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First Upkeep Win in Modern
By Dan Freagarthach
Searching for the theoretic upper limit of deck win speed in Modern brought me to a realization. In the extremely rare case of drawing all four copies of Chancellor of the Dross in an opening hand, a pair of Soul Spikes exiling those cards on the first upkeep of the game makes the fastest possible Modern win happen before anyone has had a Draw step, causing the opponent to lose 12 life and then take 8 damage at instant speed.

The hypergeometric probability of drawing the entire play set of Chancellor of the Dross in a single hand, being generous with imperfect human shuffling, is a little bit less than 1 game in 10,000. Even so, for such an amazing effect as winning at the first upkeep of the game in the Modern format, it seemed worth working out how to make the best chance possible. Street Wraith and Noxious Revival can transmute opening life total into more chances to find and cast Soul Spikes, and Serum Powder can offer us another gamble per game at getting the god hand or at least a strong one.

This is, by its very nature, going to be a casual deck at the core, yet a reasonably strong shell can be designed around the theory pieces to create something that will be fun and even occasionally effective for the other over 9,000 games. To extend the flavor, I chose a combo shell that can mill all opponents for the win on turn 2 and yet will most often be not nearly that fast. Synergies like Heartless Summoning allowing a free casting of a 4/5 Myr Superion on turn 2 and a hard cast 5/5 flyer with lifelink on turn 4 are alternate paths for the deck to take when it is not being upper limit fast, or even fast within the usual calculations of the Modern format. An example of how a casual Magic perspective can bring to the table both interesting theory and practical fun with a side of wild gambling.

Theoretic Velocity - Modern legal deck (60 cards)

Land

3 Darksteel Citadel
3 Radiant Fountain
18 Swamp

Creatures

4 Chancellor of the Dross
4 Myr Retriever
3 Myr Superion
4 Street Wraith

Spells

4 Altar of the Brood
4 Heartless Summoning
4 Noxious Revival
3 Ravenous Trap
2 Serum Powder
4 Soul Spike

Feedback is welcome here

Read More Articles by Dan Freagarthach!

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