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Arcane Laboratory: Play What You Know

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

It’s game 3 of a Modern win-a-box finals. My opponent taps out on turn 2, trying to resolve a Tarmogoyf. I smile as I fetch up an untapped Hallowed Fountain and cast my Mana Leak. I then untap, lay my third land and cast my Geist of Saint Traft. My opponents shoulders slump almost instantly. The game from then is elementary and I leave with a nice full box of Born of the Gods.

Modern is a format where mastering a deck is often more important than just playing the best deck for a specific event. There are far too many card interactions to be prepared for every situation with every deck. Focusing on one deck lets you learn it’s ins and outs, giving you a better grasp of how your games should progress.

UWR Midrange is my deck for the format. I’ve invested months of play into the deck and understand almost all of the decisions I need to make to win my games. I play efficiently and well, both keys to success at any tournament.

After last weeks disaster with UWR Control I felt the need to redeem myself with my favorite color trio in Modern. So, I broke out my old Saint friend and set to updating my list according to the results of GP Richmond and recent MTGO Dailys. Here is what I arrived at.

In the maindeck I moved from 4 Cryptic Command to 3 and 1 Spell Snare. Too often I found myself with 2 Cryptics stranded in hand. Spell Snare helps give us another spell for our opponent to try and play around. Eiganjo Castle is important because it lets Geist of Saint Traft attack into things like Wild Nacatl or 3/4 Tarmogoyfs while also protecting it from Anger of the Gods. The singleton Thundermaw is there to close out games and sometimes ruin a random Faeries player’s day.

In the board I went heavy in my Affinity hate. Possibly too heavy. But I’m always a bit overly fearful of the archetype and I respect it’s raw power. 3 Kataki is possibly too many.

Counterflux and Relics are musts on MTGO because of the prevalence of UR Storm. I opt for Supreme Verdict over Anger of the Gods because I feel I can already interact enough with pod to lose some strength in that match-up to be able to deal with the bigger Zoo decks people are adapting. A second copy of Thundermaw because I hate Faeries and like closing out games.


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A solid 3-1 record beating UR Twin twice and splitting vs UR Storm. In all of the games I was able to present a lot of pressure through the powerhouse of Geist and follow up with some burn or a colonnade to close the game. We even saw me come back from a Blood Moon vs Twin with a timely dragon off the top.

My loss versus storm was because in game two I became too focused on applying pressure because I had drawn a bunch of my sideboard hate that I foolishly tapped out into a Blood Moon. This is a great display of why to not lose sight of the larger picture when trying to adhere to a gameplan.

After the matches my changes to the deck would be as follows.
Maindeck
-1 Thundermaw Hellkite
+1 Stormbreath Dragon

Sideboard
-1 Kataki, War’s Wage
-1 Thundermaw Hellkite
+1 Rule of Law
+1 Batterskull

I’m excited at the prospect of using Stormbreath in Modern. He’s immune to Path To Exile and still passes the Lightning Bolt test. If you ever get to Monstrous and attack the game is likely over right there.

Batterskull closes out games as effectively as Thundermaw and let’s is grind a bit more versus midrange decks.

I had a bit too much artifact hate and drawing multiple Katakis is bad. Instead a single Rule of Law can easily help shore up the Storm match, even if it does shut off our Snapcaster Mages.

I feel the deck is a very solid choice as long as you remember to play around Blood Moon effectively. You have a lot of pressure the UWR Control deck doesn’t bring and can still answer almost everything your opponent tries to do.

You can catch me next Tuesday battling on my Stream with Jamie Parke’s UR TempoTwin list from GP Richmond. Until then, keep up the beats!

Jason Clark
@RealEvilGenius

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