20, Apr, 24

MTG Thunder Junction Planeswalker Gives New Life to Mediocre Suspend Card!

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Article at a Glance

Over the past few months, the Modern metagame had gotten a bit stale for my taste. While the banning of Violent Outburst certainly caused Crashing Footfalls decks to fall out of favor, other well-established tier one strategies simply grew more popular to fill the void. Golgari Yawgmoth combo was already a force to be reckoned with in Modern but became even more prevalent with one of its poorer matchups severely weakened.

Meanwhile, other archetypes such as Amulet Titan and Domain Zoo still remained near the top of the food chain. The format felt a bit stagnant as a result. With Outlaws of Thunder Junction looming, I personally held out hope that the new set would encourage innovation and spark a shake-up.

As it turns out, Outlaws of Thunder Junction has more than delivered. Multiple mediocre strategies have been given new life. Prowess has emerged as one of the frontrunners in the format thanks to the printing of Slickshot Show-Off. Slickshot Show-Off has given a much-needed boost to aggressive shells which have faltered in Modern for quite some time. The release of Simulacrum Synthesizer also helped revive Modern Affinity with its ability to flood the board with Constructs.

Today, we are going to focus on yet another card that seems to be taking the Modern world by storm: Jace Reawakened. Its synergy with [tooltip]Valki, God of Lies[/tooltips] was definitely hyped up during spoiler season. However, as we will see, the efficient Planeswalker has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Make Ancestral Vision Great Again

Jace Reawakened

Jace Reawakened has been primarily popping up in Modern in unique Grixis control lists. Grixis control managed to finish in the top 16 of a recent Magic Online Modern Challenge, showcasing the power of the new Planeswalker. Unsurprisingly, a couple copies of Valki do make an appearance in this list. Thanks to Jace’s second +1 ability, you can Plot Valki and ultimately choose to cast the Tibalt backside on a later turn. This is quite similar to how Bring to Light shells in Pioneer can use the five-mana Sorcery to search for Valki but cast the Tibalt side instead.

There’s no doubt that this interaction is quite strong, but it’s far from the only way to abuse Jace. The main “combo” this deck makes use of actually involves Plotting Ancestral Vision with Jace. Rather than Suspending Ancestral Vision and waiting four turns to get your bonus, you are able to Plot it with Jace and draw three cards the following turn.

Believe it or not, Ancestral Vision was once considered too strong for Modern. Back in 2016, Wizards of the Coast took a chance unbanning the potent Suspend card. Plenty of players tried their best to make the card work, but a number of issues became apparent over time. First, having to wait four turns to reap the rewards is a huge cost. Suspending Ancestral Vision proved to be a strong play turn one, but topdecking Ancestral Vision later in the game was disastrous.

As such, some players tried using cards like As Foretold to get around the need to Suspend it. Unfortunately, these types of cards fell short as they are quite mediocre on their own. Jace does a good job solving these both of these problems. Not only does Jace turn any topdecked Ancestral Vision into an elite draw, but it also is a perfectly serviceable card otherwise.

Whether you are Plotting Expressive Iteration to help cast it for free next turn or looting away excess Lands, Jace has some nice applications. Its ultimate ability is quite threatening in a deck full of spells, too. As such, Jace may finally be the missing piece to put Ancestral Vision over the top.

Read More: Tournament-Winning MTG Deck Reveals Busted Thunder Junction Card!

Supporting Cast

Flame of Anor

The rest of the deck is made up of cheap pieces of disruption and card advantage. Efficiency is key here, since you want to be able to maximize your card draw elements without falling too far behind. As such, Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push are premier removal spells for this archetype. They also combine nicely with Snapcaster Mage and Expressive Iteration as cheap follow-ups.

Another card that is crucial to this deck’s success is Counterspell. Beyond staving off opposing combos, Counterspell works incredibly well in tandem with Jace. On turn four, you can cast Jace with Counterspell backup (if you notice, every mana source in the deck produces blue, so this line is very realistic). From there, you can either push through copies of Tibalt or Ancestral Vision or use Counterspell as a mean to protect Tibalt once in play.

Lastly, Flame of Anor provides the deck with a versatile powerhouse. Snapcaster Mage and Tishana’s Tidebinder notably are Wizards, helping to ensure you get the most out of your three-mana Instant. The only downside to Flame of Anor is its mana cost, but you can always Plot it with Jace and cast it for free!

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Strengths and Weaknesses

This iteration of Grixis control does have a lot going for it. With Prowess decks on the rise, the mix of cheap removal and card advantage available lines up really well. Against Scam strategies, this deck’s ability to churn through its library and dig for removal gives you a good shot against an early Grief. Just make sure to keep Orcish Bowmasters at bay!

Where things start to get dicey is when your disruption aligns poorly with your opponent’s gameplan. In matchups like mono-green Tron, this deck puts little pressure on the opponent in the early game. Considering how unimpactful Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push are against Tron, this is a huge problem. Not to mention, all the card advantage in the world won’t save you from the rampage of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

In a similar sense, if you don’t find Sheoldred’s Edict in short order, a resolved Scion of Draco with Leyline of the Guildpact in play can be lights out by itself. The combination of Jace and Ancestral Vision is definitely strong, but Grixis control does ultimately have its limitations. It’ll be interesting to see if other control variants like traditional Azorius begin to incorporate Jace. There’s plenty of room for exploration here, and Jace is the kind of card that’s worth building around.

Read More: Official Outlaws of Thunder Junction Cowboy Bebop Crossover Revealed!

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