Living End is a powerful, cheap and effective combo deck based around abusing the graveyard and cascade effects. Travis Woo brewed this deck, and it is probably his most successful deck to date, being wildly popular due to its relatively cheap cost and effectiveness. The deck utilizes its name sake, Living End, to bring back a suite of creature cards from your graveyard and wipe the opponents board to essentially win the game on the next turn. This is typically a turn four or five combo, making it perfectly fit in the Turn Four world of Modern. The basic idea is to cheat Living End, a fairly slow spell when cast for its suspend cost, into play through the use of the cascade ability. The strategy is to spend the first few turns dumping creatures into the graveyard, and then cast a cascade spell that cascades into Living End, wiping the board and putting lethal or close to lethal attackers into play. The cascade cards of choice for the deck are Demonic Dread and Violent Outburst which, once cast, dig through the deck until hitting their only legal cascade target, Living End, and casting it. Due to how cascade works, this deck doesnt play a single one or two mana card. This ensures that when the cascade effect is triggered Living End is always found. However, the deck uses multiple large creatures with cheap cycling costs, such as Deadshot Minotaur or Monstrous Carabid in order to quickly get things into the graveyard and draw through the deck in the early stages of the game. With a suite of around 28 creatures, all with cycling or a similar ability, the combo is essentially all the deck does. However, in desperate situations the deck can just hard cast large creatures and go for a more traditional beat down! The creature base is what makes the deck so cheap to buy; the vast majority of them are pretty mediocre, none of which being big money cards. However, this deck does utilise Fulminator Mage for land destruction, a card which is somewhat expensive. Fulminator Mage, and sometimes Avalanche Riders, are used as sources of interaction with the opponent. Often a Living End player will choose to disrupt the opponent’s manabase while they attempt to build up their own combo. This strategy can help to keep the opposing player in a position where they are unable to cast their key cards.
Sideboarding Against This Deck
Many people often go to graveyard hate as a way to shut this deck down, (un)fortunately (depending on if youre playing the deck, or playing against it!) Living End is very resilient to this. With Ingot Chewer in the sideboard, the ability to throw many creatures rapidly into the graveyard in a single turn, and around 28 creatures with cycling in the deck, neither Relic of Progenitus nor Scavenging Ooze can make a large impact. In fact the only sources of graveyard hate that Living End is afraid of is Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace. Even then, later into the game the Living End player can simply hard cast their creatures and not have to worry about the graveyard. They are still able to use Living End as a board clear to survive the early turns. Against counterspells, the deck utilises Ricochet Trap, so this isnt as effective as it seems either. In fact, the only way to have a good chance against this deck is to simply beat it down before it can combo off. Aggro decks should have few problems here. However, it should be noted that Living End functions as a board clear spell and is playable on T4, so even aggro decks can run into problems. Slower midrange and control decks, however, need to be especially wary when playing against Living End. Suppression Field is a sideboard card that can cause Living End decks problems because it increases the cycling cost of all their creatures by 2. This significantly slows the deck and makes it possible to steal an early game advantage against them.
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