As mentioned in our first post on Casual Contemplation, don’t come here looking for something you can take to FNM, but these decks are definitely something fun and (usually/mostly) affordable you can take to the kitchen table to impress your friends with your crazy and creative combo skills.
My Casual decks are usually inspired by cards that have unique abilities that are difficult to combo, unique ways of exploiting an ability or tribe, or admittedly/simply…awesome art/flavor that deserves a place in a deck but is otherwise “useless”.
One of my favorite vorthos side-stories is Ludevic of Ulm from the Innistrad blocks. He, along with his pernicious padowan Geralf Cecani, fulfill the role of Dr. Frankenstein of Innistrad, stitching together undead monstrosities and reviving corpses using necro-alchemy. One of the first cards we are introduced to from Ludevic is the Blue Transform card Ludevic’s Test Subject. This incredibly powerful (when transformed into Ludevic’s Abomination) but virtually unplayable creature is something many may appreciate for its flavor and little else. But is there a way to make it work?
As you can see, Ludevic’s Test Subject is part of the Transform mechanic from Innistrad. It is one of the most creative mechanics MTG has come out with, but many of the cards are inconsequential in competitive Modern, especially the examples of the mechanic in Blue. They are generally more expensive to play and don’t receive the tribal assistance the R/G Werewolves get. Therefore, Test Subject ends up an afterthought. But I decided to create a decklist to find a way to make Test Subject a viable threat:
- Ludevic’s Test Subject x4
- Amoeboid Changeling x4
- Augury Owl x4
- Instants and Sorceries
- Wings of Velis Vel x2
- Moonmist x4
- Waxing Moon x4
- Ponder x4
- Mizzium Skin x4
- Might of Oaks x2
- Preordain x4
- Temple of Mystery x2
- Simic Guildgate x4
- Islands x10
- Forests x8
- Izzet Guildgate x2
- Gruul Guildgate x2
- Mountains x2
- Firebreathing x2
- Tail Slash x4
- Soul’s Fire x4
So the goal of this deck is to cheat the transformation process by making spells think the Test Subject is a Werewolf. The advantage is that Test Subject is transformed into its intimidating Abomination several turns before the opponent is ready for it. A 13/13 with Trample is scary in most Modern matches at any point, but getting it out before the opponent can get their deck at full speed can be devastating.
The creatures outside of Test Subject simply provide wheels to what the instants and sorceries provide. Amoeboid Changeling is superior to the Wings of Velis Vel because it provides the shapeshifting option without the additional mana in one turn. Augury Owl provides a little flying protection/chump blocking until the opponent has Abomination to deal with.
The instants and sorceries are the butter to the Test Subject’s bread and help to transform the creature as quick as possible using scrying, drawing and shapeshifting. We also have a few protection and buff spells to keep Abomination alive and help him one-shot the opponent. The goal with these spells is to have them as cheap and readily available as possible, which usually isn’t too difficult.
Because we devoted our instants and sorceries pool to Test Subject, there isn’t much room (or necessity) for mana ramp and mana fixing. So the important thing here is to use enough dual lands to compensate for the lack of mana fixing in the nonland spells. 6 should be plenty, and you may be able to work with 4.
The sideboard is designed to splash some red to give the true flavor of a Godzilla attack, focusing on dealing damage directly from Abomination’s power. But this is something Green can do on its own, so this is solely for flavor (at the major of expense of deck cohesion).
- Turn 1: (Land) Ponder into missing ingredients.
- Turn 2: (Land) Amoeboid Changeling.
- Turn 3: (Land) Ludevic’s Test Subject.
- Turn 4: Tap Amoeboid targeting Test Subject, cast Moonmist, attack with 13/13 with Trample. (Mana open for Mizzium Skin protection.)
- Turn 5: Swing for lethal.
Admittedly, I’ve tried this deck (minus the key ingredient of Amoeboid Changeling) to no avail. I would love to make it work, but the combo is surprisingly less reliable than that of the Israfel Eldrazi deck. I’ve found that I’m scrying for all the key ingredients so much that I’m a turn or two away from hardcasting Test Subject into its beastly form anyways. However, when it works it is an unstoppable machine of nasty, and probably the closest thing we can get to Godzilla in MTG.