Baral Barrage

With the release of Modern Masters 2017 many players of this fine game take the opportunity to break out their old decks and have a crack at modern. With the format been fairly healthy at the moment, and with it getting some new reinforcements with the Kaladesh block, some intrepid gamers are after trying some new and exciting brews. While most of these will have only limited success (if they’re lucky), some can – and will – make an impact in the meta.

I make no calms to been a deck building savant but there has been a deck I have been working on the last few weeks. After some trial and error, I have finally finished a deck that I feel could have some legs. So, without further ado, I present you with Baral Barrage.

Creatures (11)

3 Baral, Chief of Compliance

4 Goblin Electromancer

4 Thing in the Ice/Awoken Horror

Sorceries (4)

4 Lava Spike

Enchantment (4)

4 Blood Moon

Instant (20)

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

4 Lightning Strike

4 Searing Spear

4 Skullcrack

Lands (21)

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Scalding Tarn

4 Wooded Foothills

4 Spirebluff Canal

2 Steam Vents

2 Mountain

1 Island

 Sideboard (15)

4 Vandalblast

2 Anger of the Gods

1 Dispel

2 Mana Leak

2 Dragon’s Claw

4 Tormod’s Crypt

First, let’s talk about the namesake of the deck, Baral, Chief of Compliance. Along with his friend Goblin Electromancer, this mage has the ability to reduce the cost of instant and sorcery spells by one colourless. While he may have a second ability (something to do with counter spells I’ve been told), I much prefer the idea of using him for aggro more than control. We do this by using Baral and his friend to allow us to field 20 Lightning Bolts. Well, sort of. Incinerate, Lightning Strike, Searing Spear and Skullcrack, are all instants that deal 3 damage to target creature or player, for a single red and a generic mana. But, with Baral, all these spells basically become ‘bolts’, allowing us to really pile on the pressure. We also include a playset of Lightning Bolt and Lava Spike, because more ‘bolts’ can’t be a bad thing, right? Since we need a turn or two to set up our board and hand, we are less like a traditional burn deck, and need to slow down the game.

We do this with Blood Moon, and Thing in the Ice/Awoken Horror. Blood Moon is one of the most annoying hate cards ever printed, basically shutting down the game for multi-colour decks. Since our primary strategy is to ‘barrage’ our opponent with red burn spells, we have little to fear from the moon’s effect. The Thing in the Ice however, works towards our plan two-fold. Firstly, it holds off the more aggressive creature decks, such as Elves and Merfolk, but it also works great as a finisher. Picture this, we turn 1 Lava Spike, into turn 2 Baral, then we get down a Thing in the Ice, before throwing out 4 ‘bolts’, flipping it over to Awoken Horror for the coup de grâce.

The land package is pretty simple, with us being in just two colours. We run a suite of fetch lands, as well as some Steam Vents and Spirebluff Canals for even more fixing. We round out the list with some basics, to help us avoid being affected by our own Blood Moon. Our sideboard is pretty straight forward. Vandalblast for artifact hate, and Anger of the Gods to help us deal with creature heavy decks. Dispel and Mana Leak help us with more control based decks. Finally, we have Dragon’s Claw for burn, and Tormod’s Crypt to handle any graveyard shenanigans.

So how will it perform? Well, I do plan to put this deck to the test in the next few months, either at my local FNM or even at some local PPTQ’s. Who knows, if it does well I may even be tempted to run it out at GP Birmingham. Fortune favours the bold.

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