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Much Abrew: Ur-Dragon Reanimator (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our crazy combo-reanimator deck for Modern—Ur-Dragon Reanimator—came out on top. As such, we're heading to Modern today to see if comboing off by turning Scion of the Ur-Dragon into multiple different Dragons in the same turn is a legitimate way to win in the format. Oh yeah, and sometimes we just have a hasty Nicol Bolas to wipe our opponent's hand on Turn 2! While this explosive potential is nice, the downside is that the deck is very all-in on casting or reanimating expensive Dragons, so if we draw a clunky hand, there's a major risk that we'll do nothing whatsoever. Can we actually make Ur-Dragon Reanimator work in Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, I'll share some thoughts on the deck!

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Much Abrew: Ur-Dragon Reanimator (Modern)

Discussion

  • First off, the record. We started in a league and finished with a somewhat disappointing 1-4, so I jumped into the two-player queues to try another match and ended up winning against Mardu Pyromancer, bringing our overall record to 2-4. This isn't that much better than 1-4, but it does show that the deck can win when things go right.
  • Speaking of things going right, there are two main problems we found with Ur-Dragon Reanimator, with by far the biggest being that the deck is pretty inconsistent. With only six ways to loot and six reanimation spells, we have a lot of games where we are missing one or both of our main combo pieces, leaving us trying to hard cast extremely expensive Dragons, which doesn't usually work. The extremely expensive Dragons themselves are the other problem. We don't really have any cheap interaction in the main deck, and while cards like Balefire Dragon and Dragonlord Atarka are good at killing our opponent's stuff, they're often too slow if we don't have the right reanimation draw.
  • Now for the good news: the Scion of the Ur-Dragon combo does work, and it's actually pretty effective if our opponent doesn't have Path to Exile, All you need is four mana and a non-summoning sick Scion of the Ur-Dragon, and the game should be over. Simply put two Scion of the Ur-Dragon triggers on the stack, let the first one resolve to get Moltensteel Dragon, pump Scion of the Ur-Dragon a bunch of times (to at least 10 power), and then get Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon or Atarka, World Render to win with one attack! 
  • As for which finishing combo piece is best, it mostly depends on the situation. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon is my default choice, since Skittles is sweeter than Atarka, but in more practical terms, Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon wins with our opponent being at any life total thanks to infect, while Atarka, World Render is better at winning through blockers (like Lingering Souls tokens) thanks to trample. 
  • One thing I underrated in the deck tech is the power of Pentad Prism. If we don't have reanimation, our best draw is to play Pentad Prism on Turn 2 and use the extra mana to cast Scion of the Ur-Dragon on Turn 3, which allows us to untap on Turn 4 with just enough mana to kill our opponent with the combo.
  • While the Scion of the Ur-Dragon kill is the foundation of the deck, simply reanimating Nicol Bolas on Turn 2 with Goryo's Vengeance to make our opponent discard their hand is just an effective (and even faster) way to win the game. 
  • When it comes to Goryo's Vengeance decks, one of the big questions is how they compare to the more common Griselbrand builds. If there's any argument for playing Ur-Dragon Reanimator over Grishoalbrand, it's that Scion of the Ur-Dragon itself lets us win through graveyard hate. While Grishoalbrand can do this too (with Goryo's Vengeance), having one card that is both a reanimatable finisher and graveyard hate protection is a nice upside to the deck.
  • As for improvements, probably the biggest upgrade that can be made is cutting some of the worse Dragons for some cheap interaction like Thoughtseize or Lightning Bolt, with Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, Balefire Dragon (which can't be reanimated by Goryo's Vengeance), and the second copy of Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon topping the list of potential cuts. 
  • The sideboard is also pretty rough. While all of the weird "Dragons matter" cards are on theme flavor-wise, they likely aren't the best options in our deck. We really struggled against graveyard hate, so having more answers to things like Scavenging Ooze and discard to fight through counters and combo would be helpful.
  • So, should you play Ur-Dragon Reanimator? This is a hard one to answers. Clearly, the answer is no if your goal is to regularly post a winning record, but the deck is fun and extremely powerful when we get the right draws, so it could be a reasonable option for an FNM if you're looking for something spicy and different (although the extremely expensive mana base makes Ur-Dragon Reanimator a difficult deck to play just for fun). Basically, Ur-Dragon Reanimator is super cool and occasionally very powerful as well but isn't consistent enough to win on a regular basis.

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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