Weekly Deck Tech: Modern Gruul Lukka

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Weekly Deck Tech: Modern Gruul Lukka

In today's article, we dissect the Gruul Lukka, a Modern Deck which runs the base of a very familiar and well-known deck and adds Lukka to play Emrakul for free!

By Humberto, 05/31/21, translated by Humberto

Greetings. We are back with another Weekly Deck Tech, where we dissect a list that has caught some attention in Challenges or other competitive tournaments this week! On today's article, we'll go back to Modern, where the player Mogged placed first at a Modern Challenge with a new version of Ponza, a very well-known deck of Modern , but running a famous wincondition from Standard and Pioneer:

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

!
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Ponza is a Midrange deck that seeks to delay the opponent's plan by attacking their manabase with cards like

Blood Moon

and

Pillage

, making the opponent scarce of resources while it manages to advance their game plan with low-cost threats like

Bonecrusher Giant

,

Bloodbraid Elf

and

Klothys, God of Destiny

.

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The deck usually chooses to run

Karn, the Great Creator

as access to an artifact toolbox sideboard to take the game. In particular,

Liquimetal Coating

stands out, which together with the Planeswalker, can transform any land into a 0/0 artifact, creating a “lock” on the opponent's mana sources. However, Mogged chose to take another stance with the deck, leaving aside part of its disruptive element to create other types of interactions using a card that did some damage in Standard during the launch of Ikoria:

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

. As exemplified by the Temur Lukka deck on Standard, you don't necessarily need to be using broken engines like

Fires of Invention

for the Planeswalker to be useful: you just need to have a very absurd creature to put on the board at a low cost. In Standard, Temur Lukka seeks to maintain the Temur Adventures base and pull

Koma, Cosmos Serpent

with Lukka. In Modern, there are more absurd things:
Everyone who has seen Emrakul on the other side of the board knows the absurd problem that the card is when played at a low cost. There are plenty of decks in Modern and Legacy that exist

just

to play the Eldrazi titan for the lowest possible cost like Sneak & Show and Izzet Breach. The great advantage of using Lukka instead of other possibilities is that you don't limit the slots dedicated to the combo so much. If you use creatures in your deck and try to keep a curve that allows you to play Emrakul with Lukka consistently. In the case of this deck, Mogged has a range of quality creatures on turn 3 that, if sacrificed with Lukka, will reveal Emrakul.

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That way, the deck needs only one copy of the Eldrazi. Without further ado, let's dissect the list and see exactly how it works:
Maindeck
The Combo. We have already commented a lot on them above, and having the consistency of 4 Lukka is important, since the Planeswalker can, with any creature with mana value 3 in the deck (and there are many), bring Emrakul instantly to the board. Also, using Lukka's +1 can be useful in certain occasions to "dig" the deck searching for creatures to use his second ability.
The Ramp Package.

Arbor Elf

and

Utopia Sprawl

are already a well-known combination for creating extremely explosive turns, but both also serve, together with

Birds of Paradise

, to ramp threats and disruptions that cost 3 mana of the deck in turn 2, or even to cast

Wood Elves

, who would then ramp for 5 mana in the next turn (assuming you play all your land drops), which is enough to cast Lukka and get Emrakul on turn 3.
These cards are your main threats and winconditions that promote a fair game on matchups where you may experience difficulties in comboing since the deck has no cantrips or means of filtering the top.

Bonecrusher Giant

doubles as removal for low toughness creatures in turn 2 while it is a considerable clock on an empty board, but it also holds the game well if necessary.

Seasoned Pyromancer

offers an absurd amount of value for 3 mana by allowing you to filter your hand, place 2 tokens on the board and still be able to exile it from the graveyard in the late game to create more bodies. In addition, Pyromancer also serves as a means of discarding

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

from your hand in case you end up drawing it during the game.

Klothys, God of Destiny

is a great maindeck graveyard hate that also offers a clock, lifegain and ramp when needed in the form of a body that is very difficult to deal with in Modern today.
Your disruption and interaction package.

Magus of the Moon

may even be easier to deal with than

Blood Moon

, but being a cmc 3 creature is important for activating

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

. And in a format where the main Metagame decks right now are red-based or can play around this kind of hate,

Blood Moon

and the like become less impactful in more matches than you would really like, making Magus is a preferable option as it interacts well with the deck's plan. And there comes in

Pillage

, which basically works as a cost 3 Land Destruction that can also remove problematic artifacts like

Amulet of Vigor

,

Pithing Needle

or other cards commonly tutored with

Karn, the Great Creator

. Finally, we have

Lightning Bolt

, the best and most flexible red removal of the format that, together with the

Bonecrusher Giant

's Stomp, allows the deck to have good and inexpensive means of interacting with the opponent's threats while advancing its game plan.
The classic fetch + Shocklands package, primarily needed in a format like Modern. As this is a deck that runs

Utopia Sprawl

and

Magus of the Moon

, it is preferable to keep the manabase clean, avoiding other dual lands and focusing on always having a forest on turn 1 to play your mana dorks, especially

Arbor Elf

and

Utopia Sprawl

.

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Sideboard
With a deck that seeks, in most of your plays to jump from curve 1 to curve 3 and with the low possibility of wanting to use cards of cost 4 in this configuration since you give up

Bloodbraid Elf

and

Karn , the Great Creator

to the plan with Lukka and Emrakul, it makes sense that the deck should try to adopt the same idea of Mono-Red Aggro by trying to use

Obosh, the Preypiercer

as a Companion with virtually no cost or restrictions. Since this is a Midrange deck, it is much easier to cast Obosh on it than on Mono-Red, and the possibility of simply doubling all the damage done by your creatures is a factor that must be respected.
Modern has a significant number of artifacts and enchantments that need to be answered on several occasions. Cards like

Amulet of Vigor

,

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

,

Utopia Sprawl

, among others.

Reclamation Sage

is your best option, as it interacts with both types of permanents you want to answer while including another body that can be used with Lukka to search for Emrakul.
Between

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

,

Walking Ballista

,

Mishra’s Bauble

and several Planeswalkers,

Pithing Needle

has more than enough targets to justify their use on the Sideboard.
Dredge is still a deck in Modern, and

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

is still the main Companion used in the format. Respecting these and other graveyard interactions in the format is a wise decision.
Extra protection that deals with any opponent's interaction on the turn you intend to make your most explosive plays is very relevant on a deck that has a combo-kill.

Veil of Summer

has proven to be efficient in several formats for all types of decks: from Midranges to Combos, from Big Mana to Tempo Decks. And you should consider using copies of it if your deck has green on it.
Today, the main aggro decks of the format are Blitz decks, which are mostly red. But

Chandra’s Defeat

is also very useful in dealing with bigger red threats like

Omnath, Locus of Creation

,

Wrenn and Six

and

Niv-Mizzet Reborn

.
More removal for matchups with small creatures.

Burst Lightning

has the advantage of being able to deal with larger creatures in the more advanced turns of the game, being a flexible removal to deal with

Stormwing Entity

and Omnath, for example.

Magma Spray

is a great response against

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

while it manages to retain its value against smaller creatures in the early game.
Conclusion
That was Modern's Gruul Lukka, which Mogged piloted to reach first place in the Modern Challenge. The list looks like a great alternative and brings an idea from Standard straight to Modern, where interactions, creatures and responses are more efficient. But the threats that can be played alongside Lukka are much more devastating. I would not be surprised if we saw other variants of this deck in the future in other combinations or with other bases, but this list is a great starting point! Thanks for reading!

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Humberto

Organizer of events in Rio de Janeiro, such as Pauper Masters and Pioneeiros and content producer in his spare time. Play virtually any format in which it is possible to build a deck.

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