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Score Points and Make Friends (Modern Prison)

Modern Competitive Control Enchantment GW (Selesnya) Pillow Fort Primer Prison


Long long ago I was but a fledgling to competitive Modern. I suppose in a sense I never broke out of that but this deck is my everything as Magic goes. In a format of insanely powerful and expensive cardboard, I resolved myself not to bend to the format but to make it bend to me. I wanted a deck that didn’t ebb and flow with the tides. I didn’t want several decks to go back and forth between as the format shifted. I wanted one deck that would stand the test of time and reign eternal. A deck that would bring all strategies down to a fundamental level. I wanted salt, tears, screams, rage, misery, and hopelessness. I wanted to see all those overpriced pieces of cardboard rendered down to the obsolete pieces of paper they truly are. If I couldn’t afford those high priced cards, I would strip away all meaning of them. I would find every stall, lock, removal, and hoser and combine them into a beautiful nightmare. I would jail everybody. This is Azkaban.

Coming from a budget, this build started as mono-white in an era where Leyline of Sanctity, Rest in Peace, and Stony Silence could each singlehandedly shut down their respective fields of hate and steal games. From its inception sadly to this day the deck still maintains two key archetypal weakness: big mana Tron, and counter based control. Tron normally can go over taxes and uses exceptionally powerful planeswalkers, the ingredient that makes Tron a weakness for this deck. These planeswalkers come with a gravitating presence that eat everything in its path from Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Ulamog will eat some stall pieces coming down and if the opponent can afford to cast Ulamog, they can probably afford a combat tax. Karn and Ugin will just wreck all of our hate and open the path for our demise. Counters are just a nuisance that can keep us off any anything of relevance. We do have Hall of Heliod's Generosity but this is exactly an answer to what ails us. While some form of hate is likely to be just as vulnerable to said counters, having a tool that reliably forces the issue would go a long way in allowing us to fight back. This deck may be agonizing but losing to Snapcaster Mage beats is downright humiliating.

I do have some potential ideas in mind of tools that would give us better game against these strats without being so narrow that they barely make the bar for sideboard material. A Suppression Field effect with Sphere of Safety scaling may not solve all our problems but would be a huge boon against the Tron menace. Getting a total activated ability hoser would be beautiful but I think a marriage of the aforementioned cards for four mana is a fair ask of the design team at WotC. Ghostly Prison costs 2 more for the scaling so put that on Field for four. This would also be moderately useful against things like Stoneforge Mystic, Wrenn and Six, Aether Vial, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Inkmoth Nexus, Urza's Saga, and more. I could see this being a potent piece against Affinity, Amulet Titan, Lantern Control, and mainly Tron.

The other thorn in our side is counters. I have a simpler solution for this. A reprint from an old set to be brought into Modern: City of Solitude. This deck is almost exclusively played on its own turn so putting this effect on the opponent to ‘balance’ things out would be a nightmare for those decks. They get that effect in Teferi, Time Raveler plus extra effects so I don’t think bringing the enchantment to Modern would be asking much. It would mostly be for those counter based matchups but could also serve a role in Aether Vial matchups, Death's Shadow, and Lantern Control.

That said, the deck has certainly improved upon matchups it traditionally was already decent in as it morphed from its mono-white ancestor to a red splash for Blood Moon to its current iteration. The goal is as it has always been, smother the opponent until they’ve been immobilized, then, like the python, you can digest them at your leisure.

The first part of immobilization is isolation. Keep your opponent from damaging you or targeting you. Then they can’t touch you. Let’s go over these isolating pieces.

  • Sphere of Safety got the boot for a little while. It seemed a little top heavy and unnecessary with Solitary Confinement in the mix. Quite the contrary. I recently tweaked the numbers to take out (against my heart’s yearning) Ghostly Prison for this and some additional hate elsewhere. The deck typically does well enough to slow the game down but we needed more hard stops. We have the means of dealing with a creature or two but with Prison, that tax just isn’t heavy enough when the game goes to sometimes 8+ lands. Prison made the deck a bit too reliant on the Confinement lock to come and save its ass. With Sphere, we can sit more comfortably. Sphere is still a tax but a significantly heavier one Sphere can answer combat strats all on its own rather than extending our game as we hope to assemble the combo. It also means we don’t have to commit to a combo that has a (small) chance of drawing out or whole deck. Sphere of Safety is about relief. Relief of game extension, mana cost, and the draws.

  • Leyline of Sanctity has many functions depending on perspective. It can preemptively protect our board by keeping discard from picking our hand apart as well as shut down niche effects that would target us to sacrifice our permanent in an effort to get around other board protection, and then it just prevents anything that would target us from Burn spells to more niche scenarios. One of my favorite memories is of playing this against a Reanimator deck using Gifts Ungiven. When reading a card with Leyline out you have to shout ‘TARGET’ in your mind. Keep in mind what your cards are hating on and shout them in your mind with every read.

  • On Thin Ice isolates a single threat on the cheap. Hard to ask much more of it. Not every pest needs to attack to be a pest so getting those off the board will keep your path clear.

  • Out of Time is a fantastic pseudo sweeper that, as I mentioned with Prison, buys us turns by the handful. Not a true sweeper but the creatures we have on the board also go into that time count.

  • Runed Halo can keep a named nuisance from doing much to us whether it’s damage or targeting. Halo is at its best against repeat sources and while this will primarily mean combat threats, it is not limited to that no limited to repeat sources. You can use it to protect from discard spells and other niche cards that target like the aforementioned Gifts Ungiven. While this is great at isolating threats and is even better when the named card takes up multiple slots in the opposition’s deck, it should be noted that the isolated target has to be of proper name. Naming Batterskull won’t prevent the Germ token from beating your head in or Bitterblossom tokens from swarming you.

  • Solitary Confinement is our ultimate shut down card. If an opposing deck has little to no removal for it, it can be game over on the spot via ‘I win because you can’t.’ No touching me. Don’t even look at me. Confinement has a steep maintenance cost all but requiring it be paired with one of our draw engines. This will keep you fueled outside of your draw step so long as you keep playing enchantments (which is every nonland card in our main deck and most of our side). Locks come in two forms: soft locks that prevent the opponent from interacting with you in any meaningful way (Solemnity+Phyrexian Unlife, Enchantress's Presence+Solitary Confinement) and hard locks that prevent the opponent from casting (Karn, the Great Creator+Mycosynth Lattice, Teferi, Time Raveler+Knowledge Pool). Soft locks have the upside of mitigating the effectiveness of what’s onboard while being weak to your opponent’s hand m and therefor getting hit with removal and hard locks excel at shutting out the opponent’s hand but are still vulnerable to onboard presence. As this deck is incredibly slow, we prioritize the soft lock as opposing board states can get pretty cumbersome if not outright absurd.

Our first directive is to bind the opponent. Once they are immobilized, they will struggle against their restraints. Now the game plan shifts to turtle mode and we employ shielding around our shackles. A soft lock around a soft lock starts to resemble a hard lock.

  • Greater Auramancy is simple blanket targeted removal protection for the rest of our pieces. We can still get got by sweepers that go for enchantments or permanents but most sweepers are creature oriented so we try to ride that out and eat the blowout when it happens. Those sweepers are the only out should we manage to stack redundancy.

  • Sterling Grove is an upgraded redundant effect of Greater Auramancy with Enlightened Tutor tacked on for emergency situations or when the matchup doesn’t call for the protection it offers. Definitely handy having that text present. The main idea is to protect our pieces but with the redundancy of eight pieces, we can often get them to stack which seals the deal on targeting our board.

That’ll do it for the hate but there’s more.

  • Enchantress's Presence is so many things in so few words. Combos with Solitary Confinement to shut down the opponent, fuels us up to accelerate out our finishers, and keep us loaded on all of the useful tools of immobilization and protection. Every nonland in our deck triggers it on cast and as I have learned the hard way, even a counter for Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger still gets two of your toys eaten.

  • Sythis, Harvest's Hand may appear at first glance to be an easier to remove Enchantress's Presence this is only mostly true as she will get in some chip damage but the life gain really adds up. Because our goal is to slow the opponent down, this pairs extremely well with even nominal lifegain. My character has a health bar of 100 and my opponent is whacking me for 10 dps. I simultaneously gain 1 lps while decreasing the frequency of their contacts to 1 hit per 10 swings eventually we start to even out and as this goes further we start to overtake their damage output as that damage gets closer to 0. This is a rough example but shows what I’m talking about. We’re artificially fattening our health bar while simultaneously making it harder to contact it. These opposite poles add up over the longer course of a game and next thing you know, my opponent’s 11/11 Death's Shadow can’t make contact at all while I slowly tick up from 2 life to do 19 life one life at a time. As far as her Enchantress text, she’s every bit as serviceable as Presence short of being able to stack in multiples. We have Presence for that.

There’s one more bit of hate that is very helpful but it also doubles as a finisher so I’m putting it at the tail of the discussion. I mentioned City of Solitude as a way to fight counters. Well Modern has something of its own and while it doesn’t double as hate for activated abilities to each players’ turn, I’d argue doubling as a finisher is more relevant and important even if it come on a creature.

  • Destiny Spinner hates on exactly what we need to hate: counters. One of the toughest matchups for the deck is control and while control typically carries some removal for creatures, having hate that doubles as a finisher is just too valuable. When you’re getting to the end of the game you can simply activate it to send a big beat stick at your opponent. I’ve long held a 2/1 split between Sigil of the Empty Throne and Heliod, God of the Sun. I think we can do away with Heliod, the indestructible board builder but I am electing to keep a 2/1 split with Spinner and a Sigil as the angels are great at flying over those inevitably clogged late game board states.


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77% Casual

23% Competitive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #36 position overall 3 months ago
  • Achieved #24 position in Modern 3 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Modern Enchantment 3 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Modern Prison 3 months ago
Date added 5 months
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Modern legal.

Rarity (main - side)

40 - 15 Rares

10 - 0 Uncommons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.49
Tokens Angel 4/4 W
Folders Uncategorized, Modern, Modern Decks, Pillow Fort, decks i wanna try
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Revision 6 See all

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