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Much Abrew: Oops, All Chandras (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we played [Bogardan] Hammer Time for Much Abrew, a weird mashup of Burn and Mono-Red Prison, with most of the prison cards in the sideboard. While the deck was pretty sweet, it left me wondering if a more traditional Mono-Red Prison list could compete in Modern. My favorite Modern archetype has been in a pretty rough place over the past year ever since Simian Spirit Guide was banned. Could overloading with as many Chandras as possible be the way to bring Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, and Ensnaring Bridge back to prominence in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Oops, All Chandras

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  • Record-wise, Oops, All Chandras was only okay. We finished our first league 2-3, fired up another league, and promptly went...2-3. While 2-3 isn't a great record, we lost some agonizingly close games along the way. It really felt like with a bit more luck or better play, we easily could have gone 3-2 or better in each league. Basically, while the record wasn't great, the matches were so tight that I came away from our games feeling like the deck was super close to being good, rather than being feeling too down about the performance.
  • Let's start with the good news: our Chandras are actually really powerful, and doubly so if we can stick a Chandra's Regulator to double up their abilities. If we can slow the game down with our prison pieces, the planeswalkers do a good job of taking over the game and closing things out quickly, and many of them also generate card advantage to help us find whatever lock pieces we are missing. 
  • The removal in Mono-Red Prison is also better than ever thanks to Fury, Bonecrusher Giant, and MDFC lands Spikefield Hazard (quickly becoming one of my favorite Modern cards as a way to snipe Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer) and Shatterskull Smashing. Toss in removal from Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Heart of Fire, and Chandra, Awakened Inferno, and our deck is really good at killing creatures.
  • We're also really good at generating card advantage but in a way that works with Ensnaring Bridge. Not only do several of the Chandras tick up to impulse draw us a card, but Seasoned Pyromancer and Reckless Impulse (a card I wasn't sure would be good enough for Modern but is growing on me in decks that can't easily damage opponents to turn on Light Up the Stage) also keep us churning through our deck and also help us stay empty-handed to hide behind Ensnaring Bridge
  • Now for the bad news: the biggest issue facing Mono-Red Prison currently might not be the lack of Simian Spirit Guide but how hostile the Modern meta can be for the strategy. Throughout our league, a couple of Modern Horizons 2 cards gave us a really hard time. First was, of course, the stupid Monkey, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. While we have a ton of answers to the Monkey, the problem we ran into is that just a single Ragavan attack would give our opponent a Treasure that would fix their mana, often allowing our opponent to kill Blood Moon and break out of our lock. In theory, Chalice of the Void prevents this, but our second issue was that Prismatic Ending (currently the most played card in Modern) is really, really good at exiling Chalice of the Void. While it seems like a Chalice of the Void on one should stop Prismatic Ending, our opponent can simply choose to pay extra mana for X to get the mana value up high enough for it to not be countered by Chalice of the Void.
  • Adding all of this together, we had quite a few games where it felt like our opponent should have been completely locked out of the game, only for a dashed Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to make a Treasure or a Prismatic Ending answering a Chalice of the Void, causing our house of cards to come tumbling down. The way Mono-Red Prison (including Oops, All Chandras) works is that each lock piece supports our other lock pieces (for example, Blood Moon cutting off the colors of mana our opponent needs to answer Ensnaring Bridge or Chalice of the Void, or Chalice of the Void protecting Blood Moon from Nature's Claim). So, losing one lock piece is a huge issue since not only are we losing one of our best cards but also our other cards are weakened as well. 
  • So, should you play Oops, All Chandras (or Mono-Red Prison) in Modern? I'm really not sure. While I do think the deck is better than its record suggests, it's also true that the meta is hostile to the archetype. While I'll keep trying because it's one of my favorite play styles in Modern, unless you're a hardcore fan of Chandras or Mono-Red Prison / Free-Win Red, there are probably easier ways to pick up wins in Modern. (Although there's still no greater feeling than slamming a Chalice of the Void on Turn 2 into a Blood Moon on Turn 3 and watching your opponent scoop.)


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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