Hello, folks! You’re speaking with Zachary from last week, as current Zachary is flying home from Grand Prix Las Vegas. (Hopefully he didn’t scrub out too quickly.)

Last week, I played in a Modern Masters 64-person draft (as the title vaguely implied). I came in second place, losing in the finals, but more importantly, I had learned and had fun! The most important lesson? Red/White giants might just be the best deck in MM draft.

Crazy, right? How can Kithkin Greatheart and Blind-Spot Giant hope to compare to Kitchen Finks and Oona, Queen of the Fae? On their own, they’re not spectacular (though you can mise fast wins with ’em and all-star Avian Changeling). No, what makes the deck amazing is one card. One card that, if in sufficient quantity and built around, is better than Plague Wind.

Thundercloud Shaman

Thundercloud Shaman is amazing! If your deck is full of giants like Blind-Spot Giant, Avian Changeling, and War-Spike Changeling, that you can routinely cast Thundercloud Shaman as a one-sided Wrath of God. Except for Avian Changeling, these creatures are easy to pick up! Plus, you can pick up last-pick Stinkdrinker Daredevils to make your giants absurdly cheap. So many decks utilize one or two-toughness creatures (tokens, faeries, affinity, skies, Worm Harvest dredge, Empty the Warrens storm…) that you don’t need to Thundercloud for more than two most of the time. Once you’ve resolved Thundercloud Shaman, your opponent will have zero creatures to your army of giants (which can even attack that turn!). It’s a brutally fast way to win the game.

tricks of the trade

Now, I’m not saying that this strategy is infallible. You can’t just force R/W giants – if you don’t have Thundercloud Shaman, then your deck is full of mostly subpar, slow creatures. You’ll be too slow to face aggro and insufficiently powerful to take on control and ramp. The card is essential to the deck and should be picked over everything. Once you have hopefully at least two Thundercloud Shamans, then your deck will have the potential to be amazing.

You can’t just jam Thundercloud Shaman into any deck; you need the critical mass of giants to ensure both that you’ll do a reliably large amount of damage and that your Thundercloud Shamans won’t be killing too many of your creatures. I’ve already mentioned the important support pieces, so I’ll focus on two cards in particular:

Avian Changeling is a great card for many decks. It’s a faerie, a wind drake, a rebel, and even a goblin. Pick it highly because it’s both a great creature on its own (particularly with Bonespliter, the best common in Modern Masters) and combos extremely well with Thundercloud Shaman, Kithkin Greatheart, and Blind-Spot Giant. If you don’t, plenty of other drafters will happily take your 2/2 flying giant.

Otherworldly Journey is a nuanced and powerful trick. Sometimes, it’s removal. Other times, it allows filthy shenanigans with an Evoked Mulldrifter or Aethersnipe. For us, it effectively provides another Thundercloud Shama (just in case the first wasn’t for enough or you stumbled).

MM draft deck RW Giants

Here’s the deck I crafted in the first draft (a 64-person draft consists of eight 8-person pods, the winner of each pod drafts again in a winners-only 8-person pod). Guest commentator (and Twenty Sided Store Champion) Hugh and I agreed that it was the best Modern Masters deck we’d ever seen. I sincerely believe that Reveillark was the worst card in the deck.

I expected R/W Giants to have problems with dinosaurs and storm/splice (since green’s creatures are often too big to die to Thundercloud and the deck can rarely race or interact with a Dampen Thought deck). Fortunately, those archetypes seem to be somewhat unpopular and removal like Bound in Silence can make dinosaurs a more even matchup. I never faced either deck, so I can’t confirm these suspicions.

For my second draft, I piloted UW skies and lost in the finals to… the multiple Thundercloud Shaman R/W Giants deck! While losing isn’t as much fun as winning, I’d not only had a blast and won sweet prizes, but felt validated in my belief that Thundercloud Shaman (with a well-crafted deck (and a thundercloud) behind him) is the most powerful card in Modern Masters limited.

If you’re interested in seeing this event, then you’re in luck, as I stream and record everything that I do on Magic Online. You can watch the entire, unedited five hour event or each round individually (links below). As always, thanks for following me, and here’s looking forward to loads more fun with Modern Masters, Limited, and livestreaming!

—Zach B.

twitch.tv/ZennithGP—join the livestream!

Draft 1 (the birth of R/W giants!)

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Draft 2

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

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