[The Colors of Modern] part 5: The Wedges

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Strictly Average MTG for another Modern article. Also thanks for following me at MTGPackFoils on Twitter. There’s been an influx of new followers lately so thank you for spending sometime here reading my articles.

In this series I am covering each of the possible color combinations available in Magic, and highlighting at least one known Modern deck. The purpose of this is to show players that there’s not just a small number of decks viable in the format. In fact there are at the very least 32 decks, and beyond that there are more brews become successful and known.

A lot of this started because honestly I was hearing too much of “your deck sucks” in the community. If someone choose not to play the best deck in any format it should never diminish their choice, nor lead to a negative experience between players. We should, and can be better.

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So far I have covered:

That’s quite a number of decks to choose from, and sometimes the larger the list the more overwhelming it can be. However I wanted to break them down per color grouping. Today I’m going to cover Wedges.

NO! Not those type of Wedges. The Wedge colors.

No not that Wedge either (although I do enjoy his content).

I’m going to talk about the color combinations that are colloquially known as Wedges. What is a Wedge color combination anyway?

A Wedge is a pair of colors that are allied with themselves, yet add on a common enemy color to create the connection that if drawn looks like a triangle…or wedge. If we follow along clockwise on the back of a Magic card you would pair, for example, blue and black then add green as both share green as an enemy color.

When Khans of Tarkir was released we obtained our new names for these wedge color combinations. The Invasion block was our first 3-set expansion release (or block) that truly explored the possibilities of both shard and enemy 3-color pairings. While the Invasion block did not as far into that design space as we are used to nowadays Khans of Tarkir loaded up on these pairings and gave us quite a story at the same time. Each color combination, or Khan, had it’s own unique mechanics and is a favorite set to draft to this day.

Oh and the first set in this block also had the allied color fetchlands making them legal in Modern for the first time.

While the decks in this color combination are not as present as the shard color decks you will still run into them.

Let’s take a look.

White, Blue, Red

Jeskai Control

Creatures (4)
4 Snapcaster Mage

Planeswalkers (3)
2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Enchantments (3)
2 Search For Azcanta
1 Detention Sphere

Instants (24)
4 Cryptic Command
4 Lightning Helix
4 Path to Exile
3 Logic Knot
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Hieroglyphic Illumination
2 Electrolyze
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Negate

Sorceries (1)
1 Supreme Verdict

Lands (25)
4 Flooded Strand
3 Field of Ruin
3 Island
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Celestial Colonnade
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Steam Vents
1 Arid Mesa
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard
3 Surgical Extraction
2 Celestial Purge
2 Runed Halo
2 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Dispel
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Negate

Before cards like Flooded Strand were available in Modern, Jeskai was the control colors of the format. While not a traditional control deck Jeskai loads up on spot removal spells that can give the deck reach. When there are a lot of creatures at the top of the metagame that is when a deck like this can shine.

The inclusion of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Search for Azcanta, have helped this deck focus on instants more than other decks, allowing you to play where you want: on your opponent’s turn.

Why should you play this deck?

  • Unless dropping a planeswalker, you don’t like playing on your turn.
  • Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is your favorite planeswalker in these colors.
  • You are a little faster than other control decks.

Why should you not play this deck.

  • This is a fair deck. You want to play something unfair.
  • This feels more like a glorified burn deck than a control deck.
  • You don’t like control decks at all.

While this is the primary deck in these colors, take a look at Saheeli Rai decks. They feel a little more midrange with a combo element.

Blue, Black, Green

Sultai Midrange

Creatures (14)
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Scavenging Ooze
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Vendilion Clique

Planeswalkers (5)
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana, the Last Hope

Instants (9)
3 Assassin’s Trophy
3 Fatal Push
2 Negate
1 Disallow

Sorceries (8)
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Collective Brutality

Lands (24)
4 Blooming Marsh
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Polluted Delta
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Swamp
1 Breeding Pool
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Sunken Ruins
1 Watery Grave

Sideboard
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Unmoored Ego
2 Seal of Primordium
2 Dispel
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Damnation
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Collective Brutality

While similar to Jund, the color combination known as Sultai eschews Red to add Blue to the deck. While slower than Jund, the change in color allows the deck to add a few counterspells and control elements to stay ahead once it gets ahead.

The change in color also allows more discard along with the utility of cards like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Vendilion Clique. Casting your discard spells an additional time can keep your opponent off tempo, and the Clique allows you to have an evasive threat early in the game.

Why should you play this deck?

  • Planeswalkers are your favorite card type, and with the current rules you can have two Jaces and two Lilianas on the field at the same time.
  • You like playing underrated card combinations.
  • You want to try a Golgari (Black/Green) based deck that’s not Jund, or Abzan

Why you shouldn’t play this deck.

  • It’s yet another fair deck.
  • You’re not a fair of Tarmogoyf based decks.
  • You prefer Jund.

Sultai has a lot to offer those who wish to brew in these colors. Not long ago Tezzerator was in that category, and I think that deck still has legs.

Black, Red, White

Mardu Pyromancer

Creatures (10)
4 Young Pyromancer
3 Rix Madi Reveler
2 Bedlam Reveler
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Planeswalkers (4)
3 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Kaya, Orzhov Usuper

Instants (10)
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Fatal Push
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Terminate

Sorceries (13)
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Faithless Looting
3 Lingering Souls
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (23)
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Bloodstained Mire
3 Field of Ruin
3 Shambling Vent
2 Blood Crypt
2 Marsh Flats
2 Swamp
1 Arid Mesa
1 Godless Shrine
1 Plains
1 Sacred Mesa

Sideboard
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Shatterstorm
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Wear // Tear
1 Nihil Spellbomb

This deck, while appearing to not have a lot of punch, is more focused on disrupting your opponent until it can land a threat to protect.  You can either go wide with tokens from Young Pyromancer, play a big threat such as Bedlam Reveler, or end the game with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Yes. That Emrakul.

Nahiri, the Harbinger not only allows you to place it into play without paying its mana cost with her ultimate, but it also has haste. By the time you reach that stage of the game it is a game winning move for you. If you happen to draw Emrakul early you can discard it with Nahiri’s +1 getting all of the cards in your graveyard back in your deck to use again.

Why should you play this deck?

  • It’s a midrange deck with multiple win-conditions.
  • It’s a 3-color deck where the third color is a very light splash.
  • An early Young Pyromancer may be hard for some linear decks to deal with.

Why you shouldn’t play this deck.

  • The primary win condition seems undefined.
  • For some reason you want to play Blood Moon in a field of Izzet Phoenix and Dredge.
  • You’re not a fan of Nahiri.

There are different ways to build this deck. Some run Liliana of the Veil as the primary planeswalker. Some focus on a lot of spells and few lands. Some have even went full tokens and run Monastery Mentor. There are a lot of options to explore with Mardu.

Red, Green, Blue

Eternal Command

Creatures (13)
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Eternal Witness
2 Vendilion Clique

Artifacts (4)
4 Aether Vial

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Instants (16)
4 Cryptic Command
4 Mana Leak
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Remand

Sorceries (4)
4 Serum Visions

Lands (23)
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Raging Ravine
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Breeding Pool
2 Island
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
3 Surgical Extraction
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Negate
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Cindervines
1 Shatterstorm
1 Dispel

One of the first midrange decks in Modern was a deck named Eternal Command. This deck would play to the point where you could flash in Eternal Witness with Aether Vial, and bring back Cryptic Command to counter their spell and bounce the witness back to your hand.

Why should you play this deck?

  • It feels like a combo deck once you get started.
  • You can lock your opponent out of the game.
  • Look ma! Blue cards!

Why you shouldn’t play this deck.

  • Not enough red for your liking.
  • The win conditions are light, and few.
  • The setup takes a long time against linear decks.

Overall Temur has probably the most room to brew a deck, so get cracking if you want to play something different.

Green, White, Black

Abzan Company

Creatures (28)
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Melira, Sylvok Outpost
3 Voice of Resurgence
3 Viscera Seer
2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
2 Wall of Wood
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Eternal Witness
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Renegade Rallier
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Spellskite
1 Noble Hierarch

Instants (12)
4 Collected Company
3 Chord of Calling
3 Fatal Push
2 Abrupt Decay

Lands (20)
4 Windswept Heath
3 Forest
3 Razorverge Thicket
2 Plains
2 Temple Garden
1 Blooming Marsh
1 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Swamp

Sideboard
3 Path to Exile
2 Stony Silence
2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Pithing Needle
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Loxodon Smiter
1 Orzhov Pontif
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Soul Warden

Remember Birthing Pod? I do, and so does Pepperidge Farms. The deck known to some as Faux Pod has survived the banning of Pod AND Deathrite Shaman to still live. Its primary win condition is the combo imaged above doing infinite damage to your opponent. You can also gain infinite life as well.

Why should you play this deck?

  • You still have it.
  • You want to combo, but in a fair way.
  • You hold out hope that Birthing Pod comes back.

Why you shouldn’t play the deck.

  • Birthing Pod is never coming back.
  • The format is too linear, and fast.
  • You draw the wrong half of your deck.

Abzan is another Khan that can be built like a midrange deck if that is your flavor. It’s still a place to brew but the Golgari colors give it a sense of focus when designing a deck. Some are brewing a version of French Rites for Modern so check that out.

In conclusion

The wedge colors were the first color combinations in Modern, and they had quite a few midrange decks back then. Things have evolved however these decks are still viable, and there is room to brew.

What’s your favorite of these decks? Is there one I did not mention? Leave a comment below, and follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter.

Next week I will wrap up this series with some really crazy decks.

Until then…TAP MORE MANA!!!

 

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