May 26, 2014

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March of the Multitudes: Come Play Modern!

Last week Wizards of the Coast released the decklist for the first modern event deck: “March of the Multitudes”. To the chagrin of current modern players, this $75 black/white tokens deck does not include a bitterblossom reprint, however for new players looking to break into modern the deck actually looks like a pretty good deal:

Here is what you get:

March of the Multitudes

Creatures (5)
Soul Warden
Tidehollow Sculler

Lands (24)
Caves of Koilos
City of Brass
Isolated Chapel
Plains
Swamp
Vault of the Archangel
Windbrisk Heights

Spells (31)
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Honor of the Pure
Inquisition of Kozilek
Intangible Virtue
Lingering Souls
Path to Exile
Raise the Alarm
Shrine of Loyal Legions
Spectral Procession
Sword of Feast and Famine
Zealous Persecution

Sideboard (15)
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Dismember
Duress
Ghost Quarter
Kataki, War’s Wage
Relic of Progenitus

Of course $75 only goes so far, so we have City of Brass and Caves of Koilos doing their best impression of Godless Shrine and Marsh Flats. Note that Isolated Chapel is not fooled, and will proceed to come into play tapped if left alone with these imposters. The rest of the cards are standard tokens fare, although Soul Warden is more commonly seen in her evolved form of Auriok Champion, and Shrine of Loyal Legions more commonly starts in the sideboard.

So while it’s not an optimal list, it’s not an embarrassment either. The black/white tokens strategy has been around since modern was launched back in 2011 and was notably piloted to a 9th place finish at GP Toronto in 2012 by Melissa DeTora. The strategy can work, but new players will likely struggle with getting the most out of their discard spells. An Inquisition of Kozilek can go from backbreaking to inconsequential if you do not understand the various combos played in modern. Cards like Violent Outburst, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Goblin Electromancer, Angel’s Grace, and Deceiver Exarch are a lot more dangerous than they appear, and new players may not realize how close they are to losing the game just by the presence of cards like these.
While there are certainly other decent budget options out there for a new modern player – monogreen infect and monored burn come to mind –the March of the Multitudes event deck conveniently puts everything in one box, ready to go off the shelf. I think the event deck could actually work to bring some new players into the format, so it may be wise to pack a couple Ratchet Bombs or Engineered Explosives in your sideboard in June!