Do you remember Treasure Cruise?
The innocent-looking common with the seemingly absurd mana cost?
You know, the card that's banned in every reasonable format?
The card that pushed this deck right to the top of Legacy events from the first week of Khans of Tarkir being legal?
Well, I remember it, and I see Treasure Cruise in our future. The only difference is that it's looking a bit more devilish:
There's a reason that Treasure Cruise is banned in basically all formats, as it is comically easy to get some cards in your graveyard and then pay a single blue mana to draw three. No one in the history of Magic has ever suggested that Ancestral Recall is anything close to a fair Magic card, so Treasure Cruise getting the axe makes a lot of sense.
There are of course some key differences, however, and these make for more prohibitive deckbuilding restrictions as well as upsides:
1. You must discard your hand before you draw your three cards.
This, of course, is the most problematic of all of Bedlam Reveler's attributes, and the one that most dictates how you must play Bedlam Reveler. You are going to want to cast all of your cheap spells before casting Bedlam Reveler, which means that your spells need to be cheap and proactive. Counterspells usually are not going to work well, and priority goes to things like cheap discard and burn.
2. You must play a lot of instants and sorceries spells to get the cost reduction.
While fetchlands and dead creatures could fuel Treasure Cruise, Bedlam Reveler specifically wants to see instants and sorceries in the graveyard. This means you are going to need to play a high density of instants and sorceries, and preferably ones that cantrip. This pushes us towards playing blue, but away from counterspells because of how their reactive nature plays with Bedlam Reveler.
3. You get a very respectable 3/4 body with prowess.
This is a pretty big upside, as you get a body that battles very well and is immune to both Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay. Prowess is naturally an excellent ability in a deck full of spells, and the three cards you draw should do a lot to power up Bedlam Reveler well the following turn.
We can see that while Bedlam Reveler packs a ton of power into a single card, it also poses some significant deckbuilding restrictions. We need to play a high density of spells, and weneed to make sure we can play them all very quickly so we can start casting cheap Bedlam Revelers as soon as possible. This path leads us to cantrips, and then to proactive spells that either offer burn, removal, or discard.
Bedlam Reveler is the early-game deck's late-game card and allows you to play a late-game power threat as early as turn 3 or 4 while still maintaining a fantastic early-game. Just like Treasure Cruise, it can power and refuel fast starts, and allow an aggressive deck to play into longer games when necessary with the best of them.
When Treasure Cruise was first printed, U/R Delver was the natural home for it.
The same is true for Bedlam Reveler:
The decklist is almost beautiful in its simplicity, melding Burn with a cantrip / Delver of Secrets package that comes out as a clean list of ten playsets, a pair of Faithless Looting, and eighteen land. With the decklist being so simple, it is pretty easy to break the deck down into its component parts.
Monastary Swiftspear may see play in Burn decks already, but Burn's Monastary Swiftspear is nothing compare to Devil Delver's Monastary Swiftspear. You will routinely have 4/5 Swiftspears attacking on turn 3 with this deck, and it is by far the best creature in the deck.
Like Monastary Swiftspear, Delver of Secrets plays fantastically with all the spells in the deck and provides you one of the best early threats in the format. Delver of Secrets is not as reliable in Modern as it is in Legacy, but the flying Wild Nacatl is everything a Burn deck has ever wanted.
Last, we have Burn staple Goblin Guide rounding out our early turns. Given that you are playing burn spells and trying to end the game very quickly, Goblin Guide is a fine choice that often ends up being a burn spell/creature split card. Goblin Guide is one of the best aggressive red cards ever printed, and when it's the third-best one-drop in your deck, that's a great sign.
What requires more introduction is playing Lava Spike in a non-Burn deck. Lava Spike does exactly what this deck wants to do: put instants and sorceries in the graveyard in a proactive way while trying to kill your opponent as quickly as you can. Eight Lightning Bolts plus twelve early creatures and a bunch of card draw gives this deck a ton of reach, and sometimes you've just gotta go upstairs.
Vapor Snag is the most surprising of the three burn spells, but perhaps one of the best. I can't say enough good thing about Vapor Snag in this deck, which acts like a mini-Searing Blaze that can plow the road for your creatures. The card disadvantage is often mitigated by Bedlam Reveler, and against decks light on creatures, you can use it to protect your own creatures as well. You can even bounce Bedlam Reveler for another go-around if the game goes really long!
Your twelve-pack of cantrips helps to fuel the deck, smoothing out your draws, powering up your prowess creatures, turning on Delver of Secrets, and of course setting you up for Bedlam Reveler early and often.
Gitaxian Probe is perhaps the best of the three, and it plus Thought Scour can lead to some very fast Bedlam Revelers. Serum Visions is as good as ever and can ensure that you are finding what you need over the next few turns to end the game.
The oddball in this sea of playsets is the pair of Faithless Looting. Faithless Looting is not a very powerful card in the abstract, but it helps to fuel Bedlam Reveler while also providing you flood insurance.
Bedlam Reveler has one last tension, and that is that you only want to draw one at a time. Any extra Bedlam Revelers in your hand will just be discarded to the first one, and therefore wasted. However, after turn 3, Bedlam Reveler is the card you want to draw literally every turn. This means you really want to play four, and sometimes you are just going to have to deal with the fact you will draw two.
Faithless Looting helps to mitigate this problem, while also helping you set up your first Bedlam Reveler in the early-game. While Faithless Looting is card disadvantage, Bedlam Reveler will get you those cards right back. Sometimes you can have a problem of flooding in the mid-game also if your cantrips hit too many lands, and Faithless Looting on either the first casting or flashback can help to clear out those extra lands.
This deck wants every land to tap for red and blue, as you are jam-packed with one-mana spells of both colors. As such, the full playset of Steam Vents is absolutely necessary, and you'd rather just draw a Steam Vents and play it untapped than have to fetch for one.
The trio of Sulfur Falls may look a bit awkward if you open a hand where it is your only land, but the benefit of being a painless two-color land starting on turn 2 is just too high to ignore. The deck deals a reasonable amount of damage to itself with Gitaxian Probes and fetchlands, and just one Sulfur Falls saving you life can be the difference in a race.
If only there was a U/R Seachrome Coast!
While the maindeck is extremely lean and impressive, your sideboard does suffer by only having access to blue and red spells.
You do have a variety of good cards to bring in against various decks, but aside from Grafdigger's Cage and perhaps the Spell Pierce / Negate split, none of them are the haymakers you'd usually look for in good Modern sideboard cards.
Regardless, you've got answers to many of the things that may get in your way in a Modern event. Pillar of Flame can deal with Kitchen Finks, Voice of Resurgence, and other early creatures; Searing Blaze is a fantastic burn card that's just too clunky for the maindeck; Molten Rain helps against slower decks and land-based combo decks; Skullcrack deals with lifegain; and so on.
Against combo decks you have the ability to shave down on your Bedlam Revelers and some of your cantrips and just bring in some counterspells and kill them as quickly as possible. Combo decks are going to have a hard time beating what essentially ends up being burn with counterspells.
Decks like Jund are also going to have a huge problem with your Bedlam Revelers, as they can't take it with Inquisition of Kozilek and can't kill it with Lightning Bolt or Abrupt Decay. The card draw should allow you to refuel up in the mid-game and power through whatever they are packing.
Almost at the Invitational
I wasn't confident in the decklist enough to run it in #SCGINVI last weekend, but I did play it in the Modern Open the following day. I lost my last round playing for Day 2, but all of my losses felt very close.
I know Bedlam Reveler is a busted Magic card, but it's also not a simple Magic card. Finding the right shell is difficult, but when it is done, I expect big things.
And ride we did to a 4-1 finish:
The deck was awesome, and as long as it didn't get Lightning Bolted, Mantis Rider did some work.
This week we have a new challenge to choose:
As always, the poll will end at 6:00pm Eastern time, which will give me two hours to construct my deck and ready the stream. Then you can tune in at 8:00pm for the start of the stream. I will be playing an entire League with the challenge deck, tweaking it a bit, and then playing another League right after.
How many wins can I get? Cast your vote and tune in to my stream at 8:00pm tonight to see how it goes!