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Budget Magic: $72 (17 tix) Modern Simic Evolve

Hey there Budget Magic lovers, it's that time of the week once again. This go around we are heading back to the Modern format with a super sweet aggro/tempo deck built around the Evolve and Undying mechanics. Simic Evolve is the deck and it's designed to put eight or nine power on the board as soon as turn two! We'll break down the intricacies of the deck momentarily, but first let's get to the videos! Oh, just a quick reminder — if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel for all the latest and greatest.

Simic Evolve - Deck Tech

Simic Evolve vs Grixis Twin

Simic Evolve vs Alesha Jund

Simic Evolve vs Infect

The Deck

I have to admit that this week's deck really took me by surprise. On paper it initially looked interesting, but I didn't really understand its true power level or place in the format. After playing a bunch of matches (and being reasonably successful), I realized just how much game this deck has against some of the best decks in the format. Having a bunch of undying creatures combined with four Pongify and four Rapid Hybridization — not to mention the fact we can usually go one-drop, two-drop backed up by counter magic — makes the matchup difficult for our control opponents. Having twelve maindeck one-mana cards that can disrupt Splinter Twin in the Pongify effects plus Vapor Snag is also quite strong. While I didn't run into the matchups very much, having a bunch of counters (and more in the board) theoretically gives us game against fast combo decks, so the only major weakness of the deck is fast or go-wide aggro. We are probably not beating Burn, Affinity, or Infect very often; we are just a turn (or two) too slow and our interaction doesn't line up well. 

The basic idea of the deck is super simple: Make eight or nine power worth of attackers on turn two or three, ideally backed up by at least one copy of Remand or Mana Leak and hope this is good enough. The nut draw for the deck looks something like this:

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With this hand we can play an evolve creature on turn one in Cloudfin Raptor (although Experiment One works just as well), followed by an undying creature on turn two in Young Wolf along with Pongify on our undying creature which gives us the 3/3 token evolving our Cloudfin Raptor into a 3/4. This allows us to attack on turn three for eight damage if we go on the Young Wolf plan, or for three on turn two followed by six on turn three (backed up by Mana Leak) if we go on the Strangleroot Geist plan. A surprising number of decks in Modern just can't deal with this type of aggressive start, especially when backed up by a counterspell!

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Boon Satyr is probably the most out-of-place looking card in the deck, but it actually serves two very important roles. First, it is a threat we can play on our opponent's turn. If you have some Vendilion Cliques floating around, they would also be solid in this slot. After we do our Pongify trick on turn two, we want to be able to leave up Remand and Mana Leak for the rest of the game. Having something we can cast on our opponent's end step after leaving up our counters is actually quite important. Second, Boon Satyr's allows us to evolve our Experiment One and Cloudfin Raptor all the way up to four power at instant speed to either ambush an attacker or push through a couple extra points of damage. 


As far as the creatures and the spells, there really isn't much to change here. We are playing this motley crew because we want to, not because they are budget substitutes for something more powerful. I am interested in trying a couple copies of Vendilion Clique in the Boon Satyr slot, but I'm not sure this is correct since Vendilion Clique has less synergy with our evolve creatures. However, there is one place where an upgrade would be extremely beneficial: the manabase.

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Simic Evolve really wants to have access to blue mana on turn one and double-green on turn two. In our build, this is problematic because the only way we can achieve this combination is by having Yavimaya Coast (which we can only run four of). On the other hand, if we could run six or seven fetchlands and a playset of Breeding Pool, would could almost ensure ourselves this powerful opening. Since this is a deck that is looking to kill its opponents as quickly as powerful, we really need to curve out on turns one through three and the current mana configuration sometimes prohibits our best starts. You don't even need to run the expensive Misty Rainforest although it is obviously the best fetch for the deck; Breeding Pool plus some combination of KTK fetches like Windswept Heath and Flooded Strand would work almost as well and would represent a huge improvement in consistency over the current build. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Leave your thoughts, ideas and potential improvements in the comments or you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 

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