Modern Maze

Dragon's Maze brought with it a good many combo-enabling cards. I’ve already covered Hidden Strings in Casual Standard and Melek, Izzet Paragon in Commander, so this week, I want to look at a couple cards that jumped out at me for Modern.

Zhur-Taa Druid and Beck // Call

Zhur-Taa Druid
Beck // Call has been all the rage when it comes to the intersection of Dragon's Maze and Modern, and I certainly can’t argue. However, another card kept poking its elven head into my mind, and I think Zhur-Taa Druid could have a home in the same deck along with Beck // Call. All I wanted to do was repeatedly activate the Druid with Intruder Alarm, and with Beck providing the fuel to trigger the Alarm again and again, Zhur-Taa Druid’s mana-generating, damage-dealing ability pair serves both as a win condition and an accelerant.

The biggest counterargument to Beck // Call’s playability status is that it not only costs a second color of mana, but an additional 1. In such a mana-tight combo deck, that 1 can make all the difference and be a huge factor in what the game state looks like on the turn the deck can go off on. Looking through that lens, we see Zhur-Taa Druid’s greatest weakness. It also costs 2 mana, whereas Elves such as Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid cost only 1. And many Beck // Call lists are even playing 0-mana creatures such as Ornithopter and Frogmite.

But if we just want to play a fun deck inspired by such combos without worrying too much about things like colors or amounts of mana, we can play whatever we want.

So, one thing this deck has going for it, as far as Beck // Call decks are concerned, is that it doesn’t actually need to draw a Beck // Call. I suppose it could just play as an annoying Elf deck, but what I mean is that Intruder Alarm can just as easily support going infinite.

Llanowar Mentor
With Intruder Alarm, Zhur-Taa Druid, and Imperious Perfect, we can deal as much damage to our opponent as we like while making just as many Elf tokens. With Beck // Call, we could also draw our entire library and do all kinds of other crazy shenanigans, but that hardly seems necessary.

Llanowar Mentor is somewhat of a pet card of mine, and it can serve as a backup to Imperious Perfect, though it only functions with Beck // Call around. However, the Mentor also makes his own Llanowar Elves, so without an Imperious Perfect or mana-generating Elf, but with Beck // Call and Intruder Alarm, we can make a Llanowar Elves token and then next turn cast Beck, make another token, draw a card, and go off, filtering our hand as we go. Once we’ve drawn another Beck // Call and Hellraiser Goblin, perhaps we wait until next turn to go off again and just kill our opponent. That’s assuming he or she survived the onslaught of Llanowar Elves.

I added Zombie Infestation on a whim; it just looked fun. Manamorphose is around just to cast spells of various colors, and it’s our only way to cast the Infestation. But with Zombie Infestation and two active Becks, we can go infinite—but I was thinking that while going off in the normal style, we might eventually reach a point at which we have a bunch of noncreatures, thus preventing us from drawing any more cards. Zombie Infestation can remedy that problem one Zombie at a time. Consider Creeping Renaissance for . . . well . . . some sort of strange deck concoction.

Deadbridge Chant

Deadbridge Chant
The other card that jumped out at me—also happening to be my favorite card in Dragon's Maze—is Deadbridge Chant. It mills ten cards, which is one of my favorite things to have happen. I have fourteen Commander decks, and probably twelve of them have strong graveyard themes. That’s just a guess.

My Karador, Ghost Chieftain deck will welcome Deadbridge Chant with open arms. Not only does it mill ten—a great start for any Karador deck—but it’s all upside from there. Sometimes, it’s a Phyrexian Arena, drawing you an additional card. And sometimes, in additional to graveyard shenanigans and free card advantage, it actually generates large amounts of mana. Seriously: It just does so much. Free mana and free cards! It just doesn’t get better than that.

Anyway, Deadbridge Chant does yet another thing: It lets us play; it lets us deck-build around it to maximize its efficacy. If we don’t want to settle for a random card each turn, only sometimes generating free mana, we can exile cards from our graveyard except for the ones we want the Chant to notice. In fact, we can even benefit from such manipulation using cards that delve into the graveyard in order to make it onto the stack cheaper.

Tombstalker
Logic Knot
Death Rattle

Mike Cannon’s DailyMTG article on Monday showed us how to cast Time Warp for every turn of the rest of the game, but I’m not a fan of taking infinite extra turns (not that I’ll never do it . . . ), and I really want to enjoy the free mana from Deadbridge Chant. Using Future Sight’s delve keyword, we can cast Logic Knot as Counterspell—and also make cheap 5/5 flying Demons and destroy nongreen creatures for Deathmark mana. Delve also allows us to filter out our graveyard so that, like Mike’s Painbringer and Loaming Shaman, we return—to the battlefield or to our hand—exactly what we want.

And when do we not want Griselbrand?

The rest of the deck is a lot like typical Modern B/U/G lists, and while I’m not a competitive Modern player and I doubt this would hold up in a competitive Modern tournament, it’s certainly the type of list I’d enjoy playing—just enough Modern power cards to give me a semblance of credibility and just enough Deadbridge Chant action to keep me entertained.

Cutting the part of the deck that takes itself too seriously, we might end up with something like this:

 


Well, I hope you enjoyed this look at a couple new Dragon's Maze cards and their potential places in Casual Modern. If your local game store participates in the Modern Friday Night Magic option, I hope you’ll give one of these decks a shot and let me know how it goes!

Andrew Wilson
@Silent7Seven
fissionessence at hotmail dot com

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