Last week we jumped back in time to look at the ten best cards that haven’t found a place in Standard due to the high-powered Throne of Eldraine affecting the whole format.
This week we return to Modern to examine the performance of Jeskai Creativity, an emerging deck played by a dear friend of mine, Gabriele (gabrylele91 on MTGO) who went 5-0 in a recent Modern League.
JESKAI CREATIVITY – DECKLIST
The deck is a combo that bases its synergy on tokens you put on the board thanks to Hard Evidence, Prismari Command, Shark Typhoon and Dwarven Mine. Indomitable Creativity or Transmogrify will destroy the tokens so you can play Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which is the deck’s only creature.
The deck is linear and includes removals such as Lightning Bolt or Prismatic Ending, tempo cards such as Remand or Teferi, Time Raveler that prevent your opponent from interacting during your turn, and versatile cards such as Prismari Command that have removal, give card quality, puts a treasure on the field for the combo, or destroys an artifact, which is good in this format. Valakut Awakening is the wild card of the deck and is a land if needed. It lets you cycle cards that could be useless so it’s easier to draw the combo.
A special mention must be made for Nahiri that performs almost any function. Card quality with +2 can discard an Emrakul that you don’t want in your hand. Its removal for enchantment, artifact or tapped creatures is useful against aggressive decks. Finally the finisher allows for an alternative closure to the deck’s standard combo.
MATCH #1 – VS JUND – 2-0
The league starts with a favorable match-up, as the new versions of Jund are no longer playing the troublesome Thoughtseize. It’s important to play around your opponent’s Liliana of the Veil, which is their only solution against Emrakul. The rest of the game doesn’t have many difficulties. Prismatic Ending’s best target is Tarmogoyf. There’s no rush to make the combo, and you simply have to control the board until the right moment, maybe with a Teferi on the field to use Creativity in our opponent’s turn.
MATCH #2 – VS UR TEMPO – 2-1
This is the most challenging of the games we’re examining. The match-up is bad and complicated, and the high number of counters makes the game more difficult. You almost always are forced to play a Teferi before you can start thinking about how to win. Your opponent also puts pressure on the board that slows you down. For example, a Murktide Regent arriving when you can’t manage it could make you lose the game.
To play this match-up at its best, you have to pretend you’re playing a control deck instead of a combo and try to win in the late game after resolving and defending a Teferi.
In the second game you need to play Rest in Peace, Mystical Dispute, and a Serra’s Emissary to improve the situation. Eliminating your opponent’s graveyard will make the Channeler and the Regent less effective, which are the creatures that put the most pressure. Dispute will help better defend your spells. Serra’s Emissary replaces an Emrakul because it’s more versatile in this match-up.
Post-side you should remove the two Nahiri that will be too slow and an Emrakul for the reasons mentioned above. Two Prismatic Ending can help remove Ravagan and Channeler, and two Remand are nice if done on Regent but may be useless for the rest of the game because your opponent’s spells are cheap.
MATCH #3 VS G-TRON – 2-1
This match-up is slightly positive. Your opponent doesn’t put pressure on the board, so you have plenty of time to develop your combo, plus your opponent doesn’t have many ways to remove your Emrakul. The problem, which is a problem for any deck, could be having a Karn in play on turn three, which removes a land and sends you too far back to recover. Remand could serve to avoid this situation.
Post-side Lightning Bolt is removed because it’s useless in this match-up. You put in three Alpine Moon that cancel your opponent’s plan to close the Tron and a Force of Negation, which gives you a better chance to counter a possible Karn.
MATCH #4 VS RG PONZA – 2-0
This is the deck’s best match-up. Your opponent has no way to interact or interfere with your combo. The only thing you have to watch out for is Blood Moon, so remember to keep a Remand in hand. In this type of game, you should always use your Creativity on the artifacts put by Hard Evidence (clue) or Prismari Command (treasure) to avoid losing the target due to your opponent’s Bolt, which is the only thing they could do to prevent you from winning.
Post-side you put in a basic Plains to play around Moon, so you have white mana to use for Prismatic Ending. You put in two Force of Negation that defend you from this card and are useful to avoid losing lands. You can safely remove an Emrakul and since the combo is best with artifacts, it’s fine to remove a Transmogrify. Basic Plains might replace a Basic Mountain.
MATCH #5 VS UB MILL – 2-0
This match-up is not very good. Surgical Extraction that targets Emrakul is unbeatable. You have to be lucky for this not to happen in the first game, and you have to be as fast as possible to close the combo, always paying attention to your opponent’s Fatal Push and Drown in the Loch. It will be important to solve your Teferi as soon as possible.
The situation improves a bit post-side thanks to Force Of Negation that protects from Surgical, Mystical Dispute that counteracts your opponent’s spells, and Serra’s Emissary that gives a viable alternative to Emrakul and that can protect you from Archive Trap if you name “instant” while it enters the battlefield.
Initially born as 4C Creativity, due to the presence of Wrenn and Six, gabrylele91 has preferred to play a Jeskay version of this Creativity deck for greater solidity and the innovative Valakut Awakening that, according to him, has often been fundamental.
Teferi is the most important card in the deck and one you always want to play turn three. Overall, this Jeskai Creativity deck is solid and well-positioned in the current meta.