Reader Submission: Cruel Teachings

Posted in Feature on July 23, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

Using the email link at the bottom, a reader by the name of Aleksi (KaiserMagus on Magic Online), submitted an awesome-looking Modern deck. Aleksi played a Cruel Ultimatum/Mystical Teachings deck to 4–0 in a Daily Event, and seeing as how I'm a big fan of both those cards, I decided to feature the deck. His postscript was what really sold me:

P.S. In case you were quick to dismiss the shameless request of spreading the word about my achievements, I played 2 Cruel Ultimatum and 2 Mystical Teachings in the list. Is that not the stuff Daily Decks are made of?


I've had a long and rewarding relationship with Cruel Ultimatum, and an even longer one with Mystical Teachings. The combination of the two is pretty epic, with Teachings giving you access to a toolbox of instants whose only purpose is to keep you alive long enough to cast Cruel Ultimatum. Plus, you haven't lived until you've Snapcastered a Cruel Ultimatum.

Cruel Ultimatum

Despite being based around a seven-mana sorcery and a four-/six-mana instant, the deck has a ton of early interaction. Inquisition of Kozilek and Lightning Bolt give you eight relevant one-drops, and Mana Leak kicks in at two. Snapcaster Mage lets you recur any of the above cards, and even if you get behind, the three Damnations can clean up the mess.

One reason I really like this style of deck is that it gets to play a ton of different one-ofs, which not only give you outs for almost any situation, but make games play out in vastly different ways. Variety is the spice of life, and Mystical Teachings is the spice of Magic. Even the creatures have flash, with Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, Teferi, and Sulfur Elemental all searchable via Teachings.

Control decks in this vein have a tough time in the format that is Modern, so seeing this is like a flashback to 2007, which is a time I very much enjoyed. I don't think Magic should always play like that, but going back to the draw-go control style every now and then is a fun thing to do.

I encourage you to send in any cool decks you may have played with or against (or any other comments or thoughts you may have about the column), using the handy link at the bottom.

KaiserMagus's Cruel Teachings

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