Phyrexian Obliterator. Far and away the best 4 drop ever printed. However, there is a deceptive drawback to Obliterator hidden in the upper right hand corner of the card.

More than anything else, the mana base is the innovation here. I've included enough dual lands to both reliably cast the Obliterator and still splash some key cards from green, specifically Abrupt Decay and Tarmogoyf, as well as some sideboard cards to cover areas that black can't deal with on its own. The Obliterator can still die to a Fatal Push or Path to Exile, but it feels a lot stronger dropping one of these puppies than slamming a Siege Rhino. And it's not even close.

One final note on the sideboard, the Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass are my answer to Tron. I couldn't fit Field of Ruin into the manabase because of Phyrexian Obliterator, but I also didn't include Fulminator Mage on the sideboard because I don't think fighting their lands is the right way to go. Because of Ancient Stirrings, Sylvan Scrying, and Expedition Map, Tron can recover from land destruction pretty effectively. With the Needle and Spyglass there are a number of top end targets to just name and eliminate from concern, such as Karn Liberated, Oblivion Stone, Endbringer, etc.


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"Far and away" the best 4-drop ever? Based on what criteria? Those are some pretty dangerous words to throw around.

January 3, 2018 11:52 p.m.

You read the card, right? Imagine how much play it would see if it cost 4 generic mana instead of 4 black.

January 4, 2018 9:11 a.m.

What other card would you suggest? I actually would be curious to hear the general opinion of best 4 drop contenders, but I realize judging cards in a vacuum is basically impossible. Sorry to butt in also! I just don't really know much about modern but am curious.

January 4, 2018 9:19 a.m.

well it could be argued that Siege Rhino is better because it immediately impacts the board by draining, or similarly with Hellrider having haste. Obliterator does "die to removal" as they say.

But really, that's the only argument I could see against. His special ability is insanely busted, something you'd usually see on a 7 or 8 cost multicolored EDH creature.

January 4, 2018 10:03 a.m.

Thought-Knot Seer is definitely a contender for the best 4-drop, and Bloodbraid Elf made it onto the Modern banlist.
On another topic, are you sure you want no forests at all? Seems like Blood Moon could hurt you a lot this way. Maybe it would an option to include one in the sideboard at least?

January 4, 2018 12:58 p.m.

Yea the basic forest was actually a point of internal debate for me, believe it or not. I wanted to include at least 1 Twilight Mire because even a single basic Forest keeps the Phyrexian Obliterator from coming down on time, but I also want at least 8 fetchlands to reliably power up Fatal Push.

So the only land to cut for a forest would be either the Blooming Marsh or the Hissing Quagmire, and I kinda feel like I want 4 of both of those lands. I could go down on basic Swamp. What do you think?

Edit: I did cut down on Swamp for a Forest and a Mire. Does that look right, or is 4 Hissing Quagmire excessive? I kinda want the manlands because these grindy midrange decks can run out of gas in the mirror with removal flying back and forth.

January 4, 2018 1:12 p.m.

Well have you considered Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth then? It allows your forest(s) to tap for black, and lets you keep fetchlands in play for later use to enable revolt. Occasionally it will help opponents too though by providing black mana for them.

January 4, 2018 4:15 p.m.

Personally I would run 4x basic swamps and 4x Twilight Mire in this deck. Hissing Quagmire isn't worth the space it takes and 2-3 Overgrown Tomb is all you'll ever need.

I would cut the 2 messengers a 4th Lilly and 4th Bob.

I'd also cut the MB artifacts for more removal. Dismember, Go for the Throat, Bile Blight, or another pulse.

January 4, 2018 7:37 p.m.

You're right on the Overgrown Tomb numbers, I already have Blooming Marsh and 8 fetches. I'll never be hurting for green even if I need 2 symbols to cast hard cast the Obstinate Baloth on the side.

So I'm dropping down to 2 Tombs and going up on Twilight Mire and adding another basic swamp. Being able to fetch basics seems important against Burn. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is also something to think about, but I worry about inadvertantly fixing the opponent's mana. Black is pretty popular right now and giving someone like Tron free access to black through their Urza's Tower seems like it would be a relevant factor to consider.

As for the rest of the deck, I am trying out the Geralf's Messenger because I have the mana base for it, but those could easily be more power cards if he's still just not good enough. I like how it can survive a Supreme Verdict or even just a Fatal Push though. Every other creature in the deck "dies to removal". The maindeck artifacts are a concession to Grim Flayer. Reid Duke mentioned in an article recently that you want 1 to 3 poppable artifacts to hit Delerium with regularity. I figured a Ratchet Bomb for Lingering Souls and Young Pyromancer and Nihil Spellbomb as some maindeck graveyard hate was more relevant than a playset of Mishra's Bauble.

January 5, 2018 9:35 a.m.

Although there are a number of awesome cards in modern to fight for the four drop spot, I would have to agree that Phyrexian Obliterator is the best. I play Siege Rhino and love the card, but no one fears it like they do Phyrexian Obliterator. Thought-Knot Seer is great - a Thoughtseize on a stick... but once it hits the board, it is a 4/4 creature that now is a liability when it dies. As stated above, it would get more play if not for the four black mana requirement.

With regard to the mana base, you really only ever need one green mana available unless you sideboard in Obstinate Baloth. A full set of Twilight Mire may not be bad, and don't be afraid to add a few more swamps.

My thought would be something like this:

1x Bloodstained Mire

4x Blooming Marsh

1x Forest

1x Marsh Flats

2x Overgrown Tomb

1x Polluted Delta

6x Swamp

4x Twilight Mire

4x Verdant Catacombs

I have been known to be wrong once or twice in my life, so keep that in mind with regard to this land base suggestion.

I love the deck regardless.

January 5, 2018 11:30 a.m.

Nice build: I don't agree with a quadruple black being "Best ever" but it's a nice deck.

January 9, 2018 5:40 p.m.

One could argue cards like Restoration Angel and Bloodbraid Elf are better too.

For Black, I would agree.

January 9, 2018 5:43 p.m.

I changed the Geralf's Messenger to Tireless Tracker. Messenger wasn't that bad but I wanted more card advantage.

January 9, 2018 6:21 p.m.

Perhaps go to 4 on Bob? I've always ran Obliterator Rock with 4 Dark Confidant and it's rarely an issue.

January 9, 2018 7:45 p.m.

the 2 drop slot is a little glutted out right now. Tracker is a bit more flexible because he can basically either be a 3rd turn play to slam or a 4th turn play to get some clue action. He also hits a bit harder than Bob. I'm not really happy with the Grim Flayer either, so that could possibly be more Bob.

January 9, 2018 11:56 p.m.

With no life stabilization in the deck, running Bob with x4 Obliterators and using x4 Thoughtseize is gonna hurt... Obliterator is my favorite magic card and I've spent a lot of time brewing around him in Modern, but sadly the card just isn't that great in the Modern format. Hopefully in the future some good support cards will be printed that makes it a more viable threat

January 10, 2018 9:59 p.m.

Who's Bob? ;)

January 10, 2018 10:31 p.m.

Bob is Dark Confidant.

January 10, 2018 10:58 p.m.

he looks more like a Jeff.

January 10, 2018 11:03 p.m.

I like the deck (and Phyrexian Obliterator) but I don't approve of only having one of a card in the sidebord, all or nothing is the choice I recommend you make.

January 10, 2018 11:11 p.m.

i like the deck but the best shell for obliterator will always be momo black devotion. if you really want to get the most use out of him check out lists for it. its surprisingly sturdy and has a great curve. cool deck tho!

January 12, 2018 11:22 p.m.

I actually have sleeved him up before alongside Grey Merchant of Asphodel. This list is working out pretty good so far. Adding the green splash for Abrupt Decay and Tarmogoyf makes a huge difference. You really can't deny the objective power of those cards.

If you'll notice between the maindeck and SB I've also found room for a number of powerful artifacts. Helps on the mana a little while also growing Tarmogoyf and Grim Flayer when they hit the bin. Artifacts would hurt in a black devotion deck if you were trying to maximize the Grey Merchant damage.

January 12, 2018 11:44 p.m.

you need more ways to deal with cmc 4+ creatures. Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Gurmag Angler are very popular threats right now

January 15, 2018 11:12 a.m.

That is true. They're usually top priority for the Thoughtseize. If I were to add another card to the maindeck it would be the 2nd Maelstrom Pulse off the side.

January 15, 2018 11:31 a.m.

I would suggest Go for the Throat or possibly even Ultimate Price as a 1 or 2 of. Price hits pretty much every big creature in modern, but Throat hits everything except for affintity.

January 15, 2018 11:51 a.m.

And some of Tron. Those are my favorite kill spells in mod!

January 15, 2018 12:56 p.m.

Im quite fond of the following removal package. 4x Lilly, Decay & Push, 2x Pulse, 1x Dismember and Go for the Throat with 2x Bile Blight and Damnation on the SB.

Victim of Night and Slaughter Pact are also worth single slots but neither hits Gurmag Angler (which in my experience is currently seeing far less play)

You could easily cut the Artifacts since your Delirium need is gone.

January 15, 2018 1:58 p.m.


100% Competitive

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Date added 1 week
Last updated 1 day

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.06
Tokens Clue
Folders Strangers' Decks, Modern, wants
Top rank #6 on 2018-01-14
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Revision 9 See all

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-4 Swamp main
+4 Snow-Covered Swamp main