Hello everyone!

Because the current Standard format is pretty much solved and we are in a waiting period for the newest set, Rivals of Ixalan, I wanted to give everyone another scenario on what would happen if another card was to be unbanned in Modern, as a follow up to my article last week, which covered what Modern would look like if Bloodbraid Elf was unbanned.

Earlier this week, I was speaking to a friend, who said that Umezawa’s Jitte would be a safe unban in Modern. At first, I was blown away, as I regard the card as extremely oppressive, but as usual, the suggestion only got me brewing to discover whether I thought the unban would be safe or not.

To start, lets take a look at what Umezawa’s Jitte is played in in Legacy.

Death & Taxes by Michael Derczo at SCG Open Washington – 10th

Creatures (26)
4 Flickerwisp
4 Mirran Crusader
4 Mother of Runes
3 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Recruiter of the Guard
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Vryn Wingmare

Non-Creature Spells (11)
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Swords to Plowshares

Lands (23)
2 Cavern of Souls
3 Karakas
10 Plains
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
2 Containment Priest
2 Council’s Judgment
2 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Path to Exile
2 Rest in Peace
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Sword of War and Peace

Whenever I think of Jitte, this is the deck that comes to mind. While the deck only runs a single copy, it has the ability to tutor it up with Stoneforge Mystic, and once the equipment gets going, it can oftentimes prove too much for certain decks to handle. While Death & Taxes is at its most popular in Legacy, there are copies of it running around in Modern tournaments too. Take for instance Brian Coval’s winning list from the SCG Season One Invitational.

Death & Taxes by Brian Coval at SCG Invitational – 1st

Creatures (29)
4 Blade Splicer
4 Flickerwisp
4 Leonin Arbiter
2 Mirran Crusader
1 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Restoration Angel
1 Serra Avenger
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Thraben Inspector
1 Weathered Wayfarer

Non-Creature Spells (8)
4 Aether Vial
4 Path to Exile

Lands (23)
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Eiganjo Castle
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Horizon Canopy
9 Plains
4 Tectonic Edge

Sideboard (15)
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Dusk // Dawn
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Mirran Crusader
4 Relic of Progenitus
3 Stony Silence
2 Sunlance

While I do love me some 1-ofs, I love me some copies of Umezawa’s Jitte in my Modern deck much better. For my list, I would only make a few changes.

First, I want to cut the Weathered Wayfarer and Phyrexian Revoker. I think the list wants to jam Jitte as many times as possible, as it will almost always just be the best card in your deck, so I think we want three copies, with the fourth excluded so we don’t run into the legendary rule too often. The last cut is complicated, but my instincts tell me that Restoration Angel gets worse when we cut two creatures, so for now that is the cut I want to make. I think the rest of the list is perfect as it is, with powerful disruptive cards and Jitte making the beatdown plan even better.

Something else I want to try out is the Eldrazi and Taxes list that people have been trying to make work for a while.

Here is a recent list:

Mathi Lenaerts at M3 Masters Series – 5th

Creatures (30)
4 Eldrazi Displacer
1 Ethersworn Canonist
4 Flickerwisp
4 Leonin Arbiter
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Tidehollow Sculler
2 Wall of Omens
3 Wasteland Strangler

Non-Creature Spells (8)
4 Aether Vial
4 Path to Exile

Lands (22)
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Ghost Quarter
2 Plains
2 Shambling Vent
1 Swamp
1 Wastes

Sideboard (15)
3 Stony Silence
2 Rest in Peace
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Mirran Crusader
2 Kor Firewalker
2 Blessed Alliance
2 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Aven Mindcensor

While the first deck is fantastic in its consistency, this deck packs the more raw power in my opinion. The disruptive creatures coming out of this deck are also great beaters, and the deck features black for hand disruption and removal, along with colorless for the raw power of Thought-Knot Seer and the versatility of Eldrazi Displacer. Umezawa’s Jitte fits into this deck’s beatdown plan perfectly, and personally I want to get rid of the Wall of Omens for it. I see the synergy with Displacer, but the card isn’t consistent with the deck’s actual plan of disrupting and beating down. I actually am unsure of the last card to cut, but in reality, Jitte is so unreasonably busted that I’m sure there are no terrible choices. Maybe Wasteland Strangler is a little too cute for this meta, so one copy of it could be cut.

Overall, I think Death & Taxes and Hatebear decks are likely the best place you could jam Umezawa’s Jitte, but I could see it being put in a counters company list as well. That deck functions more as a combo deck right now though, so we would need it to go back to what the Abzan Melira deck was like in order to utilize Jitte to its full potential.

Another deck that could use Jitte to great success is Elves.

Charles McDaniel at Grand Prix Oklahoma City – 12th

Creature (34)
1 Vizier of Remedies
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
3 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
2 Elvish Visionary
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Dwynen’s Elite
4 Devoted Druid

Non-Creature Spells (9)
4 Collected Company
3 Chord of Calling
2 Lead the Stampede

Lands (17)
2 Windswept Heath
1 Westvale Abbey
3 Razorverge Thicket
1 Pendelhaven
4 Horizon Canopy
2 Forest
4 Cavern of Souls

Sideboard (15)
1 Tajuru Preserver
1 Stony Silence
1 Selfless Spirit
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Rest in Peace
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Path to Exile
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Fracturing Gust
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender

I don’t know how much I like the infinite mana combo in Elves, but I know for a fact I don’t want it in my Umezawa Elves deck. Having four of your two drops be 0/2s is a huge nonbo with the sword, and I want the deck to slant more aggressively when I’m playing 3-4 copies of Jitte. I’d up the Elvish Visionary count to 4, and add in three copies of Jitte. I don’t even know if keeping the white is worth it at this point, but I do like the versatility it gives your sideboard, and honestly, it only hurts the manabase a tiny bit, with Horizon Canopy improving the deck’s resilience.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article! Just to be clear, I am not advocating for an unban of Umezawa’s Jitte, as I think it would push creature decks over the top, (but maybe that’s not a bad thing?) merely exploring some of the cool things we could do with it if Wizards were to allow it back into the format. This weekend I am attending Grand Prix New Jersey, and have not been able to bring myself to play any more Ixalan Sealed Leagues. Instead, I will be jamming Holiday Cube because, after all, what fun are the holidays if you aren’t reanimating Elesh Norn on turn 3.

Before I go, let me leave you with this updated monstrosity from my last article that will hopefully never see the light of day.

Spirit Jund by Riccardo Monico

Creatures (11)
Dark Confidant
Tarmogoyf
Bloodbraid Elf

Non-Creature Spells (25)
Abrupt Decay
Fatal Push
Inquisition of Kozilek
Kolaghan’s Command
Liliana of the Veil
Maelstrom Pulse
Lightning Bolt
Thoughtseize
Lingering Souls
3 Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (24)
Forest
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Godless Shrine
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Temple Garden
Blooming Marsh

Sideboard (15)
Rule of Law
Stony Silence
Anger of the Gods
Bontu’s Last Reckoning
Thrun, the Last Troll
Grafdigger’s Cage
Ancient Grudge
Abrupt Decay
1 Surgical Extraction
Olivia Voldaren
2 Crumble to Dust
Scavenging Ooze

Ohhhh yeah.

Have a good week everyone!

Riccardo Monico

Are you getting excited for Rivals of Ixalan? Read this article from Jonah Gaynor where he goes over the spoilers that have him the most excited so far.

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