PSA: Walking Ballista + Arcbound Ravager is totally busted!!! 1.43 Average CMC decks with EXPLOSIVE power!!! Readd below and +1 if you agree!!!

Welcome to my new modular build for the ever-challenging modern format. One thing I love about modern is all the complicated interactions and explosive outcomes that you see in decks like dredge, lantern control, affinity and more.

This deck focuses on the ability modular and +1 counter distribution across artifacts. It's built such that there is an engine you can develop that allows for explosive damage that opponent's cannot withstand, and thanks to some new cards from Aether Revolt this combo is made much easier and more reliable.


Modular is a counter-centric ability printed in Darksteel and Fifth Dawn that, until now, has never really seen a viable archetype to be played in. Things are about to change with this deck now hitting the meta! With the accompaniment of a few newly released cards from Aether Revolt, Kaladesh, Origins and even Kahns (the first set released when I started playing Magic), we're now able to exploit the modular ability on SO many levels.

Starting off, modular allows our creatures to enter the battlefield with a +1 counter on it. This counter can be moved to another creature when the creature dies, and therefore creatures dying is not necessarily a bad thing for us. One of the ways we can abuse the modular ability is with the addition of Hardened Scales. Scales helps accelerate the deck's counter distribution, effectively allowing us to create massive Walking Ballistas, Arcbound Ravagers and Hangarback Walkers. What's more, since the effect from Hardened Scales is stackable we enjoy having as many copies as possible.

Another 1-drop such as Hardened Scales that the deck heavily abuses is Animation Module. Since all our creatures enter with +1's on them we now have an outlet to create additional creatures that can be used for blockers and feeding Arcbound Ravager.

WMC Modular

Arcbound Ravager, perhaps the most important card in the deck, provides us with a sac outlet to gobble up other creatures. When combined with Hardened Scales the Ravager can becomes absolutely MASSIVE in a hurry. Unused mana can be put to use at the end of each opponent's turn by sac'ing Servos to the Ravager and using the excess mana to create more Servos through Animation Module. There's NO shortage of utility for this deck between creating big metal beasts and small, efficient Servos.

Ravager and Hangarback Walker work together to provide one of two steady win conditions for the deck. Beefing up Hangarback is a great investment of resources for the deck. At the opponent's end step, we can sac the Hangarback to Ravager in order to create tons of flying attackers to bombard the opponent with. Next turn we attack the opponent with the thopters and choose an unblocked one to sacrifice Arcbound Ravager to in order to move it's counters at instant speed to do lethal damage.

The other intended win condition for the deck is to create a huge Arcbound Ravager in order to sacrifice it to Walking Ballista and then unload on the opponent. Once again, with the help of disposable Servos and other artifacts we can constantly be adding to Ravager's size. With Hardened Scales in the mix we can create lethal damage from Arcbound Ravager and Walking Ballista as early as turn 3. Don't believe me? Here's an example:

Turn 1: Darksteel Citadel, Mox Opal, Animation Module, tap mox for Hardened Scales.

Turn 2: Darksteel Citadel, Hangarback Walker, tap Animation Module for Servo.

Turn 3: land, Arcbound Ravager, Walking Ballista, sac Mox to Ravager. Sac Hangarback to Ravager (now 4/4), 2 Thopters are created, sac those to Ravager (now 8/8), sac servo to Ravager (now 10/10), sac Mox, Animation Module and Darksteel Citadels to Ravager now 18/18, sac Ravager to Ballista to make it 21/21 then unload.

WMC Others

Obviously most games you will not have a perfect hand such as this, however, turn 4 kills are quite common! We have a number of other cards in the deck to help it maintain tempo. Furthermore, in games where you cannot combo off we have enough creatures that are persistent enough to outlast an opponent. Next I will go over some of the other cards in the deck that make it tick so please read on.

WMC Spells

One thing that many combo-based decks lack is an ability to play a game without combo-ing off. What this means is that many combo-based decks are not resilient in tough situations or without good hands. Combo decks are usually all-in style decks, meaning they operate on a basis of high risk and high reward.

To the contrary, what we have here is a non-all-in style combo based-deck that is able to fight through games in a flexible, resourceful manner. Because of the shear volume of creatures that we can produce with Animation Module, the size we can achieve with Hardened Scales and the fact that our creatures can be manipulated to benefit other creatures when they die, we have a remarkably annoying and perplexing deck to play against.

Beyond this, we have a number of utility spells that help us establish and maintain tempo throughout our matchups. I have fitted the deck with a playset of Metallic Rebuke to help protect our creatures and our combo, or to interrupt opponent's shenanigans. Because this card is so new it completely catches the vast majority of opponents off guard. Traditionally, artifact based decks don't have a normal counterspell that they can comfortably run, and because of this we have a huge advantage equipping the deck with this spell.

I have also slammed a playset of Thoughtcast and Ancient Stirrings into the deck to help keep our hand full or to reliably find useful pieces. This deck in some ways resembles affinity in that it is capable of explosive starts and draining its hand quickly. Thoughtcast allows us to replace our hand frequently so that we do not dead-end after turn 2-3. Ancient Stirrings, on the other hand, helps us find missing or useful pieces during matchups. Regardless of whether you find the spell you're looking for or not, Ancient Stirrings will always be a useful spell to cast because you'll find an artifact or land.

Since the deck we're playing only runs 18 lands we need a spell like Ancient Stirrings to successfully make land drops. Moreover, we have access to 4 copies of Mox Opal, which acts as 19th-22nd mana sources in the early game and can be used to beef up Ravager in the late game.

WMC Sideboard

With sideboarding we have a collection of spells to help us maintain control of the game. Dispatch is used to remove threatening creautres. Abrupt Decay is used to remove non-land permanents such as Stony Silence, Ensnaring Bridge, Engineered Explosives, Liliana of the Veil, and any creatures that may be causing us harm. Nature's Claim is there to also provide more removal for things such as Stony Silence, Blood Moon and Engineered Explosives while also helping us battle our against decks like Lantern Control, Tron and Affinity. Since we can ambush the opponent, burn their creatures with Ballista, and reliably combo off without interference, we are not worried about the life our opponents gain from this spell. We are simply running it for cheap, reliable, instant-speed removal. Leyline of Sanctity helps protect us from Burn and Jund decks, which either deal us direct damage or attempt to make us discard important cards. It's instrumental in helping us win 2/3 matchups without having to worry. Lastly, Pithing Needle helps shut down planeswalkers, Scavenging Ooze, Qasali Pridemage and removal such as Ratchet Bomb and Engineered Explosives.

Overall, we are running a fast, strong deck that's capable of ripping apart opponents and leaving them confused in a matter of turns. That being said, modern is chocked full of so much good artifact hate that we have to play warily once sideboarding has been done. We need to play careful and win intelligently, which we have the ability to do with this complete mainboard and sideboard package.

If you have any questions or comments about the deck please comment. Thanks for reading and happy brewing! :)



In the past 24 hours this deck has climbed from 6th to 1st. Thanks for the support! Hopefully everyone is playtesting and enjoying the brew!

Comments View Archive

TheLoneDart says... #1

With a lot of the proposed changes I lose to modular edge that the deck has and shift more toward ravager affinity. And although I think that's a good deck, that's not what I wanted to make here. Thanks for comments and I'll let you know of any changes that are made. Cheers

February 8, 2017 10:16 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #2

Thoughtcast and Darksteel Citadel are now in the deck!

February 9, 2017 10:23 a.m.

Emzed says... #3

How confident are you that Glimmervoid won't backfire? Affinity plays a lot more cmc0 and cmc1 artifacts, and even that deck occasionally has trouble with early removal also killing Glimmervoid.

February 10, 2017 8:46 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #4

Emzed haven't had problems with it yet and i've been playing the deck nonstop since i made it. cheers

February 10, 2017 8:52 p.m.

Polupus says... #5

Great deck! +1

It's nice to see ravager used in a new way.

Bioshift might fit in here.. maybe

February 10, 2017 10:30 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #6

Polupus nice recommendation. I'll test it out as Arcbound Stinger's slot is a somewhat replacable. Cheers buddy

February 10, 2017 10:38 p.m.

Geoffrey1 says... #7

Hey! I don't play Modern, but if I did I would play THIS LIST!!!!!!!!! In fact I just might! +1

February 10, 2017 11:52 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #8

Geoffrey1 buddy. DO IT!!! Go have a time. Kick some ass chief this is a lot of fun !

February 10, 2017 11:59 p.m.

hardhitta71194 says... #9

Awesome, haven't seen a deck like this before. +1

February 11, 2017 12:15 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #10

hardhitta71194 thanks. I think it's the first of its kind. Stay tuned for some video playthroughs if you want to see it in action. Cheers!

February 11, 2017 12:25 p.m.

Sounds cool, I'll be looking forward to it!

February 11, 2017 12:29 p.m.

Polupus says... #12

tested this a little bit and I think you should swap an island or 2 for basic forest to protect yourself against Ghost Quarter and you'd have options when hit with Path to Exile.

another sac outlet besides ravager might be good too. Phyrexia's Core might work since it dodges Stony Silence

good luck on your further development!

February 11, 2017 6:27 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #13

Polupus thanks I'll text and change accordingly

February 11, 2017 6:48 p.m.

Grunyarth says... #14

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn't anywhere near the top 100 on all of tapped out. Being in the "tops" section is good and all (certainly better than I have ever done), but the top decks have like 2000 upvotes, it's insane (most of them are also joke decks but that's beside the point).

Otherwise this looks like a fun deck, +1!

February 13, 2017 10:10 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #15

Hey, yea Grunyarth, I understand it's not an all-time top deck, but if you look down on the right side it shows this is #4. I'm guessing this means decks posted by week or category. Cheers and thanks!

February 13, 2017 10:13 p.m.

mrbuech says... #16

I actually have a U/W deck similar to this, but I hadn't thought about adding Walking Ballista. It's a great idea. One thing I use as well is Steel Overseer. Another suggestion might be Efficient Construction to generate thopters every time you cast an artifact spell. Another thought might be Inexorable Tide if you added Inspiring Statuary.

February 14, 2017 10:09 a.m.

Emzed says... #17

The average CMC value given by tapped-out isn't a very relevant number in the case of this deck. While it would matter for cards like Dark Confidant, the only thing you are doing with your spells is casting them. With regards to that, Thoughtcast and Metallic Rebuke usually only cost you 1-2 mana instead of 5 and 3 respectively, and your two X-creatures costs 2 or 4, but never 0. Fortunately, in your case those costs reductions and increases cancel eachother out to some degree, but i still wouldn't read much into the value given here on the site.

February 14, 2017 10:48 a.m.

SaSSolino8 says... #18

this deck is pretty sweet

February 14, 2017 11:35 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #19

Emzed I have calculated an adjusted CMC for the deck at 1.24-1.43. This adjusts for Ballista and hangabback being cast for 2 mana, and thoughtcast and metallic rebuke being cast for 1 (1.24) and 2 (1.43). The range gives an accurate representation of the actual costs the deck incurs. Thanks for your comment!

February 14, 2017 11:55 a.m.

XVicarious says... #20

Have you thought about Metallic Mimic? It combos well with Animation Module.

February 14, 2017 11:59 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #21

XVicarious Yup I originally built the deck with metallic mimic in it but found that it was a target for removal with no secondary benefit and also it can only help constructs or servos, not both. It was replaced with hardened scales.

February 14, 2017 12:09 p.m.

SaSSolino8 says... #22

What about a single Blessings of Nature?

Also Sea Gate Wreckage doesn't seem that bad.

February 14, 2017 1:13 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #23

I had sea gate wreckage, academy ruins and inventors' fair in the deck when I made it but they're too slow. I replaced them with darksteel citadel to activate mox opal and help thoughtcast. SaSSolino8

February 14, 2017 1:17 p.m.

clayperce says... #24

Brilliant concept; +1 for sure!

It may be too slow, but I'm wondering if Ruins of Oran-Rief would be worthwhile as a one-of or two-of?

Do you have a feel yet for how it performs in various match-ups? Please keep us posted!

Draw well!

February 15, 2017 7:38 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #25

clayperce hey thanks man, i'll try out ruins to see how it works.

As for match ups, I've been playing this deck nonstop since I made it and have played against every single deck in the modern meta multiple times over. There's nothing it does poorly against. As a matter of fact, it shines most against control (esper, azorius) and aggro (8whack, zoo, etc) because of creature manipulation and token generation. Harder match up are against midrange decks like Jund and Eldrazi and Taxes, however, all you have to do is play smart and not make hasty decisions. All the sideboard pieces are there to shut down combos, remove artifact hate, remove threats, etc. I'm confident that if this deck were played by a team at a major modern event they'd have great results.

If you want to see some of my playtesting results I have a 'video playthrough' section in my description. I will be constantly adding more videos to this as time goes on, as well. Cheers!

February 15, 2017 8:01 a.m.

Lilbrudder says... #26

This is an great idea and well constructed deck. I am a big fan +1

February 15, 2017 8:50 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #27

Lilbrudder thanks a lot man! Much appreciated.

February 15, 2017 9:11 a.m.

catrule3564 says... #28

I really love this list. I've been looking for an excuse to pick up a playset of Arcbound Ravagers. This might be it.

What are your thoughts on Spire of Industry vs Glimmervoid?

February 15, 2017 4:37 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #29

Spire is a great replacement to do this deck on a budget. So is yavimaya coast. Glad you like the deck brother! catrule3564

February 15, 2017 4:44 p.m.

TheFausz says... #30

Have you given any thought to splashing black for Winding Constrictor?

February 15, 2017 5:39 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #31

Yes but the costs of speed and flexibility outweigh the benefits. The 1 CMC slot in this deck is where all the utility comes from. Having a 2 CMC utility card would hurt tempo a lot cause it means we really don't start seeing residual benefit til turn 3, and also, if constrictor gets bolted it becomes a sunk cost whereas other creatures can provide further benefits at death. Thanks tho TheFausz

February 15, 2017 5:49 p.m.

ArchFline says... #32

Have you considered a 1-2 inclusion of Stoic Rebuttal over a straight 4 inclusion of Metallic Rebuke? I feel that your deck runs slow enough that such an inclusion would hold value into your mid game.

February 15, 2017 11:07 p.m.

catrule3564 says... #33

I was looking at various affinity and artifact decks trying to find a replacement for Arcbound Stinger, the card in the deck I like least. This is when I realized that Steel Overseer could be amazing. With Hardened Scales, Overseer just seems outright unfair.

February 16, 2017 12:41 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #34

stoic rebuttal seems like it may impose a large enough demand on mana that it may not work. will playtest tho ArchFline.

catrule3564 i had steel overseer in the deck for a brief time but replace it with Arcbound Stinger for more modular. i will playtest again and let you know. It's definitely a spot that you could change if wanted to tho - not as integral as some of the other positions in the deck. Cheers!

February 16, 2017 8:37 a.m.

catrule3564 says... #35

I can see the case for Steel Overseer being too slow/clunky. The modular creatures are a lot better than they look, but playing them just feels weird. Adding Overseer would take away from the "combo" turns that the deck can have, but would provide a way to abuse all of the tokens we can make off of Hangarback Walker and Animation Module. It's also worth noting that with Animation Module Overseer becomes "Tap,Pay X: Create X 1/1 Servos. X cannot be larger than the number of creatures you control."

It was just a thought, in any case. I'm sure you've done far more testing with the deck than I have been able to do, so I may be undervaluing the importance of modular creatures.

February 16, 2017 9:59 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #36

catrule3564 i really like your note about overseer+animation mod. I am going to give this some testing and see how it feels - cause in the end, no matter what a deck looks like in theory, it's all about how it feels/plays. Cheers and thanks for giving some solid input man.

February 16, 2017 10:26 a.m.

TheRedeemed says... #37

Have you thought of Chief Engineer. I know it's not flashy, but it might help get your Walking Ballistas and Hangarback Walkers off to a larger, faster start.

February 16, 2017 11:50 a.m.

maelstromboli says... #38

What about Tezzeret's Gambit?

February 16, 2017 1:34 p.m.

maelstromboli says... #39

What about Tezzeret's Gambit?

February 16, 2017 1:34 p.m.

TheLoneDart says... #40

catrule3564 i am liking overseer a lot more than when i first had it in the deck. I think it's because i didn't have hangarback in the deck before so token generation was coming solely from animation module. Thanks again for the input!

February 16, 2017 7 p.m.

AwezomePozzum says... #41

Althought this is an artifact deck, it surely is not an Affinity deck, as the only card with Affinity is Thoughtcast. May you please change the hubs?

That said, it doesn't have to be affinity for it to be PURE EVIL. This is genius, and if I had the money, I'd build it. +1.

February 16, 2017 8:36 p.m.

AwezomePozzum says... #42

February 16, 2017 8:37 p.m.

MusicMaster says... #43

Have you come upon any bad matchups so far with the deck? Also, how has the deck performed against decks like Tron, Valakut, and Jund? I like the deck, definitely a +1!

February 16, 2017 10:20 p.m.

SaSSolino8 says... #44

Is it just me or the deck does seem to struggle against pillow fort?

I didn't test sideboard though.

February 17, 2017 6:37 a.m.

SaSSolino8 says... #45

LoneDart if you had to pick between 2 copies of Reverse Engineer or Tezzeret's Gambit, which one would you prefer?

February 17, 2017 7:13 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #46

SaSSolino8 I think that's a question of preference. For me, I choose reverse engineer strictly because most often it's going to cost 2 and you get more draw. I ran reverse engineer in this deck for a bit and the extra card makes a bigger difference than it seems it would

February 17, 2017 7:40 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #47

SaSSolino8 MusicMaster these matchups all depend on hand with this deck. Tron and valakut are speed-dependent decks. If you can interrupt a big play you can win. Pillow fort is the same. If you can outpace an opponent or play smart with ravager you can win, although it is one of the more difficult matchups, along with kind. Against Tron, we can dominate after sideboard as long as we can remove engineet d explosives. Cheers

February 17, 2017 7:46 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #48

AwezomePozzum thanks! Spire can be used in place of glimmervoid to cut about $100 cost. Cheers

February 17, 2017 7:47 a.m.

neurone3 says... #49

what about Etched Champion as alternative wincon?

February 17, 2017 8:31 a.m.

Entrei says... #50

Hmm... a few things:

You are running both Hardened Scales and Walking Ballista, so you might as well add Rite of Passage to combo off.Metallic Rebuke is nice and all... But Stoic Rebuttal is generally a better counter in artifact heavy decks. Animation Module is a great card if used in the right deck... But without an infinite mana combo is kind of lackluster.

Your sideboard could use some work, as you have nothing against titanshift, only one card against dredge, nothing against affinity aside from Pithing Needle, and most importantly in this meta, no consistent and effective ways of dealing with infect. May I recommend Tormod's Crypt, Hurkyl's Recall something along the line of Shadow of Doubt and Melira, Sylvok Outcast?

On a side note, you did beat me to creating the idea, I found yours under the 'similar decks' tab

March 6, 2017 6:37 p.m.


+1_** Very nice, man. I'd deffs be playing play this if I had the cash. Someday!

June 14, 2017 6:23 a.m.

Hot damn. I'm pretty new to this site and started looking for an affinity deck to play a while ago, but this is SO INTERESTING! I'm going to start building it slowly, as soon as I finish my current modern deck. It's really nice to see Hangarback Walker in a deck again, i don't see that to often.

September 9, 2017 11:37 a.m.

TheLoneDart says... #53

September 9, 2017 3:03 p.m.

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Revision 13 See all

2 months ago)

-1 Ghost Quarter side
+1 Surgical Extraction side
-1 Tormod's Crypt side
+1 Echoing Truth side
+1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas maybe
+1 Rite of Passage maybe