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Much Abrew: 80 Walls (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're heading to Modern to play an 80-card version of the most fun but least appreciated of the Core Set 2019 Elder Dragon cycle, Arcades, the Strategist! While we don't technically have 80 Walls in the deck, we do have a ton, along with Arcades to turn them into threats and generate card advantage as well as a big list of spicy tutor targets for Chord of Calling, like Realm Razer, Iona, Shield of Emeria and Cloudsteel Kirin! Can Arcades, the Strategist power a big pile of Walls and spicy to victory in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: 80 Walls

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  • Record-wise, we finished our league 3-2 with our Arcades deck, getting crushed by Living End and losing a super-close game to Modern Horizons 2 Tribal Rakdos because we couldn't find a way to kill Tourach, Dread Cantor through its protection from white. On the other hand, we Realm Razered Tron, gained enough life to survive Burn, and exiled our way past Tameshi combo!
  • The heart of our deck is Arcades, the Strategist and our Walls. In the early game, we're hoping to use Walls like Sylvan Caryatid, Overgrown Battlement, and Wall of Roots to ramp us into Arcades and other big threats, while Wall of Omens and Wall of Blossoms make sure we always have a hand full of cards. Things get pretty crazy once Arcades, the Strategist comes down, with each Wall drawing us a card when it enters the battlefield and also being able to attack for huge amounts of damage.
  • The combo of Arcades, the Strategist and Walls makes it worth playing 80 cards so we can have Yorion, Sky Nomad as our companion. Many Yorion decks are built around cheap permanents with enters-the-battlefield triggers that draw cards, and so are we. But instead of Spreading Seas or Abundant Growth, we've just got a bunch of Walls. It's also worth mentioning that since Arcades, the Strategist triggers whenever a creature with defender enters the battlefield, rather than when it attacks, we can empty our hand of walls, play Arcades, the Strategist, and then play Yorion, Sky Nomad to blink everything and draw an absurd amount of cards.
  • Holding everything together is Chord of Calling, which is mostly a way to find Arcades, the Strategist in our 80-card deck or to snag important walls like Overgrown Battlement, although it also allows us to play a ton of sweet silver-bullet one-ofs as tutor targets. Realm Razer is great against control and Tron, Cloudsteel Kirin takes advantage of our deck's ability to make a ton of mana and helps us stay alive against combo, while both Iona, Shield of Emeria and Serra's Emissary can lock some decks out of playing Magic altogether. 
  • Another weird upside of playing a bunch of Walls is that our deck is really good at blocking aggro threats. We saw this against Burn and MH2 Rakdos. It's really hard for stupid Monkeys like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to get in combat damage past a board full of Overgrown Battlements, Wall of Omens, and friends.
  • One thing we learned during our league is that Tourach, Dread Cantor is really difficult for our deck to beat. We have insane removal, with Prismatic Ending, March of Otherworldly Light and Solitude, but Tourach's protection from white made it basically unkillable, which cost us our match against Modern Horizons 2 Tribal Rakdos. In theory, we can block it with Walls, but eventually, it grows so big that we have to start chump blocking and eventually lose. It might be worth adding a non-white removal spell to the sideboard to answer it.
  • While I really loved playing 80 Walls and it was awesome to get people with Realm Razer and Iona, Shield of Emeria, I strongly dislike one aspect of the deck: the price. Being 80 cards means we need a ton of dual lands, and when you add in nearly $200 for a playset of Solitude and another $200 for the Chalice of the Voids in the sideboard, our janky, fun rogue deck costs $1,300, which is a bummer. The good news is that even though 80 Walls is a janky brew, the expensive cards are mostly staples like fetch lands and Solitude, so you'll be able to put them to use in many decks, although it's still hard to recommend going out and buying an Arcades deck for $1,300.
  • So, should you play 80 Walls in Modern? I think the answer is yes...if you already own the cards needed to build it. The deck's funny, fairly competitive, and a blast to play—I just wish it weren't so expensive. If you like drawing tons of cards and winning in hilarious ways, it seems like a surprisingly solid option for Modern. No one expects the Realm Razer!


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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