Running The Maze!

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Modern article by yours truly. I do really enjoy the format, and have been playing it since it’s inception. While things have changed over the years (for instance we did not have the Onslaught fetchlands in the beginning) it still does evolve over time. New cards presented in Standard give us thoughts to new decks, or at the very least provide a call back to a beloved Standard deck. In Guilds of Ravnica one card did just that sort of callback.

While I won’t be using this card in today’s deck it did make me think of Maze’s End decks from Standard’s past, and my beginnings at playing with foil cards. Also with us nearing Halloween I’m sure some of you have visited your local hay/corn maze, and heck even going to the grocery store for me feels like I am running a maze.

Yes you heard that right. Maze’s End was when I started foiling out decks.

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I attended a Dragon’s Maze pre-release, and although I did get a Ral Zarek out of my kit when the event was over no one wanted their promo Maze’s Ends so I picked up the cards, began to build with it, and after Theros came out it wound up looking like this.

It was at this same time I started getting into formats like Legacy (building Punishing Jund) and EDH, and while my primary focus has shifted to Modern I do have a lot of fond memories of those days where I was winning by playing a land.

Can we do this in Modern? I don’t see why not, and honestly if decks like Tezzerator are played we can do so with this. Might it be a poor choice for even FNM? Sure. Are there a lot of cards that can wreck this deck? Yeah, of course! However on those games that you do win it’s worth it. The goal of running the maze is to survive it, and sometimes you don’t.

Modern Maze’s End

Artifacts (4)
4 Expedition Map

Enchantments (3)
3 Ghostly Prison

Creatures (7)
4 Gatecreeper Vine
3 Wall of Omens

Instants (9)
4 Fog
3 Safe Passage
2 Negate

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Sorceries (10)
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Ancient Stirrings
2 Supreme Verdict

Lands (25)
4 Maze’s End
4 Windswept Heath
2 Azorius Guildgate
2 Selesnya Guildgate
2 Simic Guildgate
1 Boros Guildgate
1 Breeding Pool
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Forest
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Gruul Guildgate
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Temple Garden

Sideboard (15)
3 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Stony Silence
2 Crackling Perimeter
2 Naturalize
2 Damping Sphere
2 Swan Song
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Negate

How the deck works

Obviously the primary win condition is using Maze’s End‘s ability to search for the last guildgate to win the game. It’s a pretty powerful ability when you consider the totality of what it does, however how can we achieve such a feat.

I’ve looked over several decks. Some are Turbo Fog based (like the old Standard decks), some even focus on enchantments. However the primary way to win is by playing Lands. This is where I thought of another deck where lands are very important: Tron.

Cards such as Ancient Stirrings, Expedition Map, and Sylvan Scrying allow you to find any land as opposed to just basics in Tron. Why limit those cards to just Tron decks? Sure these lands, the guildgates, come into play tapped, but you have other ways to stay alive even when being tapped out.

  • Gatecreeper Vine, and Wall of Omens are cards that either allow you to search for a land, or simply draw a card (which could be a guildgate). While one has more toughness than the other you only need to block with them, and them living is not vital to winning the game. Don’t be afraid to play these on turn three, and use the land you find to put into play.
  • Supreme Verdict will often tap you out, but also wipe their board of creatures. This will leave you vulnerable to their next play, but we don’t have a reliable way to set up Terminus, and can’t afford our spell to be countered.
  • Ghostly Prison might seem odd as it does also tap you out early, but it taxes your opponent forcing them to play more threats (and lands) to attack with more than one creature.
  • Kiora, the Crashing Wave also taps you out, and is the primary win condition. If you can survive to get the emblem you can win even through one of your guildgates being removed from the game (or Maze’s End itself).

Keep in mind that Safe Passage prevents all damage not just combat damage. Nice Grapeshot you have there!

If you can get up to four lands where one is a Maze’s End without being interrupted you can start using your Maze’s End on their end step to ramp out guildgates.

In the sideboard

Some key cards in the sideboard:

  • Crucible of Worlds: This card’s inclusion should be no surprise. With enough land destruction in Modern as it is you will need this to play lands from your graveyard.
  • Ensnaring Bridge: Pairing this with your defenders will help you stabilize as you play all of the ramp cards in your hand. There are only a few ways to draw, but not enough to consistently keep cards in your hand so this will be beneficial.
  • Naturalize: You will lose to Blood Moon.
  • Swan Song: Speaking of the moon you can simply counter it. Coupled with your bridge and fog effects the 2/2 bird is not much of a worry.
  • Crackling Perimeter: This is your alternate win condition. Use it wisely, but keep in mind it can take awhile to ping the opponent to zero.

In conclusion

This is a very rough draft, and you’ll want to make the changes necessary to your metagame. I think a lot of us have been waiting for key pieces to be presented to try it in Modern, but the pieces that Tron has used to great success are probably the ones we should have used from the very beginning. Finding specific lands is key to this deck’s strategy, and those cards are the best way to do that.

Thank you all for reading about this strange deck. I know this is on the fringe of the Modern format, but what cards would you use for the deck? How would you change the above? Do you already have a version of the deck built? Please comment below, and follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter.

Next time with Halloween upon us I’ll shamble through another article to celebrate the rising of the dead.

Until then…

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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