Deck Building with Satoru, the Infiltrator in Modern

Ben Fraley
April 30, 2024


Everyone is saying, “Ben you smoke to tough, your brews too fire, your swag too different, they’ll kill you!” And its true. 

Satoru, the Infiltrator (Outlaws of Thunder Junction #230)

In my last article, I wrote at length about how much I have loved brewing with Satoru, the Infiltrator. This card is truly very, very cool. Satoru can be employed in a variety of strategies. I have been brewing with Satoru in a ton of shells. Given that at the time of writing this article, he has only been legal for four days so I have not been able to test thoroughly. To temper expectations I will rank them based on how viable I believe they are, or via a better qualifier, how incredibly lost in the sauce I am. 

The first three lists I am confident in as having real potential and after that, a steep drop off occurs as to how lost in the sauce they may be.


1. Dimir Persist Satoru

In this first version of Dimir Satoru the deck looks to grind value out of Satoru through using both Subtlety and Grief with Essence Flux and a Persist package with Troll of Khazad-dûm to apply pressure quickly. Satoru is very good and drawing cards from a free Thoughtsieze or Force of Will is powerful. Additionally, two-mana reanimate a 2/1 that Thoughtseize’s and draws a card is also very good. The deck also has removal in the form of Fatal Push and Sheoldred’s Edict for the threats that are not discarded or Subtletied.


2. Dimir No-Persist Satoru 

This version removes the persist for more interaction. Tishana’s Tidebinder also gets value from Essence Flux. This version ended up being almost card for card Aspiring Spike’s list. The original sole difference was one fewer Not Dead After All and one fewer Tishana’s Tidebinder in exchange for two Counterspell. I believe the Aspiringspike list is better as Counterspell competes negatively with Dauthi and Satoru but Tishana’s does not.


3. Esper Satoru-Blade Scam

Esper Satoru-Blade Scam is the one I think is the strongest. In my testing, I went 4-1 in a league with it and it felt incredibly strong. Satoru being backed up with the two most generically powerful Evoke Elementals, Ephemeral provides a great main game plan. Stoneforge Mystic works well with Ephemerate and is a solid back-up plan and can find Cryptic Coat another great card with Satoru (and sometimes even Ephemerate!) The Persist Package also works very well as Reanimating a 5/4 with triple menace is a real threat and Persist works with both Grief and Solitude (Unlike Subtlety). Additionally, Leyline Binding, Bowmaster, Prismatic Ending, and Teferi give a suite of other powerful interaction.


4. Asmo Satoru

This is where it starts to get a bit questionable. Asmo Satoru looks to maximize the power of Satoru without Evoke Elementals. Aether Vial, Unearth, Bloodghast & Fiend Artisan each allow for putting creatures into play without casting incredibly efficiently. I went 4-1 with this list aswell and the deck consists of Engine after Engine. Urza’s Saga provides immense value and works well with Asmo, Fiend Artisan can find Asmo for one mana and when combined with Blood Ghast generates tons of value. The engines all work together incredibly well with Satoru. The Underworld Cookbook can allow very powerful starts with Unearth. This deck is by no means perfect and needs to be tuned but feels very powerful with real engines that I do not see in other lists online.


5. Grixis Norin Maxxing

This list is likely bad. The idea is for a generic Grixis deck that can get value off of Satoru from Grief, Blood Ghast, Norin, and Fable. The synergy between Norin the Wary and Satoru allows for a curve of turn one Norin into turn two Satoru and then effectively drawing two additional cards every turn cycle. Drawing two extra cards every turn cycle will easily allow for enough value to grind your opponent into dust.


6. 5c Combo 

This list is also likely bad but the combo present should be powerful. Saffi Eriksdotter, Renegade Rallier, and a Sacrifice outlet will produce a loop that will put infinite counters on Carrion Feeder. If Satoru is in the mix you draw your whole deck, with Kellan Joins Up you put infinite counters on your creatures or with Spike Feeder and Kellan Joins Up can gain infinite life. There are a ton of random combos also enabled through Agatha’s Soul Cauldron. The deck has the potential to be powerful but the decklist itself is muddled and the time necessary to set up may make the deck too weak to interaction.


7. Satoru Combo Humans

Satoru Combo Humans looks to make casting spells easy via the Kindred lands, Cavern of Souls, and the like, it also wants to generate value off of Solitude, Ephemerate, Saffi, Aether Vial, and Norin. It has a combo aswell that most pieces can be tutored off of Imperial Recruiter. Yawgmoth, Zulaport Cutthroat, Saffi Eriksdotter, and Renegade Rallier will draw your deck and drain your opponent. Delney is an incredible piece for making the value engine in this deck even better. Satoru is powerful but Satoru triggering twice per creature is even better.

These seven lists are all brews of my own or with the help of my friends. There have been other Satoru lists that have done great aswell. On the 20th, Esper Satoru Reanimator won the challenge. Instead of the Stoneforge package, this goes all in on Persist with Archon of Cruelty as the best reanimator target. The looting effects also provide a blue card count to support multiple Subtlety. 

Esper Reanimator by qbeczkowo

Satoru, the infiltrator looks to be one of the best draw engines recently printed in modern. There are countless ways to trigger it that I didn’t even touch on. A more aggressive Break Out list, or a list more in on Unearth or Helping Hand, even a Ninjitsu list with Ornithopter and Moon-circuit Hacker could be cool. I wish you the best of luck in your brewing!