11, May, 24

MTG Thunder Junction All-Star Gives Unplayable Legend New Home!

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Article at a Glance

Since the release of Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Satoru, the Infiltrator has made a name for itself in Modern. Esper Reanimator and various Scam strategies abusing Grief have adopted Satoru as a card advantage engine. Satoru has made its presence felt in Vengevine decks as well, letting you draw cards when Vengevine, Prized Amalgam, or Bloodghast enter the battlefield from your graveyard.

Today, we are going to share a rather interesting shell for Satoru: Modern Humans. Multi-color Humans decks used to be extremely dominant in Modern but have largely fallen out of favor in recent years. The reality is, Aether Vial strategies have suffered as more and more elite reactive elements have entered the format. From Wrenn and Six to Orcish Bowmasters, one-toughness Creatures have faltered in general. Luckily, Satoru adds a new element to the once-popular Humans shell, providing a better long game in the face of interaction.

Triggering Satoru

Satoru, the Infiltrator

While this Modern Humans deck is capable of fast starts, it also features a nice blend of card advantage and toolbox elements. No card focuses more on the card advantage aspect than Satoru. In this deck, Satoru has two specific cards it interacts favorably with. First and foremost, Satoru is simply amazing with Aether Vial.

Despite not being quite as potent as it used to be, Aether Vial is still a very powerful card. Being able to put in Creatures for free helps provide a nice mana boost, and getting to do so at Instant speed makes it difficult for your opponent to play around all the possibilities at your disposal. In the case of Satoru, though, putting in any Creature off Aether Vial will draw you a card. Notably, this includes Satoru itself if you put the legend in with Vial.

What’s nice is that beyond just providing card advantage in conjunction with Satoru, Aether Vial helps you relish that card advantage by putting in Creatures you draw for free. In this sense, Vial ensures that you can play to the board quickly even if you don’t have a ton of mana in play. Clearly, this deck’s best draws involve Vial, but you need ways to maximize Satoru when you don’t draw Vial.

This brings us to the second card that interacts favorably with Satoru: Norin the Wary. Norin the Wary is a funny card. Every time anyone attacks or cast a spell, it essentially runs away and returns at the next end step. While the card does pretty much nothing on its own, if you have Satoru at the ready, you are basically guaranteed to draw at least one card every turn cycle. Simply play Satoru, attack with Norin causing it to get exiled, and draw a card when it returns. If the opponent cast a spell or attacks on their turn, you get to draw more cards.

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Tempo Gameplan

Thalia's Lieutenant

Beyond maximizing Satoru, this Humans deck is focused on using a mix of aggression and disruption to close games. On the aggression side of things, we have Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant. Champion of the Parish is the ultimate one-drop and a huge payoff for playing a high density of Humans. Thalia’s Lieutenant has all the upside of Champion of the Parish except it also pumps your whole squad as a bonus.

From there, we have cards that either interact with the opponent’s board or protect your own board from opposing removal spells. Kitesail Larcenist is an excellent disruptive mechanism. Getting to answer any massive threat such as Murktide Regent can help you cross the finish line.

Meanwhile, Unsettled Mariner forces your opponent to pay extra mana to remove any of your threats. Similarly, Esper Sentinel can draw you cards if you’re opponent isn’t prepared to spend extra mana for their non-Creature spells, including removal spells. Both of these cards only make Satoru better. First of all, the opponent will have to pay lots of mana to kill Satoru. Secondly, they may feel pressured to answer your other threats and risk running out of kill spells by the time Satoru hits the board.

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Toolbox Elements

Magus of the Moon

Despite just being a deck filled with efficient Human Creatures, this archetype has a lot going on. In some matchups, you will want to be as assertive as possible. In others, you will need to grind through your opponent’s interaction. Finally, against combo strategies, you may need to use silver bullet cards to stand a chance. Fortunately, this deck covers all of these bases.

Imperial Recruiter in particular is extremely strong in matchups where speed isn’t a massive concern. Every single Creature in the deck besides two copies of Orvar, the All-Form in the sideboard (used against Archon of Cruelty decks primarily) can be tutored up with Recruiter. Need removal? Grab Larcenist. Need graveyard hate? Go get Jirina, Dauntless General.

Out of the sideboard, cards like Magus of the Moon and Kataki, War’s Wage can singlehandedly win games. Because of Recruiter, this deck gets to run a bunch of one-ofs or two-ofs and still have access to them consistently when needed. With elite mana fixing in the form of Cavern of Souls, Secluded Courtyard, Unclaimed Territory, and Ancient Ziggurat, casting your Creatures of different colors is easy. Getting to run silver bullets from across the color spectrum is a huge luxury to have.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

This level of flexibility makes the deck reasonable in a variety of matchups. Against decks like Izzet Murktide, you can easily overload the opponent’s removal. Larcenist can deal with Murktide, and Sanctifier en-Vec cleanly holds Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer at bay. While combo matchups like Amulet Titan and Living End combo are very tough to beat in game one, Meddling Mage out of the sideboard can be game over by itself.

Of note, this iteration of Humans has a bit of a harder time against combo game one due to the lack of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/tooltip]. While this omission may seem strange, Thalia lines up so poorly against [tooltips]Orcish Bowmasters that this decision makes sense, especially given how prevalent Scam decks are.

Where this deck certainly struggles the most, though, is against Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo. Once Yawgmoth hits the board, it becomes nearly impossible to win. Not only does Yawgmoth get to pick off your small Creatures, but Yawgmoth itself has Protection from Humans.

This means you can’t use Larcenist to shut it down. Even if you get Meddling Mage into play naming Yawgmoth, Chord of Calling can ruin your day. On top of that, the deck can flood the board with blockers thanks to Grist, the Hunger Tide, Bowmasters, and Undying Creatures.

All things considered, the metagame is still a bit hostile to go-wide Vial strategies. Satoru’s presence gives the deck a new angle of attack, which certainly helps in resource battles. Still, contending with Scion of Draco, Yawgmoth combo, Bowmasters, Solitude, and beyond isn’t exactly easy. What’s nice is that this deck continues to fly under the radar, so players are absolutely not prepared for all of your potential Vial shenanigans. If you’re looking for something unique that your opponents will almost certainly not expect, consider giving this deck a shot.

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