Three Different Ways To Build Heartless Summoning In Modern

Discussion Modern 
Genoslugcs · January 7, 2023 · 7 min
Three Different Ways To Build Heartless Summoning In Modern

Heartless Summoningimage is a card I have liked since I first discovered it years ago. So much so that I'm in the habit of evaluating cards through the lens of "How good would this be two mana cheaper and with a -1/-1 counter on it." That said, I have played just about every established archetype and have brewed countless decks with it in Modern. And today, I would like to share some of the fruit of my labors with others.


There are many different ways you can build around this unique card. There are aggro, midrange, and combo strategies that are all viable. The midrange is perhaps my personal favorite but each has its pros and cons. I'll do my best to give some insight, tips, and tricks into brewing with the card as well for anyone who would like to experiment on their own. Here goes.

Deck 1 - Heartless Summoning Combo

The combo versions of the deck are probably the most well-known uses of the card. I'll break each one down below but simply put, these builds rely on Heartless Summoningimage enabling an endless loop with Myr Retreiver and Altar of the Broodimage or Impact Tremorsimage. Here's how it works.

Combo Pieces

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To combo off, you need Heartless Summoningimage and Altar of the Broodimage on the battlefield and two (one in the graveyard and one in hand) Myr Retrieverimage. With Heartless Summoning out your Myr's will cost zero mana. Each time you cast one, two things will happen. First, Brood will trigger and Mill your opponent for one card. Then the Myr will die to the -1/-1 counter.

When one Myr dies, use its ability to return the other one to the battlefield. When you do it'll Mill another card, die, and return the second Myr, creating an infinite mill loop.

Support Pieces

trinket-mage muddle-the-mixture grisly-salvage

It's possible to win via this combo as early as turn two. However, it does take some setup. Here are the support cards you'll need.


Finding the cards you need is an intrinsic part of any combo deck. Trinket Mageimage is used to search out Altar of the Broodimage esclusivley. Muddle the Mixtureimage pulls a lot of weight in the deck. First, it can counter would be removal spells coming your way. But thanks to the Transmute ability it can grab Heartless Summoningimage, Impact Tremorsimage, and Myr Superionimage if you choose to run either of those alternate win-cons.

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There are also a number of black tutors like Profane Tutorimage, that can slot in here.

Dig Spells

Considering 2/3s of the combo is colorless, Ancient Stirringsimage is great for finding everything except the namesake card. Grisly Salvageimage is another solid include since it can put a Myr into your hand and/or one into the graveyard. Lastly, it's common to see a few copies of Serum Visionsimage, Considerimage, or Optimage for the early turns.

Tech Cards

impact-tremors impact-tremors

Anytime you're playing a mill-based strategy, there are cards you have to prepare for. Mainly cards like Emrakul, the Aeons Tornimage and Enduranceimage that can stop your ability to mill out opponents. If/when you do encounter these cards, you'll need to sideboard out Brood for Impact Tremorsimage.

The combo works the exact same way but instead of milling a card, you ping an opponent for one damage. That said, you can build this as your primary combo as well if you'd like but it does cost an extra mana compared to the Mill plan. Lastly, there is Myr Superionimage, which I cannot recommend enough. You won't be able to cast it without Heartless Summoning but you can't beat a zero mana 4/5.

Deck 2 - Heartless Lands

This is a lesser-known deck that streamers like Meryn MTG and Brewers like Zanman have played to some success. It plays much differently from the list above and revolves around several different value-based "lands matter" strategies.

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 Here's how it works.

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Land Fetchers

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Primeval Titanimage and Golos, Tireless Pilgrimimage are the main creatures that Heartless Summoningimage accelerates the deck into. Each one can grab lands to trigger the deck's lands matter spells. You'll also usually find a few copies of Search for Tomorrowimage and Oracle of Mul Dayaimage to help ramp the into these spells in the event you don't draw Heartless Summoning.

Casting a Prime Time as early as turn four and Golos as quickly as turn three with Heartless summoning can lead to tons of landfall triggers very early. So, what are we going to do with them?

Win Conditions

These are the main card combinations that close out games.

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With Dryad of the Ilysian Groveimage or Urborg out, each of the lands you grab with the cards mentioned above will count as a Swamp. This means they all trigger Dread Presenceimage - With multiple lands per turn triggering this you gain a ton of card advantage and can drain opponents out. Not to mention that the damage can be pointed at your opponent's creatures and you gain life as well. Do keep in mind that Dread Presenceimage will usually cost you two mana instead of four.

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If you've played with or against Scapeshiftimage before, you probably already know how this works. Thanks to the Dryad, all your lands are Mountains. This means that you Valakut and then every other land that enters is a Lightning Boltimage.

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Many players find Golos to be obnoxious and I can see why... Playing the top three cards of your library for free is pretty insane. That said, it's even worse in this build. First, as mentioned, he can hit the battlefield very early in the game. Secondly, not only does he ramp you but he'll also trigger all the cards mentioned above if they happen to be in place.

Lastly, and most importantly, getting so far ahead on and filtering all your mana with Cascading Cataractsimage you can activate his ability quite easily. Even a single activation can be game-ending when you stand to cheat out Primeval Titanimage and Elder Gargarothimage.

With that said, seven mana is a lot to pump into this and I have found that cutting the Golos package for extra ramp makes the deck less reliant on Heartless Summoningimage.

Tech Lands

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Considering the "toolbox" style nature of the deck you can run a nice little tech land package as well. I have always run the three shown above as well as Radiant Fountian for some additional life gain and Cabal Coffersimage to generate mana alongside Urborg. Since these can be fetched from the deck they are usually kept to a single copy of each.


It's also worth mentioning here that these lists would run Field of the Deadimage prior to it being banned from Modern.

Deck 3 - Heartless Eldrazi

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Eldrazi are the perfect tribe to pair with Hearless Summoning. More often than not, they are naturally quite powerful for their mana cost. So, the -1/-1 isn't a huge deal to have them come out so far ahead of curve. This is doubly true when you pair Heartless Summoning with Eldrazi Templeimage. Let's take a look at the finer details.

The Eldrazi

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Matter Reshaperimage, Thought-Knot Seerimage, Reality Smasherimage, and Endbringerimage are all fairly common for Eldrazi decks and are all present and accounted for here. With Heartless Summoningimage and Eldrazi Templeimage their cost can be reduced as much by four mana. Each creature mentioned here is played as a four-of and makes up the bulk of the deck.

There are also four lesser-known Eldrazi that sees play here is Eternal Scourgeimage, which can be cast from exile. This is good for the deck for a few reasons. First off, is that the deck plays a playset of Serum Powderimage to assist in hands that don't have a Heartless Summoning or Temple. Anytime Eternal Scourgeimage is exiled this way, you still have access to it.


Next, it's a scourge for control decks and things like Jund and B/G Rock that rely heavily on being able to remove threats.


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Being in Black offers Eldrazi access to things that it doesn't usually have access to. Things like Fatal Pushimage and Dismemberimage offer the archetype cheap, effective removal. While you can of course run the more common spells like Warping Wailimage and All Is Dustimage.

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All is Dust doesn't show up in many lists but I have found some success with it while running Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmothimage and Cabal Coffersimage. Just be sure not to cast it and blow up your own Heartless Summoningimage too early. I usually run this setup alongside Deceiver of Formimage.


That way even with Heartless Summoningimage gone (which will remove the -1/-1 effect) you can turn your smaller creatures into bigger ones off the top of your library. Plus, I like to run some seven drops since Temple + Heartless Summoning + a land each turn will give you the ability to cast a seven-mana creature on turn three.


There you have it - Three different builds for Heartless Summoningimage. The card is truly a brewer's dream and I hope that these decks today have whet your appetite to come up with your own list. If you do, comment down below and let me know what you come up with. I hope to see some new archetypes as more and more sets are released.



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