The Blood Moon Decks of Modern

Hello again everyone! About three months back, I wrote a primer for RW Prison, or Sun and Moon. For those who might not know, this is a Modern prison deck that uses Blood Moon and Chalice of the Void to lock its opponent out of the game, and uses up to six boardwipes to clear their board once it has it’s lock pieces. The deck then wins with planeswalkers, usually using Nahiri, the Harbinger to find an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and win, although it has several other planeswalkers that can win games single-handedly. This will be a follow up article, explaining the difference between Blood Moon decks in Modern.

Over the years, Blood Moon has seen play in many decks. The most common sighting is probably in Affinity or Storm, but although they run Blood Moon, they run it in their sideboard and don’t build around it. Therefore, I would not call something like Affinity a Blood Moon deck. There are four main variants of this mana denial strategy: RW Prison, Blue Moon, Skred and Ponza.

 


RW Prison

 


This is essentially a Blood Moon and Chalice of the Void deck that uses fast mana to power these spells out on turn one or two. Of the decks I will be talking about here, this is the one that most resembles a Prison strategy. It locks the opponent out of the game, and then finishes them off over the course of many turns, using powerful threats such as planeswalkers that will eventually, when left alone, wear the opponent down. This is my Blood Moon deck of choice, because Simian Spirit Guides power the card out early and Chalice of the Void is such a powerful lock piece against decks like Grixis Shadow. The main weakness of the deck is that it cannot play one drops alongside Chalice. This makes its removal awkward, as you lose out on cards like Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt. This deck’s late game consists of Planeswalkers and Wraths, which make for very powerful finishers.

The main win condition in the deck is Nahiri, the Harbinger. She does a lot more than just winning the game though. She also kills problematic Artifacts and Enchantments like Ensnaring Bridge, and allows you to dig for more answers when necessary. The deck also plays many more planeswalkers to shut down the game, giving it one of the most powerful late games in the format.

This deck is very good against many of the top decks in the format, such as Grixis Shadow and Gifts Storm, but struggles against many lower tier decks, and many midrange, ramp and control decks. I would recommend playing it in aggressive and fast combo-heavy metagames where it can shut down opponents quickly and completely.

 


RW Prison by Sylvan Schrank

 


Lands

8x Plains

3x Rugged Prairie

2x Sacred Foundry

4x Temple of Triumph

4x Arid Mesa

1x Mountain

 

Creatures

4x Simian Spirit Guide

1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Noncreature Spells

2x Wrath of God

1x Ajani Vengeant

4x Anger of the Gods

2x Blessed Alliance

4x Blood Moon

4x Chalice of the Void

3x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

1x Elspeth, Sun's Champion

2x Gideon Jura

2x Journey to Nowhere

4x Lightning Helix

4x Nahiri, the Harbinger

Sideboard

2x Blessed Alliance

2x Elspeth, Sun's Champion

1x Gemstone Caverns

4x Leyline of Sanctity

3x Rest in Peace

3x Stony Silence

 


Blue Moon/UR Breach

 


The Blue Moon deck is not huge right now, but a variant, UR Breach, is doing very well. The deck is a Blue Red control deck that plays Blood Moon alongside Through the Breach and Emrakul almost like a Twin replacement to be able to randomly win against many decks, including some of the top decks in Modern right now. I believe that URx Breach is the best Blood Moon deck in Modern right now because of the powerful control shell combined with the amazing win condition, and Blue Moon isn’t as good as that deck.

This deck runs a powerful control shell. Cards like Cryptic Command and Snapcaster Mage are some of the best control spells ever printed. This gives the deck the tools it needs to outgrind almost any opponent before locking them out and winning.

As with many control decks, UR Breach and Blue Moon struggle against aggro. However, they are able to outgrind most midrange opponents and the combo out of Breach can get under many control players' defenses. I would recommend this archetype in a very grindy metagame, which is what the format in general looks like right now. This makes these decks the best option for moon decks at the moment.

 


UR Breach by Sylvan Schrank

 


Lands

4x Scalding Tarn

2x Polluted Delta

1x Misty Rainforest

1x Flooded Strand

3x Steam Vents

3x Sulfur Falls

1x Desolate Lighthouse

7x Island

1x Mountain

Creatures

3x Snapcaster Mage

1x Vendilion Clique

3x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Noncreature Spells

3x Serum Visions

4x Opt

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Remand

2x Spreading Seas

3x Blood Moon

2x Electrolyze

3x Cryptic Command

4x Through the Breach

1x Pull from Tomorrow

Sideboard

3x Madcap Experiment

2x Platinum Emperion

3x Dispel

1x Vendilion Clique

1x Izzet Staticaster

2x Abrade

3x Anger of the Gods

 


Skred

 


This is the first (and last) mono-colored deck we will be talking about. For a long time it was written off as unplayable, but in late 2016 it managed to win a Grand Prix and gained more metagame share. It has been on the downturn again through 2017, but is still a deck that sees play, and you could see it at any Modern event. It’s another deck with a great late game: it runs Planeswalkers too, but this deck also plays big, hard-to-kill creature threats such as Wurmcoil Engine and Eternal Scourge. As a Prison deck many versions add in at least one Chalice of the Void and boardwipes. Differently from Sun and Moon, most versions of this archetype still play one drops, despite the risk of playing them alongside Chalice.

This is another deck that has a win condition that uses walkers. This one, though, doesn't play white for Nahiri, the Harbinger, meaning it has to have a backup plan; in this case, giant beaters such as Stormbreath Dragon. One card whose printing really helps this deck is Eternal Scourge, an almost impossible to kill threat.

Sadly for this deck, it shares the same matchups (mostly) as WR Prison, but is slightly worse vs aggro because of the loss of white removal and sweepers. This means that I would recommend you play WR Prison over it.

 


List - Skred by Sylvan Schrank

 


Lands

2x Scrying Sheets

21x Snow-Covered Mountain

Creatures

2x Pia and Kiran Nalaar

2x Stormbreath Dragon

2x Eternal Scourge

Noncreature Spells

4x Mind Stone

3x Relic of Progenitus

4x Anger of the Gods

4x Blood Moon

1x Chandra, Flamecaller

3x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

4x Koth of the Hammer

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Skred

Sideboard

1x Roast

2x Molten Rain

1x Shattering Spree

1x Shatterstorm

1x Batterskull

1x Crumble to Dust

2x Dragon's Claw

1x Kozilek's Return

2x Ratchet Bomb

1x Wurmcoil Engine

2x Eidolon of the Great Revel

 


RG Ponza

 


This deck is very different than the others, and unlike any other modern deck. It plays Moon, but its goal is to kill off all of the opponent’s lands using cards like Stone Rain. It plays ramp to help kill lands earlier, and it, along with many of the the other decks mentioned here, uses one of the cards that has become most synonymous with Blood Moon; Chandra, Torch of Defiance. The Kaladesh Planeswalker was first adopted into Modern with use in Skred decks, and has since gone on to be used in all of these decks. She fits in perfectly here, where she ramps you to six, the highest spot on your curve, while providing card advantage, removal, and even a powerful win condition. You use powerful creatures as late game finishers, and you hope to be able to overpower the midrange decks of the format.

The key to this deck is the ramp. Between Arbor Elf, Birds of Paradise and Utopia Sprawl, you have ten one mana sources of ramp, and can get as much as four mana on turn two. It then kills it's opponent's mana, and it follows up with big finishers like those employed by Skred.

This deck preys on a field of midrange. The land destruction package is good at shutting down their mana, and it can finish by going way over its opponent with dragons and titans. This Moon deck is the one that is best positioned in a field of black-based midrange; although it is good vs blue based midrange, those decks tend to be better at functioning on few lands. For example, this is a good deck in a field of mostly traditional Abzan.

 


Ponza - by Sylvan Schrank

 


Lands

1x Mountain

1x Stomping Ground

1x Cinder Glade

10x Forest

4x Windswept Heath

4x Wooded Foothills

Creatures

4x Arbor Elf

2x  Birds of Paradise

3x Tireless Tracker

2x Chameleon Colossus

1x Inferno Titan

1x Thundermaw Hellkite

2x Stormbreath Dragon


 

Noncreature Spells

4x Utopia Sprawl

4x Stone Rain

4x Molten Rain

4x Blood Moon

2x Bonfire of the Damned

4x Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

3x Lightning Bolt

1x Chandra, the Firebrand

1x Harmonize


 

Sideboard

2x Destructive Revelry

1x Fracturing Gust

2x Ancient Grudge

3x Anger of the Gods

2x Witchbane Orb

2x Obstinate Baloth

1x Relic of Progenitus

2x Scavenging Ooze

 


Conclusion

 


My favorite Blood Moon deck right now is UR Breach. As I mentioned, it is a powerful control deck with two "I win" buttons, one at three mana and one at five mana. It resembles Twin, as many have noted, one of Modern's most powerful decks. I would pick RW Prison second, and then Ponza.

As we can see from these decks, Blood Moon decks tend to be able to go much bigger than other decks, even sometimes running six mana cards as win conditions, with no Tron lands. Three of the four are Prison decks, which have the freedom to win in almost any way they want, and the fourth is a control deck, which can also go very big.

Blood Moon decks can be very powerful, and have been ruining fun for many players since the first printing, in The Dark. The card is especially good in this format, where many players rely on having Fetches and Shocks in their manabase, and the card is always something to watch out for. All of these decks can be very good when played well, and I hope you will give one of them a try. If you want to talk more about this article, you can find me on twitter or on the Untap Open League Discord, which is a league that runs off of the website untap.in. Thanks for reading!


 


Sylvan Schrank

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