I’m a Broke Ninja
It’s a nice feeling when every time the head judge sees you during an event he can’t stop talking about how madly in love he is with your deck. Those of you that either played me, watch over my shoulder, read the top eight deck lists, or are part of my magic crew already know what I played last weekend at the Modern 1K in Standish. Me. While I did get beat out of the prizes I learned a big lesson about what the deck needs changed. Before I get into this I want to first show those of you that haven’t seen it the full list. Then give you the back story of the deck, why I picked it over Melira Pod, talk about the inter actions in the deck, and explain what went wrong this past event.
4 Familiar’s Ruse
4 Tormod’s Crypt
This deck in fact started out four years ago as a budget legacy deck that I just crammed in 4x Familiar’s Ruse as place holders for Force of Will. Familiar’s Ruse is so powerful in this deck as it basically is Counterspell that resets my Ninja and Spellstutter Sprites. Most of my opponents this weekend had to stop and read this card because they just never encountered it before. One was think he could respond to the creature bounce but showed frustration when he saw that he couldn’t because it was part of the cost. Mean he would need to first cast removal wasting mana before he could cast his own threats. This jsut goes to show how much tempo there is with this deck.
All I did to make this deck into a Modern brew was replace the Dazes with Mana Leaks, Ronin Warclub are replacements for Jitte, the Cloud of Fearies with Aether Vile. Daze and Leak are the most direct transfers because it’s a soft counter for a soft counter. Sure, Daze is free but Leak tends to have more effect in the late game. Could of Faeires for Aether Vile is more of a “yeah, okay, so you get some free creatures,” but it also allows you to drop a dude just to get something to bounce with Familiar’s Ruse. With Jitte banned in Modern, Ronin Warclub was the go to replacement as it powers up the aggro side of this aggro/control deck.
The changes I made to the sideboard to make the deck Modern legal were the Swan’s Songs for Blue Elemental Blast. I did this thinking that I might need to answer some of the spell based combo decks such as Living End and Epic Experiment. I like that all my sideboard cards are either one or zero drops so that the deck can keep it’s light mana curve. This is just one of those decks that never wants to see more than four or six lands a game.
The Fairie Conclaves were even place holders for Mutavaults but in the years of playing with the Familiar’s Ruses in the main I’ve found that having double Blue on turn two/three is a must. Also verses creature based decks you need to be able to get something up in the air over their troops, and these man-lands serve a number of the odd-ball wraths such as Oblivion Stone. So if you got the money to drop into the deck it can so become your Legacy brew.
Why did I sleeve up the Ninja over taking up the proven power of Melria Pod? I’ll give you two reasons why; Scavenging Ooze and Deathrite Shaman. With these creatures in Modern graveyard decks have no room to hide. Pod was safe when it only had to worry about one of these threats but not with both. Another issue is Slaughter Games which is starting to get more on the radar with Standard players, and I’m sure it will start seeing Modern love next PTQ season. Pod just can’t beat Jund and Rock decks and I didn’t want to go to a cash tournament where I would be facing them down all day.
Another reason for picking up this deck is that creature decks are becoming a thing in Modern as the combo decks are being hated out and people are just hoping to win the damage race. The cool think about these aggro decks is that they are stocked with ground pounders instead of fliers. Mistblade Shinobi is a powerhouse against aggro decks where you can just bounce dudes out of play making them have to recast into counter mana next turn.
Mistblades need to hit every turn after they ninja into the battlefield . Which is why the deck makes some much use of Aqueous Form. The scry ability with the bounce is so powerful in the aggro match up. I would also enjoy having AF on a Ninja of the Deep Hours as well. I want that more in the combo and control match ups where I need to race them as the aggro deck, but also need to have my answers in hand for when they get to the point were they think they can turn the game around.
With so much built in synergy what went wrong with it at the tournament? The answer to that is that the deck doesn’t have many strong answers to things that get past your counter spells. Once a resolved threat hits the board the deck, such as Phyrexian Crusaders and Desecration Demon with Vampire Nighthawk back up, it is a hard stay in the battle. As it stands Fate Fortold is kind of a dead card in the deck. I was just trying to find a card to replace the draw effect of Standstill but I’ve come to believe that this needs to be Vapor Snag or Boomerang. I’m leaning towards Boomerang as it can bounce any threat that in on the battlefield. Another change I want to try out is Bident of Thassa in place of the Warclubs so that all the creatures are able be Ninja of the Deep Hours.
All in all, I love this deck and I plan to keep working and tweaking it. I want to thank Bam for being so in love with the deck that he made it be the bonus list for the Modern 1K. So if you are sick of your graveyard deck getting blown out by Scavenging Oozes and Deathrite Shamans and want to sleeve up something new give this a try. Trust me the feeling you get when your opponent gives you the “WTF?” look when you turn an ornithopter sideways is totally worth diving into the bulk bin for this deck.
That’s all for now, this has been...Jeffrey Carmichael II
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