9, Jul, 24

Elite MH3 Additions Help Give Forgotten MH1 Elemental New Home!

Article at a Glance

Some Magic Online decklists are finally available to the public again, allowing players to get a better feel for any metagame shifts that might occur. Now, we also get to see any unique and innovative approaches to various formats that players come up with. As it turns out, a really cool Rakdos shell abusing the power of Chthonian Nightmare just recently made top 16 of a Magic Online Modern Challenge.

This deck has a lot going on. The value that can be generated is through the roof. At the same time, this deck has access to draws that can help you end the game in short order. This deck’s strong performance cannot be denied, and it looks like we may finally have found a solid home for Lightning Skelemental.

Lightning Skelemental at Its Best

Flare of Malice

The main engine that gives this deck such immense grinding power is none other than Chthonian Nightmare. Chthonian Nightmare can repeatedly bring small creatures back from your graveyard to play, so long as you have sacrifice fodder lying around. Well, one of the more devastating cards to pair with Chthonian Nightmare is certainly Lightning Skelemental.

Lightning Skelemental has the potential to hit the opponent for six damage out of nowhere and force the opponent to discard two cards in the process. This is undoubtedly a powerful effect but has never fully lived up to expectations in Modern thus far. Unfortunately, Lightning Skelemental has always had a few major weaknesses.

The first issue with Lightning Skelemental is that it doesn’t add any board presence long-term. Paying three mana to get a big attack in and Mind Rot the opponent sounds nice, but if you’re on the backfoot at all, Lightning Skelemental doesn’t help in any way defensively. Second, as a one-toughness creature, Lightning Skelemental dies to tons of efficient removal spells. This can make it difficult to connect in combat in the first place. Fortunately, both of these problems are successfully addressed in this shell.

When it comes to board presence, getting to pair Lightning Skelemental with Flare of Malice is a huge boon. This means that if your opponent chooses to take the full hit from Lightning Skelemental to try to attack on the crackback, you can sacrifice it to Flare to kill an opposing haymaker for free post-combat.

With regards to removal, Chthonian Nightmare can help you recur Lightning Skelemental over and over. Eventually, the six damage attacks will add up. If the opponent goes to remove Lightning Skelemental, you can always sacrifice it to Flare of Malice or Village Rites in response to get some value. This deck is quite synergistic, and we’re just getting started.

Read More: MH3 Special Guest Gives Rise to New Persistent Graveyard Strategy!

Recursive Elements

Chthonian Nightmare | Modern Horizons 3

As you might expect, there are other cards besides Lightning Skelemental that work well in conjunction with Chthonian Nightmare and Flare of Malice. By far the best creature to pair with these cards is Bloodghast. Bloodghast isn’t the most threatening card in the world, but the fact that it comes back from the graveyard with so little effort makes it a perfect inclusion here.

With Chthonian Nightmare, Bloodghast ensures that you always have a creature to sacrifice at the ready. As a recursive body, you can sacrifice Bloodghast to Flare of Malice without falling behind on resources.

Orcish Bowmasters is another card that is incredibly strong alongside Chthonian Nightmare. Orcish Bowmasters is naturally an elite card. In this deck, it’s even better, since the Orc Army token you create can be sacrificed to Chthonian Nightmare with ease. You can’t sacrifice the token to Flare of Malice of course, but you can always ditch Orcish Bowmasters in a pinch.

To help enable Chthonian Nightmare and Unearth, cards like Stitcher’s Supplier and Voldaren Epicure can fuel your graveyard. If you’re lucky, you can mill over Lightning Skelemental with Stitcher’s Supplier, then bring it back with Chthonian Nightmare turn two. Chthonian Nightmare is a very scary card.

Read More: Broken MTG Wizard Surprisingly Resurrects Elf Typal Strategy!

Fighting Through Combo Summer

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

What’s nice about this strategy overall is that you get to utilize some very well-positioned cards. Unsurprisingly, looping Lightning Skelemental with Chthonian Nightmare against combo decks can help run them out of resources. At the same time, the presence of Flare of Malice allows you to tap out and advance your board willingly, while still being able to kill Nadu, Winged Wisdom or Ral, Monsoon Mage when necessary.

Then, out of the sideboard, Rakdos Charm is a house against a multitude of top-tier combo decks. It can kill a Nadu player out of nowhere as they flood the board with tokens from Springheart Nantuko. It can exile a Living End player’s graveyard at Instant speed. You can even use it to blow up problematic artifacts like Ruby Medallion or Shuko.

The biggest downside to this style of deck is that you’re pretty vulnerable to graveyard hate. There are limited ways available to answer cards like Rest in Peace, which can completely shut your Chthonian Nightmare synergies down. The good news is that Rakdos Charm can answer graveyard hate in artifact form, which seems to be more common.

It’s cool to see Lightning Skelemental getting some love once again. This card that never quite lived up to the hype may finally have the support it needs. This deck may not be a top-tier choice, but it has game against many of the best archetypes in Modern at the moment, which is a good start. If you’re looking for something a bit unique to play at FNM, consider giving this deck a try.

Read More: Modern Horizons 3 Rejuvenates Lesser-Seen MTG Format!

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