In this guide, I will walk through the basics of the Green/White Treshgeddon (Threshold Armageddon) deck in Premodern. Premodern is a casual format spanning Fourth Edition through Scourge, and features a banlist that sets it apart from existing formats.
- July 6, 2023: Updated:
- Sample decklist and supporting content;
- Cataclysm > Armageddon;
- utility land choices; and
- cards that didn’t make it.
The deck started as an effort for me to find a home for Weathered Wayfarer in Premodern. As a Legacy Lands player, I’ve always drifted towards lands-focused strategies. Existing decks in the Premodern form such as Terrageddon and Lands didn’t do it for me. I found the former’s games ran too long, and the latter relied too much on Horn of Greed to succeed. Additionally, I’ve never enjoyed Weenie (aggressive creature) decks, which were often a home for Weathered Wayfarer.
The first iteration of the deck was surprisingly similar to what’s typically run now. It was largely inspired by a few decks:
- Aggro Mulch from Nils Håkon Delphin which crushed me in the Top 16 in November 2020
- Bant Threshold which was rarely seen at the top tables
- Terrageddon, largely for its Terravore into Armageddon synergy
After the first iteration went 4-2 in the Premodern January Monthly 2022, the second iteration won the Premodern March Monthly 2022 (113 people) which piqued people’s attention.
Why you should or shouldn’t play the deck
- Quick games: The deck can close games quickly so you can finish your games before your spouse gets angry and your dinner gets cold.
- Versatility: Between the lands, main deck flex spots, and sideboard, you have the opportunity to customize your deck depending on your meta.
- Matchups: Most games feel winnable.
- Land destruction: Remembering that Premodern is a casual format, Armageddon and repeated Wastelands may draw groans from your playgroup, or angry scoops.
- Cost: The cost of Mox Diamonds will prevent some people from picking up the deck. If Mox Diamonds are not in the budget, I suggest other Threshold variants.
- Interaction: With limited Instant spells, you often aren’t interacting with the stack.
How the deck works
The deck wins through a combination of:
- Big creatures: Through natural gameplay and interaction, your graveyard will reach Threshold. Once it does, your cheap creatures are now threats.
- Mana denial: Between Armageddon/Cataclysm and Weathered Wayfarer’s continued access to Wasteland, you can often advance your board state while your stifle your opponent’s. Because your threats are so efficient, you can do a lot with very little mana.
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Mox Diamond
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Aura of Silence
2 Seal of Cleansing
2 Sylvan Library
1 Zuran Orb
3 Secluded Steppe
3 Tranquil Thicket
2 Treetop Village
4 Windswept Heath
1 Riftstone Portal
1 Kor Haven
1 Nantuko Monastery
1 Treva’s Ruins
2 Cursed Totem
1 Aura of Silence
3 Heroes’ Reunion
2 Exalted Angel
2 Kirtar’s Desire
2 Phyrexian Furnace
1 Ray of Revelation
Building the main deck
Barring exceptional circumstances, your main deck should have, at a minimum, the 16 creatures above.
There is some flexibility (and some rigidity) with the spells:
- Mox Diamond is essential to advancing your mana while hiding behind a Weathered Wayfarer or maintaining pressure post Armageddon and Cataclysm. It is also critical to escaping Winter Orb and Tangle Wire.
- Swords to Plowshares is premier removal in any format it’s legal in, and that includes Premodern.
- Four land destruction effect feels good. I strongly recommend 4 Cataclysm. It helps you catch up when you’re behind, and seal the deal when you’re ahead versus a large number of archetypes. Some people opt to run Armageddon or a split but I think that is a mistake. The difference between opponents going down to 1 land or 0 has been negligible compared to Cataclysm’s versability.
- With a terrible Oath of Druids matchup, and with the number of decks that rely on Survival of the Fittest, three enchantment removal is a good starting point. Aura of Silence and Seal of Cleansing can be put on the battlefield when it’s convenient while you continue to maintain pressure. Aura can also slow down combo, which can be a difficult matchup.
- Sylvan Library can draw a lot of cards versus slow decks and allow you to dig for answers. You have enough ways to shuffle your library and Terravore is a prime Swords to Plowshares target, letting you turn life gained into cards.
- I’m currently testing Zuran Orb. While its application versus Burn is obvious, it can be used to speed up the deck versus control and combo.
With the lands, there isn’t a perfect land composition. This will vary widely depending on personal preference, meta, and main deck and sideboard choices. The foundation is:
- Windswept Heaths and accompanying basics
- Wasteland is a core strategy and a win condition.
- Cycle lands (Secluded Steppe, Tranquil Thicket) for grinding value with Weathered Wayfarer or filling your graveyard
- Manlands (Nantuko Monastery, Treetop Village) for tutor-able threats.
- Rith’s Grove or Treva’s Ruins for mana-fixing, a bad impression of Lotus Petal, and returning cycle lands to your hand
- Utility lands (Riftstone Portal, Kor Haven)
Building the sideboard
Like most decks in Premodern, your deck needs to attack a few angles:
- Decks that go-wide (ex.: Elves, Goblins, Landstill)
- Enchantments and artifacts (ex.: Enchantress, Mud, Oath, Survival of the Fittest)
- Decks that deal damage (ex.: Burn, Draco blast)
- Combo decks (ex.: Stiflenought, Enchantress, Replenish)
The approach for the deck above:
- The rationale behind Heroes’ Reunion is similar to Seal of Cleansing, you can’t afford to hold up mana with Circle of Protection: Red. Reunion buys time while you keep up the pressure. Warmth might also be okay.
- Cursed Totem is common sideboard versus Elves, Full English Breakfast. It’s so good it’s worth turning off some of your creatures.
- Four Swords to Plowshares is often not enough. Pacifism or Kirtar’s Desire can buy time versus Oath, Reanimator, and Stiflenought, and give you additional answers to midrange decks. I prefer the latter to deal with a Turn 1 Goblin Lackey.
- Tormod’s Crypt and Phyrexian Furnace are format superstars that can stop a combo deck or chip away at graveyard value engines Squee, Goblin Nabob.
- Disenchant, Naturalize, Ray of Revelation and Aura of Silence are essential in sideboards versus decks who rely heavily on cards such as Survival of the Fittest and Oath of Druids.
- Exalted Angel fits the role of alternate win condition or extra support versus fair decks.
This is a relatively fair deck so with most decks, be mindful about over-sideboarding. This is how I would approach which cards to cut:
- Trim useless utility lands.
- Trim Sylvan Library versus Burn.
- Trim Weathered Wayfarer versus decks that function on very little lands.
- Trim Nimble Mongoose versus Elves
- Trim Mox Diamond versus midrange and control
When sideboarding, be aware of:
- Cursed Totem
- Phyrexian Furnace (which is better versus the deck than Tormod’s Crypt)
- Ensnaring Bridge
- Pernicious Deed
- Exalted Angel
- Mother of Runes
Tips and strategies – Cards
- Weathered Wayfarer‘s ability checks that you have less lands on ability, not on resolution. This means your opponent can’t sacrifice lands in response. Most importantly though, it means you can advance your board state with Wasteland or buy playing fetches. You can sacrifice either of these lands on your turn, hold priority, and fetch a land with Wayfarer, provided you have less lands.
- Bouncing a land with Rith’s Grove or Treva’s Ruins is a choice. You can add mana to your pool with the sacrifice trigger on the stack.
- Discarding a land to Mox Diamond is also a choice.
- Nantuko Monastery‘s ability can be activated if you have Threshold. Your opponent can’t Tormod’s Crypt in response, for example.
- Though Cataclysm is often used for creatures and lands, it also forces opponents to sacrifice artifacts and enchantments. And because opponents sacrifice permanents, it doesn’t trigger Karmic Justice.
- Seal of Cleansing, Aura of Silence and Wasteland can target themselves.
- A Rith’s Grove and Treva’s Ruins can save a land by returning it to hand before casting Cataclysm.
Tips and strategies – Gameplay
- Mulligan aggressively: Game 1, your hand needs to have a plan. Turn 1 Weathered Wayfarer is a plan. Three Wastelands is a plan. A horde of 1/1 Werebears is not. Games 2 and 3, your plan needs to consider your opponent’s imminent threats. Mulligan to removal, if needed.
- Hide key cards with Sylvan Library versus Duress decks for example. Bonus: Keep a Cycling card in hand to draw it if needed.
- Draw liberally with Sylvan Library if you can afford to. Greatness at any cost.
- Do not overextend if you are already the aggressor.
- Do not overextend and fill your graveyard unnecessarily as you may need to recover from a Tormod’s Crypt in Games 2 and 3.
- Cataclysm does not need to hit 4+ lands. Sometimes hitting 2 is enough.
Cards that didn’t make it
- Savannah Lions can pressure combo and control decks, however, they don’t have the versatility we need in the main versus weaker matchups.
- Mulch was used in earlier versions, however, while drawing 1.8 cards and putting 3.2 cards in the graveyard is appealing, you often wanted the cards you put in the graveyard. Sylvan Library was much more versatile.
- Mystic Enforcer is often suggested at the top end. Terravore is better in most use cases, and costs less.
- Enlightened Tutor and its silver bullets may seem appealing, however, more decks are playing enchantment removal in their main decks and their sideboard. Your Worship, Ivory Mask, Sphere of Resistance, may only be buying you a turn, while you skipped your own turn playing them.
- Caller of the Claw may be attractive if you imagine having Wrath of God cast against your board of 4 creatures, it is almost certainly better not to overextend and to save the 2 sideboard slots.
- Sylvan Safekeeper and Mother of Runes weren’t good enough and didn’t help bad matchups.
- Black Vise and Sphere of Resistance need more testing but could serve as must-answer threats.
- Wax // Wane originally had a home in this deck but has since been trimmed for more reliable removal.
- Vengeful Dreams isn’t as great in practice as it is in theory given that it is only okay when you’re on the back foot.
- I haven’t found Orim’s Chant does enough to shore up bad matchups.
- Worship‘s stock goes way down when there are open deck lists such as a Top 16. Additionally, because enchantment removal is a must in Premodern, I don’t expect to ride it to victory.
- Crop Rotation has not done enough to warrant the main deck slots.
- Choke can be a blowout versus a small number of decks but that is not enough.
With the caveat that Premodern is constantly evolving (players, decks, sideboards, data), my best approximation based on archetype:
- The good: Control decks, fair decks
- The okay: Aggro decks, go-wide decks
- The bad: Combo decks
- I don’t have Mox Diamonds. Can I still play the deck? In the strongest terms, no. The strategy crumbles without it. Like I mentioned above, you could play other Threshold variants without it.
- How’s the matchup versus (deck name here)? I haven’t played against the full gamut of Premodern with this deck so I feel woefully inadequate when answering that question. I could theorize, but it may lead you in the wrong direction.
- Have you thought about (card)? Probably not. I don’t have extensive knowledge of the card pool and I’d love to hear any ideas you might have.
- What about splashing another colour? Some people have had success splashing blue for Meddling Mage but I’m not sure the concessions on slots (for the Mages or for the lands needed) are worth it.
- I have ideas, how do I talk to you? You can tag @Narcism in the Premodern Discord.
- A special thanks to Adam Rice (Attila The Fun#9918) for his continued enthusiasm for the archetype. Many iterations and additions were thanks to him.
- My friends who asked questions and made suggestions over the course of deck development.