Modern Roto Draft – Deck Review

With the draft finished, I thought we’d have a look at where the deck ended up and how the draft went.

First, here is the rough sketch of the deck:

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All of the cards are there. I may move a few things around or adjust the mana a bit, but this is the basic framework of what we came up with for the Modern Rotisserie Draft.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I don’t think it’s a ridiculous deck, but it’s well rounded and I think it can go toe-to-toe with any of the other decks. Early in the draft, after taking black cards and then Tarmogoyf, I envisioned a bit more of a “Rock” style deck. A grindy midrange deck that had a lot of answers while also being able to apply pressure. My deck didn’t quite end up there, though.

The deck morphed into more of a ramp deck, based on elves. Some of my choice grindy cards went to Sam and Chris, leaving me with the elf decision. I decided pretty early that I’d be taking the elves, but wasn’t sure how long I could float them for. As it turned out, I could float them for about as long as I wanted, because almost nobody else was interested in them. I figured I’d be fighting Chris for them as he had two swords and a bunch of good three drops, but he didn’t prioritize them as highly as me and I ended up with my pick of them for the most part.


So I have elves, but what am I ramping into? I tried to balance the threats out a bit. At the five slot I have these:


Batterskull was our first pick, and remains one of our better threats (and answers). It’s just good against almost every deck we’ll face.


Sidisi, Undead Vizier was a card I had my eye on from the early stages. Being an elf deck with a lot of ramp cards, finding big bombs to cast can be tricky. Sidisi does a great job of holding down the ground while searching up the right bomb, and works *so* well with mana elves as they become less useful later in the game.


The old Slimeball is one of my favorite cube cards to ramp into. You can set your opponent back on mana, cut them off from certain colors, and of course destroy pesky swords and enchantments.



Whisperwood Elemental is a powerhouse card that makes its own boardstate and also gives you some protection from sweeper effects. Really happy to have this guy on my side.

For six drops, I went with main man the Gravy Train:



The closing power on Grave Titan is such a trump versus any deck that doesn’t put a clock on you. This guy just ends the game in a few turns, and is relatively easy to cast as well. Against creature decks he does a great job of keeping the ground clogged up.

For big finishers, I’m going with two dominant, colorless, planeswalkers:


Karn Liberated, aka the Karnfather is a complete house. He comes down at massive loyalty, can take out problematic permanents, and is great at tearing apart opposing players hands as well. A great finisher, he does it all.



Ugin, the Spirit Dragon has really impressed me. I’m not sure how good he’ll be in this deck, but I’m willing to try it. The worst case scenario doesn’t feel that bad with Ugin. Though I will likely be taking him out against some of the decks I may face.


I have a pretty diverse suite of answer cards lined up here which I hope will give me game against all of my competitors. Part of the strength of this kind of deck is that many of our threats are also answers. Scavenging Ooze, Karn, Acidic Slime, Liliana of the Veil, Garruk Relentless, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon can all help mitigate certain strategies while also applying pressure to our opponent.

As far as direct answers go, we start things off with our hand disruption:


The best in the biz. Takes anything away making it great against essentially all decks.

4This might be better than Thoughtseize in some spots. In Modern Rotisserie I’d rather just have another Thoughtseize, but Inquisition is still fantastic.


Duress is maindeckable but I’ll likely start it in the board. When I do bring it in, I expect it will perform very well indeed.

For creature removal, we have a few variations on this:



We also have actual Doom Blade as well. I always feel like Doom Blade is underrated in cube style drafts. Considering that essentially nobody else is playing black at all, Doom Blade is exceptional in our deck.

A Little Help

One annoying thing about playing ramp decks like this is when you ramp out a threat quickly, but it’s then dealt with and you are left begging the top of your deck to provide you with some punch (and not some more elves). I tried to lightly incorporate some card advantage into the mix, mainly through these three cards:


Night’s Whisper is just cheap card draw that I can fit into my curve pretty easily. Nothing fancy; just cards.


I picked up Courser of Kruphix fairly early; earlier than I think its power level warrants. I felt like Chris may be interested in it, and I really wanted powerful three drops to cast after a turn one elf.



Oracle of Mul Daya is one of my favorite creatures ever. The virtual card advantage you get off of the extra lands flowing from the top of your deck to the battlefield is insane. Especially when you actually have places to put all that extra mana. Love this one.

Final Thoughts

A few cards that I wish I would have taken:


In some matchups Phyrexian Arena isn’t that great, but in the ones where it is, it’s *really* good. Like almost unbeatably so.


My plan of ignoring mana came together pretty well. I got two key mana fixers, but the one sticking point I have is that casting a turn three Liliana of the Veil won’t happen quite as often as I’d like. Urborg doesn’t help my opponents and would have been nice to have.



I didn’t want any untapped lands in the deck (mana elf on turn one can be really important), but I think my deck would be better with a Treetop Village in it. It gives you a place to put extra mana in the late game and can be really annoying for the control decks.

Overall I’m happy with the deck. I can’t wait to play it!



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