May 20, 2015

Modern Cats


When I started playing Magic, eighteen years ago, I discovered a deck called "Zoo." This deck was popular in the now-retired Extended format and got its name because its creatures are usually found in a zoo. The deck played lions (Savannah Lions), apes (Kird Ape), and sometimes even dogs (Jackal Pup). Over time, Magic's creatures have gotten better and the deck received many upgrades. Savannah Lions became Loam Lion and Jackal Pup became severely outclassed by creatures like Watchwolf, Wild Nacatl, and Tarmogoyf.

Today's deck is a unique take on Zoo. If you look at the creature base, it's safe to say that you can find them all in a zoo. What's interesting about this deck is that every creature in the deck has one thing in common: they are all cats! FredSavage16 piloted his cat deck to a 3-1 finish in a Daily Event on Magic Online.

I never realized this before, but there are a lot of great cats in Modern. Wild Nacatl was once one of the most powerful creatures when Modern debuted as a format and was even banned for a short time. Steppe Lynx and Fleecemane Lion dominated their respective Standard formats. The deck even plays Brimaz, a card that I used to call "Brimaz, God of Cats."

Rounding out the deck is Ajani Vengeant, the cat Planeswalker. There have been many versions of Ajani printed, but I agree with FredSavage16 that Ajani Vengeant is the best fit for this deck. Dealing 3 damage can be backbreaking in a deck that also plays Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix. Zoo decks historically have struggled in dealing with large creatures, so the plus ability is also beneficial here. I can see the argument for playing Ajani, Caller of the Pride instead of Ajani Vengeant. Sometimes it's hard reaching four mana in a deck with only 20 lands and giving a Steppe Lynx double strike can go a long way.

FredSavage16’s Cats

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