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Modern Hulk Flash


If there's one thing I've learned about Modern over the years, it's that people love their obscure combo decks. For a format that's been more-or-less solved (minus the occasional banlist update), there still seems to be a steady supply of combos coming out of the woodwork. The combo decks usually fall into the category of being older ones that are tuned until becoming competitive (Titan Bloom and Living End) or brand new and powerful from the get go. The deck I'm going to show you today isn't exactly new or old.

I'm going to be talking about Clinton Whitehurst's 5th place "Hulk Footsteps" deck from SCG States in Texas. While the individual pieces aren't new at all, the overall assemblage of the contraption is.

I've played against modern decks in the past that use Protean Hulk and I've played against decks that use Reveillark + Body Double, but none of them seemed all that competitive. This deck managed to succeed in a competitive environment and used both of those combos to do it.

For people who have played Magic for a while, this deck may be a refresher course on some of the game's most non-linear combos.

The First Combo

Protean Hulk [DIS] Flash [MI]

Hulk Flash was a combo that more-or-less dominated competitive Legacy play when it was legal. Players used Flash to momentarily slap a Protean Hulk onto the table, and then into the graveyard with the opponent being unable to respond. The first player then searched up any combination of creatures that could be used to kill their opponent. Usually the hulk package involved iterations of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Karmic Guide alongside a sacrifice outlet to create an infinite army of 2/2 flying angels.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker [CHK] Karmic Guide [UL]

This combo was widely played for a brief period of time with "brief" referring to how long the combo happened to be legal. Due to the deck's speed and difficulty to interact with, Flash was banned shortly after Legacy tournaments devolved into a smelly, bubbling mass of Protean Hulks bursting all over the place.

In modern, however, Wizards hasn't bothered banning Protean Hulk in spite of it being a very powerful tutor effect. Many a brewer has tried to break the beast for a while. Some have been successful to a degree, but none in a competitive environment.

The Second Combo

Reveillark [MMA] Body Double [PLC]

Reveillark + Body Double has been a known combo since its run in standard. The way the combo functions is by having a Reveillark in the graveyard and getting a Body Double onto the battlefield. You choose to have Body Double copy the Reveillark and then (with a sacrifice outlet) send your clone to the graveyard. You'll trigger the "leaves the battlefield" ability from the copied Reveillark to target the Body Double that's now in your graveyard and another 2-power or less creature. With an adequate sacrifice outlet, you can do this as many times as you like.

The combo is not incredibly elegant as it involves a high setup cost, easy-to-kill creatures, and repeated use of the graveyard; all things you want to avoid when assembling a combo. That being said, the combo did an awesome job in the hands of Makihito Mihara and Yong Han Choo at Pro Tour Honolulu in 2008. Both pilots managed top 8 finishes with the deck. The triggered effect of choice was to loop Venser, Shaper Savant's ETB ability and bounce their opponent's board; immediately after, they could trounce through the red zone with their un-suspended Greater Gargadon.

Greater Gargadon [MMA] Venser, Shaper Savant [FUT]

What Clinton's brew does is start with the engine of cheating a Protean Hulk into play and then uses that engine to tutor up a Reveillark/Body Double kill. The deck can win as fast as turn 3 via Footsteps of the Goryo and has a decent amount of consistency with a suite of looting effects and Summoner's Pact to find the hulk.

The way you'll want to win with this deck is by getting a Protean hulk into play via Footsteps of the Goryo or Through the Breech and sacrificing it at the end of the turn. You'll then want to go get a Body Double and a Viscera Seer and put them into play. Have the Body Double copy the Protean Hulk and then promptly sacrifice it to the Viscera Seer. Once the new hulk trigger resolves, you'll want to go get a Reveillark and a Mogg Fanatic. The next step is to sacrifice your Mogg Fanatic and deal one damage to your opponent. Next sacrifice your Reveillark to the Viscera Seer and trigger the Reveillark's leave-the-battefield ability to bring back Body Double and Mogg Fanatic. Have Body Double enter the battlefield as a copy of Reveillark and repeat the process until your opponent has been thoroughly poked to death with Mogg Fanatic.

Viscera Seer [C13] Mogg Fanatic [TE]

If you intend on playing this on Magic Online, please warn your roommates in advance for the incessant clicking about to take place.

After sideboarding, the deck has some pretty great tools to work with: It has access to further protection in the form of Leyline of Sanctity, another copy of Through the Breech and 2 copies of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to avoid using the graveyard.

What sticks out the most to me is that the deck has no backup plan, meaning Clinton finished in 5th place by means of going off virtually every single match. That's a huge indicator that the combo is consistent and potentially competitive.  

Right now, it seems as though people are skimping on graveyard hate, which leaves room for more graveyard decks in the metagame. Whether this deck, Griselbrand Reanimator, or Living End is the best choice, I'm not sure. But this one is pretty different and can definitely catch some people off guard.

 

I hope my fellow brew enthusiasts enjoyed the deck! Let me know if you have any success with it. I can be found on Twitter @Rad_Blast.


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