Building around Solemnity
My favorite part about playing a lot of Modern is that I don’t have to pay much attention to new sets. They have never printed new cards that affect for the format. NEVER EVER, okay, maybe that isn’t exactly true.
Okay, I’m lying. It seems that every new set brings along some new Modern combo deck for the brewer in all of us to fiddle with and I sure do love to fiddle. Some would say I am a violinist. So what has me excited from Hour of Devastation? Solemnity plus Phyrexian Unlife
Having Phyrexian Unlife in play with Solemnity means that you cannot die because you can’t have Infect counters placed on you. That means you can’t die to any sort of damage, which is pretty powerful. So where does this slot into? Ad Nauseam combo already plays Phyrexian Unlife and Solemnity could slot into that deck but doesn’t seem worthwhile. Another potential home is a pet deck of Max Brown and I.
So what is this hot mess? It is all based around Enduring Ideal. Enduring Ideal is an Epic card from Saviors of Kamigawa that is a weird card but has been a centerpiece of fringe decks in Modern for a long time now and agreed upon as not being good enough. So what changes this? The Unlife- Solemnity combo. Tutoring for Phyrexian Unlife on the first Enduring Ideal will guarantee a second turn(as long as there are no double strike shenanigans), which will allow for Solemnity to come down prevent any poison counters being placed on you. This lock is something the deck never had access to and can even prevent being burned out where something like Sphere of Safety or Meishan, the Mind Cage wasn’t able to do that. This makes Enduring Ideal a viable one card lock piece.
That isn’t the only lock in this deck though. Rule of Law plus Possibility Storm stops players from actually casting spells. Once the two are play, any spell cast triggers the Possibility Storm and the players flips through their deck until they find a matching spell type but when they go to cast it, Rule of Law stops them. They just can’t cast spells. This lock stops combo decks from killing you when the Phyrexian Unlife lock doesn’t do it. The deck is based around these two locks and Enduring Ideal setting it up. The deck isn’t looking to cast Possibility Storm but it possible with Utopia Sprawl.The acceleration is there to try to cast an Enduring Ideal as fast as possible. A turn 4 Ideal is the basis for the deck and should happen a lot of the time.
The deck also has some disruptive elements beyond the lock pieces. Suppression Field is great against large swaths of the format, let alone fetch lands. It is very possible to just lock someone out of their lands. It turns off Lightning Storm, Devoted Druid combo and a lot of Affinities payoff spells. That is a heck of a lock piece. Leyline of Sanctity protects yourself from discard and burn spells, two of the most popular effects in the format. These hate cards can be enough to KO some decks on their own. Now for the weird one of’s.
Form of the Dragon, as weird as it looks, is our kill condition. Our kill condition off of Ideal has to be an enchantment and this one does it, albeit pretty slowly. My main concern isn’t winning the game once we have the lock set up, but just having a way to end the game. It also makes serves as a sort of Solemnity when in play with Phyrexian Unlife. Unlife will let you go to negative life but Form of the Dragon will reset you to 5 every end step. That means the opponent has to deal you 5 damage precombat and then hit for 10 infect damage in combat. While that isn’t impossible, it is a good set up if they destroy your Solemnity and you don’t have a turn to shuffle it back with Bow of Nylea.
Speaking of, why is Bow of Nylea in our deck? Well we need a way to put our win conditions back in the deck or our various lock pieces that get discarded. It can also gain us some life in a pinch or I guess snipe a flipped Delver of Secrets. The card also serves as a win condition by assuring we don’t deck. While this is slow, once the opponent is locked out it doesn’t really much matter how we win or how long it takes.
Cast Out and Runed Halo are some cheap tutorable answers that will make sure we don’t lose to random permanents and can be put into play with Enduring Ideal. I especially like Cast Out as an answer that won’t sit dead in our hand. It is a great addition for Enduring Ideal decks and just underplayed in the format in general.
The mana base requires a lot of Forests to support Utopia Sprawl and we cannot play fetchlands because of Suppression Field. Canopy Vista comes into play untapped enough to not be awful and can wear a Utopia Sprawl. Mistveil Plains is here to act similar to Bow of Nylea and shuffle back our lock pieces. Temple of Plenty lets us dig to find our Enduring Ideal and control our draws so that we don’t draw our lock pieces we want in the deck. I considered the new Amonkhet cycling dual land but preferred the Temples of Plenty over it.
Is this deck the fastest combo deck in the format? Almost certainly not, but if the different lock pieces are good against enough of the format, I think this deck could be a viable option in the format. The deck is also very customizable. Enduring Ideal is an impressive tutor and rewards silver bullets that can KO various strategies. I think this deck has some real chops now and I am excited to do something Epic.
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