(Modern) Bringing the Nature’s Wrath to Copycat

2019 was a wild year for Modern and 2020 shows no signs of changing this craziness. With Oko, Thief of Crowns and Mox Opal gone, new decks have risen to the top of the Modern metagame (and with a little help from Theros: Beyond Death). Amulet Titan was the biggest winner with the printing of Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. Another popular deck, Bant Stonblade, lost Oko but gained a new and formidable replacement in Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

These two cards are arguably the strongest cards to come from the new set. Even Reid Duke, the midrange master himself, piloted a sweet Sultai deck featuring Uro and the classic attrition package of discard and removal spells. If you told me two years ago that Bant and Sultai would be playable archetypes in Modern, I would have laughed in your face. But here we are!

Those of you who know me will be well aware that I have a favorite deck in Modern (check out my Jeskai Saheeli primer here). That deck, Copycat, features the infinite combo between Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian, which was infamously banned from Standard and Pioneer. Copycat can come in many different flavors, but the most prominent are Jeskai and Four-Color.


Janh’s Jeskai Copycat [5-0 on 2/2020]

Planeswalkers (6)
Saheeli Rai
Teferi, Time Raveler

Creatures (14)
Felidar Guardian
Seasoned Pyromancer
Snapcaster Mage
Stoneforge Mystic

Spells (16)
Serum Visions
Force of Negation
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Helix
Path to Exile
Remand

Artifacts (2)
Batterskull
Sword of Feast and Famine
Lands (22)
Arid Mesa
Celestial Colonnade
Field of Ruin
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Sulfur Falls

Sideboard (15)
Batterskull
Force of Negation
Anger of the Gods
Blood Moon
Celestial Purge
Kor Firewalker
Mystical Dispute
Rest in Peace


I have had success with both in the past, but today, I want to focus on Four-Color. That said, Jeskai certainly has its benefits which include a slightly more consistent manabase and the sweet plan of Bolt-Snap-Bolt.

Four-Color has some new toys to try out, and the ceiling on Four-Color is much higher than straight Jeskai. First, let’s talk about the glue that holds the deck together and the biggest reason to play Four-Color.     

Arcum’s Astrolabe is an insanely powerful card as it cycles and fixes all your mana troubles for the low cost of one mana. Additionally, it’s a value target for both of our combo pieces, ensuring that each is still playable even when we are not comboing.

Ice-Fang Coatl is also a cantrip like Arcum’s Astrolabe, with the upside of actually trading with whatever it blocks, unlike previously played cards like Wall of Omens or Wall of Blossoms. It can also hold equipment and pressure planeswalkers or life totals in a pinch.

Other Green cards help us pack an even stronger punch, such as the previously mentioned Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath as well as Wrenn and Six, one of the most powerful planeswalkers ever printed. The great thing about adding Green to the deck is that it allows the deck to play a stronger midrange game, meaning it is less reliant on the combo and thus less vulnerable to disruption. These two cards do exactly that.

With Mono-Red Prowess rising in the meta, Uro finds itself incredibly well-positioned, as they have few ways to remove it effectively, and even if they do, it comes right back. It’s important to play cards that fill the graveyard, such as cheap removal spells and plenty of fetches, which also work well with Wrenn and Six for obvious reasons. 

To me, the best cheap removal spells that Four-Color has access to are Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile. Having the full four copies of each ensures that you are maximizing your odds of having that turn one removal spell against the more aggressive decks in the format. Having a clear board is very important when trying to curve into a turn four combo.

We can’t forget Teferi, Time Raveler, the best planeswalker printed for this strategy (other than Saheeli Rai herself, of course). Protecting the combo, replacing itself, and being a value target for Felidar Guardian are reasons enough to play the full four copies of the card.

Stoneforge Mystic is another shoe-in, as it’s one of the most powerful White cards in Modern. Forcing your opponent to cast a removal spell on Stoneforge Mystic, which already replaced itself by tutoring up an equipment, gives the combo breathing room. At the same time, an unanswered Stoneforge Mystic will run away with the game. This puts any interactive deck between a rock and a hard place, while giving us a reasonable proactive gameplan against the less interactive decks.

The best two equipment we can put in our deck are Batterskull and Sword of Feast and Famine. The reason we play Sword of Feast and Famine over Sword of Fire and Ice is because it doesn’t give our creatures protection from Saheeli Rai or Teferi, Time Raveler allowing you target your own creatures for combo purposes or to reuse their ETB triggers. It also allows us to unload our hand or hold up interaction.

So what do we get when we put all of these pieces together? Take a look below at Four-Color Copycat!


Lagzilla’s 4C Saheeli [02/2020]

Artifacts (6)
Arcum’s Astrolabe
Sword of Feast and Famine
Batterskull

Creatures (14)
Felidar Guardian
Ice-Fang Coatl
Stoneforge Mystic
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Spells (8)
Lightning Bolt
Path to Exile

Planeswalkers (10)
Wrenn and Six
Teferi, Time Raveler
Saheeli Rai
Lands (22)
Fiery Islet
Waterlogged Grove
Breeding Pool
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Snow-Covered Plains
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Forest
Scalding Tarn
Misty Rainforest
Flooded Strand
Prismatic Vista

Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Veil of Summer
Mystical Dispute
Aether Gust
Rest in Peace
Batterskull
Force of Negation
Celestial Purge
Ashiok, Dream Render


I’ve not been a big fan of Oath of Nissa in these types of decks, simply because it forces you to minimize the amount of interactive spells in your main and side. Cutting it allows us to reconfigure the manabase to rely less on turn one Green mana and more on turn one interaction. We also play ten fetches to fuel Wrenn and Six and Uro’s Escape.

Moving to the sideboard, another big draw to playing Green is Veil of Summer, which gives us a big edge against interactive decks. Because of Arcum’s Astrolabe and our many fetches, we can play Blood Moon in the board, which is one of the best ways to interact with big mana strategies like Amulet Titan and Tron.

Aether Gust is an exceptional card against Red or Green decks that can also dodge Veil of Summer. Force of Negation is a counter that is stronger against combo while Mystical Dispute is stronger against Blue decks. Having access to arguably the three best counterspells (four if you include Veil of Summer) allows us the flexibility to configure our deck against the wide array of decks in the Modern meta.

Rest in Peace, while hosing our own Wrenn and Six and Uro, is the best piece of graveyard hate available. It shuts down Dredge (a pretty difficult matchup) while slowing down decks like Dimir Whirza or Gifts Storm. Ashiok, Dream Render is another graveyard hate card that can also slow down Amulet Titan. If you can reduce Amulet to just a deck that plays 6 mana 6/6 tramplers, it becomes much easier to beat.

Due to a minor uptick in Jund, Celestial Purge is a great addition to the sideboard to combat opposing Wrenn and Six or Liliana of the Veil, as well as hitting all the threats out of Mono-Red Prowess.

Lastly, we play another Batterskull in the sideboard, because sometimes we need a second Batterskull to find with Stoneforge Mystic, especially against aggro decks. It’s also a pretty easy swap when Sword of Feast and Famine is bad but Stoneforge Mystic is still good in a particular matchup.

Wrap-Up

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath provided Four-Color Copycat exactly what it needed: a lifegaining cantrip that’s also a back-up wincon. The inevitability the card provides is unrivaled in Modern and greatly improves the deck’s matchup against Lightning Bolt decks or heavy interaction decks (like Bant Stoneblade).

Don’t sleep on this deck, but most importantly, don’t sleep on Uro. The card will breathe life into a plethora of midrange decks, but it shines even brighter in a midrange-combo deck such as Copycat.

I would not be surprised to see Uro all over Modern in a few months. It’s only a matter of time before people find the best way to win with it, but for now, it’ll do just fine here.

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