As we speak, we live in a world of Bridgevine summer. Similar to Eldrazi Winter in 2016, a busted Modern deck has emerged and frequently takes up half of the metagame among top performing decks.

This is not going to be yet another article reiterating on how busted the deck is. If you have a Modern event coming up soon, I’d recommend you to at least familiarize yourself with this beast. The next ban announcement will be July 8th and I’d suspect that this deck gets the hammer. So until then it’s worth looking at the other awesome stuff that goes on in the format.

One weekend in June we had two big Modern tournaments over on Magic Online. The Modern Format Play-Off on Saturday and a Mythic Championship Qualifier on Sunday. They showed some interesting metagame trends like a rise of Arclight PhoenixArclight Phoenix varieties, both of the Izzet and Mono Red variety, and Eldrazi Tron as the only big mana deck left standing. Humans was also weirdly absent.

There were however 4 different decks among these two top 8s that featured the card UnearthUnearth. This little number from Urza’s block has been a Pauper stable for an eternity and now we get to see what it does when paired with some of the powerful 3-drops in Modern. The strength of the card comes not only from the mana advantage you gain when reanimating a 3-cost card for one mana but also that this somewhat situational card can just cycle whenever the situation isn’t quite right.

Good ol’ Jund

Don’t call it a comeback

Wrenn and Six from Modern Horizons

Wrenn and Six from Modern Horizons

Jund by bladede

Creatures (13)
Bloodbraid Elf
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze
Seasoned Pyromancer
Tarmogoyf

Spells (24)
Inquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize
Unearth
Abrupt Decay
Assassin’s Trophy
Fatal Push
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Nihil Spellbomb
Liliana of the Veil
Liliana, the Last Hope
Wrenn and Six
Lands (23)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Forest
Mountain
Nurturing Peatland
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Anger of the Gods
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Collector Ouphe
Fulminator Mage
Leyline of the Void
Plague Engineer
Weather the Storm

THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THE MCQ WAS WON BY JUND! I REPEAT THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

It’s interesting to me how Jund lines up against Bridgevine. You do get to play some Nihil SpellbombNihil Spellbomb maindeck and sideboard Leyline of the VoidLeyline of the Void and while those don’t stop the deck completely, they might buy you time to let Scavenging OozeScavenging Ooze do just that.

However, if you can get through the busted graveyard decks, Jund did get a lot of new upgrades. Seasoned PyromancerSeasoned Pyromancer provides some much needed velocity and card selection, while weirdo planeswalker which I cannot wait to get a background story on, Wrenn and SixWrenn and Six tags along so nicely.
This deck only features a single copy of UnearthUnearth which isn’t too odd to me as this deck really can’t maximize the potential of UnearthUnearth and has lots of other powerful cards it can play. Though, add more Seasoned PyromancerSeasoned Pyromancer and Tireless TrackerTireless Tracker and Jund could also become a great Unearth-deck.

Now multiplying to Mardu Pyromancers

Maybe do call this a comeback

Seasoned Pyromancer from Modern Horizons

Seasoned Pyromancer from Modern Horizons

Mardu Pyromancer by milikin

Creatures (10)
Seasoned Pyromancer
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Young Pyromancer

Spells (29)
Collective Brutality
Faithless Looting
Inquisition of Kozilek
Lingering Souls
Smiting Helix
Thoughtseize
Unearth
Lightning Bolt
Lands (21)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Godless Shrine
Marsh Flats
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Dreadbore
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Kaya’s Guile
Kolaghan’s Command
Plague Engineer
Ravenous Trap
Wear // Tear

Playing Mardu in Modern lately has been like playing Magic on hard mode. Sure, the deck got 2nd at the Pro Tour back in 2018 but we’ve come a long way since then and Modern just isn’t ripe for a deck that slowly accumulates incremental advantage.

Well, that was until the tools to gain said advantage skyrocketed in power level.

Conspiracy theorists claim that Seasoned PyromancerSeasoned Pyromancer is just an older version of Young PyromancerYoung Pyromancer, and they might just be right. So why not play them together?
Seasoned PyromancerSeasoned Pyromancer is especially fitting in this deck that was already powered by Faithless LootingFaithless Looting, and we even get Smiting HelixSmiting Helix as an additional powerful flashback spell to discard!

While I can see how Yawgmoth, Thran PhysicianYawgmoth, Thran Physician can be very powerful in this shell with the amount of token-making, I think it might be best relegated to the sideboard so that we can get some Bedlam RevelerBedlam Reveler in here and actually establish a meaningful clock.
I have no idea how this deck plans to beat Bridgevine, but at least Plague EngineerPlague Engineer in the sideboard is quite neat against them and with Faithless LootingFaithless Looting plus UnearthUnearth you can actually get it down quickly enough to matter.

Casting a shadow over the format

Time for a change of color

Ranger-Captain of Eos from Modern Horizons

Ranger-Captain of Eos from Modern Horizons

Esper Shadow by jessy_samek

Creatures (14)
Death’s Shadow
Hex Parasite
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (26)
Inquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize
Unearth
Dismember
Fatal Push
Force of Negation
Opt
Path to Exile
Stubborn Denial
Teferi, Time Raveler
Lands (20)
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Marsh Flats
Plains
Polluted Delta
Silent Clearing
Swamp
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Fatal Push
Path to Exile
Stubborn Denial
Ceremonious Rejection
Disdainful Stroke
Engineered Explosives
Leyline of the Void
Lingering Souls
Ravenous Trap
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence

We’ve grown used to usual Grixis builds of Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadow over the past couple years. But lately the deck has started to flounder and lose what was left of a decent win rate. Luckily, Modern Horizons came to the rescue and brought not only UnearthUnearth to revive fallen shadows but also Ranger-Captain of EosRanger-Captain of Eos which can always find you more Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadow and also act as a prime target for UnearthUnearth.

This is also the first time we see the great interaction between Snapcaster MageSnapcaster Mage and UnearthUnearth which with 4 mana and a Captain in the graveyard lets your Snapcaster have the extra utility of creating a truly remarkable board. Or if you reanimate Snapcaster, it can turn your UnearthUnearth into a piece of removal.

The interaction with Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyJace, Vryn’s Prodigy is similar in that it’s both great to be able to flashback something proactively but also great to be able to get back your planeswalker in grindy match-ups.

The new kid in class

Inspired by Vintage!

Force of Negation from Modern Horizons

Force of Negation from Modern Horizons

Esper Mentor by Nilsfit

Creatures (11)
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Monastery Mentor
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (30)
Inquisition of Kozilek
Serum Visions
Thoughtseize
Unearth
Fatal Push
Force of Negation
Opt
Path to Exile
Spell Pierce
Surgical Extraction
Teferi, Time Raveler
Lands (19)
Darkslick Shores
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Plains
Polluted Delta
Swamp
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Path to Exile
Spell Pierce
Celestial Purge
Collective Brutality
Engineered Explosives
Fulminator Mage
Narset, Parter of Veils
Stony Silence
Yixlid Jailer

Nils Guiterrez von Porat is a Spanish brewer under the MTGO nickname Nilsfit. He has worked on various Modern decks and also has a GP Top 8 to his name, but this time he brought another new idea to Modern: What if we use UnearthUnearth to recur Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor and get to make tokens right away with our extra mana?

He top 8’ed the Modern Play-off and got to the finals. The very next day, Tommy Ashton top 8’ed the MCQ with Nils’ exact 75. Maybe this deck is very real?
Force of NegationForce of Negation also happens to be a perfect fit, as opponents will rarely want to let you untap with Mentor so they just fire off removal on their own turn. Just like the Esper Shadow deck before it, this deck also gets to play Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler, Snapcaster MageSnapcaster Mage and Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyJace, Vryn’s Prodigy.

You might think this is too low a creature count for UnearthUnearth, but this is exactly where that cycling ability comes in so handy. I would love to see a playset of Mishra’s BaubleMishra’s Bauble in here though. Does the Magic community really have to relearn that it is just the best cantrip?

In the sideboard we find some very interesting technology to defeat Bridgevine. You’re a black deck, so they will come prepared with WispmareWispmare and Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim for your expected Leyline of the VoidLeyline of the Void. Instead you’ll dodge those cards with the often forgotten Yixlid JailerYixlid Jailer which shuts down almost all their engines except for casting Hogaak, Arisen NecropolisHogaak, Arisen Necropolis from their hand. And if they manage to kill the jailer? Well that’s when those Unearths come in handy!

I’m really hoping for a ban soon, because the new Modern format has so many cool things going on that I’d like to explore. It seems like black-based midrange decks jump-started by UnearthUnearth are the new hot thing, but I’m eager to find out what the next layer will be.

 

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com