Bringing Turbo Fog to the next level

Modern forum

Posted on Oct. 7, 2021, 3:11 p.m. by legendofa

TL;DR: I want to make Turbo Fog better, but I'm not sure how.

I like the philosophy of Turbo Fog, and I've had some success with it in FNMs and casual tournaments. I'm trying to push it up into at least low-tier competitive, but I think it's gotten left pretty far behind. It hasn't really gotten any new toys recently to get it above casual tables.

Basically, Turbo Fog is a control deck that tries to avoid taking any damage by neutralizing the opponent's attacking creatures and avoiding or removing harmful spells. It's a similar line of thought to Lantern Control or prison decks.

Starting with the Fog part, there are a few ways to go. Spore Frog and Kami of False Hope are cheap creatures that are easily searched and recycled, but there aren't many other creature options. The old-school method is instants like Darkness and Ethereal Haze, but while they have more options, they don't have as many ways to search or recur them, with Isochron Scepter and Snapcaster Mage probably being the best. Finally, there are the enchantments and artifacts. Leyline of Sanctity takes care of a lot of the non-damaging effects, Ghostly Prison is good but offers a workaround, and Ensnaring Bridge needs a little too much dedicated support, in my experience. Turbo Fog isn't big on emptying its hand.

Next up is the Turbo. The traditional draw engines are Howling Mine and Phyrexian Arena, and Stormfist Crusader is a mixture of those two. The Royal Scions and Jace Beleren provide some Planeswalker support. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria does pretty much everything a Turbo Fog deck wants.

For removal, I generally look at all-purpose stuff, like Abrupt Decay, Assassin's Trophy, and Counterspell. The Fog effects provide pseudo-removal against attackers, so it's the utility creatures and other effects that pose problems. All the same, a good Supreme Verdict is always welcome. Engineered Explosives and Nevinyrral's Disk are other mass removal options.

Finally, and most importantly, the win condition. The three main approaches I've seen and/or tried are draw damage, semi-passive mill, and simply attacking with a big creature. For the draw damage, there's cards like Fevered Visions, Runeflare Trap, Fate Unraveler, basically anything that might see use in a Wheels EDH deck. Semi-passive mill comes from symmetrical drawing, while recycling cards through Blessed Respite or Elixir of Immortality. For big creatures, my headliners are Kefnet the Mindful and Sigarda, Host of Herons--5 power, evasive, and hard to kill. Honorable mention goes to Nexus of Fate, just to completely lock out the opponent.

I've poked through a lot of cards and tried a lot of variations, but I'm still not sure I'm not overlooking something. It's very color-heavy, but every color offers a unique option that's hard to replace in at least one category. I'm currently leaning toward or . Of course, it may just be unable to compete at a higher level with the tools it has now. What does Turbo Fog need to get into the competitive boards?

wallisface says... #2

Have you seen the card Abiding Grace from MH2? Not sure of its viability, but it seems like a really strong way to recur the frog/kami infinitely to ensure you’re seldom taking combat damage. This setup would allow you to run a more carefully-played & control-focused build than normal (my current perception of turbo-frog is that of scrambling chaos before eventually getting blown-out)

October 7, 2021 3:23 p.m.

Balaam__ says... #3

Was about to suggest what wallisface already mentioned. I think there’s a recent deck floating around somewhere, I can’t recall the user that posted it but it’s worth a look.

October 7, 2021 3:53 p.m.

legendofa says... #4

This one?

Abiding Grace Turbo Frog

Modern* mdf64


I did see it, and it actually spurred me to start this thread. It's a very solid build, credit to mdf64. The Abiding Grace recursion is probably the single best thing to happen for this line in the last few years, but I'm trying to squeeze every last drop of potential out of the strategy that I can.

October 7, 2021 3:59 p.m.

Balaam__ says... #5

Yup that’s the one.

Edit-just noticed we both commented on it too. Forgive my Surging Dementia, lol

October 7, 2021 4:10 p.m. Edited.

legendofa says... #6

And wallisface, that slower, more careful and controlled play is exactly what I'm trying to reach. Thanks for clarifying that thought.

October 7, 2021 4:17 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #7

The main problem with Fog style lists is that Enchantress does basically the same thing with Solitary Confinement, except more compact and with a better shell.

That said, you could theoretically assemble a much weirder concept. Using cards like Hope of Ghirapur and Judge's Familiar to assemble other locks, something like Ravenous Squirrel to act as a big beater, and cards like Rally the Ancestors to bring everything back.

I recommend the Cauldron Familiar Witch's Oven combo to go with Ravenous Squirrel. You can also use Thraben Inspector as a draw engine -- just sac it to Oven or another sac outlet and get all the clues you need.

It might work pretty well, but I'm no aristocrats player so I couldn't tell you.

October 7, 2021 4:44 p.m.

legendofa says... #8

TriusMalarky Heh, I was thinking about Enchantress as I was writing. It got a lot of good cards in Modern Horizons 2, and I guess I'm just pushing for the underdog. I saw an Enchantress deck that splashed for Blood Moon, and that's kind of the feel I want. I might look that one up and give it a whirl.

Your weird deck concept sounds like awesome jank. I'm not sure it would hold up at a competitive table, but it looks very cheap to build and a blast to use. I know someone who would play that all day--mind if I pass it on?

October 7, 2021 8:34 p.m.

legendofa says... #9

Looking around, I guess splashing for Blood Moon is now standard operating procedure. Good to know.

October 7, 2021 8:41 p.m.

wallisface says... #10

I’m not hugely knowledged in frog-related-happenings, but i feel like it could work in a combined build with Maytr. By adding Frog, Kami, and Abiding Grace to maytr you’re not particularly losing much of anything (aside from maybe an additional 3 life when you sac Maytr), and you gain a much more hard to disrupt boardstate.

The archtype already has tons of things Frogs would want, namely ways to fetch for them (Ranger-Captain of Eos, Ranger of Eos),and keep them alive (Emeria, The Sky Ruin, Sun Titan, Renegade Rallier).

Not sure how viable the plan is, or what these decks would be like mashed together (i’m just imagining typical Maytr with the above-mentioned Frog/Kami/Grace tbh), but it feels like it has promise

October 7, 2021 10:41 p.m.

mdf64 says... #11

Hey, my turbo frog list actually comes as a variation of Martyr, as that is the deck that I play. Martyr already plays a one of Kami of False Hope which can lock the opponent if they are playing no ways to deal with Abiding Grace. The win condition is usually Squadron Hawk, Solitude or Serra Ascendant. There is also room to play Hope of Ghirapur to lock out control and combo.

October 8, 2021 1:40 p.m.

wallisface says... #12

mdf64 I’m linking your deck here for easy access for others interested.

I see you’ve tagged it as needing help so i’ll give it a gander and offer my 2-cents also :)

October 8, 2021 3:53 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #13

I think the success of turbofog mostly hinges on your win condition.... my best attempt with turbofog was Bant blink using Stonehorn Dignitary with Venser, the Sojourner and Eternal Witness and Time Warp with various blink tech cards.... Coiling Oracle is great for drawing and ramp... Wall of Omens/Wall of Blossoms also help..... Glittering Wish is also amazing in this shell.

October 10, 2021 12:34 p.m.

legendofa says... #14

Icbrgr Did you have any special targets for Glittering Wish, or just a general toolbox set?

October 10, 2021 8:34 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #15

@ legendofa This is my Decklist with detailed description... This was my first deck i was ever truly passionate's definitely dated at this point but the skeleton of the deck should still hold up.

Venser: Wishful Blinking

Modern Icbrgr


October 10, 2021 9:02 p.m. Edited.

wallisface says... #16

Icbrgr I think the archtype your’re suggesting aligns much closer to modern Soulherder (aka decks like this). The cards you’re suggesting are all useful for blink decks, but don’t gel well with Kami/Frog (which sac to activate).

I personally don’t see Frog/Kami having much application in blink/flicker decks, because it’s basically a concession on the existing Soulherder archtype.

October 11, 2021 1:30 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #17

I think the main difference is the decks philosophy... Turbofog in general being a control deck via focusing on combat/damage negation vs Soulherder being more of a value tempo beatdown agenda.

October 11, 2021 2:22 a.m.

wallisface says... #18

The two archtypes do play very differently. I think soulherder currently plays a lot more cagey than you might imagine (its just not fast enough to be aggressive, and relying on long games to win through value).

Imo, any deck running Stonehorn Dignitary probably wants to focus on flickering it for value (i.e, Ephemerate, Soulherder). That doesn’t really fit in with what turbofrog wants to do, which is reanimate 1-drops. Their play patterns feel very different

October 11, 2021 2:44 a.m.

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