List originally based on:

The Goal: Outvalue our opponents by obtaining card advantage by drawing a lot of cards and seeing more cards than them.

Card Selections:


4x Heartless Summoning: I feel like it’s important to start here because this is the engine of the deck. The entire purpose of the summonings is to set up explosive turn three and four plays. We run a lot of three to five drops, and Heartless Summoning allows us to pump out creatures, which allow us to play a lot of lands each turn and generate significant card advantage.

4x Utopia Sprawl: I'm surprised at how long it took me to convince myself that this card is necessary for this deck to function. This sort of acts as our Heartless Summonings 5-8. A problem that I have had with this deck in the past is that if we don't draw Heartless Summoning our games can be somewhat anemic. We resemble a sort of lame GW Value deck in those instances, and that is not where we want to be. Sprawl gives us another way to ramp into our high-value creatures more consistently.


1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking: I originally did not like this card in the deck because it's only a 0/1 with Heartless Summoning, but Azusa is the most efficient card in modern at the whole "play extra lands" thing.

2x Ob Nixilis, the Fallen: This is our most efficient finisher in the deck. With the amount of extra lands we can play each turn, it is not uncommon for us to be playing two fetch lands the turn Ob enters, making our opponent losing 12 life. If you need more proof of the power of Ob, check this link:

2x Oracle of Mul Daya: Being able to play lands off the top as well as see the top card for the purposes of planning activating our clues allows us to make the best use of our mana each turn.

3x Ramunap Excavator: This is probably the second most important card in the deck behind Heartless Summoning (and maybe Tireless Tracker). The ability to make land drops regardless of whether or not lands are drawn is vital to the deck, as well as the ability to lock our opponent out of lands with recurring Ghost Quarter every turn. I would not cut Ramunap for any reason.

3x The Gitrog Monster: The other 5 mana finisher in the deck, Gitrog acts both as a beater to end the game in a hurry and as a value engine, drawing a significant amount of cards through the use of Horizon Canopy, Ghost Quarter and Fetch Lands. It pairs very nicely with Ramunap Excavator, and with Heartless Summoning we can tempo this out on turn three.

4x Tireless Tracker: This is the most consistent card advantage engine in the deck. We want to play Tracker on turn 3-4 every game. The great interaction with the card is being able to play it for one mana on turn three with a turn two summoning, play a land and crack a clue in the same turn as well. Being able to pump out clues turns our trackers into finishers as well.

1x Underrealm Lich: I want to try the scary boi out for a bit once GRN comes out. In testing, it has been a great way for us to dig for Ob Nix or just kind of go crazy drawing cards when paired with The Gitrog Monster. The one problem I'm finding is that it is very difficult to get off the bus once you're already on it, so make sure you don't accidentally deck yourself with him. This flex spot has been occupied in the past by Vizier of the Menagerie, Nissa, Vastwood Seer  , Rhonas the Indomitable, and a third Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, which I think are all good choices as well.

3x Wayward Swordtooth: This card imitates Exploration that is able to attack late game through the help of clues letting us reach the amount of permanents necessary to ascend.

Instants and Sorceries

4x Assassin's Trophy: Friendship ended with Abrupt Decay. Assassin's Trophy is my new best friend. In all seriousness, this new toy we have received from Guilds of Ravnica is godsent and should be an auto 4-of in every green-black deck in the modern format. It is an incredible tool for any fair matchup as well as it is a powerhouse against tron as well as almost all the sideboard cards brought in against us such as planeswalkers and graveyard hate (save Surgical Extraction).

2x Collective Brutality: This is our second most versatile piece of interaction, allowing us to strip a counterspell away from control, bolt some birds, or pad our life total against aggro. It also does double duty with letting us pitch extra unneeded copies of Heartless Summoning, along with pitching lands to our graveyard for Ramunap Excavator to replay later, or to get draw triggers off of Gitrog.

3x Fatal Push: This is the best removal spell in modern. There's not really much else to say. If you're playing a non-Living End black deck in modern, you should play Fatal Push.


8x Fetch Lands: These are the best lands in the format, and they're even better in our deck with us running a lot of landfall spells as well as creatures that give us value for putting lands into our graveyard.

5x Forest 3x Swamp 2x Overgrown Tomb: We run a lot of basic lands in this deck because we want to be able to fetch for basics rather than shock lands in order to preserve our life total, as well as we don't want to run out of basics because we fetch a lot each game as well as we activate our Ghost Quarters targeting ourselves a lot of the time. This also protects us against Blood Moon a bit, as it is a common sideboard card brought in against us.

4x Ghost Quarter: Ghost Quarter acts both as a card advantage engine by allowing us to get more landfall triggers form Tireless Tracker and Ob Nixilis (as well as triggers from The Gitrog Monster), as well as it allows us to lock our opponents out of the game by replaying Ghost Quarters with Ramunap Excavator and targeting our opponent's lands. This card is bread and butter for the deck and I would not cut it for anything.

2x Horizon Canopy: This card is another way we are able to generate a significant amount of card advantage with the deck. Since we have Ramunap Excavator as well as a lot of ways to play many lands per turn, Canopy allows us to keep drawing cards and generating advantage at a low cost in both deck construction and in-game.


1x Chameleon Colossus: There are a large number of Blackcleave Cliffs decks running around modern nowadays, and Chameleon Colossus is a way to fight against those. I'm skeptical that it's any good against Mardu Pyromancer since they can chump block it for weeks, but I really like it against the Junds and Hollow Ones of the world.

2x Engineered Explosives: I'm back on EE after Ratchet Bomb so terribly disappointed me. Being able to play this on turn one or turn ten and have it be solid in both of those scenarios immediately is a critical upside that Ratchet Bomb does not have.

1x Grafdigger's Cage: This is mostly meant to hate out Hollow One decks as well as dredge, but it also has application against Collected Company and Chord of Calling decks.

2x Grazing Gladehart: I know I'm going to get some flak for this one, but let me explain: This card is a house against aggro decks when you are able to pick up 2+ landfall triggers. Our gameplan post-board against aggro is to hold off the early game with Fatal Push and Collective Brutality and make it to a point of the game where the value generated from our creatures starts running away with the game. Gladehart essentially becomes a creature that must be answered before we can be killed, or else it can easily start gaining us 4+ life per turn.

1x Liliana, the Last Hope: Good at grinding with Control and Midrange decks, as well as it helps us not get rolled by decks with a lot of x/1 flying creatures such as Spirits and Lingering Souls decks.

1x Lost Legacy: This is, admittedly, a bit of a pet card of mine. I refuse to play a black deck in this format without running it on sideboard. It is probably our best piece of interaction against any of the combo decks in the format. It hits Ad Nauseam, Gifts Ungiven, Empty the Warrens + Grapeshot , Living End, Scapeshift, and Primeval Titan. There is also argument for bringing it in when our opponent has All Is Dust and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, but I prefer to be the aggressor in that matchup and try to lock them out with our Ghost Quarters rather than with our spells.

1x Maelstrom Pulse: Like Abrupt Decay, we're bringing this in when our opponent runs a lot of permanents we want to remove.

2x Obstinate Baloth: With Jund and Hollow One being popular right now, Baloth has been really good at being a free spell. It’s also a good hedge against aggro decks, which we have trouble with if we don’t have Heartless Summoning down on turn two.

2x Scavenging Ooze: This is another way to combat graveyards in our deck, as well as it is helpful in the grindy matchups where we want to shave down a couple of our Heartless Summonings, such as Jund and Control.

1x Thragtusk: Thragfather is a versatile sideboard card that shores up aggro and midrange matchups. Having the ability to drop Thragtusk on turn three with the help of Heartless Summoning can swing a game fast.

1x Whisperwood Elemental: This card is a house in grindy matchups. It is always a great topdeck, it gets out of hand in a hurry, and it protects us from sweepers such as Damnation, Wrath of God, Supreme Verdict, and Day of Judgment. Being able to land this on turn three as well can seal the game in a hurry in some situations.

Cards I have considered and why I don't run them:

Courser of Kruphix: This is another card I am recommended often with this deck, and normally I'm 100% on board with it in Valuetown/Lands strategies, however it is not very good when paired with Heartless Summoning. GG for a 1/3 with Courser's effect is not good, to put it plainly. It dies to bolt against burn, which is normally where Courser shines the most, it does not allow us to play extra lands (although being able to play from the top is a great effect), and it can't really attack profitably at any point in the game. My suggestion: don't play this card if you're running Heartless Summoning.

Retreat to Kazandu: At face value, this card seems really good against aggro decks. After all, we are commonly having 4-6 lands enter the battlefield on any given turn. After playtesting it, however, it has been coming down on turn three, sometimes after we resolved a Heartless Summoning on turn two, and by that point we have already been completely buried by the aggro deck and there is no chance for coming back, even if we manage to gain 4-6 life on turn 4.

Field of Ruin: Having to pay two mana for Ghost Quarter is not good enough in this deck, even with the payoff that it does not put us back a land. We typically do not have difficulty spending our mana every turn with running clues and all, so Field of Ruin is not really necessary.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: This is a card I have been back and forth on. What I like about it is that we are able to tap our Fetches and Horizon Canopies without losing life, as well as our forests all become Bayou. The reason I have not added Urborg is because I don't think it is better than any other land in the deck. I think it requires more playtesting.

Anyways, that's about all I have to say. I hope you like the deck, let me know anything you would change, I'm always open to comments and criticism.


Updates Add

I will be playing 4 Assassin's Trophy in the mainboard over the Abrupt Decays and Maelstrom Pulse. I just started up law school so I don't have the most time to write anything about that decision, but it's an easy one. Assassin's Trophy is going to be the best GB card that's legal in modern, it's not even remotely close.

+4 Assassin's Trophy

-1 Collective Brutality

-2 Abrupt Decay

-1 Maelstrom Pulse

The sideboard also needs some tuning as well as other random cards need to be shifted around after this change, but, again, I don't really have the time to update the primer with these changes unfortunately. I'm hoping to get around to it around winter break.


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Date added 7 months
Last updated 1 week
Key combos

This deck is not Modern legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Illegal cards Assassin's Trophy , Underrealm Lich
Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.72
Tokens 1/1 City's Blessing, Clue
Folders Current Stuff, cool stuff, Modern, Modern Brews, Mdn deckz, OPCIONAL, Decks I Like, Decks, Modern Primers, Modern (Heartless Summoning), See all 12
Top rank #24 on 2018-03-07
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