboard we have plenty of hate against Tron, and graveyard based decks, along with a few items to help against other matchups. I still like Crackling Doom, but I’m not sure if it truly fits in the 75.

The mana base I kept the same from the original deck, but it could use some work. Field of Ruin is not a card we had access to a year ago so that’s a nice touch, and honestly I can see building this like a Jund mana base as most of the card in the deck are either Black or Red.

Overall this deck seems to have the tools to combat most of Modern’s threats. However, you have to be careful of those decks where your removal spells are dead. There may not be enough in your sideboard to exchange for dead removal.

Why should you play the deck?

  • You are looking for a different Midrange deck to catch your opponent off guard.
  • You like decks that are “outside the box”.
  • You are comfortable playing Bolt+Discard+Path type decks.

Why you should not play the deck.

  • You’ll want to change it to either Mardu Pyromancer or Hollow One.
  • You’re not a fan of Mardu.
  • You don’t like playing decks that are not known quantities (not that it’s a bad thing).

I wish I could fit every good card in these colors here. What are your thoughts on the deck? Do you have suggestions for other cards to include? Have you played a deck like this recently, and if so what are your thoughts? Please share them below, and make sure to follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter. I’ll have an announcement about a special article coming in September posting later today that involves YOU! Stay tuned.

Until next time where I talk about my favorite Standard formats…

TAP MORE MANA!!!

Scott Campbell, better known as MTGPackFoils, has been playing Magic since he was 17 (which was in 1993). He’s known for loving decks such as Azorius Control, Jund, and others (especially in Modern). He is a husband, father, and a former nightclub DJ.

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