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Budget Magic: $98 (32 tix) Modern Fruity Pebbles


大家好, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time again! Last week, we had an Instant Deck Tech that broke down Fruity Pebbles, an infinite combo deck that revolutionized Magic 20 years ago. One of our realizations was that all of the pieces exist to update and port the combo over to Modern. As I started to mess around with various lists, I realized that not only could we play the combo in Modern, but we could also build it on a budget! So today, we are heading to Modern to see if we can combo some opponents with either infinite mill or infinite damage, with the help of Enduring Renewal as early as Turn 4! Can this ancient combo keep up in the Modern format? Let's get to the videos and see!

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Modern Fruity Pebbles: Deck Tech

Modern Fruity Pebbles vs. WB Tokens

Modern Fruity Pebbles vs. WB Control

Modern Fruity Pebbles vs. Mono-White Humans

Mono-White Humans vs. Bant Company

Mono-White Humans vs. WB Life

The Deck

Building Fruity Pebbles was a lot different than building most decks because we already have the framework from back in the late 1990s (if you missed it, you can find the deck tech for the original Fruity Pebbles here). Because of this, instead of looking for brand-new synergies, we were mostly trying to find substitutes for combo pieces that aren't legal in Modern, like Goblin Bombardment and Shield Sphere. The end result is a deck that is actually quite similar to the original. The basic form of the deck is simple. We have the combo itself, ways to find the combo, ways to protect the combo, and then answers for answers that our opponents will likely bring in from their sideboard. 

The Combo

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Enduring Renewal is the one Fruity Pebbles card for which there is no substitute. While there's a lot of text on the white enchantment, what it does it make it so we can never draw a creature (if we would, it is milled instead, and we skip our draw), which is important to realize because it means we can't cast Enduring Renewal until we have our creature combo piece in hand. However, along with this downside comes the combo potential. The other thing Enduring Renewal does is make it so whenever one of our creatures dies, it returns to our hand instead of staying in the graveyard. This is the aspect of Enduring Renewal we are looking to abuse. 

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The second step to the combo involves a sacrifice outlet. In the original Fruity Pebbles list, this was Goblin Bombardment, but the red enchantment isn't legal in Modern. The good news is that our substitutes are strong. Blasting Station is almost the exact same card as Goblin Bombardment in our deck, since even though it has to tap to sacrifice a creature and deal a damage, it untaps every time a creature enters the battlefield. So with a free creature, Enduring Renewal, and Blasting Station, we can ping our opponent to death one point of damage at a time. 

Grinding Station gives us a backup sacrifice outlet, and while it works the same way as Blasting Station—untapping itself as we combo off (since all of our free creatures also happen to be artifacts)—it has one major upside (it only costs two mana instead of three) and one major downside (it can't beat Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and other "shuffle into your library from your graveyard" effects. 

The reason for the 3-3 split of combo pieces is twofold. First, we wanted six combo pieces in total to make sure that we could find a copy when we needed one. Second, Surgical Extraction is a very real concern in Modern at the moment (it feels like it's in the sideboard of almost every deck), and having two sacrifice outlets instead of just one means we don't lose to the instant. Also, I'm not really sure which combo piece is better. Both lose to the same hate cards. Blasting Station is more likely to win us the game (since it doesn't lose to Eldrazi), but Grinding Station is cheaper (allowing us to play all of our combo pieces in the same turn for only six mana). Basically, the combo pieces are so similar that you should probably just play what you have in your collection; even if it means playing a 4-2 split, it likely won't make much of a difference. 

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Last but not least, we have our free artifact creatures, which are the final piece we need to go infinite with Fruity Pebbles. With a Station and Enduring Renewal on the battlefield, we can just sacrifice our Memnite or Ornithopter over and over again, either milling away our opponent's library or dealing infinite damage. Here, we have a 4-2 split in favor of Ornithopter, but it doesn't really matter (I played more Ornithopters because they are cheaper), so just play whatever you have laying around. There isn't much of a difference between the creatures in our deck, since we don't really plan to use them like creatures; instead, they are 100% to combo off.

Finding the Combo

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Serum Visions and Sleight of Hand help us dig through our deck to find our combo pieces in a timely manner. They are especially good in our deck because we don't have anything to do on Turn 1, which gives us a perfect time to cast a cantrip and smooth out our draw. Serum Visions is the better of the two, getting us one card deeper into the deck, but Sleight of Hand isn't bad, and both are fairly similar in our deck.

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Thirst for Knowledge is amazing in our deck. We have a lot of artifacts floating around, and we only really need one of each combo piece, so if we happen to draw extra Ornithopters or Stations, we can discard them to Thirst for Knowledge. The payoff is we get to draw three cards, which is a great way to find whatever combo piece we need to close out the game.

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I don't think we actually used Tolaria West's transmute ability once in our matches, but the opportunity cost is so low that it's still likely worth a slot in our deck thanks to its ability to function like additional copies of Memnite and Ornithopter

Protecting the Combo

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Mana Leak helps us disrupt our opponent while also helping to protect our combo pieces by countering random artifact or enchantment removal. Meanwhile, Detention Sphere can go after our opponent's creatures or planeswalkers while also giving us an out to random hate cards our opponent might be playing in their main deck.

Staying Alive

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We don't have a lot of removal in our deck, but we do have a little bit, and because we have so many cantrips and card-draw spells, we have a pretty good chance of finding our removal when we need it. Condemn is partly a budget Path to Exile and partly just a good card in a world of Death's Shadows. Path to Exile is the best white removal in the format, and Day of Judgment gives us a way to wipe the board against creature-based aggro and midrange decks. 

Wrap-Up

All in all, Modern Fruity Pebbles is sort of a good news / bad news situation. The good news is that the combo is powerful, and we can win on Turn 4 with our best draws, which is just about the right speed to be competitive in Modern. We also have tons of ways to find our combo, so even though we are technically a three-card combo, we usually can find all our pieces without too much of a problem. The bad news is twofold. First, our combo pieces don't really do much on their own. If you look at a deck like Splinter Twin or Knightfall, their combo pieces are cards like Deceiver Exarch and Knight of the Reliquary, which are good cards on their own. In our deck, we have Memnites and Grinding Stations, which are pretty much non-cards unless we are comboing off. Second, and more problematic, our deck picks up on a ton of hate. Stony Silence can beat us, Rest in Peace (and other graveyard hate) can beat us, Leyline of Sanctity can beat us, Surgical Extraction (on our combo creature) can beat us, and even targeted artifact / enchantment removal can beat us. While we can't solve all of these problems (although having counters like Negate and Dispel in the sideboard can help), thankfully we have some solutions in our sideboard.

The Sideboard

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Negate and Dispel, as I mentioned a moment ago, are just catch-all answers. They can stop a Surgical Extraction, a Disenchant, or any other spell-based answer to our combo. More important are Echoing Truth and Disenchant. These, combined with our main deck Detention Sphere, give us a way to beat the Stony Silences, Rest in Peaces, and Leyline of Sanctitys that our opponent will bring in from their sideboards.

The trick here is to bring these cards in from our sideboard aggressively. Unless we are very certain our opponent doesn't have any major hate cards, it's better to err on the side of bringing in at least Echoing Truth than to get caught by a surprise Leyline of Sanctity or Stony Silence. Remember: our deck's backup plan is essentially beating down with our two Memnites, which isn't much of a backup plan at all. So, it is much better to have a couple of not-great answers in our deck and not need them than to just lose on Turn 0 or Turn 2 to a powerful hate card we didn't expect. 

Ultra-Budget Fruity Pebbles

Since we are a combo deck, we have a lot of cards that we simply can't cut, so we are left with few options to get the deck down in the $50 range. First, we cut the mana base back as much as possible, which saves us some money but leaves us with a ton of lands that enter the battlefield tapped and will slow us down quite a bit. Second, we change Path to Exile for Condemn, which is great in some matches (where our opponent is always attacking) but worse in others (where our opponent has creatures like Eidolon of the Great Revel that just sit out on the battlefield). We also change up the numbers on our Station artifacts, since Grinding Station is significantly more expensive than Blasting Station. All in all, this version is a great, cheap way to experience Modern Fruity Pebbles on your kitchen table, but I wouldn't want to take it to a tournament, mostly because the mana base is so clunky. 

Non-Budget Fruity Pebbles

Similar to the ultra-budget build, the non-budget build of Fruity Pebbles is limited by the number of combo pieces that we can't really cut from our deck. As such, we mostly just make some changes to the sideboard and mana base. Spellskite gives us a great way to protect our combo pieces from hard-to-deal-with removal like Abrupt Decay, and Leyline of Sanctity gives us protection against discard, which is very good against our deck. While I think these changes improve the deck quite a bit, I'm not sure they are worth spending an extra $300 (although Spellskites and Leyline of Sanctity are good cards to own anyway, if you are interested in building a Modern collection).

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. We finished our matches 3-2, which is fine, although slightly aided by our matchup against WB Life (which we almost lost!). As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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