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Much Abrew: 8 Rack, but It's a Scam (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. 8 Rack is a classic Modern archetype but hasn't been competitive in a long time. The plan of emptying your opponent's hand to burn them out of the game with The Rack and Shrieking Affliction seems downright foolish in a world where 40-ish percent of decks are playing The One Ring to refill their hand. But what if 8 Rack were actually a Scam? Would the ability to double Thoughtseize on Turn 1 with Grief and then double up Pauper all-star Augur of Skulls' ability on Turn 3 to make the opponent discard four cards allow the archetype to keep up in 2023 Modern? Let's get to the video and see on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Scam Rack

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The Deck

  • Record-wise, Scam Rack was solid. In fact, we just missed getting the 5-0 with the deck, starting our league 4-0 before dropping our last round. It turns out that double Grief on Turn 1 is pretty good. Who would have thought?
  • As far as the deck itself, it's 8 Rack at its heart, although technically, we're only playing six The Rack effects. But since Urza's Saga can tutor up The Rack, we typically don't have a problem stacking up multiple copies of The Rack and Shrieking Affliction on the battlefield. Of course, for these cards to do anything, we need to get our opponent empty-handed, or at least down to just a single card in hand. This is where our plan takes a decidedly 2023 turn with the Scam plan.
  • You probably know Scam thanks to the Rakdos deck at the top of the format at the moment. We partly steal their plan with the ability to double Grief on Turn 1 by evoking the Elemental and then reanimating it with Feign Death or Undying Malice. Oddly, though, Grief isn't our best creature to Scam with—it's actually former Pauper staple Augur of Skulls. The common has a unique ability: we can sacrifice it on our upkeep to make our opponent discard two cards. Toss in a copy of Feign Death or Undying Malice, and we can do this twice during the same turn, making our opponent discard four cards, which should mostly get our opponent empty-handed to turn on our The Racks. 
  • To me, this deck is a masterpiece of 2023 Modern brewing. Lost in the power of Modern Horizons and the Fire design era is that you can still do a lot of unique and weird things in Modern—like winning with a super-outdated 1994 card like The Rack. You just need to support the plan with some busted new cards like Grief and Urza's Saga. Much like you can do some wild things in Legacy if you play fast mana or the Force of Will / Brainstorm package to support your plan, you can still do some crazy things in Modern, as long as you're willing to play some of the strong Modern Horizons support cards.
  • The rest of the deck is pretty typical 8 Rack stuff: more discard in Liliana of the Veil, Wrench Mind, and Funeral Charm (which can also snipe things like Ragavan); Orcish Bowmasters because, well, it's busted; and Dauthi Voidwalker to make sure we aren't accidentally helping our opponent by filling their graveyard. (Plus, it's also pretty busted and offers some free wins against decks like Tron if we can Thoughtseize or Grief a finisher.)
  • So, should you play Scam Rack in Modern? If you like the discard plan and want to win with The Rack, I think this is the way to go. The deck felt strong, its plan is pretty unique—it's been a long time since 8 Rack was a real thing—and the deck offers some weird free wins where you completely empty the opponent's hand by Turn 3!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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