Modern Naya Zoo

Posted in Daily Deck on November 6, 2015

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Wild Nacatl has had quite the roller-coaster ride since Modern's inception. After receiving a ban in December 2011, it was unbanned in February 2014, and since then it has seen a small amount of play in Naya Zoo decks. Naya Zoo was never a top-tier deck, but it was always a viable option for players who liked aggressive decks. This weekend at Grand Prix Porto Alegre, every Top 4 deck had four copies of Wild Nacatl. Here is the winning decklist from the Grand Prix, piloted by Marcos Paulo De Jesus Freitas.

Unlike most Naya Zoo decks that are looking to win as quickly as possible, this deck wants to play a much longer game. The only burn spells in the deck are Lightning Bolts, and most of the creatures cost more mana than those in typical Zoo decks.

The upside for playing a higher mana curve is you have much bigger creatures. Loxodon Smiter and Knight of the Reliquary are huge and can be cast on turn two with the help of a Noble Hierarch. The other creatures in this deck either are resilient to removal (Voice of Resurgence) or provide some utility (Scavenging Ooze, Qasali Pridemage). The most important card in this deck is Collected Company. Modern doesn't have access to a search card such as Green Sun's Zenith, so Collected Company is the closest thing we have to find the right creature at the right time. As an instant, it's great at getting surprise blockers onto the battlefield. It's a versatile card that can give you some card advantage, something that Zoo decks usually lack.

The sideboard is really interesting in that nothing is a four-of, but there is plenty of hate for every deck out there. A bunch of one-ofs or two-ofs in your sideboard usually implies that it isn't super important to stop your opponent from doing what they are trying to do. Your game plan comes first. This kind of strategy is crucial in playing an aggro or combo deck. If you dilute your deck with too many answers, your deck will suffer from inconsistency.

Marcos Paulo De Jesus Freitas's Naya Zoo—Winner, GP Porto Alegre

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