In the last few weeks, I’ve had plenty of interested folks looking for updates on my version of the Four-Color Omnath deck. Some have even been excited to share the changes they’ve made to the archetype with me and get my thoughts. My answer to both parties was probably disappointing.
“I played the decklist that I did because I thought it was correct. That hasn’t changed.”
If I were playing an event with very little information on the metagame, it’s still the decklist that I’d play. In fact, Josh Cho made it to the finals of an RCQ last weekend using my exact 95 from a month ago.
The best advice I can give is what types of changes I’d make if I did have some extra information. As much as I like the decklist I played as a whole, nothing is set in stone and there are slots that are up for debate.
Some matchups like Mono-Green Tron are difficult to win by playing the game normally, with a glacial, one-spell-per-turn sort of strategy. Having access to plenty of Ephemerates allows you to have explosive turns with multiple Risen Reef and Omnath activations, giving you something like a combo finish.
If you shave on Ephemerates, the potential for those turns is greatly diminished. Overall, it’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s something you need to be aware of.
I wouldn’t mind having a 30th land or a March of Otherworldly Light in the maindeck. If I were going to remove an Ephemerate, it would be for one of those.
Chalice of the Void
Cascade decks are difficult matchups that must be respected. However, I haven’t seen much of them in my RCQs, although that’s going to vary from region to region. Those matchups are fixable, but it usually requires you to go above and beyond, which I’ve (almost) done. You can hedge a bit, if you’d like.
Veil of Summer
Although it’s helpful against Grixis Death’s Shadow, Living End, Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control, and occasionally the mirrors with Counterspell, Veil of Summer isn’t a necessity. Of those matchups, you need the most help against Living End and Veil of Summer is great there. Similarly to Chalice, you can shave on them if you don’t feel they’re necessary in your metagame.
The Magic Online metagame, especially in the leagues, is rather volatile. It allows folks to take whatever they want for a spin, and that includes decks with expensive spells that aren’t vulnerable to Flusterstorm. If you care about fighting the absolute weirdness in the format, Dovin’s Veto is worth a consideration. Flusterstorm’s raw efficiency is incredible, but sometimes you need flexibility.
If you want something to help fight mirror matchups, Memory Deluge might be your best bet. Ideally, I’d have two copies in the post-board games, but a singleton would still be helpful. Using a sideboard slot on a singleton in an 80 card deck doesn’t seem particularly helpful though.
In these spots, I’d try to slide one maindeck to save a sideboard slot if I wanted both, but it’s very clunky and that’s not what you want in Modern. Deluge doesn’t even pitch to the Elementals, otherwise there might be an argument there.
The Burn Matchup
Given how misunderstood this matchup is and how often I see people to lose to it, it’s worth addressing specifically, even if it isn’t very popular.
Don’t bring in Chalice of the Void. Seriously. Even though it’s historically a strong card against Burn, you can’t look at everything through a vacuum.
If your intent is to set it on one, you’ll be locking out several of your own spells, plus your opponent will have had ample opportunity to use some of their one-drops. Getting it to two is a tall order and has many of the same problems.
In the early game, you need to be doing things that either develop your board or deal with theirs. Spending time on Chalice will put you far behind, which isn’t something you can afford. It’s the reason why I usually shave an Abundant Growth.
Cedric Phillips pointed out to me that the matchup absolutely hinges on resolving an Omnath, and that’s more or less the truth. Given that, you should see why you shouldn’t side out Traverse the Ulvenwald against Burn and why you might want to consider the fourth copy.
Overall, the deck is short a card or two for the Burn matchup. Blossoming Calm can be incredible, but it also doesn’t beat cards like Roiling Vortex. If you load up on ways to beat Vortex, then Blossoming Calm might be the best sideboard card though. Something like Knight of Autumn is serviceable against Vortex and the rest of their deck, but it lacks efficiency.
Force of Vigor
If you want additional help against Hammer and Burn, Force of Vigor is a great call. Given how important Eidolon of the Great Revel and Roiling Vortex are in the Burn matchup, I’m happy to have one or two copies.
Some Closing Notes
Your graveyard cards aren’t vulnerable enough to cut them in the face of graveyard hate. If it’s one-shot graveyard hate like Endurance or Nihil Spellbomb, you can rebuild. If it’s Rest in Peace, your Traverses won’t be great but then they have some mediocre enchantments in their deck.
Try to figure out which matchups you want Emrakul, the Promised End.
Finally, your opponent can do whatever they want. Making hard reads that they aren’t going to do something they “shouldn’t” is silly. For example, you shouldn’t bring in Chalice against Burn, but it’s something multiple people have done, despite me giving them the roadmap.
Play around what you can, as long as it’s low opportunity cost, even if it doesn’t seem likely.
Throughout his tenure in Magic: The Gathering, Gerry has worn many hats. Tournament grinder, content producer, professional player, game designer, teacher, and broadcaster are part of the ways he’s made MTG part of his life. Rather than flying to a tournament each weekend, Gerry enjoys his time trying to help the next generation of Magic players hone their skills and be positive members of the community.