We're clayperce and Moonbar, the moderators of PonzaMTG on Reddit, and we'd like to welcome you to our Ponza deckbuilding primer.

First off, please understand this decklist is just a starting point ...

  • The maindeck and sidedeck is simply the most recent top finisher from a large tournament ... it (obviously) worked great for the original pilot and their tournament meta, but it may not be a great deck for your playstyle, meta, or budget without tuning.
  • Cards marked with an A are HIGHLY recommended ... according to MTGgoldfish they've been played in all of the recent competitive decks.
  • The maybeboard includes EVERY card which has seen play in a competitive Ponza deck. If you know of any we missed, please let us know!

We look forward to your questions, comments, and suggestions!

Step 1: Pick a starting point

- The current mainboard and sideboard is based on Eli Brooks' deck (#2 of 137 players at the SCG Baltimore Classic). - There's a white 'Copy' button on the left side menu (or immediately under this description, if you're on mobile).

CLASSIC PONZA, feat. "all the key ingredients to a Ponza Rotta: The cheese (burn), the meat (big creatures) and the sauce (the land destruction)".

NAYA PONZA, usually feat. more than just a splash of White. The deck exists in a wide variety of forms, such as ...

PRIMAL PONZA, feat. the Eternal Witness + Primal Command soft lock. E.g., James Dascine-Henry's deck or Michael Neilson's Mono-G version.

ROBOT PONZA (aka Platinum Ponza), feat. Madcap Experiment + Platinum Emperion . E.g., Ishino Takuya's deck

JUND PONZA, feat. a Black splash for Kolaghan's Command . E.g., Hshiroma's deck

GOLGARI PONZA, feat. Rain of Tears , plus a ton of GB Planeswalkers and removal. E.g., Bryan Dubois' deck

MONO-R PONZA, feat. a lower curve and more consistent mana. E.g., Eduardo Bairrinhos' deck

There are other Ponza sub-archetypes as well, but they have not proven successful in recent competitive play:

  • ELDRITCH PONZA, feat. Eldritch Evolution and toolbox Creatures. E.g., Joshua Unthank's deck
  • TRIBAL PONZA, feat. Dinosaurs, Dragons, Goblins, etc.
  • FAST PONZA, feat. Hasty threats and a "1RR" mana- and dork-base

Step 2: Get in some reps, especially if you're new to the deck

  • At this point, it doesn't matter whether you use real cards, proxies, MTGO, the playtest feature here on Tapped Out, or some other method. All that matters is that you can get in some reps with the deck.
  • We highly recommend checking out the resources in the sidebar of PonzaMTG on Reddit, espcially the Tips and Tricks and Matchup Monday posts.

Step 3: Tune the deck for your playstyle, meta, and budget

  • There are a TON of flex slots in Ponza, so after some testing, please take advantage of them! Finding the perfect 75 for your playstyle, meta, and budget can be tough, but frankly all the cards here are (and hundreds of others which are potentially competitive) are valid choices.
  • We highly recommend posting your deck in PonzaMTG on Reddit and the Modern Desk Help forum here on T/O, and asking for feedback. It may be helpful to include a short description of your expected meta (if you know it) and any budget constraints.
  • If you post on the Advertise your Modern deck thread here on T/O please follow the rules and offer feedback on the deck posted immediately before yours.

Step 4: Play, learn, and share!

  • You'll quickly learn what works for your playstyle and meta, and what doesn't. Please share what you learn with us, here in the comments or in PonzaMTG on Reddit!
  • Then go back to Step 3 :-)

Shout-outs to ...

  • Brian Kowal and Adrian Sullivan, who invented the original Ponza deck. And Michael Nielsen and Matt Mendoza, who first popularized the deck in Modern.
  • Everyone at PonzaMTG on Reddit and PonzaMTG on Facebook.

Finally, please +1 Upvote this primer if you found it useful! :-)


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