What’s New With Zoo

Bloodbraid Elf has been unleashed on the Modern format, and I couldn’t be more excited. Bloodbraid Elf has always been a really interesting card because of the sheer variety of things you can do with the cascade trigger. You could hit things like Boggart Ram-Gang to keep the pressure up, Terminate to stabilize the board, crazy value engines like Sword of Light and Shadow or Liliana of the Veil, or even haymakers like Boom // Bust to end the game on the spot. It’s been a long time, we’ve seen some rule changes as far as split cards and many sets worth of cheap cards for Bloodbraid Elf to play with, and I can’t wait to see what Modern can do with it:


Bloodbraid Elf
For my interests, this is one of the fairest and most exciting places to slot in Bloodbraid Elf. We’ve seen various takes on five-color Zoo before. These decks are typically Naya-based, leaning on Kird Ape, Wild Nacatl, and Loam Lion to get in early damage. Some builds have had Noble Hierarch helping to cast Geist of Saint Traft as another way to get a ton of damage in early. What doesn’t change is that you can back the early pressure up with a flurry of five point Tribal Flames to close out the game, particularly with Snapcaster Mage giving you additional redundancy.

Bloodbraid Elf makes all of that just a little more resilient and cohesive. Sure, you can play with Noble Hierarch and Geist of Saint Traft package, but both Geist and Noble Hierarch are mediocre cascades since they don’t do damage immediately. Instead, you get to play Mantis Rider, which is a great topdeck in racing situations and an amazing cascade in almost any situation. Additionally, you don’t have to stretch your mana as far for Snapcaster Mage since you can use Bloodbraid Elf as your four-mana card to give you a little extra reach and value.

If you’re looking for a way to get aggressive in a Modern format that just got a lot grindier, this seems like a good place to start. You’ve got enough aggression to keep the midrange decks on the back foot, and enough card advantage and burn to ensure that you can close games out after your aggressive starts.


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