Monday, November 10, 2014

Modern Monday: Living End

Throughout my time playing Magic, there are very few decks that make me say "I have to play that!" or "If several thousand dollars fall out of the air into my hands, I'm buying the cards to build this!"

There are only three decks before that have made me say this: Legacy High Tide, Legacy Leylines, and Azorius Soul Blade. Sure, there are fun decks, decks where I have all the cards or most of them, or decks where I have what I need to make my own approximate version.

I have a friend I met while playing at LostShade in Harrisonburg, VA who introduced me to a variety of Modern decks, introduced me to some fun looking Legacy decks, and introduced me to Cube. I took away High Tide from his Legacy deck repertoire, and with Modern, I saw this fun little gem.

Being able to throw a ton of huge creatures into the graveyard, kill all of your opponent's creatures and bring all of yours back all on your opponent's turn sounds great. That's what made me love the deck. So here's my version.

Living End


Living End

Creatures

x3 Fulminator Mage
x4 Street Wraith
x4 Monstrous Carabid
x4 Deadshot Minotaur
x4 Pale Recluse
x2 Yoked Powbeast
x4 Ridge Rannet
x4 Jungle Weaver

Land

x1 Dryad Arbor
x2 Verdant Catacombs
x3 Blackcleave Cliffs
x3 Copperline Gorge
x1 Godless Shrine
x1 Blood Crypt
x1 Overgrown Tomb
x1 Stomping Ground
x1 Temple Garden
x1 Swamp
x1 Mountain
x1 Forest

Artifacts

x1 Whip of Erebos

Other Spells

x3 Beast Within
x3 Demonic Dread
x4 Violent Outburst
x3 Living End

So, I gave a basic explanation of how this deck works, but let's go more in depth.

Violent Outburst  Demonic Dread

Cascade pretty much runs through your deck finding any nonland card costing less than three mana since these are the cheapest Cascade spells in Modern. We care more for instants, but you can't depend on having one of the four, so Demonic Dread is thrown in for some extra spells. Demonic Dread also looks for a target, so it works only if an opponent has creatures.

The only card with a mana cost less than three other than lands is Living End which is actually a zero cost. Sure, you can suspend for four mana and three turns, but that's just an ability, not the mana cost. So let's look at what's in our graveyard suite...

Street Wraith  Monstrous Carabid  Deadshot Minotaur

Cycling is an easy way to ditch cards, so that's our method today. Street Wraith is completely no mana, but costs life. With only 4 in the deck, 8 life is okay, just not against burn. Monstrous Carabid and Deadshot Minotaur both cycle for a single mana between one of two colors. This is an easy turn one ditch so no problems.

Yoked Plowbeast  Ridge Rannet  Jungle Weaver

If I understand the meaning, these are what are known as "french vanilla" creatures as they have nothing really special, just the option to discard and draw for two mana. These are also our fatties that will do most of our work once a Living End hits.

Pale Recluse  Fulminator Mage  Beast Within

Pale Recluse doesn't draw a card upon discard, it finds you a land, specifically talking about Shocklands. Grab a Godless Shrine or Overgrown Tomb. It's cool. Fulminator Mage is the way to fight most decks and it wrecks Tron. Play, sacrifice, blow up a land. Cascade into Living End, sacrifice, blow up a land. Rinse and repeat.

Beast Within is our only removal of things we don't like, including more lands, enchantments like Blood Moon, etc. The 3/3 beast will die to Living End, so don't worry about it, it's harmless.



Once you know what's going on, this is a pretty simple deck, it's just the price. You need fastlands, shocklands, fetchlands, foil Unhinged basic lands, and Fulminator Mages. Okay, so you don't need the foil Unhinged lands. I got carried away, but you get the idea. Fulminator Mages are around $50 a piece at the time of this article's publication. Three is the minimum required for the deck to wreck most decks, so you need them. Verdant Catacombs hits every single shockland in the deck and gets us the Forest before a Blood Moon hits the board. Yes, I suppose a Windswept Heath works almost as well and gets most of them, but we miss out on Blood Crypt. You can always improvise, switch Temple Garden to Sacred Foundry and using Bloodstained Mires as the fetchland, but when black (Living End) and green (Beast Within) are two very crucial cards in the deck, you've got to go with the black/green fetchland.

As long as you've played in recent years and got playsets of your dual lands or just got a couple of each, you're set to go for the most part. Living End and Fulminator Mage are the most expensive apart from the lands, and I won't get my hands on either of them for some time, but I can dream. When I'm ready to buy what I'm missing, I'll at least have the list right here.

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