April 20, 2018

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The Modern Rogue Report - Cremator Evolution

Hey, you're back!
Welcome to the 17th instalment of The Modern Rogue Report! I'm Cody, and this week I'm excited to talk about a pretty janky Modern deck. I would say it looks too cute to be competitive, but a player named Watarai Junichi made it to the finals of a 93 player "God of Modern" trial (excuse the quick Google translation) on April 15th.

Cremator Evolution is a deck that utilizes the ne'er heard of Cragganwick Cremator to discard large bombs, dealing damage equal to their power to the opponent. Discarding an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn for 15-damage or a Ghalta, Primal Hunger for 12-damage feels pretty good; especially in a format where players take so much damage from their own lands. I'd say a lot of the time, tossing an Emrakul for 15-sies should be enough, no?

Let's take a look at Watarai Junichi's list, which has clearly been tuned over multiple smaller events judging by the multiple top-finish deck posts.

Watarai has three rather respectable finishes with this deck in decent sized tournaments, which gives me a glimmer of hope that this deck might actually be worth sticking with over time. Check out recent Modern tournament results at hareruyamtg.com.

Now let's get to it and have a look at what exactly Cremator Evolution is:

The mana base basically speaks for itself, giving us a solid base for red and green spells. Double green spells and double red spells shouldn't be a problem here.

Gemstone Caverns is particularly pretty adorable. If you start the game on the draw and it's in your opening hand, not only does it help ramp you to a Cragganwick Cremator or Eldritch Evolution a turn sooner, it also gets another card out of your hand. This is valuable because even if we have a sweet hand-Fling-esque combo, Cragganwick Cremator's effect is discard at RANDOM. That means the less cards in hand, the better. One card randomly is still random.

There's also a decent chance this deck just has a turn two Blood Moon, and I hear that wins games sometimes. With four copies of bolt-the-Birds of Paradise and two Noble Hierarchs, all you need to see is the appropriate land, and an Eldritch Evolution. From there, you sacrifice the mana-dork, grab your 1-of-fun-of Magus of the Moon and have fun having the only fun.

A neat little thing about Crocodile of the Crossing is that when it enters the battlefield, it puts a -1/-1 counter on one of your own creatures. What would regularly be seen as a downside can instead reset undying on Strangleroot Geist. The fact that it is a 4-drop is just gravy. This is beneficial in spreading our deck's mana costs for Eldritch Evolution targets. It's also the fastest crocodile you've ever seen and will punch an opponent for five out of nowhere. Yep. It has haste.

This deck has a pretty decent aggressive plan with Strangleroots, the tutor-able Crocodile of the Crossing, and some other decent aggressive low-drops in Scavenging Ooze, Kitchen Finks, and Tireless Tracker. It's also able to win by discarding a giant-powered creature to a Cragganwick Cremator effect. Combos out of nowhere? Check. This deck can ALSO just Magus of the Moon an opponent out of the game super early. GAS.

Three rather viable angles of attack make this deck seem all the more interesting to me. Albeit, three strangely crafted angles of attack.

In the recent decklists of Junichi's only a few things have changed. One to note would be the final inclusion of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This card was not included in other versions of the deck, but serves great purpose as a 15-damage combo victory and with the ability to shuffle the owner's library and graveyard together. Another neat little trick is the fact that Ghalta, Primal Hunger's cost-reducing text helps us get it on the battlefield. As a 12-drop that can be cheated out so early, we can take advantage of that with Eldritch Evolution. Ever Eldritch Evolutioned a Ghalta, Primal Hunger into an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn? Livin' the dream.

I wouldn't really recommend this deck to someone trying to compete in this format just yet... but hey, maybe Watarai Junichi will keep soaring to the top of events with it.

I will note that this deck is quite powerful and definitely has some future potential. Decks with Eldritch Evolution are not only extremely fun to build, but give a vast array of options to tutor for. Creatures will always keep coming out in new sets. Power creep is certainly a real thing, so Eldritch Evolution can only get better itself. Creatures keep getting cheaper and more powerful, with more text and bigger stats. It's only a matter of time before a card like this is too good, I think. Just as at one point in Magic (admittedly not speaking from experience; it was before my time) Birthing Pod was a completely acceptable card. There are definite similarities, but Eldritch is one use only.kindle the carnage

This deck sort of resembles the old Kindle the Carnage / Spiteful Shadows / Ragged Veins deck. One thing is for sure, the power of the Cragganwick Cremator's effect sure has me looking at Kindle the Carnage now. Spirit-bomb sized burn spells in Modern can be a fun, fast one-hit K.O. Here's to exploring them over the next few weeks!

Thanks all for dropping by.
It's been a shorter one, but a fun one.
Dominaria is coming out soon so there will be plenty of upgrading to old faithful strategies to talk about.
The experimentation has only just begun!

Have any ideas to improve Cremator Evolution?

Let me know below! Leave a comment/like/share, please. It's much appreciated.
And if you're on Twitter, show me how it works and get at me - @GoblinCredible

It's been a pleasure as always.

Rogue away.