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Much Abrew: Revolt Whack (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. As you probably know, 8 Whack (or, more recently, 12 Whack) is one of my favorite Modern archetypes. When we've played Whack decks in the past, we mostly focused on a Goblin subtheme since both Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker are Goblins. But today, we're taking a different approach to whacking opponents in Modern: Revolt Whack! Rather than Goblins, the core of Revolt Whack is eight copies of Burning-Tree Emissary, with Hidden Herbalists joining the original. Once we drop the Goblin theme, we've got a ton of freedom to play many of the most powerful one-drops in the format, like Goblin Guide, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, and Wild Nacatl, backing them all up with Reckless Bushwhacker and Atarka's Command as our whacks. What is a whack deck like without Goblins? How many free creatures can we play on Turn 2? Let's find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Revolt Whack

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  • Record-wise, we finished our Modern league 4-1 with Revolt Whack, narrowly missing the 5-0 in the most Saffron way possible: by keeping one-landers in games two and three of match five and not drawing a second land. The deck felt quite powerful, and while it certainly isn't as budget-friendly as the Goblin whack decks we've played in the past, it is just as competitive.
  • By far the biggest reasons to play Revolt Whack are the eight free two-drops. Thanks to Burning-Tree Emissary and Hidden Herbalists, we can get off to some incredibly explosive starts where we play two or three free two-drops and follow up with Reckless Bushwhacker to essentially win the game on Turn 2. Even if we don't have a whack, just dumping our entire hand on Turn 2 often is enough to beat most decks. 
  • Speaking of our free two-drops, in general, we want to play Hidden Herbalists first because it only makes green mana and then follow up with Burning-Tree Emissary, which gives us the red mana we need to cast Reckless Bushwhacker. (It does depend a bit on what we have in our hand. Sometimes, having double green mana at the end of our two-drop chain is better for playing things like Narnam Renegade and Wild Nacatl.)
  • The biggest drawback of Revolt Whack is that some of our cards are awkward if we can't trigger revolt. Both Narnam Renegade and Hidden Herbalists are pretty far below the curve if we don't have revolt. While we have an insane number of fetch lands (13) to help make sure we can trigger revolt consistently, we do occasionally have weird hands where we have all basic lands or shock lands. Sometimes, it's worth holding onto a fetch land specifically to trigger revolt on future turns.
  • I'm not really sold on Knight of the Reliquary in the deck. It feels pretty slow. It's probably worth cutting for another copy of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, which is so powerful that it's likely worth playing as a four-of even though it's legendary. If Ragavan sticks around, we're probably winning anyway, making the extras we draw as dead cards irrelevant. And if our opponent manages to kill our first Ragavan, we want a replacement. 
  • As for the one-landers that cost us match five, I'd keep them again. Our deck only has 18 lands, which makes drawing some one-landers the cost of doing business. We ran through the math at the end of our league, and we're favored to draw a land within our first two turns and heavily favored to draw one in our first three turns. Being stuck on one land on Turns 5 and 6 was more unlucky than anything, although sadly, the bad luck came at the worst possible time: when we were trying to close out our league with a perfect 5-0.
  • So, should you play Revolt Whack? I think the answer is yes, with an asterisk. The deck is powerful and seems pretty well positioned in Modern at the moment, but it also costs $1,000. One of the upsides of past 8- and 12-Whack decks we've played is that they are super cheap and also pretty competitive. Is Revolt Whack better than 8 or 12 Whack? Maybe. Is it $900 better? Probably not. If you have the cards or use a loan program on Magic Online, or if budget isn't a concern, I think that Revolt Whack is a really solid option in Modern at the moment, but don't feel like you have to run out and spend $900 to upgrade 8 Whack or 12 Whack—both of those decks are solid too!


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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