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Much Abrew: Modern Rogues

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we are heading to Modern to play a deck I've been wanting to play since Zendikar Rising was released: Rogues! Even before Zendikar Rising, Rogues were close to Modern playable thanks to some solid payoffs from Lorwyn and Morningtide. And now, thanks to Zendikar Rising (and to a lesser extent, Core Set 2021), we've got some powerful new tribe members to support the deck in Soaring Thought-Thief and Thieves' Guild Enforcer. Toss in Bitterblossom—which, while technically a Faerie enchantment, actually makes Faerie Rogue tokens, for a steady stream of threats—and good black interaction like Thoughtseize and Fatal Push, and the stage might just be set for Rogues to rise in the format! How good can Rogues be in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Modern Rogues

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  • Record-wise, we ended up 4-1 with Rogues, with our only loss coming against Mono-Red Blitz, which seems like an abysmal matchup thanks to the endless burn spells, which can easily answer our small creatures. Otherwise, we took down Grixis Death's Shadow, UW Control, Amulet Titan, and our nemesis, Tron. The deck actually felt super solid and like it might actually have the potential to be at least a second- or third-tier tribal deck in the format!
  • In many ways, Rogues play very much like Faeries. Apart from both tribes typically being blue / black, the flash theme of Rogues is actually very similar to Faeries. The biggest difference is that Rogues have the potential to be much more aggressive thanks to better pseudo-lords and bigger creatures in general (Faeries tend to be really small). The downside is that Rogues offer less interaction and lack cards like Spellstutter Sprite. Regardless, if you're a fan of the Faeries play style, Rogues are an interesting new option for the format.
  • So, why play a deck full of Rogues in Modern? The primary answer here is our three payoffs: Oona's Blackguard, Soaring Thought-Thief, and Stinkdrinker Bandit. Stinkdrinker Bandit specifically was extremely impressive in our matches. Since many of our Rogues are evasive and we want to be attacking every turn anyway, it's almost a double lord that typically comes down for just two mana thanks to prowl. It's a great way to steal wins out of nowhere, by making Slither Blade into a 3/2 and cards like Oona's Blackguard and Soaring Thought-Thief even scarier flying attackers.
  • Cling to Dust in the main deck might look a bit strange, but Modern Rogues has the same problem that Standard Rogues used to have: it mills over Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and enough cards that the opponent can easily (and often repeatedly) escape it into play. Cling to Dust offers a main-deck answer to Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, while Surgical Extraction gives us even more answers after sideboarding.
  • Speaking of Surgical Extraction, as we saw against Tron, it's one of our best cards in combo-ish matchups. Being able to mill over combo pieces with Thieves' Guild Enforcer, Soaring Thought-Thief, and our other Rogues and then extract all copies is one of our best ways of beating the unfair decks in the format. Don't be afraid to bring it in aggressively, even against non-graveyard combo decks.
  • Zareth San, the Trickster probably isn't necessary or optimal—it's a bit too expensive and matchup dependent—but it is super fun.
  • All in all, I was really impressed with Modern Rogues. While I wouldn't go as far as to say that they'll end up a tier-one deck in the format, it seems possible that thanks to the new additions from Zendikar Rising, they are at least a second- or third-tier option with  the potential to spike a tournament or 5-0 a league. If you like tempo-y tribal decks, give Modern Rogues a shot!


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

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