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Ballistics (V1.5.1. DOM update)

Modern Affinity Aggro Artifact Combo Counters

TheLoneDart

Maybeboard


Description

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

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! :)

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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!

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