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For as long as Magic has existed, two card combos have enjoyed persisted at the forefront of the imagination. With such combos facilitating competitive landscapes, it comes as little surprise that consistent combos are dangerous for formats. Still, there is room to explore combos without digging into the available array of competitively proven combinations.

In this article we’ll be analyzing a combo taking a page from that of Legacy Reanimator, and applying it the best we can to Modern. By utilizing a new Modern Horizons card, Goblin Engineer, reanimation spells like Trash for Treasure and Refurbish gain the consistency necessary to deploy Turn 3 Wurmcoil Engine without having to shell out the money on Karn.

We’ll start by discussing the individual card choices of the deck — why we’re playing each card, what it’s for, as well as reflect on the number of copies. Rounding out the topic is an overview of the sideboard, as well as general sideboarding advice and when to put more copies of a card into the sideboard.


Core Package

Faithless Looting | No stranger to the Modern spotlight, Faithless Looting is the most powerful graveyard enabler in the format, and comes attached to a powerful card selection engine. With less of a focus on the graveyard than most decks, we only see three copies of the powerful sorcery, though a fourth can be added for consistency.

Goblin Engineer | Acting as a tutor for any large artifact, Goblin Engineer is a unique tutor printed in Modern Horizons. Curving perfectly into Trash for Treasure, Goblin Engineer smooths out the draws of the deck while functioning as a self contained tutor for small artifacts like Ensnaring Bridge. Four copies are a must.

Trash for Treasure | The marquis enabler of the deck, Trash for Treasure allows the deck to convert early game cantrips into powerful vehicles of destruction as early as Turn 3. While not as consistent as Refurbish, the power level is much higher — putting a Wurmcoil Engine into play on Turn 3 is substantially more powerful than on Turn 4.

Refurbish | The final reanimation piece necessary for consistency, Refurbish does a reasonable job at reanimate large artifacts, but requires a Talisman in order to reanimate on Turn 3. While ordinarily four copies of most combo pieces are necessary, the clunky nature of Refurbish means I rarely want a second copy, so I’ve chosen to play three.

Reanimation Targets

Wurmcoil Engine | A long standing Modern staple, Wurmcoil Engine is one of the most impactful reanimation targets in a variety of matchups. With lifelink and resistance to removal, Wurmcoil can invalidate many board states while buffering life total against Titanshift and Burn. I’m playing three copies, but would move to a fourth copy in more aggressive metagames.

Sharuum the Hegemon | Most well known for its combo applications in Commander, Sharuum is an additional reanimation target that doubles up against removal. The ability to bring back a sacrificed Astrolabe or Spellbomb is relevant in threat light games, and Sharuum can even reuse Nihil Spellbomb against graveyard decks.

Sphinx of the Steel Wind | Modeled after Akroma, Angel of Wrath, this Vintage staple has merit in the current Modern metagame. With its primary function as an additional copy of Wurmcoil Engine, Sphinx acts as a powerful threat in both the Primeval Titan and Death’s Shadow matchups, while giving the deck a resilient threat against Ancient Grudge.

Sundering Titan | A former Modern staple, Sundering Titan is the prime reanimation target against Control and Combo decks, as he can destroy two or more lands upon entering. Additionally, he can combine with Goblin Engineer and Trash for Treasure to continually destroy lands. While Sundering Titan does destroy your own lands in many games, the upside against faster decks makes it worth it. Add or remove Sundering Titans depending on the amount of Control, Midrange, Death’s Shadow and Titanshift in the metagame.

Inkwell Leviathan | A former reanimator icon, Inkwell Leviathan earns its spot primarily as a difficult to remove threat in control matchups. With Islandwalk rending most blue decks unable to block it, Inkwell is only able to be removed by sweepers, making it the most important threat to resolve against Azorius Control. At least one copy is mandatory with the prevalence of Snapcaster Mage strategies.

God-Pharaoh’s Statue | While not as powerful as many of the other artifacts, God-Pharaoh’s Statue serves as the only disruption against combo decks, while giving a way to win through an Ensnaring Bridge. A Statue out on Turns 3 or 4 should slow most opponents down enough for other threats to end the game.

Ensnaring Bridge | With four ways to tutor it and a variety of tools to remove it, Ensnaring Bridge shores up aggressive matchups. It is also one of the few artifacts that can be found and reanimated with Goblin Engineer, and can buy enough time for God-Pharaoh’s Statue to win the game. Additional copies can be added as needed, replacing the larger reanimation targets.

Supporting Cards

Arcum’s Astrolabe | A new take on common Standard card Prophetic Prism, Arcum’s Astrolabe is the primary reason to play Snow-Covered Lands. Using a Snow-Covered Plains to generate Red mana ensures a smooth mana base that is not vulnerable to Blood Moon or Field of Ruin, while increasing the number of Turn 1 card draw spells.

Talisman of Conviction | Another Modern Horizons addition, Talisman of Conviction is the Red/White version of the Talisman cycle. Acting as acceleration for both Refurbish and Wurmcoil Engine, Talisman mana fixes similarly to Astrolabe and can allow you to “cheat” large artifacts into play ahead of schedule. Four copies is an excellent starting point.

Skred | Another one drop that is no stranger to Modern, Skred is an efficient removal spell that scales into the late game. While ordinarily paired with Koth of the Hammer or Boros Reckoner, here we are using it as a removal spell that doesn’t give the opponent a land. While Path to Exile is a significantly better spell, it is weaker against Noble Hierarch, and giving the opponent a land makes Sundering Titan and Blood Moon worse. We’re starting with three copies to start.

Engineered Explosives | A defining sideboard card for both fair and unfair decks alike, Engineered Explosives allows the deck to fight through Chalice of the Void and sweep the board against Humans. When paired with Astrolabe, the deck can even build up an Engineered Explosives for 4 or 5, giving the deck a flexible tool against a variety of threats.

Pyrite Spellbomb | Similarly to Astrolabe, Pyrite Spellbomb is an additional cantrip but differs in its ability to draw a card and recur with Engineer or Sharuum. This gives the deck access to a tutorable removal spell that can double as both reach and card draw. One copy is perfect.

Scrying Sheets | While not a spell like the rest of the cards above it, Scrying Sheets is a powerful card advantage land that also rewards us for playing Snow-Covered Basics. Being able to draw extra lands mitigates flooding, and the ability to find an Astrolabe can ensure that enough artifacts are continually flowing. Two copies is what we’re starting with, as it is unable to cast Skred or Faithless Looting, though the snow nature of Scrying Sheets allows it to cast a Turn 1 Astrolabe.


The Sideboard

Engineered Explosives | As mentioned above, Engineered Explosives serves as both a board wipe and a flexible removal spell. An additional copy rests in the sideboard for Humans, Bogles, Affinity/Scales and a variety of other matchups.

Nihil Spellbomb | With the popularity of Bridgevine the number of Nihil Spellbomb should likely be four copies in a tournament setting, but I’ve started with one in order to make space for a catch-all style of sideboarding. With Arcum’s Astrolabe to generate Black mana, Nihil Spellbomb is slightly better in slower games than Tormod’s Crypt, though the speed of Bridgevine could require some number of Crypt. Add as necessary.

Damping Sphere | A common sideboard card in many Modern decks, Damping Sphere is a silver bullet hate piece against Storm, Arclight, Amulet, and Tron, as well as having applications against fringe decks. Three copies is a good starting number, though that can be trimmed to make room for more graveyard hate.

Anger of the Gods | A form of pseudo graveyard hate attached to a board wipe, Anger of the Gods is a staple among controlling Red decks, and even makes the sideboard of some Arclight Phoenix variants. While less important than ever before due to the prevalence of Carrion Feeder and Altar of Dementia, the impact against Humans can not be understated. Consider swapping one for Abrade or a Tormod’s Crypt if Bridgevine is popular.

Blood Moon | One of Magic’s defining Prison elements, Blood Moon gives two-color Basic land heavy decks access to a powerful haymaker against a variety of strategies. Humans, Death’s Shadow, and Amulet Titan are rendered nearly nonfunctional when a Blood Moon resolves, though decks like Tron and Titanshift are well equipped to fight through it. I would play at least two copies in the sideboard in nearly any metagame.

Coalition Relic | Borrowing from the successful anti-Blood Moon strategy of Amulet Titan, Coalition Relic gives this deck access to an additional ramp game plan in postboard games. Often against fair decks you want to leave in as many threats as possible — Coalition Relic gives you the ability to not only make large Engineered Explosives, but to hard cast even off colors permanents like Sharuum or Sphinx of the Steel Wind. If Coalition Relic performs well I would consider maindecking a couple of copies.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer | Instantly making waves in Arclight Phoenix, Saheeli is perhaps the most uniquely positioned planeswalker for Trash for Treasure decks. By converting nearly any supporting spell into a Servo token, Saheeli generates enough bodies to pressure opponents while ensuring a continual stream of artifacts for Engineer and Trash for Treasure. Additionally, you can minus on a  Servo to “duplicate” a reanimated artifact.

Wear // Tear | Long a staple of Burn sideboards, Wear // Tear gives this deck access to spot removal for Stony Silence and Rest in Peace, without having to resolve a vulnerable Engineered Explosives. Two copies are present in the sideboard, though more may be necessary if Rest in Peace is on the rise.


Sideboarding Strategies

Sideboard can be one of the more difficult aspects of Magic, and while sideboard guides are effective at a basic level, they fall apart in unknown scenarios. With that in mind, I want to give general sideboard advice for this deck, rather than a specific sideboard guide.

  1. Don’t be afraid to trim the payoffs | The deck has singleton copies of many reanimation targets, and many post board games will see a few of them cut. Cards with low impact are often worth cutting, as sideboard games will slow down. This includes Ensnaring Bridge against Storm, Sphinx of the Steel Wind against Azorius Control, Sundering Titan against Tron, etc.
  2. Cut a land on the draw | With a deck so focused on hitting 3/4 lands, you can safely trim a land drop on the draw and still have functional hands. The upside for this is substantial — you’ll have an extra spell in your deck to work with — while the cost is minor (a few percentage points less to draw a land).
  3. Trim reanimation spells against Graveyard Hate | With Coalition Relic and Saheeli, the deck has the ability to fight through Rest in Peace without just drawing its Wear//Tear. Keep this in mind as you trim some of the reanimation pieces against graveyard hate.
  4. Cutting a one of is usually better than a three or four of | Many of the one ofs in the deck are situationally powerful artifacts, and can be cut for more impactful sideboard cards. While this relates to the first bullet point, it should be noted that this philosophy extends to many decks in Modern.
  5. Make sure you have a plan to win | A more general piece of sideboarding advice, knowing how you are able to win each matchup is critical to good sideboarding. Some matchups will go long, and your best chance to win is by getting an Inkwell Leviathan into play. Other matchups won’t give you the time to dig for combo pieces, and winning with disruption may be just as effective as getting a fat creature into play.

Thanks for checking out our Boros Refurbish deck tech, and as always let us know what you want to see in the comments below. You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/PariahPopular for Magic brews and competitive testing.