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Much Abrew: BUG Chord (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, on our last week of pre-Aether Revolt Instant Deck Techs, it was BUG Chord—a Modern toolbox deck featuring a lot of odd-looking cards (including everyone's favorite: Identity Thief)—coming out on top of the pile. As such, this week we are heading to Modern to see if we can tutor up the right pieces at the right time with the help of Chord of Calling and Eldritch Evolution and steal some wins with some spicy creatures like Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Bloodline Keeper, Ninja of the Deep Hours, and Grave Titan! Is it really possible that this strange-looking pile of cards is competitive? We're about to find out!

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BUG Chord Instant Deck Tech

BUG Chord vs. Ad Nauseam (Match 1)

BUG Chord vs. 8 Rack (Match 2)

BUG Chord vs. Tron (Match 3)

BUG Chord vs. Smallpox (Match 4)

BUG Chord vs. Martyr Proc (Match 5)

BUG Chord (Wrap-Up)


  • All in all, we finished our video matches with a 3-2 record, but our overall record was a little bit worse because we actually lost again to Tron and also to Merfolk, in a match I couldn't post because of a video issue, which drops our "real" record to 3-4, which is middling at best. 
  • The good news is that the deck was actually a lot of fun to play while also challenging, since figuring out what creatures to tutor up in each scenario is actually pretty tricky. Unlike many Chord of Calling decks, which are looking to set up some sort of infinite combo (which makes picking tutor targets a little bit easier—when in doubt, get a combo piece), our deck is 100% looking to slowly grind out value with some really odd and underused cards. 
  • The bad news is we don't really have a way to slam the door shut quickly, which gives our opponent a lot of time to find answers to what we are doing. While many of our creatures are powerful in certain situations, most aren't very good at beating down and killing the opponent. 
  • Speaking of being good in certain situations, one of the most annoying aspects of the deck is that it has a lot of cards that look really bad in our opening hand. Take Acidic Slime, for example. While it's great as a tutor target when it's killing an Ensnaring Bridge or a land when our opponent is mana screwed, much of the time, it's just a 2/2 for five, which isn't very exciting. 
  • Probably the biggest problem with the deck is that some of our creatures are really, really bad. Identity Thief is the worst of the bunch—we literally sideboarded it out every single game and died a little inside every time we drew it (this was especially sad because the deck had 61 cards for some reason, and I couldn't help but think that the extra card was Identity Thief). Even beyond Identity Thief, our four-drops in general are pretty lacking. Gonti, Lord of Luxury is fun but pretty small for Modern. Bloodline Keeper is really slow and dies to Lightning Bolt, and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is good at closing out the game on an empty board but gets stonewalled easily. Meanwhile, Ninja of the Deep Hours can do some cool tricks but is more cute and fun than good. Oddly, I'm pretty sure that some of our sideboard four-drops (especially Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Glen Elendra Archmage) are just better than our main-deck options. 
  • I mentioned this a minute ago, but it bears repeating: don't play 61 cards unless you have a really, really good reason (for example, your plan is that both players will play through their entire deck). Also, Identity Thief is not a good reason. 
  • My overall impression of the deck is that it's passable and could even be good with some changes. So, what changes would I make to improve the deck? I don't have a solid list, but here are some creatures that I'd be interested in trying: Mystic Snake or Venser, Shaper Savant (tutorable counterspells), Phyrexian Obliterator (blowout potential off Chord of Calling after the opponent declares attacks), Clever Impersonator (has to be better than Identity Thief), and Massacre Wurm (probably better than Demon of Dark Schemes). 
  • Maybe my favorite part of the deck is that, considering how bad some of our cards are, you can sort of slot in anything you feel like playing. In a very real sense, I see this deck as "BUG Creatures I Own," so feel free to play whatever makes you happy!
  • So, should you play BUG Chord? If you want to win a tournament, probably not. While it can steal some games, I think it is certainly less competitive than many of the other Chord decks in Modern. On the other hand, if you have the expensive cards (Chord of Calling, Eldritch Evolution, Birds of Paradise), it is a fun option that does play a lot differently than other Chord decks and is very customizable based on what creatures you have / like. 


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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