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June 2, 2016

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Rogue Tech Report: June 2016 Edition

Hello and welcome back to Rogue Tech Report, where we look at some creative new additions to established decks, and celebrate those strange moments where the unexpected, or even the janky… turned out to actually be kind of good.

Modern continues to be shaken up, which is providing fresh opportunity for new strategies and cards to see competitive action. This week I’ve got three new-card updates to a few known decks, as well as a bonus piece of extra-spicy tech for the Nahiri-lovers out there.

What’s New in RG Tron?

First, lets take a look at some of the new cards showing up in RG Tron lists. This fast-mana boogeyman has been going through some awkward growing pains, following the addition of another big-mana colourless-based archetype in the format, and the loss of Eye of Ugin.

Despite this uncertain phase, RG Tron has started to creep its way back into strong representation in the Modern meta, now sporting some new toys.

Swagtusk seems like the sort of card that should have been in the deck all along, but I suppose its significance has increased now as a value-replacement for Eye of Ugin against control decks, while also doubling as an answer to Burn and friends. Thrag-daddy has been on the brink of being considered a Modern staple for a while now – maybe its time is now (even if only in the sideboard.)

On the newer side of things, World Breaker has helped breathe life into the archetype, giving it another huge threat that is not only recursive, but also partly uncounterable. 2-3 of these between the main and sideboard have been popping up in lists online. Meanwhile Kozilek’s Return has demonstrated itself as an acceptable upgrade over Pyroclasm, especially with the recent resurgence of Abzan Company decks.

Upping the Damage Swing in Naya Zoo

Here’s one that looked really cute the first time I encountered it, and then turned out to be the most significant card to play around once I’d seen it. Deflecting Palm has been showing up more and more frequently as a sideboard card in Naya Burn/Zoo decks as a way to take control of opposing Lightning Bolt, and turn Wurmcoil Engines from Burn-killer into a terrible liability.

While the card never really got its sea legs while in Standard, this has certainly become a play to watch out for if you’re attacking into open mana in post-sideboard games against these decks.

New Answers in White

                   

Next, we’ve seen some interesting innovation in Black-White decks recently in the form of Anguished Unmaking and Hallowed Moonlight.

Anguished Unmaking is a very powerful card, especially in decks where Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse can’t be played. Accordingly, its been making its mark mostly in BW Tokens lists, giving the powerful archetype a more versatile reactive game to help deal with all sorts of annoying threats like Ghostly Prison, Jace, Architect of Thought, and Night of Souls’ Betrayal – not to mention opposing Intangible Virtues in the mirror. A 1/1 split between the main and side appears to be the experimental ratio of choice here.

And to no one’s surprise, we see that other decks are finding profitable ways to deal with Abzan Company, and Hallowed Moonlight is a terrific angle to take on that combo. It gets bonus points for also shutting down Through the Breach and Dredge decks that have been appearing in greater numbers lately, and thanks to its speed it can easily be played in decks that it would also be effective against. A single copy in the BW Tokens or Abzan Midrange sideboard is not uncommon these days, and with good reason. I could see this in various Hatebears and/or Humans strategies too.

Spicy Nahiri-Tapdown Control

                   

Nahiri, the Harbinger is everyone’s latest control queen, but her emergence doesn’t come without complaints that her -2 is a little bit awkward against certain key cards like Cranial Plating. As though we’ve gone back in time six months, we’re seeing Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch come to the rescue.

These little pests now have a new use at the end of your opponent’s third turn, which is to flash themselves in a create an unexpected target for your turn four Nahiri. This forms the basis of a respectable new “clog the ground, beat down in the air” strategy, which gets extra value by being able to run a one-sided Firespout, and ultimate Nahiri for the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker win.

Whether or not its as good as more typical UWR Nahiri-control strategies, it’s hard to say, but it’s certainly an interesting bit of creative synergy among some much-beloved cards.

Wrapping Up

A shaken metagame makes for new tech everywhere, and amidst the chaos and confusion, it’s great to see so many previously-unplayed cards finding homes. I’ll keep doing my part by keeping my eye out for more clever interactions, and see you again next month with what July is likely to have in store.

Until then, have fun, and may the force be with brew.