5-0 Modern Constructed League by Rednose47

Creatures (22)
3 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Noble Hierarch
2 Qasali Pridemage
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Wild Nacatl

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Tamiyo, Field Researcher

Instants and Sorceries (13)
4 Tribal Flames
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Lightning Helix
3 Path to Exile

Lands (21)
2 Arid Mesa
1 Blood Crypt
2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
1 Path to Exile
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Dispel
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Natural State
1 Negate
1 Spellskite
1 Timely Reinforcements
2 Unified Will
2 Wheel of Sun and Moon

We sure are looking at a crazy jumble of cards here, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen Tribal Flames at the top tables, but I hope this iteration of Domain Zoo can bring it back. There’s a lot going on here, from Qasali Pridemage, to Tamiyo, Field Researcher, to Thalia, Heretic Cathar. But, with so much going on in this Domain Zoo deck, I think a great place to start is the four-ofs in the deck.

Wild Nacatl


The best card in the deck, a primary turn one threat that can represent almost 6-9 damage per game if unanswered. With the domain shell, Nacatl is going to be a 3/3 on turn 2 almost 100% of the time. One of the best shells for Nacatl is this deck, which is a major draw to it for many players.

Lightning Bolt


It’s Lightning Bolt, which is beyond good for this deck to have to clear blockers, but above all is the most efficient removal and burn spell in the entire format, so playing less than four would be a huge mistake.

Noble Hierarch


While obviously just an insane card, it enables extremely powerful turn two plays with this deck, such as turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft. Exalted is an extremely useful ability to have in close games, and Noble Hierarch can also help remedy some of the pricks of this sharp manabase. Noble Hierarch really ties this otherwise all-over-the-place deck together in many meaningful ways.



The way the deck is set up, a turn 2 Goyf is usually going to have some legs, especially on the draw. It’s a great value creature and it gives the deck a heavy beater for the best value in the format.

Tribal Flames


This card is… naughty if your manabase can support it being 4+ regularly. This card gives the deck extreme reach and can kill creatures that jump in the way of your blockers. Tribal Flames is one of the extremely compelling reasons to play a deck like this and I love it in this list.

Now let’s look at the solid 2 or 3 ofs that I think are really notable.

Snapcaster Mage


In my opinion, this is a great addition to the Domain Zoo deck. An Ambush Viper at worst, it flashes back the most important cards in your deck and can be played off of Noble Hierarch, and synergizes well with what the deck is already doing. 4 would be too many, because it doesn’t actually play into the gameplay in the most ideal way. However, it’s still a great inclusion.

Geist of Saint Traft


This ghost and his accompanying angel are the hardest hitters around. It’s so powerful against many decks on turn 3, and attacks for seven if played off of a Noble Hierarch on turn two, which is extremely threatening and enables some very powerful early kills. Geist is a must-have in this deck.

Qasali Pridemage


There are an abundance of relevant enchantments and artifacts in this format, so I want this guy on my team. I love the 2-of inclusion here, as we’ve talked about the power of Exalted in this deck, but we don’t want too many 2/2s for 2 in this deck.

Path to Exile and Lightning Helix

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These cards are the standard “good” removal in Modern, so I wouldn’t dare change much, but I would maybe try and get a third Helix into the deck, because life is more important then ever in Modern, especially when your lands are dealing you massive amounts of damage.

Now, lets look at the flex cards, and I’ll tell you why I think they are good or bad.

Grim Lavamancer


What is this card doing in this deck? You don’t have enough access to red to play a red spell and leave Lavamancer up each turn, so its power is greatly diminished. Just taking a moment to glance at our manabase shows us that this Grim Lavamancer is not something we want anywhere close to our deck. Get outta here Grim Lavamancer! I love you, but not here.

Thalia Heretic Cathar


This is a great one-of. It fills the under-occupied 3 mana slot, looks good off of Noble Hierarch, and helps gain tempo. I probably wouldn’t play a second, but I do like this one-of.

Tamiyo, Field Researcher


I actually really like this inclusion. She helps you gain card advantage if necessary, but also break through blockers and threaten the board immediately. I think this is a great inclusion as a two-of. I really like how it plays with the manabase, and turn two Geist of Saint Traft into turn three Tamiyo is going to be hard to come back from for our opponents, and being able to represent that early kill with some of the more common cards in our deck is where we want to be in this Modern format.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance


Go read one of the 1000 articles about why this card is bad in standard. Then say to yourself, is it going to be any better in Modern? The answer is an unfortunate no. The double red is costly, the payoff is low, and the power level is not as high as the other cards in this deck.

Overall, I think this is a sweet deck, and one that I highly suggest you pick up and take to your next Modern event. Stay on the lookout for mirror matches, though, as I expect this deck to make its presence felt in Modern sooner rather than later.

See you next week.

Want a more controlling deck in Modern? Read my article last week for a new style of control in Modern that I think could become a major player.


Note from the editor: Happy birthday, Charlie!

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