This is a repost of my first article.
Greetings, I am Michael Reed and I have been playing Magic since the second Mirrodin block. I have played Standard, Commander/EDH, and Modern as my main formats. My favorite is Modern so you will find most if not all my posting on Modern.
Fresh Format or Brick Wall?
I am always excited about new blood flowing into the new Modern when a set is released. I am rather disappointed by bannings when there is nothing unbanned in return.
The cards floating around in Modern right now are insanely powerful. Yes, I am aiming directly at the Eldrazi who has presumably taken over Modern, even when the story line said they were defeated. Immediately after my Splinter Twin was banned I brewed up a Grixis Delver deck and though it ran fine I didn’t feel it could stand up to the new bullies in Modern which happened to be Eldrazi.
Eldrazi taking over the format had me consider what are the best ways to deal with this new threat, and how can we interact and defeat such a mind blowing fast deck. The answer is….
Enter Jeskai Ascendancy!
I know everyone has seen and heard of this monstrosity if you have played any Modern in the last two years. You also know of its death by the WotC ban of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time. So why dust off the old skeleton?
Because you want to play magic and win without caring what your opponent is doing, playing, or disrupting. Playing this deck kind of reduces them to that annoying kid in school who teachers just pass to get them out of their class.
The deck consistently wins on turn three even against it’s worst match ups thanks to Jalen Christian who can vouch for that, and probably never will play test the deck or my brews again. So why the re-emergence? Well Marc Tobiasch had a Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch and he finished with at least a 6-3-1 record. Marc’s build gave homage to the old Rich Shay & Josh Utter-Leyton decks which birthed the World Championship decks that Tom Marttell ran in 2014 with ChannelFireball. Marc’s addition did include Snapcaster Mage and Monastery Mentor with adjustments, don’t tell him but I did not like his deck at all.
Another reason I bring up Jeskai Ascendancy is Eric Froehlich is another who recently put up a deck list that did manage to go undefeated in a Modern Daily that looked an awful like the former creator’s build of the deck minus the cruise of course. Again I did not entirely like his deck either but it is better than Marc’s I admit.
With renewed interest in the deck I decided to give Jeskai Ascendancy in Modern a second chance, my first one stayed tried and true to Tom Marttell and I never could win with it. So with this renewed hope where do I go, which version do I build?
The versions floating around are various by the following:
One is the closest to the original build and only run the four Fatestitcher and include Izzet Charm and doesn’t even run green mana dorks. It is card for card the same deck except it runs Visions of Beyond. I said no to this.
Second is the same way but cuts the Izzet Charm and a few cantrips and adds green for Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. Again it sticks to the idea of Fatestitchers and Faerie Conclave finish with a new card introduced called Ideas Unbound. Close but not yet.
Third is Marc’s list from Pro Tour and I have already mentioned the differences with that deck to the others and my opinion.
Fourth is Froehlich’s who probably comes the closest to the deck that you will see below.
Fifth and final version goes to the one I settled on. I do not know who created it or how he/she came to build it, but this is the version I decided to stick with and build and I have been pleased by it’s results. 5 Color Ascendancy why be stingy choose all the colors.
Jeskai Ascendancy Deck List
1 Guttural Response
2 Swan Song
1 Scarscale Ritual
1 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Painful Truths
3 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Slaughter Games
1 Wear // Tear
1 Flesh // Blood
75 Cards Total
Total Cost: 410.12
Object of the deck is get a Birds of Paradise on the field turn one or Sylvan Carytid on the field turn two. Play Ascendancy the following turn or Glittering Wish to get the Ascendancy. This deck can go off as early as turn two; however, turn three is the consistent combo roughly 45% of the time I have found so far. The deck generally goes off turn four or five at the latest.
The Turn One
You may ask a few questions so lets break down some of the cards starting with creatures. Birds of Paradise is a fragile card and dies quickly to anything that sneezes in it’s direction. We all realize this ;however, it has something Noble Hierach does not and that is evasiveness. Birds has flying which means he is harder to block if he sticks to the field. Slyvan Carytid has Defender why play him? The answer is simple he has Hexproof which means he can just as easily combo off and have you use Flesh // Blood on your opponent without him be bolted to death or Doomblade, Go for the Throat, Vapor Snag, you see where I am going with this right in addition there is really not a two drop mana dork that can really replace it. Now to Fatestitcher a whopping four drop! How can we even play the thing when we sometimes don’t even make it to three lands! Well the beauty of Jeskai Ascendancy allows us to pitch him and unearth him so that we have a haste creature. Even if someone counters him or kills him guess what we get to do again…Unearth. He is resilient and nothing short of a Path to Exile or Anger of the Gods (which your opponent should never be able to cast on a unearthed Fatestitcher) he will reign supreme.
Now to the spells. All of the spells speak for themselves when it comes to cantrips. Only ones that need explaining is possibly Glittering Wish which is a big win con for you if you do not have a Jeskai Ascendancy in hand. When it says from outside of the game is means strictly from your sideboard. It doesn’t mean rummage through your opponents bag and flop down Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker from the Duel Decks just your sideboard. Cards I left out that I considered were Expidite and Slip Through Space. Expidite is nice and gives haste but I always have a main win con from Fatestitcher which has haste. Also Slip Through Space is nice and may become a one of in the future just it did not make the cut cause I simply didn’t see a spot for it.
The land base is the last thing I want to discuss and I frankly want to say is you need to pray to God or whatever higher power you believe in even if it is Tom Cruise, because if your opponent lands a Blood Moon before you can put out a mana dork you might as well scoop you cannot win against it if you do not have mana dorks. The land base is also an extremely painful process of your deck. You take a lot of damage from it so you will need those Leyline of Sanctity against Burn game 2 and 3. I hope some of you enjoyed the Talladega Nights reference.
Do not sideboard any multi-colored cards.
The other major decks out there you do not need anything from the sideboard that you can’t get with Glittering Wish, or you simply are too fast for them to stop. I hope this is informative and helps you on your upcoming Modern tournaments.
Jeskai Ascendancy may not be the strongest deck in the format, but no one from outside your tabletop group would even consider seeing it at a tournament. The deck is extremely fun, and to be honest what is better than sitting there playing magic watching your opponent take a nap or cry in the corner as you become this unstoppable cantrip monster for 20 mins and have them realize they have at least two more games to deal with this deck. If you want a fun deck I would suggest this deck. It is fast, it is hard to disrupt and it is cringe worthy watching someone go off with it. Another reason to play this deck I truly believe that this deck is among the handful in the format that is faster than Eldrazi, and it simply doesn’t care what Eldrazi or anyone else is doing. I will warn you it is hard to pilot, it requires alot of dice and math. The deck is extremely unforgiving if you make an error. Until next time enjoy.
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