Warning: This article contains spoilers for Aether Revolt cards. The spoiled cards are widely known to the community, but if you are someone who likes to attend a prerelease spoiler free, your browser has a “Back” button. Please use it now.
I’ve been saying a bit lately about how Modern has not been in a good state.
Threats have been outclassing answers, and the format has been getting too fast. The much-discussed turn four rule is dead, and decks have had to try to win super-early because of how explosive aggressive decks have been.
Say hello to Fatal Push.
In Standard it will be a good card, unconditionally killing both Snugglecopter and the guy that really shouldn’t have been mythic at card parity and tempo gain, while also having the option to sometimes kill something bigger.
But in Modern – this card is incredible.
Modern is a fast format. Lightning fast.
The better burn hands (ones with exactly 2 of the hasty one-drops) kill on turn 3. Burn is the slowest of the all-in hyperaggro decks (Infect, Affinity, Suicide Zoo, Burn).
If you are on the play and kill turn 4, your opponent gets a total of 6 mana to spend all game, to your 10 (assuming no missed land drops). If you threaten to kill turn 3, they get only 3 mana to your 6.
Fatal Push lets the player on the defensive recover some of this tempo.
This is what makes the card so much better than higher mana cost removal that does more, like Terminate.
Let’s look at the card again.
In its default mode, it kills creatures with CMC 0, 1 and 2.
Some critical targets at these mana costs include:
And every creature in the Affinity deck except for one.
That’s just the cards you are really happy to be using this on. As always, you will occasionally ‘burn’ a Fatal Push on something like a Snapcaster Mage. This isn’t the main use of the card but it will be the right play from time to time.
It’s worth noting that this kills almost every creature Lightning Bolt kills in the format even in its default mode.
Activate Revolt, and Fatal Push can hit almost anything.
Revolt is relatively easy to set up in Modern via fetchlands, but there are also a lot of other ways to do so, some of which may not be obvious.
I mentioned Snapcaster early. He has a very non-obvious synergy here – remember, you can ‘hold back’ on using the Flashback.
If your opponent attacks with a Tarmogoyf, a Ravager of the Fells, and a Wolf token, you can Fatal Push the Tarmogoyf, then after it resolves, cast Snapcaster Mage, announce Fatal Push as the target for the flashback trigger, and then declare Snapcaster to block the Wolf.
Combat damage happens, you take 4 damage, and Snappy and the Wolf die. You now flashback Fatal Push, and you have wiped your opponent’s strong board at card parity (two cards for two cards) and tempo gain (four mana for six mana) – an exchange you have to be happy with.
I’ve been down on Modern for a while.
Finally we have a very powerful reactive card that seriously hurts hyperlinear aggro and potentially can bring some control strategies back to the format.
It’s time to get excited about the format again.
I’ll be brewing UB control in the new Modern, experimenting with Yahenni’s Expertise and Ancestral Vision in a control shell, using Fatal Push and possibly even Agony Warp to buy time until the big ridiculous lategame can come online.
To ensure Revolt, I will probably end up playing a fair number of single-on-colour fetchlands as well as the four blue-black ones. Testing will tell if this is a wrong or right call.
The deck may not work, but at least it feels like it has a chance, which it did not until the printing of Fatal Push.
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