Help me make U/G COMBO DEFENDERS faster for Modern!

enter image description hereIs a deck based purely around building up to an infinite combo, although it can possess some beat down capacity. The deck has its basis around Defender Ramp decks but, if played properly, executes to abruptly end the game! Thanks to Mack for his input on replacing Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter with Mistcutter Hydra & Including Drift of Phantasms.

Why play Combo U/G/s over other Defender Ramp decks?

Unlike other versions of this strategy, Combo U/G/s is tutor heavy leading to reliable assembly of a win-con (Read: Fetches, Tutors, and Search Engines "Oh my!"). Alas, ramping up to mill your opponents is a long and grindy process, which gives them a chance to respond. Trying to ramp and draw into Assault Formation may never happen if all your formations are at the bottom! With Combo U/G/s you'll be sure to always have your chance, unless it gets Cranial Extraction.

Why play this over Abzan Company?

Unlike Abzan company we are able to deal out an infinite amount of damage reliably utilizing Valakut Invoker and the Combo. Alas, we do sacrifice interactability pre-sideboard, but so does Abzan!

What revolutionized this deck?

Duskwatch Recruiter  : single-handedly allows us to process through our deck and find our Win-Con.


This section will not include a 'Nut Draw' as to prevent false notions of the Deck's true function. The deck is designed to go as fast as possible, however, often fires off between turns 4-6.

Step 1. Get 3 Defenders + Axebane Guardian/Overgrown Battlement

Step 2. Play Umbral Mantle, equip to aforementioned mana dorks & gain infinite mana.

Step 3. Play Duskwatch Recruiter  , usability to find Mistcutter Hydra or Valakut Invoker . At this point pull all creatures from your deck onto the field and keep extras in your hand.

Step 4. WIN


Defender Core

Axebane Guardian: is our most desired mana ramp, although shy a toughness to put it out of burn range. We usually play this on turn two or three depending on our start.

Overgrown Battlement: serves as our primary mana ramper, being outside of Lightning Bolt range and 1 CMC cheaper than Axebane Guardian. Alas, Overgrown battlement cannot allow us to transmute Drift of Phantasms for Umbral Mantle.

Sylvan Caryatid: The hexproof makes this card extremely effective against low to the ground decks who use cheap removal, such as goblins. It's also a way around Blood Moon, tapping for the blue we need to cast Drift of Phantasms.

Wall of Roots: Amazing mana acceleration in a thick 0/5 wall, all for 2 Mana. It doesn't get better than this! Wall of Roots is best played first alongside cheap cards such as: Traproot Kami & Noble Hierarch. Think of it as a 0/4 Burning-Tree Emissary!

Traproot Kami : Our cheapest defender, easy to cast off of with Wall of Roots and boasts scaling toughness along with 'Reach' to stop any fliers from getting over our walls.

Fetches, Tutors, and Search Engines "Oh my!"

Collected Company: Nothing like a hot cup of CoCo. With the critical mass of creatures within the deck we can easily take advantage of Collected Company as a way to boost mana ramp with a Axebane Guardian/Overgrown Battlement, search for ways to enable our win-con by dropping Duskwatch Recruiter  / Valakut Invoker , or simply flooding the field with creatures. Alas, Collected Company does not allow us to use Drift of Phantasms's transmute ability as we must discard Drift of Phantasms in order to enable it.

Chord of Calling: Catch all card that'll help us pick up the last piece we need to go off! We can even use Duskwatch Recruiter  , Valakut Invoker , and Mistcutter Hydra to fuel it.

Drift of Phantasms: Is our strongest enabler, often allowing us to pull the Combo out of thin air through spending an easy 6 mana in a single turn (Transmute + Casting Umbral Mantle). Also allows us to fetch Valakut Invoker if we have the infinite mana combo but no Duskwatch Recruiter   on field.

Muddle the Mixture: Another transmute card, but reserved to fetch out Overgrown Battlements and our Duskwatch Recruiter   or we can use it to protect our defender core!

Duskwatch Recruiter  : Allows us to do a hastened filter through our deck and pick up our key combo pieces, as well as our sideboard hate creatures. Usually this process is best performed mid-game when we have a few rampers out, so cast Duskwatch Recruiter   last! Be aware of your opponent passing the turn without casting, this will cause our Duskwatch Recruiter   to flip to a useless werewolf!


Walking Ballista: Is the new Aether Revolt addition to the deck allowing us access to a potentially big creature that we can pump further post boarding it! Similar to Valakut Invoker it provides a way for us to efficiently deal damage to our opponent as well as his creatures which can be a big blowout for Infect's Glistener Elf & Blighted Agent as well as Aggro decks who go wide! Due to its flexibility, we can cast it at any stage in the game and still feel confident!

Valakut Invoker : After we achieve infinite mana we can simply spend time searching this with Drift of Phantasms/Duskwatch Recruiter   and close out the game immediately by activating its non-tapping 8 mana burn ability. Sometimes it's simply useful to drop it on the field early to ping our opponent behind all of our walls.

Everyone Else

Noble Hierarch: Just a cheap mana-ramper who can tap for blue and support our small guys via Exalted!


Beast Within: Fetchable with Drift of Phantasms, Drops with a Collected Company, Green, and targets anything! The 3/3 beast won't be a problem for us.

Fulminator Mage: Fetchable with Drift of Phantasms, Drops with a Collected Company, can be cast with Axebane Guardian or Sylvan Caryatid, and used to stop: Tron, Infect, Affinity, Eldrazi lists, and Scapeshift by destroying their threatening lands.

Leyline of Sanctity: Can be cast with Noble Hierarch, Sylvan Caryatid, and Axebane Guardian, used against: Burn or Hand-hate.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast: Cheap to cast, can be dropped with Collected Company, and is our main answer verses Blighted Agent as well as Blinkmoth Nexus

Reclamation Sage: Fetchable with Drift of Phantasms, Drops with a Collected Company, fights against: Affinity, Tron, and Pithing Needle.

Scavenging Ooze: Drops with a Collected Company, easily wipes away graves and pumps with excessive mana available. Used against: Dredge, Jund, Abzan, and decks with Snapcaster Mage.

Spellskite: Drops with a Collected Company, fights: Boggles, Burn, and Infect.

Worship: Why not? Honestly, if there's a better card that can replace this, that'd be a great tip to place in the comments. Besides that, it fights against Burn, and big creature decks.

Cards Formerly in the Deck

Wall of Mulch : Sacrificing our walls ended up being very counter-intuitive since by the time we get enough walls to safely Mulch them we are usually combo'ing off.

Mistcutter Hydra: Still a viable option, especially with a painter's servant on the field, Mistcutter Hydra is being removed from the list due to Walking Ballista having a much greater edge due to its flexibility present from being a potent blocker & potential burn spell.

Original Text Show

Thank you for your time; may you draw well in future matches!


Updates Add

With a new set coming up 2 new cards have caught my eye for this deck: - Trophy Mage: Allows us to effectively search up our Umbral Mantle or Staff of Domination without an obnoxious double blue cost, it's even on a stick! - Ballista Walker: May replace Mistcutter Hydra as a pumpable fatty who we can shove more mana into & use to produce infinite damage post fielding. Also it's fetchable by a potential Tolaria West and Duskwatch Recruiter  Flip. Alas, doesn't work with collected company on the basis it enters as a 0/0.

If anyone knows if I can put a counter on ballista walker after it enters the battlefield Ballista Walker before it dies (via the 4 mana activated ability) let me know!


Date added 3 years
Last updated 3 years
Exclude colors WB

This deck is Modern legal.

Rarity (main - side)

28 - 12 Rares

9 - 3 Uncommons

17 - 0 Commons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.19
Folders Decks to consider building, Modern
Ignored suggestions
Shared with