Harsh Lessons

Since its release, budding brewers have been hard at work trying to get the most value out of Amonkhet. Whether it be Standard, Commander, Modern or Legacy, everyone is trying to spice up their decks with new toys. One card in particular, has got a lot of press coverage. Some are calling it the missing member of the pantheon, of powerful two drops such as Stoneforge Mystic, Snapcaster Mage, Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf, whom until now lacked a red counterpart. We are of course talking about Harsh Mentor. This two mana 2/2, may not winning any prizes as a frontline combatant, but that isn’t why we are interested in it. No, it’s that triggered ability that makes this card stand out. Any time our opponent uses a none mana activated ability of an artifact, creature or land, the mentor deals two damage them.

This is far more powerful than it may first appear. Cracking fetch lands, equipping equipment, firing up creature lands, crewing vehicles, using Wasteland or Ghost Quarter and oh, so many others, all trigger the mentor’s ability. This makes Harsh Mentor not only a great hate card for anyone playing red, it can also completely shut down some deck, such as Affinity and Lantern Control. Now why’ll some people will automatically want to put this guy into a burn deck, (I’m one of them), I do think there is a better home for such a card. So today we are heading to modern, to take a look at Boros Hate Bears.

Red all over this place

Let me be clear, I DISPISE HATE BEAR DECKS IN MODERN. They are no fun to play against, usually locking me out of doing anything fun with my own decks. However, I have gotten to play with these decks once or twice, and when the boot is on the other foot, I have had a ton of fun. You do get despicable pleasure in ruining your opponent’s fun, watching as they pull out their own hair trying to figure out how to search their library or pay for a non-creature spell. Why’ll these decks have been Black and White, Mono White, and even splashing Green in the past, I think this is the kind of deck the mentor would feel at home in.

We start the with the bases of most Hate Bear decks, with cards such as Leonin Arbiter, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Spirit of the Labyrinth. The arbiter taxes players for searching their libraries, Thaila hates on non-creature strategies, and the spirit stops players from drawing more than one card a turn. We also want to include Thought-Knot Seer to attack our opponents hand and face, as well as Eldrazi Displacer and Flickerwisp, to blink and take advantage of the seers ETB trigger. The final mainstays of the deck are a playset Aether Vial s to cheat in our creatures, and Path to Exile for removal.

We will of course want to include a full playset of Harsh Mentor, but as we will be in red, we will also want to include a playset of Eidolon of the Great Revel. A main stay in most burn decks, the reveller punishes everyone for playing any cards costing three mana or less, which is a vast number of spells in the modern format. The mana base provides all the coloured and colourless mana we should need, as well as a full playset of Ghost Quarters. Thanks to Aether Vial, we don’t have to worry too much about been able to cast our creatures, so we can feel free to hit our opponent’s mana base with reckless abandon. The sideboard is gear to take down the usual suspects, with Rest in Peace for Dredge and graveyard shenanigans, Stony Silence for Affinity, and Leyline of Sanctity for Burn and Storm. Chalice of the Void hates on combo, with Blade Splicer and Mirran Crusader providing extra hitting power in match ups when required.

Creatures (30)

4 Leonin Arbiter

4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

2 Spirit of the Labyrinth

4 Harsh Mentor

4 Eidolon of the Great Revel

4 Eldrazi Displacer

4 Flickerwisp

4 Thought-Knot Seer

Spells (8)

4 Aether Vial

4 Path to Exile

Lands (22)

4 Inspiring Vantage

4 Battlefield Forge

4 Eldrazi Temple

4 Ghost Quarter

4 Needle Spires

2 Plains

Sideboard (15)

4 Rest in Peace

3 Stony Silence

2 Leyline of Sanctity

2 Blade Splicer

2 Chalice of the Void

2 Mirran Crusader

Unlike other Hate Bear decks, which rely on picking apart their opponent’s hand and trying to draw out the game, we are far more aggressive. Both the mentor and eidolon can rack up a ton of damage if left unchecked, and after a couple of attacks with our opponent’s shields down, we will be able to close out the game before they can stabilize. If any of our red hate bears come under threat from removal, we can use the Flickerwisp or Eldrazi Displacer to blink them away before they bite the bullet. It’s important to keep them around for as long as possible so they can deal damage, so blink away. Apart from that, we want to be piling on the pressure as much as we can, so when the opportunity arises we need to swing away. Aggression is the key, and don’t forget it.

And there you have it, a new take on Hate Bears in modern. What do you guys think about the deck? Is this the best fit for Harsh Mentor, or do you have other plans for this potent two drop? Are there any other cards from Amonkhet you think will find a home in modern, and if so, what are they and where do you think they belong? Drop us a line and let us know your plans for spicing up your own brews with magics latest set. Until next time Good Luck, and Have Fun.

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