18, Jun, 24

MTG Players Find New Tech to Combat Broken Combo Decks

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It’s no secret that Modern Horizons 3 is completely renovating the Modern format. Multiple incredibly powerful decks are emerging in the Modern metagame, and it’s becoming difficult to figure out which one is the best. To stop these supercharged strategies, players have been playing some new tech in the sideboard to slow things down. Both Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Ruby Storm put up devastatingly quick clocks, and the tools you need to slow them down are a little atypical.

Damping Sphere

If you’re a Lotus Field fan in Pioneer like me, you know this hateful circle quite well. Damping Sphere shuts down lands that tap for more than one color, and makes it difficult to play multiple spells in the same turn. Because Urzatron has been a presence in the Modern format forever, Damping Sphere already sees some play. The card also slows down Amulet Titan decks thanks to shutting off the Bounce Lands.

There are a ton of decks playing four copies of Damping Sphere in the sideboard now due to the two new blazing-fast combo decks. This doesn’t do a ton of work against Nadu because they don’t need to cast a ton of spells to win the game, but this card does stop Ruby Storm from doing its thing. Making each consecutive spell cost one more than the previous one makes casting 10 or more spells in a turn nightmarishly difficult.

Storm does come prepared to deal with this threat, which is why players are now running so many in their sideboards. It’s best to attack the Storm deck from multiple angles, so one type of sideboard hate might not be good enough.

Drannith Magistrate

Ruby Storm uses a lot of card advantage tools that take advantage of exile. Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve both offer two Impulse draws for Storm players to extend their plays. Additionally, Ral, Leyline Prodigy’s ultimate ability and Glimpse the Impossible exile a multitude of cards to further extend plays. Drannith Magistrate stops all of that nonsense.

This 1/3, infamous in Commander, simply stops players from casting cards that aren’t in their hands. This means that all that Impulse draw advantage gets completely shut off. If, for whatever reason, you’re still running into Cascade strategies, Drannith Magistrate turns those off, too.

The downside? Drannith Magistrate is a 1/3 creature that dies to Lightning Bolt effects, so this card is not particularly difficult to deal with. Storm decks are beginning to run a Boros core in order to side in Phlage, Titan of Fire’s Fury and Static Prison to deal with hate pieces like Drannith Magistrate and Damping Sphere. This means that players may need to keep innovating to keep ahead of Ruby Storm.

Harsh Mentor

Harsh Mentor is a new hate piece players are picking up to deal with the Nadu, Winged Wisdom menace. This deck draws a ton of cards and, essentially, flips itself over via Nadu triggers to win the game with Thassa’s Oracle. Shuko is the piece that allows you to trigger all of your Nadu effects without any consequence. This is where the problem starts.

Harsh Mentor puts a very real cost on your Shuko activations. Instead of the card costing zero to equip, it now costs zero mana and two life. You definitely will not be able to get through your deck with just ten Shuko triggers, so Harsh Mentor makes it virtually impossible for Nadu to win via combo for as long as it’s in play.

That said, Nadu can find an answer to Harsh Mentor with the life left to the player. For that reason, Harsh Mentor is best included in decks that pressure Nadu’s life total. The less looks Nadu has to deal with Harsh Mentor, the more likely that this card is just lights out for Nadu.

Disruptor Flute

Disruptor Flute can name a whole bunch of different cards, slowing down various strategies. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and Primeval Titan are two great examples of cards that can be named with Disrupter Flute.

Perhaps the most exciting card to be named with Dispruptor Flute is Shuko. This does a Pithing Needle impression, shutting down the Nadu, Winged Wisdom combo piece from activating its abilities. Sadly, most Nadu decks now play alternate ways to trigger the combo, which makes things a bit more difficult for Disruptor Flute users. This card is regardless seeing a lot of experimentation in the Modern format and seeing sideboard representation in multiples across high-performance decklists.

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Consign to Memory

Our last nomination is a bit of a strange catch-all. Consign to Memory may only be one mana, but it can do a ton of work. Prison Tron is rising in popularity thanks to the metagame shifts, and being able to counter a colorless spell for just one mana is incredibly powerful in that matchup. Consign to Memory, however, is capable of doing more than just blowing out Prison Tron.

Consign to Memory also counters abilities, and has Replicate. This combination is a lot more interesting than you may think. This card is capable of countering some rather bizarre things that could win you some games. While we do not heavily recommend siding this in against Ruby Storm, it can do work in the matchup. You can counter Ral’s Ultimate effect, and counter a Storm trigger from Grapeshot in emergency situations. Storm players can generally cast Grapeshot more than once, however, so don’t think you’ve won the game.

The best thing that Consign to Memory can do in the Storm matchup is counter Ruby Medallion. Storm players generally need a discount to go off in the early turns, and slowing them down by countering an enabler might buy you enough time to win the game.

Otherwise, Consign to Memory can get around Chalice of the Void, which is much better than you might think. Thanks to Replicate, Consign to Memory can fight Chalice on one by countering its counter ability, Replicating, and countering the counter ability with a copied spell that wasn’t cast. Shattering Spree works similarly and is ultimately a better answer to the Chalice, but this interaction is still neat enough to warrant a shout in our books.

Tune into This Weekend’s Pro Tour!

A ton of new tech from the Magic-playing public is making its way into various decklists in order to stop various menaces. As interesting as this all is, the best players in the world have yet to have their say. That will happen at the end of this month at Pro Tour Amsterdam, focused on the Modern format. That will be the tournament that ultimately decides what the state of the Modern format is going to look like. The best sideboard tech will be unveiled, and the decks that can’t be beaten may be sent packing out of the format.

Until then, though, if you, like many others, want to experience this wild west of a Modern format, these tools can help you navigate your deck against some of the more oppressive strategies in the Modern format.

Read More: Amazing Tree Combo Deck Surges Out Of Nowhere!

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