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Much Abrew: Forbidden Hunted Path (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our Fishbowl Thursday deck Forbidden Hunted Path came out on top. While we don't always play Fishbowl Thursday decks on Much Abrew, it just so happens that today marks the beginning of Panharmonicon week, and since Forbidden Hunted Path uses Panharmonicon as one of its primary combo pieces we're going to give it a shot, even though it looks a bit janky on paper!

The basic idea of the deck is to build a Modern version of the Dagger Burn deck we played a while ago in Standard and kill our opponents by giving them tokens (with the help of Hunted Phantasm and Hunted Troll) with a Trespasser's Curse on the battlefield, with a backup plan of killing all those tokens with Illness in the Ranks, hopefully with Blood Artist on the battlefield. So, where does Panharmonicon come in? It doubles all of our triggers, of course. If we can get down a Trespasser's Curse and a Panharmonicon, a single copy of Hunted Phantasm will let us drain our opponent for 20 damage, with the five tokens Hunted Phantasm makes doubling up to 10 and the 10 triggers from Trespasser's Curse doubling up to 20! Is there any chance this crazy deck will work? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Forbidden Hunted Path (Modern)

Discussion

  • That was pretty rough. We started out with the original build of the deck and went 1-4, finally beating UB Mill, changed things up slightly, played a couple more rounds, and went 1-1, giving us an Against the Odds-esque 2-5 record overall. 
  • Let's start with the good news: the combo is super sweet when it happens. Draining the opponent for 20 by giving them creatures has to be one of the most unique and fun ways to kill someone in Modern.
  • Now for the bad news: there are two big problems with Forbidden Hunted Path. First, the deck is amazingly inconsistent. When we dig down to the foundation of the deck, there are actually a bunch of loosely connected combos—a Hunted creature with Trespasser's Curse, a Hunted creature with Illness in the Ranks and Blood Artist, Blood Artist with Damnation—the problem is that not all of the combo pieces work together. A good example of this is Panharmonicon with Hunted Phantasm or Hunted Troll but without an additional combo piece, which gives our opponent even more tokens to kill us with. Basically, the deck is very prone to drawing random pieces that don't always work together, which leaves us with cards that do very little or are downright uncastable as we hope to top deck the missing piece of the puzzle.
  • Second, and perhaps more importantly, none of our cards are very good outside of their respective combos, and some of them are downright bad. Both Hunted Phantasm and Hunted Troll are quite literally uncastable if we don't have a way to benefit from giving our opponent tokens, Illness in the Ranks does nothing in most matchups unless we have a Hunted creature and a Blood Artist, and Blood Artist doesn't do anything without a Hunted creature and some sort of mass removal. Basically, we play a ton of blank cards that suddenly become very good if we happen to draw one or two other blank cards, which suddenly make all of our blank cards into real cards. Playing bad cards to make good cards better is often a poor strategy, but we take it to the next level by playing bad cards to make other bad cards better.
  • Now, this isn't to bash on the deck. It's a really fun Against the Odds-style deck, and the wins are absolutely glorious! While they don't come up all that often, the games when we just happen to draw the right two or three pieces are amazing and super unique. 
  • As far as improving the deck, our updated version tried to add some more generically good cards to the combo, with Thoughtseize giving us interaction and Curse of Death's Hold being a version of Illness in the Ranks that is relevant against a wider range of decks (something like Affinity has a really difficult time beating a Curse of Death's Hold). However, the problems of having a lot of cards that do nothing unless we are winning the game remained. 
  • One of the challenges with updating decks is figuring out just how far to stray from the original build. Normally, I try to keep all of the original combos and synergies and only change support cards, but it's possible we should have went even further. This being said, I'm not really sure there's a way to make the combo competitive. Forbidden Hunted Path probably falls into a space similar to Zombie Hunt—a cool deck that does super-sweet things a fairly low percentage of the time but loses to itself a bit (or much) too often to ever be a competitive deck, no matter what changes you make to the build.
  • If I were going to completely overhaul the deck, I'd probably try to build something similar to the Hunted Phantasm combo deck that Conley Woods was playing a while ago but slotting in the Trespasser's Curse part of the combo. It might even be right to play some of the creature versions of Trespasser's Curse (like Suture Priest and Blood Seeker) over the literal curse, since we could Aether Vial them into play. Izzet Staticaster is another good way of dealing with the tokens that we give our opponent with our Hunted creatures but one that is relevant in more matchups, shutting down decks like Humans and Affinity if it comes down early enough and being at least reasonable against a wide range of decks. Here's one of Conley's builds, if you're interested in giving it a shot or trying to figure out how to slot the combo into the deck: 

  • So, should you play Forbidden Hunted Path? The answer is pretty clearly no, if you want to win. On the other hand, if you already have most of the expensive cards, it is a fun deck to throw together because the games that you do win are really fun and unique!

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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