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Much Abrew: Seismic Swans Chaos (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, during our Instant Deck Techs, an updated version of a classic Much Abrew deck—Seismic Swans Chaos—came out on top! As such, we're heading to Modern this week to hit our Swans, draw some cards, and (hopefully) eventually turn those cards into a win by throwing them at our opponent's face with the help of Seismic Assault. The big new addition to the deck is Throes of Chaos, which allows us to use our 41(!) lands to cascade into our finishers and card draw every single turn by retracing it from our graveyard. Does Swans of Bryn Argoll have what it takes to compete in our new post-banning Modern format? How much does Throes of Chaos improve the deck? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Seismic Swans Chaos



  • Record-wise, we ended up 2-3 in our Seismic Swans Chaos league, although the deck was competitive even in losing efforts. Apart from getting completely blown out by Esper Control (which is a miserable matchup since we only have a handful of relevant cards and out opponent has about a million removal spells and counters to deal with our threats), every one of our matches ended up going to three games.
  • The biggest upside of Seismic Swans Chaos is that we're pretty good at winning on Turn 4 if we can dodge disruption. If we can play Seismic Assault on Turn 3 and Swans of Bryn Argoll on Turn 4 (with at least a land or two in hand), we should win the game immediately by hitting our Swans with Seismic Assault damage and eventually drawing through our entire deck, which will leave us with enough lands in hand that we can 20 our opponent with the help of Seismic Assault.
  • The biggest downside of Seismic Swans Chaos is that we need to play a massive number of lands for the combo to work. We have 41 in the main deck (although we occasionally trim a couple during sideboarding). This means on average, our starting hand will be something like five lands and two spells, and seven-land openers are surprisingly common with the deck. This also helps to explain the problems we have against Esper Control. With so many lands and so few meaningful threats, if our opponent can Thoughtseize, counter, or kill our handful of finishers (primarily Swans of Bryn Argoll and Seismic Assault), the odds that we will draw another copy and reassemble our combo are fairly low.
  • On the other hand, Throes of Chaos is perfect for our deck, to the point where I think we might want three or even four copies. The power of Throes of Chaos is that it turns our 41 lands into relevant Magic cards. While it can't cascade into Swans of Bryn Argoll, it does hit both Seismic Assault and our backup Seismic Assault in Molten Vortex while also hitting our card-draw spells (Treasure Hunt and Day's Undoing), which can help us draw into the Swans half of our combo. Basically, one of the biggest issues with Seismic Swans Chaos is that our average draw is a land. Throes of Chaos turns this somewhat useless land into a very meaningful spell each turn. It's legitimately awesome in the deck.
  • If there is a downside to Throes of Chaos, it's that it is bad with our sideboard counterspells. One way to improve the deck would be to get rid of the counterspells altogether and play more permanents that we can cascade into. Cards like Teferi, Time Raveler or Defense Grid could fill the counterspells' role of protecting our combo pieces, while something like Blood Moon or Damping Sphere could help shore up our weakness to Tron and other fast combo decks.
  • Another big plus of Seismic Swans Chaos is that it is incredibly good against fair creature decks. Even without the combo, we can often use Seismic Assault or Molten Vortex to kill every creature our opponent plays, buying us a ton of time to find our Swans, combo, and win. A great example of this was our absurd game against Bant Soulherder.
  • Day's Undoing is actually really important to the deck's success. While just using it as a way to refill our hand (and hopefully kill our opponent on their upkeep with Seismic Assault after ending our turn) is good, being able to shuffle our graveyard back into our library is actually really important, especially in matches where we need to discard a bunch of lands to Seismic Assault or Molten Vortex early to deal with creatures or where our opponent gains life. There's a risk that when we combo, we won't have enough lands in our deck to actually kill our opponent with Seismic Assault. Day's Undoing solves this problem by shuffling our graveyard full of lands back into our deck, allowing us to continue the combo on our opponent's upkeep to finish the game.
  • While the upside of Seismic Swans Chaos is that it is consistent and explosive, the downside is that it's about a turn slower than the fastest combo decks in Modern and doesn't have a lot of removal to slow things down. We saw this come into play against Tron, where we had Turn 4 kills most of our games but Turn 3 Karn Liberated]s (especially on the play) were able to eat our lands and keep us from comboing off in two of our three games. The same thing can happen against decks like Infect or Storm, where our combo kill is often just one turn too slow compared to what our opponent is doing.
  • Oh yeah, our Treasure Hunts were really bad. This was probably more bad luck than anything, but we had a bunch of times where we drew just a single card, which is pretty brutal in a 41-land deck.
  • So, should you play Seismic Swans Chaos? Considering that the deck is pretty close to falling under our $100 budget (and could be under $100 without Steam Vents, which isn't 100% necessary to the deck's success), I think the answer is yes, especially with some of the upgrades we've been talking about. While Seismic Swans Chaos might not be quite fast or consistent enough to win a Grand Prix, it could certainly win an FNM with some luck (and with the right matchups), and Throes of Chaos is a huge addition to the archetype. If you like hitting Swans or drawing cards and are looking for a new budget deck for Modern, give it a shot!


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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