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Much Abrew: Mardu Pact (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Demonic Pact has had a cult following ever since it was spoiled, which makes sense—the card is extremely unique and flavorful and potentially powerful. While it saw some fringe success toward the end of its life in Standard in conjunction with Harmless Offering in the Cat Pact deck, so far it hasn't really found a home in Modern. With this in mind, the results of last week's Instant Deck Techs aren't really surprising. As soon as I made the deck techs, I had a feeling that it would be Mardu Pact coming out on top—and in the end, that's exactly what happened. So, this week, we are heading to Modern to see if we can pick up some wins with Demonic Pact—not just by giving it to our opponents with Harmless Offering but by resetting it with Flickerwisp or even exiling it with Nahiri, the Harbinger in a pinch. Can we make a deal with the devil to pick up some wins in Modern, or will the price we have to pay be too high? Let's get to the videos and see, and then we'll talk more about the deck!

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Mardu Pact (Instant Deck Tech)

Mardu Pact vs. Tron (Match 1)

Mardu Pact vs. Bant Miracles (Match 2)

Mardu Pact vs. Grixis Shadow (Match 3)

Mardu Pact vs. UB Turns (Match 4)

Mardu Pact vs. Dredge (Match 5)

Mardu Pact (Wrap-Up)


  • First off, we finished our matches with a 2-3 record, which obviously isn't ideal. 
  • More importantly, our matches seemed to break down in a pretty clear way: we lost to unfair decks like Dredge and UB Turns but managed to beat fair decks like Miracles. This feels about right—Mardu Pact seems designed to to fight against aggressive decks (where Gifted Aetherborn is great) and fair midrange decks (where our Demonic Pact value can take over the game). On the other hand, we have limited tools to fight against unfair, goldfishy combo decks.
  • As for Demonic Pact, it's powerful but amazingly slow. We can't even cast it until Turn 4 at the earliest, and if we get the enchantment down on Turn 4, we don't start getting value until Turn 5. The good news is that if the game goes to Turns 6, 7, and 8, Demonic Pact is very likely to win us the game. The challenge is getting there, especially against unfair decks.
  • Probably the best part of the deck was Flickerwisp with Demonic Pact. While this is really slow, like everything involving Demonic Pact, the ability to reset Demonic Pact is quite powerful and gives us an incredible inevitability if the game goes long.
  • The worst part of the deck was the numbers. It almost felt like the deck's builder started with a fairly typical Mardu Midrange deck, looked for every card that was a four-of, dropped all of them down to three-ofs, and used the extra slots to play Demonic Pact, Harmless Offering, and Flickerwisp. Whether this is true or not, it is true that most of our best cards—Lingering Souls, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Flickerwisp, Gifted Aetherborn, Demonic Pact—were all three-ofs, which made our deck quite inconsistent. When a card is played as a three-of, we'll only have a copy in our opening hand about one in every three games, and even as the game progressed, there's only about a coin-flip chance that we'll draw into a copy. As a result, one of the easiest ways to improve the deck is making it more consistent by finding room to play four copies of our most important cards.
  • The other question for the deck is whether or not it's better than more traditional Mardu Midrange, and I tend to think the answer is no. While it's certainly spicier, replacing things like Liliana of the Veil with Demonic Pact and Harmless Offering doesn't seem like it actually improves the deck in any important matchups. It feels like these changes make the deck worse in unfair matchups, and while it's possible that Demonic Pact makes the deck slightly better in fair matchups, this might not even be true. 
  • From a meta perspective, Demonic Pact just seems like a tough sell in Modern. In Standard, games tend to go long, and even the first Demonic Pact choice on Turn 5 can be enough to catch you back up (by killing a creature and gaining some life). Meanwhile, in Modern, it's not impossible to be dead by Turn 5, and even if you're still alive, draining for four isn't always (or even usually) enough to get back in the game.
  • So, should you play Mardu Pact in Modern? If your goal is to get some wins with Demonic Pact, this seems like a fine shell, but if your goal is to win a tournament, a more traditional build of Mardu Midrange is likely the right choice. Basically, while Mardu Pact is fun and super unique and has some really cool synergies (specifically Flickerwisp with Demonic Pact), it is less consistent, has more bad matchups, and might even be less powerful than normal Mardu Midrange.


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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