Yawgmoth Chord Undying Combo in Modern
Urza, as always, got all the love when Modern Horizons released. As a four mana creature that pumps out that much mana, it honestly makes sense. The card is just good. Unfortunately, that means that in the Modern scene, Yawgmoth didn’t get nearly as much love. Poor Yawgmoth. He can do things for free too! And while they might not be as inherently powerful as what Urza has going, there’s still a lot you can pull off with him, especially in an Aristocrats shell.
If you have a higher life total than your opponent, Geralf’s Messenger, Yawgmoth, and any other undying creature means that you win by looping Messenger and the other undying creature with Yawgmoth’s ability. If the second undying creature is another Messenger or if you also have Blood Artist, your life total can be significantly lower than your opponent’s.
As you can see, the deck has quite a few moving parts, which is what makes it so much fun to play. Birds of Paradise is a tried-and-true way to ramp our mana in the early game, despite being something of a dead draw later on. Young Wolf is a bit unorthodox, but does wonderful things in this deck and is somewhat removal-resistant thanks to Undying. Blood Artist gets us a ton of life drain, and makes things like late-game Birds of Paradise feel slightly less bad if we have a way to sacrifice them. Scavenging Ooze is great maindeckable graveyard hate that also gains life so you can pay for more Yawgmoth activations. Strangleroot Geist does a great job swinging in early while still having some relevance for us in the late-game, and Wall of Roots helps build up extra mana for Chord of Calling. Geralf’s Messenger lets us do some pretty cool things, including infinitely draining our opponent, and Kitchen Finks is just a great value play when we need the life. Yawgmoth makes this whole deck tick, setting up combos, drawing us cards, and killing our opponent’s creatures. Acidic Slime helps in the value game by taking out enemy resources, and Thragtusk helps in the same area by gaining us life and leaving behind a 3/3 body no matter how it ends up off the battlefield.
We’re pretty spell light here, and for good reason: we need creatures to sacrifice to Yawgmoth. Naturally, then, the few spells we do have just help us find even more creatures. Chord of Calling lets us find our biggest creatures even if we just have an army of smaller ones, and Eldritch Evolution has great synergy with all of the persist and undying creatures we have here.
Our manabase mostly consists of dual color lands, with fastlands, fetchlands, shocklands, basic lands, and even filter lands. Outside of that, we have a single Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to help us hit triple-black for Geralf’s Messenger, as well as a few Khalni Garden to give us a bit of extra sacrifice fodder.
Our sideboard isn’t doing anything too ridiculous, although it does vary a bit from the beaten path. Collective Brutality is a flexible card that can help against a bunch of different decks, Collector Ouphe is a nice little Null Rod with legs, and Damping Sphere can put on the brakes for a few different decks like storm and various -vine lists. Dosan the Falling Leaf keeps countermagic and removal off of our back for a bit to squeeze through a combo, Reclamation Sage can clean up opposing artifacts and hate pieces, and Leyline of the Void is a good way to slow down graveyard strategies right from the start. Obstinate Baloth helps against Liliana decks, and Shriekmaw is a nice piece of tutorable removal that you can sac to Yawgmoth with the evoke trigger on the stack.
- If you have a higher life total than your opponent, Geralf’s Messenger, Yawgmoth, and any other undying creature means that you win by looping Messenger and the other undying creature with Yawgmoth’s ability. If the second undying creature is another Messenger or if you also have Blood Artist, your life total can be significantly lower than your opponent’s.
- You can use Yawgmoth to make removal miss other creatures if your opponent decides to target them with it.
- Yawgmoth isn’t just a combo engine. Remember that you can turn his free counters on your opponent and use his proliferate to give your creatures more +1/+1 counters.
- Two Young Wolfs, a Blood Artist, and Yawgmoth is a win. By sacrificing one wolf to target one that already has a +1/+1 counter on it, you can get infinite drain triggers.
- Pawn of Ulamog gives you extra mana every time you sacrifice a creature, and given that you can get a lot of sacrifices in already, seems like it could be helpful at times. You could even throw in Finale of Devastation for random free wins that are even more out of left field than what the deck does already.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, you can splash white for Teysa Karlov, which will double up your death triggers like Blood Artist, Thragtusk, or Pawn if you have it. A Teysa build would need to be a bit more focused on death triggers than the current list is, however.
- Fecundity gets you even more card draw, but at the cost of giving some to your opponent as well.
- If you’re willing to splash white, you can use Doomed Traveler and Hunted Witness to get some extra sacrifice fodder.
The deck does some very unorthodox things (like playing Yawgmoth), but in the end makes for some really interesting loops. The tutors let you be a bit toolbox-y, and you have a variety of tools to handle different situations. And if you ever feel like you’re missing an important tool, it’s pretty easy to put a one-of in the sideboard somewhere to be tutored up in games two and three if you need it. The deck almost certainly has a bit of room for improvement, but that also allows you to be a bit more flexible in the kinds of cards you experiment with. In the end, this is the kind of deck that rewards playing around hate and thinking ahead, and is just generally a lot of fun.
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