20, Mar, 24

Busted Two-Card Combo Completely Takes Over Post-Ban Modern!

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Article at a Glance

For those who have been keeping up with the state of Modern since Murders at Karlov Manor dropped, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Leyline of the Guildpact is a dominant force to be reckoned with. In conjunction with Scion of Draco, you end up with a keyword monster that is extremely hard to deal with. Soon after the release of Murders at Karlov Manor, Domain Zoo decks featuring these two cards and Leyline Binding started to take over the format.

Fast forward to Regional Championship season, and players started to discover the power of the same combination of cards in Cascade shells. Scion paired nicely as an alternate win condition alongside Crashing Footfalls. Little did we know, this was only the beginning.

This combination of cards has started showing up in a ton of different strategies, many of which have nothing to do with each other besides the Leyline/Scion/Binding package. Not only that, but they’ve also been dominating. So much so, that players are starting to think Leyline should’ve been banned all along. For anyone struggling to see just how absurdly strong and format warping Leyline has been in Modern, let’s take a closer look at a bunch of powerful archetypes all making use of the Enchantment.

An Absurd Last Chance Performance

Leyline of the Guildpact

The Modern deck with the biggest breakout performance over the last week certainly seems to be this fusion between Domain Zoo and Izzet Murktide. This week, lots of players were competing on Magic Online in Last Chance events. These events awarded invites to the Showcase Qualifier tournaments happening soon for players that ended with 5-0 records. Three Players that qualified were all playing this shell, which is extremely impressive.

The goal with this deck is to make use of the range of extremely strong cards that appear in Izzet Murktide decklists while still having access to busted Scion starts. Rather than rely on cards like Nishoba Brawler and Wild Nacatl to try to end the game in short order[/tooltips], this deck adds Preordain and Expressive Iteration to help dig for Scion.

Furthermore, the addition of these blue cards enables the inclusion of Force of Negation, one of the strongest cards in the format. While it may seem a bit strange to see this deck that still utilizes Territorial Kavu eschew a ton of Zoo staples, there’s no denying its brilliant run this week.

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Brews Galore

Atraxa, Grand Unifier | Phyrexia: All Wi

The innovation within the Zoo archetype hasn’t been the only avenue players have been exploring to maximize Leyline and Scion. In reality, Leyline and Scion have been popping up all over the place. Take the Esper Goryo’s Vengeance deck, for example. This deck has been dominant over the last month with minimal wiggle room for flex slots. Yet, recently, one player went undefeated in a Magic Online Modern League shoving Leyline and Scion into the archetype.

The typical reanimation package alongside Grief, Solitude, and Ephemerate still makes an appearance. However, Fallaji Archaeologist and some disruptive elements have been replaced with the Scion and Leyline package. What’s nice about Leyline and Scion in this deck is that, thanks to Tainted Indulgence and Steamcore Scholar, getting rid of extra copies of Leyline is very easy.

Going deeper, Leyline even opened the door for some Enchantress shenanigans to take place. Like traditional Enchantress shells, this deck utilizes Enchantress’s Presence and Sythis, Harvest’s Hand as card advantage engines. However, you won’t find the likes of Sterling Grove or Solitary Confinement here. Instead, this deck’s goal is to get a big mana advantage and take over the game that way.

Both Sanctum Weaver and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx show up, allowing you to get extra mana alongside Leyline. From there, this deck plays a bunch of cheap Enchantments like Oath of Nissa and Abundant Growth to help you churn through your library and find your Scions to win the game with.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Pick Your Poison

If it wasn’t already clear, Leyline and Scion are completely taking over Modern. Plenty of players are calling for a ban, and frankly, this doesn’t seem unreasonable. The play patterns involved with Leyline and Scion are pretty toxic. Considering that the range of interaction available to stop it is small, but the opportunity cost of adding these cards to your deck is also quite low, this combo is a real problem.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t strong cards against Leyline and Scion, but more that the format is being warped around them. For reference, Pick Your Poison is the second most played non-Land card in Modern according to MTGGoldfish format staples, just behind Chalice of the Void. It appears in roughly 38% of decks.

Obviously, Pick Your Poison has other utility against Urza’s Saga decks and the like. Still, it almost certainly wouldn’t be this dominant if it didn’t help answer both Leyline and Scion. As players continue to stretch the boundaries with this potent combo, it’s essential to be prepared for it, even in decks where you least expect it.

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