What follows is a thought experiment made manifest, a party trick intended for casual and multiplayer amusement, and an aesthetic expression on the diverse potential for deck design within the framework of Modern legal Magic.
This deck contains neither permanents nor mana sources of any kind and yet can cast nine different spells with varying interactions, playing differently depending on what is drawn though always with the key points of Commandeer appropriating relevant noncreature opponent casts, Shining Shoal and Soul Spike providing direct damage and life buffer, and the remainder aiming at broad control of the game state.
There are three mechanics in play as to how spells are cast without mana. The primary means of casting is by exiling a card or two of a particular color, which explains the multicolored nature of the cards in the deck that are meant to pay costs and set variables for the Shoals rather than be cast themselves. Patricians Scorn and Ravenous Trap are flexible elements, capable of either being cast without cost in a variety of situations or exiled as payment for less situational spells.
Noxious Revival is cast using life, which synergizes particularly well with the two direct damage and life buffering elements. A potential benefit is effectively extending the deck to 64 cards, meaning the control elements have a chance to win a stalled game by decking an opponent - particularly if the opponent is focused on drawing through their deck quickly while relying on a few vulnerable cards.
What is your impression of a deck that functions entirely without mana and permanents? What changes or variations do you envision? Feedback welcome.
MetaEsper - Modern legal deck (60 cards, all instants and sorceries)
Exile Cost Paying Cards (4 of each):
Spells Cast without Mana Cost (4 of Each):
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