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Mastering Lutri in Modern: Deck & Sideboard Guide

Skura
15/02/2024 · 13 min read
guides

Quick Intro

Everyone builds their deck with the intention of making them as coherent and consistent as possible. You want to enact the same game plan every time. In order to do so, one typically plays playsets of cards that are most desirable to draw at any certain point.

Well, there is also Lutri.

Lutri, the Spellchaser is a companion like none other, as it provides a uniquely powerful effect with an even more unique deck building restriction - you have to play every spell in a single copy. It’s very EDH-adjacent but you can thankfully build a proper manabase with no limitation.

It makes you feel things you haven’t felt before

In today's piece, I want to delve into the reasons why one might want to take up Lutri, the Spellchaser in Modern. We'll explore the formats in which it can be played and the best card choices depending on the color combination. If you are interested in taking two extra turns on turn four, read on!

Skura playing Lutri
Skura playing Lutri

Why Play Lutri?

There are a couple of reasons why you might want to get into the world of Otters. There are three strategic reasons and one of a completely different nature. Let’s start with the ones that are aimed at giving you a competitive advantage.

It’s a companion

Many decks include Jegantha, the Wellspring, and one of the most popular reasons for this is simply that they can. They use it because their deck meets the necessary conditions—so why not?

We've already seen quite clearly that a companion is far superior to any 15th card your sideboard could have, and it's no different in this case.

Unique Effect

The first reason is that Lutr offers a very infrequently seen effect - copying a spell. It doubles up more standard cards like Lightning Bolt or Inquisition of Kozilek but can also spice things up with Flame of Anor or Cryptic Command.

There are cards that are particularly powerful as copy targets such as Temporal Trespass, giving you a proper combo-esque finish.

Last but not least, it turns every cantrip into an improved Divination. Lutri, in combination with either Preordain or Consider, is always a great play.

Hard to play around

When your deck is full of one-ofs, it really gives your opponent a headache trying to play around anything. When they see you playing Grixis Lutri, can they assume you have Flame Slash? Cling to Dust? What about Molten Collapse or Siphon Insight? They might either overthink it or underestimate what you could have, and then get caught by Tishana's Tidebinder.

Furthermore, there is a psychological effect when you lead people to assume you don't have something, as the deck consists solely of single copies. Why wouldn't they keep a hand that's strong against Orcish Bowmasters if it's unlikely that you have it?

However, if that logic is applied every time, it leads to them kind of not playing around anything ever - giving you a lot of room to catch them off guard.

*Vibes*

As far as I’m concerned, this is unironically the best argument to sleeve up Lutri. It makes you feel things you haven’t felt before. Now, you can add Cryptic Command or Vendilion Clique into your deck without the permeating feeling of guilt.

We know Magic is fun when you play with decks and cards that you like. No deck will let you play with the cards you enjoy just like Lutri.

One could argue that when you do play with a deck that you vibe with, you will also have better results as a consequence.

Magic is a competitive game but it’s also a journey full of experiences - and I do like making these experiences count.

Possible Color Combinations

Lutri is a hybrid red-blue creature, so any deck that includes either red or blue could suffice. However, I’d argue that you should always start with blue as the foundation.

Blue is the best environment for spells, trickery, and shenanigans—and that's exactly what you want to do with the Otter. It naturally pairs with cantrips and countermagic, as well as powerful draw spells. I do think that a base of blue is the way to go.

What about a secondary color? Green doesn’t have much to offer but white, red, and black do. Dimir, Izzet, and Azorius are all legit options.

How about a tertiary color? This is where it gets more interesting. Now, green might actually come into play for Sultai but also Temur. I believe Jeskai, Esper, and Grixis are also very much possible. In other words, I think there are few, if any, blue three-colour combinations that wouldn’t work well.

What makes them all similar is that it’ll typically build those shells, as if they were a control-ish deck. Between Lutri being a flash creature that copies spells and that you want to play a blue strat, you will end up in a deck that ranges from delver-style tempo to draw-go.

Other Approaches: Combo!

There are some more unique approaches though. You could build Izzet Lutri almost like a combo deck where you try to combine Lutri with Galvanic Iteration, Temporal Trespass, and Temporal Mastery to take a couple of turns out of nowhere. On turn five, you can miracle Mastery and copy it with Lutri. If you’re fortunate enough, and I know you’ve been waiting for this part, you can miracle Mastery and copy it with Galvanic Iteration for that turn four sweetness.

Example Builds

Let me present you with some specific examples of builds that can inspire.

Izzet Turns

Izzet Lutri Turns. Builder: Skura.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 11-Feb-2024
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [3]
1  Snapcaster Mage   $17.99
1  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker   $20.99
1  Lutri, the Spellchaser   $0.49
Instant [23]
1  Force of Negation   $49.99
1  Fire/Ice   $0.35
1  Spell Snare   $0.69
1  Dead/Gone   $0.35
1  Lightning Bolt   $1.29
1  Counterspell   $1.99
1  Remand   $0.35
1  Archmage's Charm   $1.29
1  Peek   $0.39
1  Unholy Heat   $0.35
1  Consider   $0.69
1  Mana Leak   $0.25
1  Burst Lightning   $0.35
1  Abrade   $0.35
1  Stern Scolding   $0.79
1  Spell Pierce   $0.59
1  Fact or Fiction   $0.35
1  Nexus of Fate   $19.99
1  Galvanic Iteration   $1.79
1  Opt   $0.35
1  Prismari Command   $0.99
1  Sleight of Mind   $0.35
1  Cryptic Command   $8.99
Sorcery [7]
1  Preordain   $0.99
2  Flame Slash   $0.59
1  Serum Visions   $0.49
1  Time Warp   $19.99
1  Temporal Mastery   $8.99
1  Temporal Trespass   $23.99
Planeswalker [2]
1  Jace, the Mind Sculptor   $23.99
1  Chandra, Torch of Defiance   $2.49
Land [25]
3  Thundering Falls   $9.99
1  Hall of Storm Giants   $3.49
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $27.99
6  Island   $0.01
3  Misty Rainforest   $24.99
3  Steam Vents   $17.99
4  Scalding Tarn   $22.99
4  Spirebluff Canal   $3.99
Sideboard [15]
1  Void Mirror   $0.49
1  Blood Moon   $7.99
1  Magus of the Moon   $10.99
1  Ashiok, Dream Render   $0.99
1  Pithing Needle   $0.69
1  Brotherhood's End   $7.49
1  Lutri, the Spellchaser   $0.49
1  Chalice of the Void   $59.99
1  Engineered Explosives   $13.99
1  Flusterstorm   $27.99
1  Alpine Moon   $2.29
1  Mystical Dispute   $0.39
1  Cursed Totem   $2.99
1  Unlicensed Hearse   $2.99
1  Soul-Guide Lantern   $0.35
Buy this deck:

$140.49 Tix @cardhoarder   $3.51 / Week @cardhoarder   $559.79 @tcgplayer   $652.93 @cardkingdom  


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This would be a combo-ish take on the strategy with multiple tools to have super explosive turns. As mentioned in the section before, with this deck you could go turn four Galvanic Iteration into Temporal Mastery.

There are also other key cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor to put Mastery back on top, Chandra, Torch of Defiance ramping you up to hard cast those take turns, and the name sake Lutri as a part of the main sixty to have more copy effects.

Grixis Draw-Go

Grixis Lutri Draw-Go. Builder: Skura.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 11-Feb-2024
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [6]
1  Tishana's Tidebinder   $12.99
1  Snapcaster Mage   $17.99
1  Murktide Regent   $17.99
1  Subtlety   $23.99
1  Vendilion Clique   $4.49
1  Orcish Bowmasters   $49.99
Instant [25]
1  Force of Negation   $49.99
1  Flame of Anor   $6.49
1  Spell Snare   $0.69
1  Logic Knot   $0.35
1  Lightning Bolt   $1.29
1  Counterspell   $1.99
1  Remand   $0.35
1  Archmage's Charm   $1.29
1  Drown in the Loch   $1.49
1  Siphon Insight   $0.49
1  Dead/Gone   $0.35
1  Unholy Heat   $0.35
1  Consider   $0.69
1  Cryptic Command   $8.99
1  Change the Equation   $0.35
1  Mana Leak   $0.25
1  Stern Scolding   $0.79
1  Spell Pierce   $0.59
1  Fact or Fiction   $0.35
1  Terminate   $0.99
1  Sheoldred's Edict   $4.49
1  Fatal Push   $2.49
1  Cling to Dust   $0.35
1  Long Goodbye   $0.35
1  Kolaghan's Command   $1.49
Sorcery [7]
1  Preordain   $0.99
1  Expressive Iteration   $0.79
1  Flame Slash   $0.59
1  Inquisition of Kozilek   $0.35
1  Thoughtseize   $7.99
1  Bloodchief's Thirst   $0.35
1  Lórien Revealed   $2.79
Land [22]
1  Thundering Falls   $9.99
1  Hall of Storm Giants   $3.49
1  Swamp   $0.01
2  Island   $0.01
1  Misty Rainforest   $24.99
4  Polluted Delta   $37.99
1  Xander's Lounge   $14.99
2  Watery Grave   $14.99
2  Steam Vents   $17.99
4  Scalding Tarn   $22.99
1  Undercity Sewers   $12.99
2  Spirebluff Canal   $3.99
Sideboard [15]
1  Void Mirror   $0.49
1  Blood Moon   $7.99
1  Magus of the Moon   $10.99
1  Ashiok, Dream Render   $0.99
1  Hidetsugu Consumes All   $2.99
1  Brotherhood's End   $7.49
1  Lutri, the Spellchaser   $0.49
1  Chalice of the Void   $59.99
1  Engineered Explosives   $13.99
1  Flusterstorm   $27.99
1  Alpine Moon   $2.29
1  Mystical Dispute   $0.39
1  Cursed Totem   $2.99
1  Unlicensed Hearse   $2.99
1  Cast into the Fire   $0.49
Buy this deck:

$212.70 Tix @cardhoarder   $5.32 / Week @cardhoarder   $646.98 @tcgplayer   $755.47 @cardkingdom  


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This is my personal take on a very controlly build with the classic control tools.

I run Cryptic Command and Archmage’s Charm as my preferred reactive topend with Fact or Fiction to gas back up and drown the opponent in card advantage. When copied with Lutri, the opponent’s morale will plummet.

Grixis Tempo

Grixis Lutri. Builder: Collinisimo.MTGO - Magic Online
1st
(5 - 0)
100%
in MTGO Modern League #7787 03-Feb-2024
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [10]
1  Orcish Bowmasters   $49.99
1  Jace, Vryn's Prodigy   $5.49
1  Snapcaster Mage   $17.99
1  Murktide Regent   $17.99
1  Subtlety   $23.99
1  Svyelun of Sea and Sky   $0.99
1  Dragon's Rage Channeler   $0.99
1  Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer   $49.99
1  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker   $20.99
1  Ledger Shredder   $17.99
Artifact [1]
1  Mishra's Bauble   $0.79
Instant [17]
1  Force of Negation   $49.99
1  Sheoldred's Edict   $4.49
1  Stern Scolding   $0.79
1  Remand   $0.35
1  Spell Snare   $0.69
1  Dead/Gone   $0.35
1  Logic Knot   $0.35
1  Counterspell   $1.99
1  Flusterstorm   $27.99
1  Terminate   $0.99
1  Fatal Push   $2.49
1  Spell Pierce   $0.59
1  Lightning Bolt   $1.29
1  Drown in the Loch   $1.49
1  Unholy Heat   $0.35
1  Fire/Ice   $0.35
1  Consider   $0.69
Sorcery [7]
1  Lórien Revealed   $2.79
1  Molten Collapse   $1.49
1  Preordain   $0.99
1  Inquisition of Kozilek   $0.35
1  Thoughtseize   $7.99
1  Bloodchief's Thirst   $0.35
1  Expressive Iteration   $0.79
Planeswalker [2]
1  Jace, the Mind Sculptor   $23.99
1  Kaito Shizuki   $3.99
Land [23]
4  Polluted Delta   $37.99
2  Bloodstained Mire   $29.99
2  Watery Grave   $14.99
1  Swamp   $0.01
1  Spirebluff Canal   $3.99
2  Steam Vents   $17.99
3  Island   $0.01
1  Mountain   $0.01
4  Scalding Tarn   $22.99
1  Hall of Storm Giants   $3.49
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $27.99
1  Xander's Lounge   $14.99
Sideboard [15]
1  Brotherhood's End   $7.49
1  Lutri, the Spellchaser   $0.49
1  Cast into the Fire   $0.49
1  Chalice of the Void   $59.99
1  Damping Matrix   $0.59
1  Engineered Explosives   $13.99
1  Blood Moon   $7.99
1  Magus of the Moon   $10.99
1  Alpine Moon   $2.29
1  Ashiok, Dream Render   $0.99
1  Mystical Dispute   $0.39
1  Void Mirror   $0.49
1  Cursed Totem   $2.99
1  Pithing Needle   $0.69
1  Hidetsugu Consumes All   $2.99
Buy this deck:

$241.86 Tix @cardhoarder   $6.05 / Week @cardhoarder   $734.21 @tcgplayer   $860.37 @cardkingdom  


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Export & Save: Magic online format Apprentice and MWS .dec


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This is the Collins Mullen take on the strategy and he has been rocking the Otter for quite a few years. He is a bit heavier on creatures than I do and his intention is clearly to actually close games.

He has also recently been toying with delve threats like Gurmag Angler or Tombstalker.

Jeskai Walkers Control

Jeskai Lutri. Builder: Xenowan.MTGO - Magic Online
1st
(5 - 0)
100%
in MTGO Modern League #7787 26-Dec-2023
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [9]
1  Tishana's Tidebinder   $12.99
1  Snapcaster Mage   $17.99
1  Brazen Borrower   $6.49
1  Murktide Regent   $17.99
1  Subtlety   $23.99
1  Dragon's Rage Channeler   $0.99
1  Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer   $49.99
1  Solitude   $32.99
1  Ledger Shredder   $17.99
Artifact [1]
1  Mishra's Bauble   $0.79
Instant [17]
1  Force of Negation   $49.99
1  Fire/Ice   $0.35
1  Reprieve   $1.49
1  Flame of Anor   $6.49
1  Spell Snare   $0.69
1  Mana Tithe   $0.59
1  Dead/Gone   $0.35
1  Logic Knot   $0.35
1  Lightning Bolt   $1.29
1  Counterspell   $1.99
1  Remand   $0.35
1  Archmage's Charm   $1.29
1  Opt   $0.35
1  Unholy Heat   $0.35
1  Consider   $0.69
1  March of Otherworldly Light   $1.79
1  Spell Pierce   $0.59
Sorcery [5]
1  Lórien Revealed   $2.79
1  Supreme Verdict   $2.99
1  Preordain   $0.99
1  Expressive Iteration   $0.79
1  Prismatic Ending   $0.35
Enchantment [1]
1  Dress Down   $1.79
Planeswalker [3]
1  Jace, the Mind Sculptor   $23.99
1  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria   $19.99
1  Teferi, Time Raveler   $7.99
Land [24]
2  Arid Mesa   $19.99
2  Hallowed Fountain   $11.99
4  Flooded Strand   $27.99
1  Spirebluff Canal   $3.99
2  Steam Vents   $17.99
1  Castle Vantress   $1.79
1  Raugrin Triome   $17.99
4  Scalding Tarn   $22.99
1  Hall of Storm Giants   $3.49
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $27.99
1  Plains   $0.01
3  Island   $0.01
1  Mountain   $0.01
Sideboard [15]
1  Brotherhood's End   $7.49
1  Lutri, the Spellchaser   $0.49
1  Stern Scolding   $0.79
1  Cast into the Fire   $0.49
1  Chalice of the Void   $59.99
1  Engineered Explosives   $13.99
1  Path to Exile   $0.99
1  Wear/Tear   $0.99
1  Flusterstorm   $27.99
1  Alpine Moon   $2.29
1  Narset, Parter of Veils   $0.69
1  Dovin's Veto   $4.49
1  Mystical Dispute   $0.39
1  Annul   $0.39
1  Cursed Totem   $2.99
Buy this deck:

$215.40 Tix @cardhoarder   $5.39 / Week @cardhoarder   $657.79 @tcgplayer   $772.43 @cardkingdom  


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Xenowan, an online grinder, is also an Otter fan. He takes the deck a bit of a different direction, being heavy into white.

Contrary to other lists, it does play mass removal like Supreme Verdict and the classic walkers in Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Teferi, Time Raveler.

Tips and Tricks

While it’s tough to narrow down Lutri decks to a single construction, I will try to provide a couple of tips that you might encounter regardless of the version you play.

  • Galvanic Iteration has to be played *before* a spell is put on the stack while Lutri is played when you’ve already put a spell on the stack.
  • To make it crystal clear, when playing you should clearly say that you’re holding priority when you’ve put a spell on the stack and you indend to copy it with Lutri.
  • Lutri copy ability is an enter-the-battlefield effect so the Otter has to resolve in order for the ability to work.
  • The opponent can counter your spell before Lutri resolves to effectively blank it.
  • If you copy a spell with Lutri, it retains all the qualities such as paid kickers.
  • If you copy a modal spell with Lutri, you have to keep the same modes but you can choose new targets for those modes.
  • If you know you play against a deck with a lot of countermagic, you can play Lutri more as a safety net. Let’s say you put Fact of Fiction on the stack. Instead of holding priority to play Lutri and try to get two Facts and risk walking into a single counterspells, you can play Facts, see if the opponent counters it and if they try to, you get *then* play Lutri and copy Facts.
  • It is legal to have a Lutri in your maindeck as a creature while having Lutri as a companion.
  • A deckbuilding trick that you might want to use is to have multiple copies of the same hate cards on the board, such as Leyline of the Void, and simply forgo Lutri when you bring those in.
  • When you put multiple of the same card in your deck postboard and have to lose Lutri as the companion, remember that you can put her back in just as a creature and normal part of your deck.

Sideboard Guide

Since there are so many versions and so many card choices within versions, I will go through the approach to each top tier matchup roughly with possible side ins and outs.

Rhinos

You will need to thwart their primary plan of resolving Rhinos. In order to do so, you need cards like Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm, Test of Talents, Invasive Surgery.

You could also play artifacts like Engineerd Explosives, Void Mirror, or Chalice of the Void but they are susceptible to Flame of Anor or Tishana’s Tidebinder.

At some point, you’ll need to either pressure them or accrue enough card advantage that you can actually grind through all of their Rhinos.

Rakdos Grief

Getting ahead on resources is key and that’s what you want to achieve. You do want removal heavy openers to make sure you don’t die. While they have their own Fable of the Mirror-Breaker or Kolaghan’s Commands to grind, they will strive to get you dead. You have to prioritise hands that fend off early Ragavans and Dauthi Voidwalkers.

Useful cards to get up on cards could include Fact or Fiction, Sauron’s Ransom, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Expressive Iteration, or Flame of Anor.

Izzet Murktide

It’s a blue mirror where you’re typically going to go bigger. For that reason, Murktide will want to get the game over with and you’ll be on the defensive. Under that assumption, you do want card advantage later but make sure not to die to early Dragon’s Rage Channelers.

There aren’t any very specific hosers so you will keep your core strategy intact.

Golgari Yawgmoth

Pretty tough matchup with their access to so many tools but contrary to conventional Murktide decks, you have incidental hate against their main engine nowadays - Agatha’s Soul Cauldron. You can take advantage of your Cryptic Command, Abrade, Prismari Command, or Flame of Anor - sometimes both killing Cauldron and a creature.

Amulet Titan

In this matchup, incidental artifact hate like Kolaghan’s Command or Flame of Anor will definitely come up. You want to disrupt those Amulet of Vigors but also postboard Defense Grids.

Remember that Defense Grid does not make it impossible to play spells on their turn. In longer games, you’ll just play the tax and continue as normal. At some point, Brotherhood’s End will sweep all Grids up.

Discord Server

For those willing to delve deeper, Skura started a Lutri Discord where you can also find none other than Collins Mullen!

Invite link:

https://discord.gg/5bmus9tg

Conclusion

This is the Otter universe! I hope I’ve provided you with enough information to be able to dive into this beautiful world.

If you brew up an exciting Lutri list, make sure to share it and tag me (@IslandsInFront) on Twitter!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Pioneer Monowhite Humans deck guide, Mastering Amulet Titan: The Side Guide That Took Me to the Pro Tour , Winning the Manatrader Series: A Deep Dive into Pioneer Rakdos Midrange, Standard Esper Midrange Guide by Mogged, Winning with Gruul Vehicles: tips, tricks & sideboard guide

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Skura
Skura - IslandsInFront
Skura, also known as IslandsInFront on Twitter and YouTube, started his career a decade ago and has been passing the turn in all formats ever since. He coaches, creates written and video content, and is a mainstay caster on the European scene, casting the LMS series (GP equivalent), Eternal Weekend, and many other. He's passionate about game theory, decision making, and a methodological approach to Magic

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