Mining Modern - Seismic Swans
This is why I love Modern.
It doesn't get any better than this, and Gracen Atkinson is basically my hero after winning the 2017 TCGplayer State Championship in Idaho with this beauty: Seismic Swans.
I'm going to be honest – I didn't know much about this deck coming in. The numbers in the original – some obviously budget choices – were made with knowledge I couldn't replicate, so I made a few very modest changes – namely, cutting one-ofs in the main deck like Lightning Bolt in favor of a few more Serum Visions. Here's what I played.
While I don't consider my “real” start in Magic to have come until Shards of Alara, technically my first-ever draft was triple-Shadowmoor. I remember seeing Swans of Bryn Argoll and being impressed by what a crazy little puzzle it was, and then I probably forgot about it and went back to not understanding damage on the stack or the difference between activated and triggered abilities. Or just jamming games with my 68-card black-red deck with no discernable theme beyond “cards I owned.” You know, the usual.
But not too long after that I began to actually follow Magic content online, and before long Seismic Swans was making the rounds in Extended. The deck may not be as good in Modern as it was in Extended then, but it's still pretty sweet.
Here's how it works – this can get pretty complicated, so stick with me.
We use Seismic Assault to throw lands at the Swans, drawing two cards for every land we chuck at it. We repeat the process until we've drawn enough lands to point them at the opponent's face instead.
The rest of the deck helps that happen. Molten Vortex is Seismic Assault 5-6. Serum Visions helps us find the key cards, and Day's Undoing ensures that we won't run out of cards in the deck. Ending the turn isn't such a big deal when you can just go off in the following upkeep when your opponent untaps.
Treasure Hunt is also pretty insane in this deck. Since we're running 42 lands (which, incidentally, is what Legacy Lands used to run; for a while it was simply known as “42 Land”), Treasure Hunt will almost certainly draw us a bunch of cards, and the probability is very high that the non-land it ends on will be a key card for us.
The sideboard allows access to protection for our combo while also allowing some interaction with opponents – but as was made clear in the videos I'm wholly unfamiliar with how you're supposed to sideboard here outside of bringing in Laboratory Maniac when your opponent will have something like Leyline of Sanctity to prevent your normal kill. It seems fine to cut up to a handful of lands from the deck, but there is a real danger in cutting so many that you can't reliably combo off, so tread carefully.
Overall, this deck was a blast to play, and the fact this could beat a bunch of top-tier decks on its way to winning the tournament sums up everything I love about Modern.
Thanks for reading,