Welcome back to Master of Magic, and our first new deck tech since the release of Strixhaven. Yes, Magic the Gatherings newest Standard set has finally hit the shelves, and you know what that means. It’s time to see which cards have found a home in an existing deck, which have created new and exciting architypes all of their own, and which as bad but we are convinced we can brew around.
We are going to start things off with a variation on a deck that has been doing the rounds in Modern for a while now, Blitz. Traditional, this deck has been a predominantly red aggro deck, splashing Blue for a bit of value and card draw. However, a new card from Strixhaven might not only have made the deck more explosive but might just have pushed the deck into a new colour pairing. That card is of course “Steppe Thinks”, better known by its proper name Clever Lumimancer.
Clever Lumimancer is a 0/1 Human Wizard with Magecraft that reads, “Whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell, Clever Lumimancer gets +2/+2 until the end of turn”. Now it doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for this creature in competitive Magic, especially in a format like Modern that has a great selection of cheap yet powerful instant or sorcery spells. Even better, the card fits right at home in a deck like Blitz.
For the uninitiated, Blitz is a deck with a very simple game plan. Get down a creature with Prowess like Soul-Scar Mage or Monastery Swiftspear, then cast a lot of ‘free’ spells in order to buff them up and get in for lethal damage before our opponents can establish a board state. This deck is already rather successful as it is, been one of the most played decks in the format. However, you can see how Clever Lumimancer would feel quite at home, given that its Magecraft ability is basically ‘super’ Prowess.
So that’s the game plan, now to fill the deck. We’ll start with playsets of Clever Lumimancer, Monastery Swiftspear and Soul-Scar Mage, giving us a health supply of one drop threats to apply pressure early on. Next up we have a selection of ‘free’ spells we can cast to pump up our threats so we can swing in for the win as early as possible. First up we have Lava Dart, which while not free the first time we cast it, is castable with Flashback by sacrificing on of our Mountains. This is a small price to pay, especially if it leads us to an early victory.
Next up we have the classic free spells of Gut Shot and Mutagenic Growth. Thanks to Phyrexian Mana, these spells can be cast using our life total as a resource to pump our threats. Mutagenic Growth is especially good with Clever Lumimancer, as for the low, low price of two life we get to pump it up to a 4/5 and still have mana available for other spells. Spells like Manamorphose, which while not free in itself, does refund us the mana to cast additional spells and pump the team further. It also gives us another card, which is nice.
So, we have played a turn one threat (preferably a Clever Lumimancer) and then cast some ‘free’ spells to pump it up while keeping our mana open. But what do we do with that mana? Why, cast a Temur Battle Rage to double our damage output of course. This is what can make the deck so explosive, as it is entirely possible to get a Clever Lumimancer up to 10 or more power in a single turn. All we have to do then is give it Trample and Double Strike and we can swing in for lethal damage as early as turn 2.
Now that might seem a little bit like magical Christmas land for some people, but the deck has other ways to make sure it dishes out damage. Crash Through is a great way to make sure multiple creatures on our board can get in some damage despite potential blockers, while Lightning Bolt can be pointed at our opponents face or creatures should the need arise. Lastly, since we have so many one mana spells it only seems appropriate to throw in a playset of Dreadhorde Arcanist, allowing us to get cast even more ‘free’ spells during the attack.
For our mana base we run only 18 lands, most of which are fetch-lands. The reason is that we want to thin out our deck as much as possible, making sure we can draw into as much gas as we can. To that end we have full playsets of Arid Mesa and Bloodstained Mire, as well as three Mountains and two copies of Sacred Foundry to fetch up. For addition fixing we run a playset of Inspiring Vantage, as well as a single copy of Sunbaked Canyon which we can sacrifice for card advantage should we require.
4 Clever Lumimancer
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
4 Crash Through
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Lava Dart
3 Gut Shot
3 Temur Battle Rage
4 Arid Mesa
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Sacred Foundry
1 Sunbaked Canyon
4 Rip Apart
2 Boros Charm
3 Path to Exile
2 Kor Firewalker
2 Tormod’s Crypt
For the Sideboard we run three copies of Path to Exile to remove anything bigger than a single Lightning Bolt can handle. Speaking of removal, we also run a playset of the new spell Rip Apart, which can pull triple duty as creature, artifact, or enchantment removal. Skullcrack helps shutdown life gain, while Boros Charm can be used for addition Double Strike, or to protect our creatures from destruction-based removal when not just doming our opponents. Finally, Kor Firewalker can help pad our life total against other aggressive Red decks, and Tormod’s Crypt can be used against any Graveyard decks that pose an issue for us.
And that is Boros Blitz for Modern. The deck is super aggressive and fun to play. There is nothing quite like a turn two kill, especially in the Modern format. Just remember to make sure you have at least one creature in you opening hand, preferably two. Otherwise, you could be left with all the pump in the world and no creature to cast them on thanks to the ever-terrifying turn one Thoughtseize or Lightning Bolt.
But what do you think about today’s deck? Is this the kind of brew you would like to play? Or have you a different Strixhaven build you want to try out? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.
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