Almost a month after the release of Phyrexia: All Will Be One, MTG players are still finding new ways to experiment with the contents of the set. We’ve seen some MTG cards literally impact every MTG format, rising to over $80 for a period of time. That said, not all the cards making an impact from Phyrexia: All Will Be One is currently expensive. One Rare, which we’ve recently talked about in Commander context, just top 8’d a Modern Challenge on Magic Online. It may not be enough to dominate the entire format, but, Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut, is a new player that you may need to watch out for!
Graaz, Colorless Craterhoof
As mentioned, we recently talked about Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut in the context of Commander. This eight-mana 7/5 seems like a bizarre choice to warp a format, but the deck he was a part of put up a pretty strong result. Basically, this 7/5 is capable of turning an army of tiny creatures into something that can end the game immediately.
There are some glaring weaknesses to Graaz, especially in the context of the Modern format. The biggest ones are the card’s mana value combined with the fact that it gets totaled by a Delirious Unholy Heat. Eight mana is not something you should be expecting to cast naturally in an average game of Modern, and doing so with a card that could easily give your opponent a massive mana advantage is foolish at best. Fortunately, the top eight list has (obviously) taken all of these things into account!
Trash For Treasure
Redditor salivation’s solution to the above problems was utilizing a combo between Trash for Treasure and Goblin Engineer. This allows you to exchange a cheap artifact, like a Blood Token from Voldaren Epicure, and turn it into Graaz. You do this using Trash for Treasure’s effect to swap two artifacts on the battlefield and graveyard combined with the tutoring effect from Goblin Engineer that puts an artifact from your deck into the graveyard.
This, combined with smaller bodies from many one-mana creatures, allows the Graaz to be cheated in at a reasonable point in a Modern game and threaten to end the game immediately. There are still some issues, however, like getting a Graaz in your hand.
Fortunately, there are a lot of rummage effects in this list that up the consistency of getting through something like this. Blood Tokens, Seasoned Pyromancer, and Scrapwork Mutt are all capable of looting (discarding and drawing a card), which should help get any of your payoff artifacts out of your hand and into your graveyard.
On that note, Graaz isn’t the only artifact this deck is trying to cheat in. Portal to Phyrexia and Sundering Titan are other powerful choices equipped to punishing various strategies shared in the Modern metagame. Either way, this deck is a sort of combo-midrange archetype that wants to cheat in powerful finishers to end the game, but has other relevant threats like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.
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Fortunately, for players who want to give this new deck a whirl, Redditor salivation, who top eighted with the deck, wrote a write-up on Reddit for those interested in trying the deck out. We don’t want to reiterate what this write-up already offers readers, so we will simply link to it here.
The write-up has a lot of theory regarding how to pilot the deck and how to navigate the deck’s most common matchups among top-tier decklists. It also has sideboard plans and breaks down each card’s role in the 75. I highly recommend taking a look if you decide to try out the deck for yourself.
One line of text, in particular, scares me away from trying this list: it has a tough Murktide matchup. UR Murktide is the most popular archetype in the Modern format, meaning that many players will encounter it at a Modern tournament at any level. According to the deck’s creator, the matchup does get better postboard, but requires practice. If you’re willing to put some time into learning the matchup, this could be a deck that may surprise your opponents.
The one thing I do think this deck has over picking up something like Murktide is the unique angle of attack. The issue with picking up a very powerful but difficult deck to pilot like UR Murktide is that you will instantly be behind every other Murktide player in the Modern format. You may need thousands of hours of gameplay to catch up to these prestigious names, and finding a deck that clicks with your playstyle may be a good shortcut to make your time better spent. In exchange, however, the ceiling of your prowess may be cut off if Murktide can offer a higher one than an alternative strategy. If you’re willing to put in the high amount of dedication required to bring your Murktide skills up to par, that should be the better investment. Personally, I would prefer to spend my time differently.
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