In part two of his Unified Modern series, Andreas ”ecobaronen” Petersen takes a look at three graveyard-centric decks powered by Faithless LootingFaithless Looting. He also shares some tips about annoying crossover cards to look out for when constructing your Unified lineup!

Last time I promised you all to provide a list of crossover cards for Unified Modern. By that I mean cards that overlap between decks, making your deck lineup invalid. Sometimes you have to find another deck and sometimes you can work around it.

At Grand Prix Madrid last December, I knew I wanted to play a variant of TitanShift while Thomas Enevoldsen wanted to play a Snapcaster MageSnapcaster Mage + Lightning BoltLightning Bolt deck. I got around that problem by splashing white for Path to ExilePath to Exile (which was arguably even better at the time because of a smattering of Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadows in the metagame) to a great result. That’s just one example of how you can work around the deckbuilding restrictions of Unified Modern. Here is a list of the most common crossover cards and some of the decks they see play in.

Lightning Bolt

Burn, Hollow One, Jeskai Control, Jund and Mardu Midrange, R/x Phoenix and the sideboard of Storm and Krark-Clan Ironworks. Lightning BoltLightning Bolt is mandatory in these decks except KCI where I think you can get away with Galvanic BlastGalvanic Blast in your sideboard.

Path to Exile

Blue-White Control, Spirits, Martyr and Bogles. Path is very hard to replace, so I wouldn’t recommend an alternative for any of these decks.

Dismember

Sideboard of Tron, Humans, Hardened Scales and Infect. Not having access to DismemberDismember shouldn’t be the reason to discard any of these decks in the same lineup. It’s a nice tool to have, but not a needed one.

Thoughtseize

All black Midrange decks, sideboard of Dredge, Hollow One and Tron splashing black. In the sideboard of Dredge, you can replace ThoughtseizeThoughtseize with DuressDuress without too much trouble. Although you of course prefer the ability to take out creatures at the cost of 2 life.

Nature’s Claim

Sideboard of Dredge, Tron, Krark-Clan Ironworks, Infect, Hardened Scales, TitanShift. Without many copies of SpellskiteSpellskite in the metagame, Infect doesn’t have to run Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim these days, and TitanShift can find an alternative between Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge, Reclamation SageReclamation Sage, Beast WithinBeast Within or the spicy Broken BondBroken Bond.

As you can see, it’s the cheap interaction that sees play across multiple decks. This means that Unified Modern will be a little more proactive compared to your normal metagame. So let’s talk about a card that powers several proactive decks in the format!

Faithless LootingFaithless Looting

Unified Modern Faithless Looting by Gabor Szikszai

Faithless Looting by Gabor Szikszai

Dredge

Stinkweed Imp

Dredge by Johnathan Zhang

Creatures (18)
BloodghastBloodghast
Golgari ThugGolgari Thug
NarcomoebaNarcomoeba
Prized AmalgamPrized Amalgam
Stinkweed ImpStinkweed Imp

Spells (23)
ShriekhornShriekhorn
DarkblastDarkblast
Cathartic ReunionCathartic Reunion
ConflagrateConflagrate
Creeping ChillCreeping Chill
Faithless LootingFaithless Looting
Life from the LoamLife from the Loam
Lands (19)
MountainMountain
Blood CryptBlood Crypt
Bloodstained MireBloodstained Mire
City of BrassCity of Brass
Copperline GorgeCopperline Gorge
Gemstone MineGemstone Mine
Scalding TarnScalding Tarn
Stomping GroundStomping Ground

After the release of Guilds of Ravnica, Dredge came back with a vengeance after the printing of Creeping ChillCreeping Chill. This card in combination with ConflagrateConflagrate allows the deck to Goldfish very fast without a need to attack with creatures. Dredge won the Magic Online PTQ recently after beating Blue/White Control with three main deck(!) copies of Rest in PeaceRest in Peace.

Strenghts: The game one win percentage is through the roof. This puts a lof pressure on the opponent to find the needed hate to win games two and three. As I very well know from playing against Dredge in Vintage, that can be a tall order for any deck.

Threats: The obvious power and recent results produced by Dredge mean it has a target on its’ head going into Grand Prix Liverpool. I expect almost all sideboards to contain graveyard hate, and if you can present Dredge with one of these pieces early in the game, you have the advantage.

Hollow One

Hollow One

Hollow One by James Sung

Creatures (25)
Hollow OneHollow One
BloodghastBloodghast
Flameblade AdeptFlameblade Adept
Flamewake PhoenixFlamewake Phoenix
Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler
Street WraithStreet Wraith
Tasigur, the Golden FangTasigur, the Golden Fang

Spells (18)
Lightning BoltLightning Bolt
Burning InquiryBurning Inquiry
Collective BrutalityCollective Brutality
Faithless LootingFaithless Looting
Goblin LoreGoblin Lore
Lands (18)
MountainMountain
SwampSwamp
Arid MesaArid Mesa
Blackcleave CliffsBlackcleave Cliffs
Blood CryptBlood Crypt
Bloodstained MireBloodstained Mire
Stomping GroundStomping Ground
Wooded FoothillsWooded Foothills

What started out as a gimmick deck quickly established itself as a top tier strategy. Top players like Mike Sigrist and Martin Juza have played the deck to great results. That’s why the consensus best list is very defined at this time. Hollow One pressures the opponent with resilient threats and is capable of unbeatable nut draws.

Strenghts: The draws of the deck are very different. Sometimes Flamewake AdeptFlamewake Adept and Hollow OneHollow One will beat opposing graveyard hate. Sometimes Lightning BoltLightning Bolt and Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge look silly when you grind them out with vampires and phoenixes from the graveyard, all of them powered by Faithless LootingFaithless Looting

Threats: Matchup-wise this tournament is going to be a little different for Hollow One pilots. They will face fewer BG/x and Snapcaster + Bolt decks than usual and more unfair strategies in general. Thus they have to work for their money this time around. The full playset of TerminusTerminus in Blue/White Control players’ maindeck doesn’t help either.

Red/Blue Phoenix

Arclight Phoenix

Phoenix by Jake Flaczinski

Creatures (11)
Arclight PhoenixArclight Phoenix
Bedlam RevelerBedlam Reveler
Thing in the IceThing in the Ice

Spells (31)
Fiery TemperFiery Temper
Izzet CharmIzzet Charm
Lightning BoltLightning Bolt
ManamorphoseManamorphose
OptOpt
Thought ScourThought Scour
Chart a CourseChart a Course
Faithless LootingFaithless Looting
Serum VisionsSerum Visions
Lands (18)
IslandIsland
MountainMountain
Scalding TarnScalding Tarn
Shivan ReefShivan Reef
Spirebluff CanalSpirebluff Canal
Steam VentsSteam Vents

Aaah, yes. Another new graveyard deck that has yet to cement its tier one status, but it certainly has potential. I like the Thing in the IceThing in the Ice version because it’s better against Anger of the GodsAnger of the Gods, but maybe the Mono Red version ends up being better. Thing in the IceThing in the Ice allows you to win without access to your graveyard. Let’s be honest, an eight-mana Bedlam RevelerBedlam Reveler is unlikely to get the job done. It can also be fantastic against board state decks like Hardened ScalesHardened Scales, Humans and Spirits.

Strenghts: Being a new deck is always an advantage because the opponent is less likely to have much experience facing your deck. They might mulligan or sideboard incorrectly, make a mistake in any scenario or underestimate the deck’s ability to cast enough spells to return a hasty phoenix to the battlefield.

Threats: Compared to Hollow One, I don’t like the deck’s backup plan if the opponent has Leyline of the VoidLeyline of the Void in their opening hand or Rest in PeaceRest in Peace for turn two. On the other hand, the deck is much better against hate like Grafdigger’s CageGrafdigger’s Cage because it doesn’t touch Reveler. One-shot effects like Relic of ProgenitusRelic of Progenitus and Tormod’s CryptTormod’s Crypt are also weaker here, so Phoenix-slinging competitors will cross their fingers to face those in Liverpool.

Thank you so much for reading this far. Next time I will go over some general tips for the tournament itself and complete the holy trinity of Unified pillars with decks featuring the best cantrip in Modern!

 

This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Andreas Petersen

Author Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.

More posts by Andreas Petersen