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Dig Through Modern


It’s been a week now and Modern seems to have started the process of adopting Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time into the format. When they were first released I think skepticism was completely reasonable. That is until we saw 4 Monastery Swiftspear and 4 Treasure Cruise take down a SCG open in a Legacy UR Delver deck. That seemed to be the moment when players of every eternal / semi-eternal format said “Hold on, these cards are actually extremely good.” And they really are. The Vintage Super League (a league featuring vintage experts as well as some platinum pro players and hall of famers like Luis Scott Vargas and Randy Buehler) had multiple copies of Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise in five of the ten decks. So if there were any real questions about the sustainability of these cards in the eternal formats, they have been thoroughly answered.

 

Now to shift the discussion to Modern. The obvious winner with Khans of Tarkir is the U/R Delver deck. The deck has always been close to Tier 1, but with the inclusion of some Khans of Tarkir cards it might have actually made it to the big leagues. Let’s take a look at a generic Delver of Secrets list running Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear.

 

 

Even if you decided to not include the 3 Thought Scour to enable Treasure Cruise, the list could probably get away with 2 Treasure Cruise without it being a dead or unplayable card. Thought Scour as an additional card was already decent before. With the addition of Monastery Swiftspear into the mix with Young Pyromancer, casting cantrips in your main phase like Gitaxian Probe, or Serum Visions is even better. However, an instant speed cantrip can make Monastery Swiftspear trade profitably sometimes or it’s another way to make a 1/1 (with Young Pyromancer) on your opponent’s end step, which is a recipe to win a game.

 

The real difference between what this deck was a month ago, and what it can be now is the ability to re-stock your hand. As an avid Delver of Secrets player, it felt like if my opponent answered my threats immediately I had no way to get back into the game. Treasure Cruise adds a lot more mid- and late-game power to the deck, which might be enought to push it into Tier 1 territory.

 

Moving on from Delver of Secrets, Treasure Cruise, and Monastery Swiftspear, let's take a look at Dig Through Time in Modern.

 

 

The biggest winner with Dig Through Time seems to be Scapeshift decks. This is the list GrandJammer played to 4-0 this week in a Magic Online daily:

 

 

Dig Through Time is incredible in this deck because the deck naturally enables them with cheap cantrips filling the graveyard like Telling Time and Serum Visions. Even the creatures you run like Sakura-Tribe Elder end up in your graveyard as fuel for Dig Through Time. Along with that you have other spells like Search For Tomorrow which help fuel delve.

 

The main complaint from Scapeshift players is the consistency of the deck. It's actually pretty easy to reliably get to 7 lands before any deck can kill you. The tough part is really in getting a Scapeshift into your hand to cast. Unlike the Jeskai Ascendancy Combo deck, you can’t run 4 Glittering Wish to pull it from your sideboard to give you an effective 7 copies of the key card. Dig Through Time does a tremendous amount of work to give you consistency. If you haven't found a Scapeshift at the stage in the game where you have 7 lands, then looking at the top 7 cards of your library probably means you've seen 50% of your deck. If you still miss there, taking 7 off of the top gets you significantly closer even from a mathematical perspective.

Another list that can take advantage of Dig Through Time card is Splinter Twin, specifically the classic Tempo Twin build. Why Tempo Twin? This version generally has the lowest curve with the fewest number of creatures, so it fuels delve the best. Let’s take a look at a sample list I put together.

 

 

Just like with Scapeshift, I think 2 Dig Through Time is probably the right number without adding too many enablers. It’s something that's reasonable to cast on turn 4-5. Just like with Scapeshift, Dig Through Time makes the deck more consistent.

 

Conclusion:

Khans of Tarkir adds a lot more to Modern than the Onslaught fetchlands. Even the decks running these new cards are just barely scratching the surface. One thing is for sure: Khans of Tarkir will definitely impact the metagame and affect the balance of power.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any feedback in the comments below. You can follow me on twitter @MTGSnackattack.

 

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