Modern Horizons 2 Free Preview
Howdy all, and welcome to a special edition of the Artisan Brewery! What makes it special? Well, for starters, instead of our typical EDH jank, we’re going into a different format: Modern! With Modern Horizons II right around the corner, Wizards of the Coast was kind enough to give us a free preview card.
Our free preview card from Wizards of the Coast does exactly two things, and it does them both simultaneously. It was originally printed in Odyssey, and has been only been previously reprinted in Eternal Masters and Mystery Boosters. It’s Millikin!
Millikin was created for Odyssey as a graveyard-themed variant based on Manakin from Tempest. While it may not be a powerhouse card on its own, but its ability to let us self-mill gives us some neat directions to take with our designs.
Looking at Modern card pool, there’s no shortage of graveyard strategies and mechanics. These range from absolute legends like Dredge, to Flashback, to cards that just have extra abilities in the graveyard. Since Millikin is a colorless artifact, we can put it into any graveyard plan. However, this is the Artisan Brewery! We can’t just find a typical graveyard deck and cut four cards for it! We have to be creative, exceptional, and—dare we say—fiery! Let’s make Mill Dragons happen!
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Our goal here is to use the Millikin to put as many Dragon’s Approaches as possible into our graveyard, and follow up by actually casting them and grabbing either Scourge of Valkas, or Terror of the Peaks to keep hitting our opponents as hard as we can.
The sideboard would likely be purely responsive, running more versatile damage spells like Lightning Bolt, or pesky artifact removal via Abrade. We also know that Counterspell is coming into the format, so having something that can respond to countermagic is crucial. While we can certainly try to just cast as many of Dragon’s Approach as needed until they’re out of counters, that’s more of a pre-sideboard plan. After sideboarding, we’d probably want something along the lines of Guttural Response or even Ricochet Trap.
This deck is simple, clean, and really relies on Millikin to get the graveyard filled faster. But we must ask ourselves: is it janky enough? If not, how can we make it even jankier? The answer is to utilize the graveyard in a completely different way.
Flashback, as mentioned above, is one of the most popular mechanics in any format, but it’s especially powerful in Modern thanks to cards like Snapcaster Mage, Lingering Souls, and Past in Flames. Please, bear witness to Flaming Zombies!
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Okay, so there aren’t a lot of flames in the deck. With how good Terror of the Peaks is, it feels like an auto-include for this deck concept. The end goal is, of course, to use Millikin to get Army of the Damned into the graveyard, then use its flashback ability to get thirteen zombies. With Terror of the Peaks out, that becomes 26 damage going straight to our opponents, and even if we can’t get Terror of the Peaks onto the battlefield, it’s still 26 damage via attacking on the next turn.
If we’re being totally objective, it’s going to be difficult to pay the flashback cost for Army of the Damned. To help with that, we have a couple of cost reduction options: Baral, Chief of compliance, and Goblin Electromancer. We can’t forget that Millikin is also a mana rock, so that’s another one taken away from the cost. We’d be silly to rely on casting a card for that high of a cost at face value anyway.
That being said, putting Spelltwine into the list seems like a slam dunk. This sorcery is six mana, as opposed to ten (or even eight from hand), and lets us get any instant or sorcery from our graveyard for free, and even gives us access to something juicy that our opponent used earlier in the game. Even if we only get it as a sorcery, we can hold up a Counterspell or two to ensure it resolves. But what happens if we accidentally mill the dragons with Millikin, or discard them with Dream Twist or Desperate Ravings?
There are two solutions to that problem. The first is to run four copies of it, which we’re doing. The second is to have an option to bring them back from the graveyard: Zombify. This will help us get either our big dragon friend back, or a Baral/Electromancer to help cast Army from our hand.
The only real change we can afford to make with a sideboard would be subbing some of the graveyard filling like Desperate Ravings and replace it with more counterspells or adding direct damage or removal like Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push. Otherwise, this deck is another that’s straightforward conceptually, but definitely a challenge to pull off. So, basically another day in the Artisan Brewery.
Both of these decks seem incredibly fun to play, and each presents their own unique challenge; however, we’re ignoring the obvious choice, the one that is absolutely screaming at us, “Build me! Build me, you cowards!” If we’re going to build a self-mill deck, let’s go all in! Fortunately for us, Modern is awash with great choices to fuel this deck. Observe:
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This might be the most straightforward deck we’ve ever built, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Obviously, we’re using Millikin to keep throwing cards into the graveyard, but that’s just the start. On turn three, we can use the mana from a Millikin and the three lands we’ll have by then to cast two Persistent Petitioners. From there, we can either cast even more Petitioners or throw down a Jace, Wielder of Mysteries (side note: how exactly does one wield a mystery?) to keep tossing two cards per turn, or Laboratory Maniac to seal the deal.
That same mana from the Millikin takes care of the generic mana cost of Cryptic Command. Cryptic Command is another great way to draw extra cards while stopping people from removing our win conditions, or keeping people’s threats under control with either of its other two modes. And of course, since it’s also entering Modern with Modern Horizons 2, we have to include Counterspell. There’s not much we could do in regards to a sideboard. We could try bringing in additional counters or bounce spells like Unsummon to maintain board control while we execute our mill plan.
Clearly, we have plenty of room to grow each of these lists and plans, but it feels like each of them does a good job making use of both halves of Millikin. This card may seem simple, but it can enable a lot of deck themes, and will be an interesting addition to the format.
Thanks for coming along, and thanks again to Wizards of the Coast for giving us this free preview card! Please, feel free to provide feedback! See you next time!