When I started playing Magic, I was always among the youngest people in the room. At this point I'm more of the grizzled veteran (and my appearance has changed to match), but I still haven't completely adjusted to the reality that many people have no memory of Magic from the early- and mid-2000s, or even later.
Today's deck harkens back to one Grand Prix Columbus 2007, when Flash was paired with Protean Hulk in Legacy to form an utterly absurd combo that was quickly banned afterward. To this day I would argue that Owen Turtenwald's greatest tournament finish is taking second that weekend with Goblins.
Protean Hulk was meant to be a cool value creature for green, but as it turns out, if it dies, you can win the game. You simply search for Body Double and Viscera Seer with the trigger, copy Protean Hulk with Body Double, sacrifice it, find Reveillark and Mogg Fanatic, ping your opponent with Mogg Fanatic, sacrifice Reveillark, return Mogg Fanatic and Body Double, now copying Reveillark, and proceed to alternate sacrificing Mogg Fanatic and Body Double, returning them to the battlefield and dealing a point of damage to your opponent.
It's baffling how Wizards of the Coast missed that one.
We don't have access to Flash in Modern, but Footsteps of the Goryo, cousin of the well-known Goryo's Vengeance, works just as well, provided we get our creature into the graveyard. Enter Faithless Looting and Cathartic Reunion, but also Taigam's Scheming, which digs harder, fills the graveyard, and fixes your draws, albeit in an underpowered package.
It's a fairly cheap combo with few moving parts, and Through the Breach provides a nice backup combo enabler and Woodfall Primus as a backup creature to cheat onto the battlefield. So why isn't it dominating Modern?
Well, you need to be able to search for the various small creatures from your library, so drawing your only piece is a big problem. As such, you need to devote lots of deck space to have redundant pieces of the combo, which limits your ability to include protection spells and to sideboard effectively. There are too many pieces to effectively transform into a different strategy, so you have to hope Plan A is good enough.
That rigidity has kept the deck on Modern's fringe, but its raw power and speed are not to be underestimated. Most players don't like feeling helpless as often as this deck makes them, but if you embrace it, don't let the fear stop you, and find a tournament where graveyard hate will be less prevalent, no deck will reward you more.
- 2 Body Double
- 1 Mogg Fanatic
- 4 Protean Hulk
- 2 Reveillark
- 4 Simian Spirit Guide
- 2 Viscera Seer
- 2 Woodfall Primus