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Much Abrew: Energizer Bunny Scales (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Lately, I've had a bunch of people asked about Hardened Scales in Modern, so we're going to give the archetype a try today but with a twist. The most common builds of Hardened Scales are mono-green or Selesnya, but our build is Gruul so that we can take advantage of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty's Energizer Bunny, Rabbit Battery. While the main goal is still to do some shenanigans with +1/+1 counters and grow a massive Walking Ballista or Inkmoth Nexus to win the game, Rabbit Battery offers an interesting new line of attack by giving one of our creatures haste for just a single mana. This potentially allows us to kill our opponent by surprise, by playing a threat, making it massive, and then giving is haste to one-shot our opponent! How is Hardened Scales in Modern now that Lurrus of the Dream-Den is banned? Is Rabbit Battery good in the deck? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Energizer Bunny Scales 

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, Bunny Scales was pretty medium. I played two leagues with the deck, going 1-4 and 2-3. This isn't great, although I think we ran pretty poorly with the deck (for some reason, we were really bad at drawing Urza's Saga), so it's probably better than those records suggest. We also lost to some hilarious blowouts, including getting got by a Cleansing Nova (in Modern!) and losing to our opponent tapping down the best Crystalline Giant ever right before it got hexproof with Fire // Ice and then drawing a cascade spell off the Fire // Ice to make an exactly lethal amount of Rhinos with Crashing Footfalls before we could alpha strike with the Giant the following turn!
  • The deck is strange. It can do some super-explosive things if we manage to stick a payoff like Hardened Scales or The Ozolith, but in other games, we're mostly left playing somewhat underpowered 1/1s and spinning our wheels without getting our synergies going.
  • In the second league, I started mulliganing more aggressively for payoffs, which I think helped. There were still games where we'd mulligan into a Hardened Scales, have it immediately killed by something like Prismatic Ending, and not do much for the rest of the game.
  • If you've never seen Hardened Scales in action before, the main goal is to stick Hardened Scales to make extra counters; play artifact creatures that get counters like Hangarback Walker, Walking Ballista, and Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp; use Arcbound Ravager to sacrifice artifacts to make even more counters; and, with the help of The Ozolith, build a massive threat that can one-shot the opponent. The Ozolith is especially important to the deck because of how it interacts with Arcbound Ravager. We can sacrifice artifacts to add counters to Arcbound Ravager, sacrifice Ravager to itself to move its counters onto another creature, and also add that number of counters to The Ozolith, which essentially doubles up our counters, making it pretty easy to grow a Walking Ballista or Inkmoth Nexus into a lethal threat.
  • The idea of Rabbit Battery in the deck is that it's a cheap artifact creature (so its fine sacrifice fodder for Arcbound Ravager) that can also turn into an equipment giving one of our bigger threats haste for just a single mana, which should make it even easier to one-shot our opponent by surprise. After playing two leagues with the deck, I'm not convinced that it's really worthwhile. We never really got the one-shot haste kill, and Rabbit Battery felt underpowered as a 1/1 haste for one, especially considering that the card cut for Rabbit Battery seemed to be Ancient Stirrings and / or Esper Sentinel—both card-draw or card-filtering effects—which might have contributed to the deck's inconsistency. While the Energizer Bunny felt okay in the deck, I'm not sure it's actually better than the other options.
  • The other card I wasn't especially impressed with in the deck was Animation Module. It offers some fun combo potential with Arcbound Ravager. (If we have extra mana, we can sacrifice an artifact for Ravager to give it a counter, pay one to make a Thopter, sac the Thopter to Ravager, and keep repeating this process, essentially giving Arcbound Ravager a +1/+1 counter for each extra mana we have.). But it doesn't do much on an empty board. Basically, it felt like another inconsistent card in a deck that already had consistency issues.
  • On the other hand, some of the new and spicy cards in the deck were great. Patchwork Automaton felt solid, consistently growing into a big threat, and the ward was fairly helpful in protecting it. It is worse if we don't find a The Ozolith because it doesn't have modular, so the counters are lost forever if it does die. Crystalline Giant was also surprisingly good in some matchups. We almost won our last match with it, and we also lost to it from our opponent stealing it with a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and randomly turning it into an evasive threat that we couldn't stop. 
  • So, should you play Energizer Bunny Scales in Modern? Probably not. While I think that Hardened Scales is good in Modern, the Gruul version felt pretty clunky. If you do want to play the deck, I'd go with Selesnya or mono-green. Oh yeah, and if you do, make sure to practice the deck a ton. It's one of the hardest aggro decks to play well because there are so many weird synergies and ways to generate counters and damage. As a general rule, you can probably deal more damage than you think you can deal, which makes counting all of the possible damage essential. It's really easy to miss lethal if you aren't doing all of the +1/+1 counter math! All in all, while Rabbit Battery is a solid card, it just felt unnecessary in Scales, especially at the cost is losing card draw like Esper Sentinel and Ancient Stirrings.

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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