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Much Abrew: Legendary Jeskai (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our Modern option came out on top. As such, we're heading to the people's format this week to see if we can flip some Erayo, Soratami Ascendants on Turn 2 with the help of Mox Amber in Legendary Jeskai! The deck is strange. It's basically a tempo deck, but it has a lot of interesting threats that don't usually show up in Modern, like Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Monastery Mentor, and Jori En, Ruin Diver, to make Mox Amber more than just a bad mana source, since along with making mana, it's triggering our creatures and even drawing us cards. Is a tempo shell the right way to take advantage of Mox Amber in Modern? How often will we flip Erayo on Turn 2 and soft-lock our opponent out of the game? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Legendary Jeskai (Modern)

Discussion

  • First, as far as our record, we ended up finishing our league 3-2, losing to Humans and Tron but managing to beat some of the most annoying combo decks in the format in KCI and Storm (along with a random UB Mill deck). All in all, not an insane record but a pretty reasonable performance for the deck.
  • We've played a few Mox Amber decks in the past, mostly aggro and midrange decks looking to use the artifact to make fast mana, and they were generally horrible. Legendary Jeskai is the first time that Mox Amber actually felt good. What makes it so much different (or better) in Legendary Jeskai? In this deck, Mox Amber does a lot more than just produce mana, by helping us flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, drawing cards with Jori En, Ruin Diver, or making tokens with Monastery Mentor. In other Mox Amber decks, drawing a second or third Mox Amber is really bad—basically a dead draw. In Legendary Jeskai, drawing a second Mox Amber isn't great, but at least we can get some value from it, which greatly minimizes the downside of having Mox Amber in our deck.
  • In the original Instant Deck Tech, I greatly underestimated the power of Repeal, writing it off as a random removal / value spell. It's actually a combo piece and our best way of flipping Erayo, Soratami Ascendant on Turn 2. The plan is simple: on Turn 2, we can play Erayo, Soratami Ascendant (spell one), play Mox Amber (spell two), use the mana from Mox Amber to cast Repeal on Mox Amber (spell three), and then recast Mox Amber (spell four) to flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant and soft-lock our opponent out of the game by countering the first spell they cast each turn. 
  • Assuming we flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, just how good it is depends on the matchup and the rest of our hand. In some games, it essentially just wins the game on the spot, with the opponent being unable to resolve anything for several turns or having to two-for-one themselves to cast their first spell of the turn. On the other hand, a flipped Erayo, Soratami Ascendant isn't actually that good if our opponent is playing an Aether Vial deck (for example). We also had some games where Erayo fell somewhere in between. A good example of this was against Storm, where we were able to use Erayo, Soratami Ascendant to slow down the deck, but eventually our opponent got enough mana where they could cast a cantrip to break the seal on Erayo, Soratami Ascendant and attempt to go off. The good news is that they fizzled, probably because of the cards they had to throw away to Erayo, so even in games where the legendary enchantment isn't game-ending, it can still be very strong. 
  • Jori En, Ruin Diver is one of the strangest cards in the deck. It's pretty good in slower matchups. If it sticks on the battlefield, we should be able to draw an extra card each turn, but it's small and slow against aggro and combo, so don't be afraid to trim copies (or take Jori En, Ruin Diver out altogether) in matchups where it is bad.
  • Speaking of slow and small, the main problem with Legendary Jeskai is that it's not particularly fast and, apart from Erayo, Soratami Ascendant flipping early in the game, isn't especially disruptive either. While all of the cantrips make it consistent, even with a good draw (where we have Geist of Saint Traft or Monastery Mentor on Turn 3) we're typically not winning until Turn 5 or 6. While we can generate a lot of value along the way, the slowness of our clock can sometimes be an issue against aggro or fast combo.
  • The other problem we ran into occasionally is that the deck has a lot of air. We lost a game or two where we cast about a million cantrips but never found a real threat to close out the game. With only two Geist of Saint Traft and three Monastery Mentors as true finishers, we'll sometimes have games where we just don't find one in a timely manner. In these games, we mostly annoy our opponent for a while and then die.
  • The one thing I'd like to add to the deck is some main-deck countermagic (most likely Remand, which works well with the temp theme), but I'm not exactly sure how to make it fit. Trimming back on Jori En, Ruin Diver and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy makes sense, but then we are left with fewer legends for Mox Amber, which would be risky. 
  • So, should you play Legendary Jeskai? There's no doubt that it's the best Modern Mox Amber deck we played so far, and it actually felt pretty competitive, so I think the answer is yes. While the deck is rough around the edges and the numbers are strange (which means it can probably be improved with some work), even in its current state, it's competitive enough to keep up with a lot of the best decks in Modern. Plus, flipping Erayo, Soratami Ascendant on Turn 2 is pretty sweet!

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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