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Much Abrew: Sly Sword (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the crazy Modern combo deck Sly Sword came out on top. As such, this week, we are trying to figure out just how many different ways the deck can go infinite! While the main combo of Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek is well known, the deck is overloaded with other combos and synergies, many involving infinite mill from Grinding Station. Meanwhile, Sly Requisitioner gives us even more ways to go infinite, working like a backup copy of Thopter Foundry. Is the plan of overloading a deck with as many combos as possible a legitimate way to win games 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: Sly Sword (Modern)


  • First off, the record. We played a league and finished with a perfect 5-0! While it is true that it was a friendly league, we battled mostly tier decks (outside of one strange Mono-Red Burn build) and came out on top every time.
  • Even after going 5-0, I still feel like there's a ton to learn about the deck. The deck is hard to play, mostly because there are a million little synergies and tricks, some of which I'm probably still missing. Thankfully, as our league shows, the deck is powerful enough that you can play it 90% optimally and still win a lot of games. 
  • Let's talk combos. The most obvious is Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek. While this combo doesn't go infinite, it does allow us to make a 1/1 Thopter and gain a life for each mana we have available by sacrificing Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry over and over again. 
  • Meanwhile, Grinding Station goes infinite with Sword of the Meek and Sly Requisitioner to mill our opponent's entire deck. We simply keep sacrificing the Sword of the Meek to Grinding Station, which makes a 1/1 with Sly Requisitioner to get back Sword, which then returns Sword to the battlefield so we can do it again. If we can't beat our opponent with mill (for example, they have an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn), then we also get infinite 1/1 tokens from Sly Requisitioner
  • We can also infinitely mill our opponent with Grinding Station, Sword of the Meek, Scrap Trawler, and any two Memnites or Myr Moonvessels. This one is a bit clunkier, but the basic idea is to sacrifice the Memnite to Grinding Station, cast the other Memnite to untap Grinding Station, sacrifice Sword of the Meek to Grinding Station to get back the Memnite with Scrap Trawler, cast the Memnite to untap Grinding Station (and get back Sword of the Meek), and then repeat the process. 
  • There's probably another combo or two that I'm missing, but the three above were the ones that we used during our league. 
  • Speaking of Grinding Station, while it took me a while to figure it out, if we don't have a Sword of the Meek, we should aggressively sacrifice random artifacts like Nihil Spellbomb and Chromatic Star to mill ourselves, as a weird way of "drawing" our Sword of the Meek. Since Sword of the Meek can return itself from our graveyard to the battlefield, milling a copy is just as good as drawing it naturally. 
  • The biggest drawback of Sly Sword is that some sideboard cards are really good against the deck. Graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace are very strong, and Stony Silence is also brutal. While it is possible to win through these cards, mostly by beating down with random creatures, it isn't very likely. As such, you should pretty much always assume that the opponent will have some sort of hate and bring in Wear // Tear and often Ghirapur Aether Grid or The Antiquities War, just to be safe.
  • As for the sideboard, most of it is self-explanatory. Remember that all of the artifacts can be tutored up by Whir of Invention, which makes them better in our deck than most. It's also possible that cutting The Antiquities War and Ghirapur Aether Grid for Sai, Master Thopterist is the way to go for beating sideboard hate cards. Not only does Sai, Master Thopterist offer a way to win through graveyard hate or Stony Silence by casting artifacts and making Thopters, but it can also do a weird sort of combo on its own by sacrificing Sword of the Meek if the opponent doesn't happen to draw their hate cards.
  • So, should you play Sly Sword? I think the answer is yes! We managed to 5-0 with it, and I'm sure we didn't play 100% optimally, so  the deck can be very strong if you practice a lot and learn all of the tricks. While there are some troubling sideboard cards, they are beatable if we play well and bring in the right sideboard cards. If you like infinitely milling opponents and setting up elaborate combos, give Sly Sword a shot. It's fun and seems pretty competitive as well!


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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