Today, I’m going to talk about my take on Living End as it’s a great choice in the post Yorion Modern metagame.
A proactive game plan is an excellent strategy after a huge shakeup.
A few months ago there were three big decks, Four-Color Yorion, Izzet Murktide, and Living End, keeping everyone else out of the top tier. Since then a number of linear decks have broken out including Four-Color YoRhinos, Scapeshift, Jeskai Breach, and Indomitable Creativity.
Thanks to the numerous linear angles of attack Four-Color Yorion no longer had a stranglehold on the format.
Now Yorion is banned in Modern which will cause another shakeup as Izzet Murktide can once again rise to fight unfair decks. This will potentially cause another metagame shakeup unless Leyline Binding has anything to say about it.
I want to play a proactive game plan because it’s hard to know how the dust will settle. Murktide is one of my favorite matchups to play with Living End as the flash sideboard plan is very effective.
Living End was my weapon of choice when it was considered to be the best deck in the format earlier in the year. It has solid matchups against other linear decks because Grief, Force of Negation, and a quick clock can both disrupt and close quickly.
The open metagame bodes well for Living End as there are more decks to respect in sideboards. Living End was able to thrive even when it was the only linear strategy so I like my chance when there aren’t as many ways to hate out the graveyard.
There are three Architects of Will because I board out Grief in nearly every matchup. It’s the weakest cycler and the only redeeming quality is being black. I instead play a fourth copy of Waker of Waves as you don’t need to cycle much more to win with the powerful 7/7.
There’s a split of Boseiju and Otawara because I was running into the legend rule drawback being on two Otawara. I wasn’t bouncing Teferi often enough to justify not playing the cheaper channel effect. I’ll concede blue mana is better than green, but Boseiju does help cast four Endurance after board.
Subtlety is able to deal with Teferi, Time Raveler, Endurance, and Dauthi Voidwalker. It’s also a blue card to pitch to Force of Negation. A great flex interaction spell to play in the maindeck.
I don’t like playing Leylines in the sideboard of Living End and instead transform into a flash deck in most matchups to sidestep combo hate.
My default strategy is to board out the following:
Grief becomes weaker when your game plan is to play a fair flash strategy. I only want to 2-for-1 myself if I plan to win quickly with a huge effect. Control decks have so many counters after sideboard that taking one isn’t a great strategy.
I don’t need three copies of Living End if I plan to lean into the alternate game plan. The popularity of Indomitable Creativity has caused an increase of Necromentia. Living End was also the best black card to pitch to Grief which doesn’t happen often after board.
Sunken Ruins is a reasonable nineteenth land, but since I board out Grief and don’t play Leyline of the Void it doesn’t make the cut.
Endurance is not only graveyard hate for the mirror, but is an annoying flash threat that prompts the opponent to react. Living End sideboards sometimes play a fourth copy of their namesake card to force through a game-breaking spell in the face of countermagic. I plan to attack with Brazen Borrower, Endurance, and Subtlety while the opponent can’t tap out or risk dying to Living End.
Vendilion Clique used to be a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I want ways to put Living End back into the deck if needed with fewer copies after I sideboard. It can also attack the opponent’s hand to pave the way to resolve Living End.
I would personally not want to play Living End with a traditional sideboard plan because it feels better to care less about the opponents hate cards. There are strong answers to Living End, but it comes at the expense of the core game plan. When the opponent is looking to mulligan to Leyline of the Void I would like to play a game that largely ignores it.
Thoughts on the Yorion Ban
I’m in favor of the Yorion ban. Sensei’s Divining Top was banned in Modern and Legacy because of time issues in paper events; I applaud the consistency.
There will be room in Modern to play a fair game plan without a powerful companion once again.I played Four-Color Yorion in Modern as well as Legacy Miracles with Sensei’s Divining Top and had zero unintentional draws. Other players may be able to boast similar statistics, but most tournaments do run longer thanks to these decks being in the format. It’s good to create policies aimed at the average case.
That’s all I have for today. Modern is in a good spot where many decks are viable and the Yorion ban will once again make things interesting. Give Living End a shot; it feels great to play a powerful deck with a surprise sideboard plan.