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Much Abrew: Golgari Carth Superfriends (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're continuing our exploration of Modern Horizons 2 in Modern with a card that might be one of the biggest sleepers of the set: Carth the Lion! While Carth might look like a Commander card for Superfriends decks, it's actually extremely powerful. Adding +1 to all planeswalker loyalty abilities is a surprisingly strong way to speed up the ultimate on planeswalkers. With a Carth the Lion on the battlefield, Garruk Wildspeaker and Nissa, Vital Force can ultimate on the turn they come into play, and a bunch of other powerful planeswalkers (like Liliana of the Veil, Liliana, Dreadhorde General, and Grist, the Hunger Tide can ultimate after just a single +1. Oh yeah, and Carth the Lion digs for planeswalkers with its enters-the-battlefield triggers and can even replace our planeswalkers when they die! What happens if we jam Carth the Lion into a deck with a bunch of planeswalkers and a bit of ramp? That's what we're going to find out on today's Golgar Carth Superfriends Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Golgari Garth Superfriends

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The Deck

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  • First, a quick story on the deck. About a week ago, someone managed to 5-0 a league with a Golgari Carth Superfriends deck. Initially, I was going to play the 5-0 build for the video and actually recorded a league with it, but I ended up going 2-3 and noticed a few things that I thought could be improved (with the biggest being Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl over Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch, which were in the original build, and also the addition of Karn, the Great Creator, which wasn't in the original list). So, I decided to do a bit of a rebuild and record another league. In that league, we once again went 2-3, but the matchups were really weird (at one point, I played Dragon's Rage Channeler prowess decks four times in a row), so I played another league and ended up going 3-2. What you're seeing is a mashup of those two leagues, with the goal being to not have too many duplicate matchups.

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  • As for the deck itself, it's built around the surprisingly powerful Carth the Lion. Carth is a really strange card, to the point that its power isn't readily apparent. While digging for a planeswalker when it enters the battlefield or when a planeswalker dies is nice, the real payoff is adding +1 to planeswalkers' loyalty abilities. On level one, this ability is pretty straightforward. Take Liliana of the Veil, for example. The +1 becomes a +2 with Carth the Lion on the battlefield, while the –2 becomes a –1. Basically, everything costs one less (or adds one more) loyalty. The part of Carth the Lion I missed is how it interacts with planeswalker ultimates. Because activating a loyalty ability on a planeswalker is a cost, Carth the Lion reduces the number of loyalty it takes to ultimate. For example, with a Carth out, we can ultimate Liliana of the Veil with just five loyalty!

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  • Meanwhile, some of our most powerful planeswalkers can ultimate in two turns with a Carth the Lion on the battlefield. Liliana of the Veil can +1 (which is really a +2 with Carth) once and then –6 (which is actually –5) to ultimate the next turn and get rid of half of our opponent's permanents. Liliana, Dreadhorde General, while the most expensive, can do the same thing: +1 (with Carth +2) once to make a Zombie and then –9 (or –8 with Carth) to put our opponent down to just one permanent of each type. Grist, the Hunger Tide can also jump to ultimate in just one turn, although since we don't have that many creatures, we typically use Grist, the Hunger Tide to make Insects and removal rather than as a finisher. 

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  • The other key planeswalker in the deck is Karn, the Great Creator. While it doesn't ultimate with Carth the Lion on the battlefield, we can use its minus ability four times before running out of loyalty, which allows us to tutor silver-bullet artifacts from our sideboard, with Engineered Explosives, Pithing Needle and Ensnaring Bridge for removal; Liquimetal Coating for land destruction; Void Mirror to shut down cascade and Eldrazi Tron; Damping Sphere for combo and traditional Tron; and Wurmcoil Engine to close out the game. 
  • In some ways, Golgari Carth Superfriends is a hard deck to write about, mostly because we aren't built around a specific synergy or combo. Instead, we're mostly trying to outvalue our opponent with Carth the Lion and planeswalker synergies. We don't really have a direct plan for winning the game (outside of ultimating planeswalkers quickly).
  • So, should you play Golgari Carth Superfriends? I think the answer is maybe. From a competitive perspective, the deck seems fine, although not insane given our 50% win rate across two leagues. On the other hand, with some tuning and more brewing, Carth Superfriends could end up as a really solid deck. I was surprised by how powerful Carth was in Modern with a ton of good planeswalkers. Most importantly, the deck is super fun and can do some really unique, powerful things.

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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