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Much Abrew: Naya Vesperlark Reanimator (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. We're only a few weeks away from the start of Modern Horizons II spoilers, which has me thinking about the impact of Modern Horizons on the Modern format. Sure, there were some broken cards that caused problems, like Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, Urza, Lord High Artificer, and Arcum's Astrolabe, but from my perspective, these mistakes were a small price to pay for all of the sweet, unique, and not-overpowered cards Modern Horizons unleashed into the format. Take today's deck, for example: we're playing Naya Reanimator—a deck that exists solely because of Vesperlark, a random Modern Horizons uncommon. This deck wouldn't exist if it weren't for Modern Horizons, which would be a shame because it's a super-sweet deck! Our goal? Get a one-power creature that actually adds a bunch of power to the battlefield—like Trostani's Summoner, Maul Splicer, or Deep Forest Hermit—into the graveyard on Turn 1, evoke a Vesperlark on Turn 2, and reanimate our one-power creature to make a massive board of tokens to hopefully close out the game. Can Naya Reanimator work in Modern? How good is Vesperlark? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Naya Vesperlark Reanimator

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Discussion

  • All in all, we finished our league 2-3 with Naya Vesperlark Reanimator, although I think the deck is a bit better than our record would suggest. Every one of our losses went three games, and our loss to Izzet Prowess was especially brutal since our opponent hit five damage of burn spells with Light Up the Stage (the last card in our opponent's hand) to steal the win the turn before we could attack for lethal. 
  • Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the deck is how consistent it was at cheating something like Trostani's Summoner or Deep Forest Hermit into play on Turn 2 or 3. We only had one game where our deck fizzled and beat itself; otherwise, it felt like we were able to execute our game plan easily basically every game.
  • Almost as surprising is that we also learned that reanimating a Trostani's Summoner on Turn 2 isn't always enough to win the game. If you think about how our deck works, when we execute our game plan, we make 10 power of creatures on Turn 2, which means we should be able to kill our opponent if we can attack on Turns 3 and 4. The problem is that there are Modern decks that can win on Turn 3, which sometimes means that even a Turn 2 Trostani's Summoner isn't good enough, as strange as it sounds. 
  • While the deck felt solid in general, I'm not sold on a few cards. Fauna Shaman felt too slow. Even if we managed to get it on the battlefield, it almost always died before we could activate it. I'm not sure it's worth four slots in our deck (although it could be a fine one-of tutor target for Eladamri's Call). Ephemerate is also strange in the deck. It has some explosive potential (technically, Vesperlark triggers when it leaves the battlefield, so we can potentially cast it naturally without evoke and blink it with Ephemerate to reanimate multiple things), and blinking things like Trostani's Summoner or Deep Forest Hermit to make more tokens offers a lot of value. But we played against three Lava Dart decks, which made it extremely difficult to find a window to blink our 1/1. While I don't think I'd cut Ephemerate yet, it is a card that I'm not completely sold on in Naya Reanimator, even though I love it in general. 
  • The main deck could probably use a touch more removal, especially removal that can kill bigger threats. We saw in our last match that it's almost impossible for our deck to kill something like Death's Shadow, which can be a problem. More Lightning Axes would be fine, although Path to Exile or Skyclave Apparition might be even better in the deck. 
  • While, in general, I really liked the main deck of Naya Reanimator, I think the sideboard could use some work. Thanks to Eladamri's Call and Fauna Shaman, our deck is really good at finding specific creatures, even as one-ofs, but our sideboard is mostly spells. Cards like Knight of Autumn, Skyclave Apparition, Scavenging Ooze, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben all could be worth considering. It seems a bit strange to play things like Ray of Revelation to deal with enchantments when we can play something like Knight of Autumn to do the same job but even more consistently since we can find it with our creature tutors. 
  • It's also worth mentioning that if you're willing to play a more budget-focused mana base and cut Fauna Shaman (which should probably be cut or at least minimized, anyway), Naya Reanimator can be built super cheaply. If you don't have the money for the fully optimized build, starting out with a mana base of pain lands, pathways, and fast lands should be good enough, although it does make the deck weaker to things like Blood Moon and somewhat less consistent.
  • So, should you play Naya Vesperlark Reanimator? I think the answer is yes. I don't think the deck is tier one, but it was surprisingly consistent and super unique! Plus, no one expects to lose to things like Trostani's Summoner or Maul Splicer in Modern, so style points abound!

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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