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Ad Nauseam (Now With Spoiled Fish)

Modern Combo Competitive Creatureless Five Color Primer



This is just a quick breakdown of my favourite deck to play in modern, and one that I will continually test out weird cards for, from Desperate Ritual, to Scheming Symmetry and Wishclaw Talisman. I will continually add revisions to the deck as I see fit, and potentially expand on this small primer that I have written up so far.

Ad Nauseam is a combo deck that wins the game by playing a two-card combo with Ad Nauseam and either Angel's Grace or Phyrexian Unlife. The latter cards do help us not to lose the game for being at negative life total. You then proceed to draw the whole deck with Ad Nauseam, and pay every cards' casting cost with life so the deck will always put you to a negative life total. From there, there are 2 outs with the deck: exiling three Simian Spirit Guide and casting Lightning Storm and discarding sufficient lands to have a lethal damage. They may respond by trying to redirect Lightning Storm or gain some life, but you can simply discard more lands or cast Pact of Negation in response to whatever it is your opponent is trying to resolve. This kill should work most of the time, but won’t work if they have too much life or too many lands. This kill also works at instant speed.

The other win condition is with the new Thassa's Oracle from Theros Beyond Death, you're able to cast it arguably much more easily than Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Laboratory Maniac since it's less costly. The best thing about the card is you do not need to cantrip or activate any abilities that draw cards, since your win runs off it's ETB effect, and even if it dies in response to the ability resolving, you still win the game on an empty library. So the combo costs UUWB and involves Thassa's Oracle, Spoils of the Vault and Angel's Grace. The idea is that you either hold an Oracle in hand, or have it scryed to the bottom of your library, you cast a Spoils, and in response, resolve an Angel's Grace. from there, you play the fish, scry equal to your devotion to blue, and since your library is empty, you should always win the game.

To this day, Ad Nauseam has always been one of my favourite modern decks, after having tried Restore Balance and Eldrazi & Taxes. It's always been amazing to play out a kill at instant speed, and to stay alive almost indefinitely with the deck's plethora of tools.

I generally tend to sideboard based on the hate cards I see depending on the particular match-up that I'm against. Your mileage may vary, and this is only intended as a loose guide. I've also included a sideboard guide for the most evergreen decks in modern (minus affinity, may that rest in peace), since decks like Golgari Yawgmoth may not stick around in the meta for too long.

Abzan/Jund (Unfavorable) Show

Amulet Titan (Unfavourable) Show

Burn (Favourable) Show

Control (Fairly Favourable) Show

Dredge (Quite Favourable) Show

Grixis Death's Shadow (Unfavourable) Show

Humans (Very Unfavourable) Show

Infect (Almost Unwinnable) Show

Storm Variants (Favourable) Show

Taxes Variants (Very Unfavourable) Show

Titanshift Variants (Fairly Favourable) Show

Tron (Fairly Favourable?) Show


Since this is a relatively stock-looking list for modern Ad Nauseam, instead of walking through individual card choices, it's probably better to use this space to explain the varying consistencies of cards in my deck. There is currently one of each basic because I think with Death's Shadow and Titan decks becoming more popular, Blood Moon will also rise in sideboard popularity. Alongside that, Field of Ruin is still an all-star in this format, so having a few basic lands to tutor with that is very useful. To sacrifice some room for a Swamp, the deck is running 3 copies of City of Brass as opposed to a full playset. Obviously, some testing is needed to check if this is good enough to be able to afford the potential UUWB Thassa's Oracle, Spoils of the Vault and Angel's Grace combo, but I'm fairly confident that there are enough sources that can generate rainbow mana for it not to matter too much.

The other topic of debate is my choice to run a single copy of Thassa's Oracle over 2,3 or even 4. Firstly, I think I would like to try out running just one copy replacing the previous Jace, Wielder of Mysteries as a secondary win condition first. And while having multiples of the fish makes this combo line very reliable to win with, it also takes away from the spirit of the deck and it's namesake card I feel. On top of that, while the combo with Oracle is quicker to assemble, it's also worth bearing in mind that it cannot be carried out at instant speed, whereas Ad Nauseam and Angel's Grace are both instants. There's also a lot of power behind that line of play, but with T3feri being a card that exists, it makes it harder to win at instant speed. I think it's ultimately down to the player, but ever since picking up Ad Nauseam, I've been used to winning on my opponent's turns, and I would like to continue to keep it that way.

So moving forward, this is the deck I'll be running for the time being. I have made some changes, some of which aren't worth making constant updates for. I think the argument to run >1 Oracle is still quite flimsy. I don't think it's worth sacrificing the main gameplan for a secondary win condition. It will need testing for sure however. But maybe Oracle will find a deck of its own? Ultimately, Silence also goes since Veil of Summer does the kind of things I want Silence to do, and it's better performing in an unknown meta. So with that, a 0 mana counterspell (Pact of Negation) works out better in the mainboard. Pact of Negation is a good insurance against counterspells and anything else that might stop the combo from resolving. The neat thing to do with Pact is casting an Angel's Grace in your next upkeep to avoid paying the hefty Pact cost.

Also, a small note. Since the new win condition matches up so well with both Ad Nauseam and Spoils especially, I started off by reducing the number of scry lands in the mana base, and maybe if I do add more Oracles in future, cards like Sleight of Hand can always be cut.

This deck is ultimately going to be very similar to other lists online, and is very close to the original stock list, but these are the numbers and varying consistencies of cards in my deck. The mana base is probably where the numbers differ the most, and I've found pretty good success with it. There are a few pet cards in the sideboard, namely Sphinx of the Final Word. Having a big beater once your opponent has sided out all spot removal is pretty good!


Updates Add

I finally made the decision to cut a Phyrexian Unlife for a full playset of Spoils of the Vault. I think it's a good compromise. I'm still relatively wary of running 3 Oracles in the maindeck, but I can't ignore how powerful it is as an alternative win condition. Unlife is ultimately the slowest part of the combo, and I don't think I'll miss it much. Having 2 Spoils, and an Angel's Grace in hand, will secure the victory, most of the time.


99% Casual


Top Ranked
  • Achieved #41 position overall 9 months ago
  • Achieved #4 position in Modern 10 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Modern Combo 10 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Modern Competitive 10 months ago
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Modern legal.

Rarity (main - side)

42 - 10 Rares

5 - 4 Uncommons

10 - 1 Commons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.08
Folders Uncategorized, Reference, Decks to cry over, Modern Decks, Favorite Modern Decks
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Revision 18 See all

2 months ago)

+1 Wear / Tear side