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Much Abrew About Nothing: Owling Mine (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the new and improved Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week in our Instant Deck Tech voting, our Modern flashback deck Owling Mine came out on top, which means that for this episode of Much Abrew, we'll be heading to Modern to check out a combo deck that hasn't really seen play in Modern for the past couple of years. Since the list from our Instant Deck Tech is pretty old, we'll be making some slight upgrades (mostly adding Fevered Visions, Runeflare Trap, and more red mana), but I tried to use a light touch so we could get a good representation of the Instant Deck Tech deck. Is killing the opponent with Runeflare Trap and Ebony Owl Netsuke a legitimate plan in Modern? Let's see!

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Owling Mine: Instant Deck Tech

Owling Mine vs. Bant Eldrazi (Match 1)

Owling Mine vs. Abzan Company (Match 2)

Owling Mine vs. Mono-U Tron (Match 3)

Owling Mine vs. Jund (Match 4)

Owling Mine vs. GR Shaman (Match 5)

Owling Mine (Wrap Up)

  • While we had some great moments with Owling Mine, all in all, our record wasn't great: we ended up 2-3 in our matches. 
  • Part of the problem is that our draws were extremely inconsistent, perhaps thanks to our 18-land mana base. It felt like we either mulliganed one-landers or flooded out in a high percentage of matches. 
  • Speaking of consistency, another issue is that we have relatively few cards that actually kill our opponent. While we do manage to find them pretty well thanks to the brute-force card draw of Howling Mine, Fevered Visions, and Temple Bell, we still had times where we just didn't draw enough Ebony Owl Netsukes or Runeflare Traps and spent all of our resources staying alive for a few turns but never could find the cards to close out the game.
  • It's important to look at Owling Mine as a combo deck. Rather than looking to ping the opponent to death four damage at a time with Ebony Owl Netsuke over the course of several turns, we really need to combo off with Exhaustion to win before our opponent gets a chance to untap. Part of the reason this plan works is Runeflare Trap, which was consistently an 8–10 damage burn spell for only one mana. 
  • Maybe the most impressive card in our entire deck was Exhaustion, which was essentially a three-mana Time Walk just about every time we cast it. Yes, technically our opponent got a turn, but apart from making a land drop, they never really used it for anything relevant. Even if we decide that Owling Mine isn't the way to go, Exhaustion seems worth exploring further. 
  • Boomerang and Eye of Nowhere are extremely high variance based on whether we are on the play or on the draw. On the play, we can bounce our opponent's first land drop, which is a massive tempo swing. On the other hand, when we are on the draw, bouncing our opponent's land isn't that exciting because many Modern decks are so efficient and low to the ground that they can function on just one land. 
  • As far as the sideboard, I never really figured out how to bring in the Nourishing Shoal / Autochthon Wurm combo, partly because it feels inconsistent (for example, against a deck like Burn that would likely kill us on Turn 4, what are the odds we randomly draw into both combo pieces?) and partly because I couldn't figure out what to cut. If I played the deck again, I would probably play something more consistent in the slot like Dragon's Claw.
  • So, is Owling Mine playable? I don't really have a good answer. While it's good enough to win some matches and can have incredibly explosive and interesting combo sequences, this build didn't feel consistent enough to really compete at a high level. I would probably try it at an FNM, but I wouldn't expect to have any major success without more tuning. It seemed good in some matchups and came close in others, but I'm not sure it can keep up with the fast combo decks in the format that can kill out of nowhere with one big turn. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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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