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Compulsive Research: Getting Cards Banned in Modern

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

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Hey everyone! Welcome back to this week’s entry of Compulsive Research. Although I have been writing for Legit for some time now, this particular entry marks the 50th entry in the Compulsive Research series. I wanted to start it off with a sincere thank you for everyone that comes here to read about my thoughts and experiences, especially after you all choose to spend your Monday nights with me while we tour the randomness that is the MTGO metagames of Standard and Modern. I wouldn’t do it if you didn’t enjoy it, so thank you. A little bit of housekeeping I feel is in order, and in light of this milestone I wanted to give you a glimpse into what is in store for the next coming months. I promise a future of amazing guests once we get some JOU into the MTGO mix, and a return to the weekly testing gauntlet after GP Minneapolis results get posted. You can look forward to such notable names as Tom Martell, Gerry Thompson, Chris VanMeter, and Willy Edel to join me on the stream, giving you all the window into the minds of these greats. I will be running 2 streams per week over the month of July leading up to GP Boston, as Jason from Legit’s own Arcane Laboratory and I will be playtesting matchups against each other in preparation for that event. We will keep you all up to date on that as we get closer, but Jason and I are both going, and will both likely end up on the same deck list for that event. Let’s find out what we come up with! With so much in store for you here on LegitMTG, why wouldn’t you tune in? Follow the twitch page, follow our Twitter profiles, and leave comments!

This week, I decided that with the standard format getting a little stagnant while we wait for JOU to release online, I needed a palate cleanser. I decided that I would look to LegitMTG’s own brewer extraordinaire, Tyler Premier(@tylerthefro) to help give me something to play. He had posted on twitter that he was demolishing his Modern FNMs week in and week out since the banning of Deathrite Shaman (insert moment of silence here….) with his take on Goryo’s Vengeance. He took his start from the list that Todd Anderson did well with at a past GP, which played blue for cards like Izzet Charm as another dig engine, and dipped into Grixis for its mana base. Tyler streamlined the deck, cutting the blue altogether, and brought it down to this lean, mean, face melting machine which is capable of turn 1 kills. I bring you the ultimate glass cannon; Tyler’s Vengeance.

The deck basically is just looking to discard Griselbrand or Emrakul into your graveyard and then cast Goryo’s Vengeance at instant speed to attack your opponent on turn 2 or 3. With Emrakul, you reset your opponent to zero permanents and often kill the opponent on sight. With Griselbrand, you attack your opponent, gain 7 life, then utilize the draw 7 ability on Griselbrand to draw cards until you find a Fury of the Horde and 2 other red cards. You then cast the Fury by discarding said two red cards, and attack for another 7 life, repeating the process until your opponent expires.

The notes I got on this deck from Tyler were pretty straightforward:

“Here’s the full list I’ve been running. Really the only things it loses to are countermagic and bad draws, but against anything with creatures you should win fairly easily. It takes some practice knowing what kinds of hands you can keep, but it turn 2 kills more often than any deck in this format really should.” – Tyler Premier

Tyler is always trying to break formats. He often is looking for the most degenerate and powerful thing that can be done, and then seeks to exploit that thing past the point of breaking. In this case, Tyler was looking to send a clear message to WOTC; banning Deathrite Shaman and NOT Goryo’s Vengeance is a mistake. Let me prove it to you.


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We played a lot more games than I thought we would be able to, especially in a double queue situation. The deck was pretty easy to pilot, as the assembling of the combo is very linear. I’m very sure that anyone with a decent working knowledge of the format could find some reasonable success with this list. The major challenges that we came across were countermagic, and graveyard hate that is backed up by a similarly fast clock. I really felt like the deck was often able to kill from anywhere, and was amazingly redundant, making discard far less effective as one might suspect it to be against a combo deck. The fact that we got over half of our wins by turn 3 shows me that the strategy is really under represented, and bears some serious consideration for the future. With no further bans occurring during the Modern PTQ season, this could be a great place to look for a deck to spike a tournament with. Pay close attention to the graveyard hate that’s being played in your metagame and pull the trigger on this when it looks like the coast is clear. Being able to interact with the opponent through Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt allows you to have some more reach and protection than a traditional glass cannon strategy, making this a very appealing option.

Since we still don’t have JOU online yet, I’m going to try out something fun again this week. For those of you that have been around since the beginning, you know that if the fun is to be had by me, that the opponents are in for a rough night. Tune in tonight at 930pm at twitch.tv/legitmtg, follow the stream channel, and follow me on Twitter!!

One bit of sideline discussion is that I will be campaigning pretty hard this year for a slot in the MTGO Community Cup. I received some encouragement and such from some of you last year, but was not able to attend due to prior commitments. I am free from these commitments this year, and would really like to make a run. Keep your eyes peeled for the graphic on my stream soon, and if you are interested in helping me out, let me know and we can get started!!

See you all tonight!!

@MrScottyMac

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