On Monday, Wizards of the Coast announced it was unbanning Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor in Modern. This article is written in the future of Modern’s metagame.

Gurmag Angler just isn’t what it used to be. Remember when it was the one-mana 5/5 that laughed at your opponent’s now-shrunken Tarmogoyf? You got the best one-mana threat and removal spell—Fatal Push—and in the same color? Now the question is: do you delve five or six cards from your graveyard just to make them remove two loyalty from their Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Can you even be sure they will bounce it?

That’s why I’ve started playing Murderous Cut. Get value out of your cards when you delve! Logic Knot is okay, but we have so many counterspell options these days now that we can Jace away our Spell Snares and Mana Leaks when they get bad. Logic Knot isn’t the best counterspell in a control mirror anyway. Why not go with Negate? Or Jace’s Defeat, for that matter?

Here’s another thing I love about Murderous Cut right now. You never have to cascade into it! Isn’t it the worst when you can’t take the time to stack the good cards on top of your deck and have to run out Bloodbraid Elf blind? Don’t you hate it when you cascade into a stupid Fatal Push or Thoughtseize instead of Kolaghan’s Command or Ancestral Vision? At least Lightning Bolt can still fill your graveyard early and provide some extra face damage to go with your hasty 3/2. It’s not the worst either when you point the bolt at Jace instead of having to attack the planeswalker.

My old buddy Tombstalker called last night. He said he knew how Gurmag Angler and Tasigur felt. He laughed about Ensnaring Bridge. “Tell old Fish Mouth there are bigger impediments to attacking with a 5/5 than a silly artifact that can be removed,” the flying demon advised me. I agreed and hung up. No sense arguing with a Tombstalker—and besides, how could I disagree?

Fatal Push thinks the end of delve creatures means Murderous Cut still sits on the sidelines. Bedlam Reveler might have something to say about that. Reality Smasher too. Neither of those monstrosities care much about Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Fatal Push. The real question is, when does Slash Panther start showing up again? I miss that old cat. Or perhaps the hero we need is Notion Thief?

The downfall of Gurmag Angler at the hands of the best Jace is also a boon to its youngest cousin, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. He works well with Thought Scour and Goryo’s Vengeance. Why not do something better with the graveyard that play vanilla 5/5s? Griselbrand is better than Jace, the Mind Sculptor, right? Right?

Speaking of big bodies, I think Primeval Titan is still legal in Modern too. The big question is, are your Gruul decks cascading into Stone Rain or Search for Tomorrow? Prismatic Omen only costs two mana, you know. On the other hand, Beast Within isn’t very good to cascade into with Bloodbraid Elf. Maybe there’s room in the sideboard for both strategies?

Now I realize that Dismember is still legal in Modern too. They haven’t banned all the Phyrexian mana cards yet, and the trend seems to be in the opposite direction. But that’s the great thing about Jace, the Mind Sculptor! You have so much room in your deck for whatever removal suite you like. A Dismember or two are great, but do you really want to cast three of them in one game? That’s either too much life or too much mana just to kill three stupid creatures. And besides, the only thing better than cascading into a free Dismember is flipping past Murderous Cut to reveal Ancestral Vision.

What deck is running all these cards? We just call it “Deck 2.0” these days. Maybe we can differentiate colors after the decimal point? Now that the Modern metagame is all Deck 2.wubrg plus whatever random decks haven’t given up yet—and Bogles—we could use a quick way to talk about our splashes. Good thing we have Gerry Thompson back in the trenches, writing about Magic, so he can tell us how to tune Deck 2.wubrg week to week. I bet he’ll suggest some copies of Murderous Cut. And none of Gurmag Angler.

Brendan McNamara (Twitter: @brendanistan) is Editor in Chief of Hipsters of the Coast. He used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he pans the planeswalker points for bronze, or whatever happens to be the cheapest metal that bots will buy.

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