Mining Modern - Jeskai Ascendancy (Videos)

Feature Article from Corbin Hosler
Corbin Hosler
11/27/2017 11:00:00 AM
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Sometimes what you need is a good, old-fashioned combo deck.

I'm not talking Storm. Storm is boring. Yeah, I get it, you cast Past in Flames and won by making the same Gifts Ungiven pile all the time.

I'm not talking Ad Nauseam. Cool, you assembled a two-card combo that wins the game at instant speed with counter protection. You did it.

No, I'm talking something much more complicated. Something much more far-fetched. Something that makes a lot more clicks on Magic Online.

I'm talking about Jeskai Ascendancy.

Jeskai Ascendancy is one of those cards just begging to be broken. It even made the Top 8 of a Standard Pro Tour back in Khans of Tarkir. It enjoyed a very brief stint in Modern with Gitaxian Probe, where it was sort of considered playable. And while Probe may be gone (R.I.P.), we now have Opt to fill in, and in some ways, it's even better than Probe was.

And this deck is very, very real.

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 Jeskai Ascendancy
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Jeskai Ascendancy does two things that seem very simple and unassuming up front – it loots and untaps your creatures every time you cast a noncreature spell. Given that decks with a lot of noncreature spells probably don't have, you know, a lot of creatures, this doesn't seem all that scary. But play against this deck a few times, and you'll never look at Sylvan Caryatid the same way.

The idea is this: get a mana dork in play, whether it's Birds of Paradise or Caryatid (or Fatestitcher, which we'll get to in a bit). Cast Jeskai Ascendancy with mana from those creatures. Then proceed to draw more cards and untap those creatures over and over, until you eventually win.

Fatestitcher is the truly busted one. You can mill it into the graveyard with either Faithless Looting or Jeskai Ascendancy itself, then Unearth it for a single mana. It comes in with haste, and immediately repays that mana by untapping a land. Given that the plan is to loop through the entire deck, you can reliably start the turn with zero Fatestitcher but end it with multiple thanks to the looting ability of Ascendancy.

Cast a one-mana cantrip, and suddenly you're in business – and this deck plays 17 of them. Manamorphose always nets you mana with mana creatures and Ascendancy in play. Ideas Unbound is just about the most busted draw spell they've printed since Ancestral Recall, and the single Shadow of the Grave does some truly degenerate things after a few activations of Ascendancy.

One mana creature allows you to dig through a lot of your deck, both from the Ascendancy triggers as well as the cantrips themselves. You'll find Fatestitcher as you do this, and once you two mana creatures in play, it's impossible to run out of mana while you're going off. View from Above is a random Conflux card that nonetheless plays an important role – with two mana creatures and an Ascendancy, it allows you to create infinite +1/+1 triggers by recasting it over and over, and you won't deck yourself since Ascendancy's loot trigger is a may.

So now we have infinitely large creatures, whether it be Fatestitcher, Birds of Paradise or Sylvan Caryatid. But how do we win if the opponent has blockers?

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 Glittering Wish
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Enter Glittering Wish. You may have noticed the deck only plays three Jeskai Ascendancy in the main deck, but there is a reason for that. Having access to four Glittering Wish means you essentially have seven copies of Jeskai Ascendancy in your deck, since one Ascendancy resides in the sideboard. Of course, the Wish sideboard contains a lot of other goodies you need from time to time, most notably Flesh // Blood, which allows your infinitely large Sylvan Caryatid to kill the opponent on the spot, even if they have infinite life or infinite blockers.

Of course, Glittering Wish also means you can grab Abrupt Decay when necessary, or Wear // Tear to take out a pesky Leyline of Sanctity. It also gives you access to countermagic in the form of Failure // Comply, which can also be used to mess up opponents who you know might have a Supreme Verdict or Damnation if they were to get another turn. Treasured Find is a fun one when needed, and Fiery Justice can wipe out a board of problematic creatures in a hurry.

All told, Jeskai Ascendancy is a glass cannon, but it's a hell of a powerful one. I've seen this deck win PPTQs in my area, and I had a lot of success with this online. It is a tricky deck to play mechanically, though, since there are so many triggers, so practice is a must whether you plan to take this to a tournament online or in paper.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88




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