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Much Abrew: Bridgevine (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the crazy Modern graveyard-combo deck Bridgevine came out on top. As a result, we are heading to Modern this week to see if we can win some games by casting Hangarback Walkers, Walking Ballistas, and Endless Ones for zero mana to trigger Bridge from Below and bring back Vengevine from the graveyard. Can the plan of intentionally playing creatures that die when they enter the battlefield work in Modern, backed by Bridge from Below and Vengevine? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Bridgevine (Modern)

Discussion

  • As for the record, we technically finished our league 3-2, although we certainly punted away a game against Jund. Whether or not we would have won that match remains to be seen, since we were down a game at the time, but we should have at least forced game three by aftermathing Driven // Despair to Wit's End away our opponent's hand instead of making even more Zombies. It's also worth mentioning that one match is from a second league thanks to a duplicate matchup against Jund. 
  • Let's start with the good news about Bridgevine: it just might be the most explosive deck in Modern. In our very first match with the deck, we ended up with 20 power on the battlefield on Turn 2, which is about as good as it gets. 
  • The deck is also pretty consistent thanks to a massive 16 cards to stock our graveyard (counting Insolent Neonate). While we occasionally had games where all of our Bridge from Belows and Vengevines were at the bottom of our deck, for the most part, we didn't have a problem stocking our graveyard and getting our combo started. 
  • Now for the bad news: Bridgevine scoops extremely hard to graveyard hate. Our loss to GR Ponza was exclusively because our opponent was running Scavenging Ooze in the main deck, and after sideboarding, almost every deck in the format has at least some graveyard hate to bring in. Our backup plan is to cast Hangarback Walkers and Walking Ballistas for full price, which isn't really a legitimate strategy in a 17-land deck. In the main deck, we don't have a single card (apart from Walking Ballista and four mana) that can get a Scavenging Ooze off the battlefield, which is painful. In some ways, this reminds me of the early builds of Hollow One before people started playing Collective Brutality, since it not only fits the theme but also gives a main-deck out to some of the more problematic cards opponents can be playing in their main decks. A few copies would go a long way to shoring up this weakness. 
  • The other thing I disliked about Bridgevine is that it isn't very good at going long. This isn't a downside exactly, but it's worth mentioning. We're basically an all-in combo deck that looks to make a ton of Zombies and Vengevines as quickly as possible. While Driven // Despair can give us protection when things go well, apart from Mind Twisting away our opponent's hand, we're pretty much just hoping that our opponent doesn't have a way to interact. If our opponent happens to have an Anger of the Gods, Maelstrom Pulse, or Supreme Verdict, everything falls apart, and it can be pretty difficult to recover.
  • The trickiest part of the deck is managing Bridge from Below. Since the enchantment exiles itself from our graveyard whenever a creature our opponent controls dies, there's this weird sub-game of figuring out what to do after Bridge from Below is in the graveyard. Do we simply cast all of our zero-mana creatures to make Zombies, or do we wait a turn to Grisly Salvage or Faithless Looting in the hopes of hitting some Vengevines or more Bridges? If we wait too long, we risk losing all of our graveyard value, but if try to "go off" too early, we risk not getting enough value from our graveyard to win the game. I assume these choices become more natural as you play the deck, but as someone just picking up Bridgevine for the first time, figuring out the right lines was pretty tricky.
  • Liliana, Heretical Healer and Sibsig Muckdraggers are odd. While they can be powerful, they are also situational and might not be worth it in the deck. Perhaps the biggest issue with the main deck is the complete lack of interaction. Using these flex slots on Abrupt Decay, Lightning Bolt, and / or Collective Brutality would go a long way toward fixing the Scavenging Ooze problem that was responsible for most of our non-punt losses. 
  • So, should you play Bridgevine in Modern? While our performance certainly showed that the deck has enough power to compete in the format, it also feels very much like an early draft of the archetype. Bridgevine's ability to explode out of the gates on Turn 2 or 3 matches (or perhaps even beats) anything else in Modern, and the free-win potential is there, but finding a way to make the deck more able to beat graveyard hate would go a long way toward Bridgevine developing into a tier archetype. This being said, the deck is fairly competitive as is—we ended up 3-2 in our competitive league and could have went 4-1 with tighter play and a bit more luck in match one against GR Ponza (I'm not sure what went wrong, but it felt like there was probably a way to win the game when we got our opponent to one life before they stabilized)—so if you enjoy spewing a ton of power and toughness on the battlefield early in the game, you could do worse than Bridgevine!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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