MTG’s beloved Frog Spirit is back in the spotlight in a big way. Thanks to March of the Machine, the MTG community gets to play with a version of Yargle with twice the power and toughness as the original! Ever since its printing, players have joked about the multitude of ways available to outright kill the opponent or come very close just by pairing Yargle and Multani with other existing cards.Fling is an iconic card and pairing it with Yargle and Multani can finish off an opponent in short order. For Commander players, cards like Indomitable Might may come to mind as a great way to one-shot an opponent with Commander damage. One card in particular even caught the eyes of Modern players.
Cragganwick Cremator entering the battlefield lets you discard a card at random. If it was a Creature card, Cragganwick Cremator then deals damage to an opponent equal to the discarded Creature’s power. Paired with Yargle and Multani as the last card in hand, you can send 18 damage straight to the opponent guaranteed. While it took some time for this combo to break out in the Modern format, this weekend we saw it featured in the 2nd place decklist in Sunday’s Magic Online Challenge. The deck certainly has some interesting card choices beyond these combo pieces, but together these cards help provide both consistency and an excellent alternative plan beyond using Cragganwick Cremator. As a fast and resilient MTG creature combo deck with more than one way to win, this deck is the real deal.
Multiple Combo Kills Available
In addition to Yargle’s massive 18 power, Yargle is also a legendary creature. This means that if there is a copy of Yargle in your graveyard, you can use Goryo’s Vengeance to return it to play with Haste until the next end step. If your opponent has no blockers, this is another easy way to deal 18 damage to the opponent. This deck also runs four copies of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn alongside 4 Yargle in order to maximize the chances of having a large threat to pair with either Goryo’s Vengeance of Cragganwick Cremator. Not only does this create a higher level of consistency by increasing the number of combo pieces available to the deck, it also provides a faster kill condition.
This deck is capable of putting Yargle into the graveyard as early as turn one, which allows you to cast Goryo’s Vengeance as early as turn two. The same is true for Emrakul, but it has to be discarded on the same turn where you want to reanimate it. While one attack is not technically lethal on its own, the common painful manabases of modern decks utilizing Fetchlands and Shocklands makes one hit often enough to win the game. This doesn’t even take into account Emrakul’s Annihilator trigger, which can set your opponent back to square one.
The best ‘role player’ this deck has access to is definitely The Underworld Cookbook. First, the combination of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and The Underworld Cookbook is fantastic. This allows you to generate Food tokens and then use two of them, as necessary, to remove your opponent’s problematic creatures. This combination also helps keep the coast clear for a Hasty Emrakul or Yargle to connect in combat. Second, The Underworld Cookbook’s ability to continue discarding cards every turn can help you navigate to only having the Cremator and either Yargle or Emrakul in hand. This guarantees that the Cremator will discard a large threat, despite making you discard a card at random. Third, the Cookbook pairs extremely nicely with Urza’s Saga. It can both be found off chapter three of the Saga as well as grow the Constructs that Urza’s Saga creates by making Food tokens.
Of course, the Cookbook also acts as a discard outlet for either Yargle or Emrakul, allowing you to then target either with Goryo’s Vengeance. Of note, be careful with Emrakul specifically. You will need to target Emrakul with Goryo’s Vengeance with the triggered ability (created from being put into the graveyard from anywhere) on the stack. Otherwise, this triggered ability will cause your graveyard, including Emrakul itself, to get shuffled back into your library. You then lose your opportunity to return it or any copies of Yargle already in the graveyard back with Goryo’s Vengeance.
Beyond the four copies of Cookbook, the deck also plays four copies of Voldaren Epicure. Despite typically being seen in red-based aggressive decks, Voldaren Epicure is almost solely being utilized here for the discard ability of the Blood token it creates. Epicure is a super efficient way to provide a discard outlet for Yargle and Emrakul. The Blood token also helps grow Urza’s Saga Construct tokens, just like Cookbook. This deck is all about maximizing combo potential, which makes it a super powerful option in Modern.
Read More: MTG Battle Combo Revives Old Archetype
Finding the Missing Piece
A common issue for many decks based around two-card combos in general is drawing one half of the combo without finding the other half. This deck gets to dodge some of that problem by having access to both the Goryo’s Vengeance plan as well as the Cragganwick Cremator plan. Still, drawing Cremator without a threat or Goryo’s Vengeance without a discard outlet can pose a problem. This deck has even more going for it then just having access to multiple combos though. I mentioned the ability of Urza’s Saga being able to find Cookbook if you are missing a discard outlet. That’s not the only way the deck has to find a missing combo piece.
Perhaps an underrated option for black-based combo decks in Modern, this deck gets to utilize a playset of Profane Tutor. While not as powerful as some Tutor options available in Legacy and Vintage, Profane Tutor gets the job done, and really helps keep the deck consistent. Between the deck having access to multiple different combo enablers, multiple different payoffs, as well as Saga and Tutor to find these enablers and payoffs, it makes sense why this deck is performing well. Add in four copies of Thoughtseize to help protect your combos and disrupt your opponent’s combos, and you have a recipe for success! If you are a fan of the Modern format, expect to see more Frog Spirit Elementals in your future.