Welcome back everyone! I just want to personally thank each and every one of you that not only tune in to the stream each week, but also that come here and support the work that I do here for LegitMTG.com. Your continued interest and support allow me to continue doing what I love best, and I am truly grateful for you all.
A great many of you have expressed interest in the further exploration of the current modern format, and I, your willing servant am more than happy to oblige. I had been doing my own research into the format, and came across a MTG personality that had indeed been doing an exhaustive deep dive into Modern and how it looks today. Larry Swasey, (@krazykirby4) has been blogging pretty aggressively about his adventures in Modern, and included a primer on about 30 of the tier 1 to 2 decks in the format. This was especially valuable for me, since I had already been through Modern pretty extensively leading into GP Toronto 2012, as chronicled in my Modern Mastery stream series here on LegitMTG.com. Seeing where the changes have occurred in terms of deck archetypes and card choices was really beneficial, but so was the fact that with Modern being a non rotating format, there were really not that many major shifts in the field since our last foray. Larry goes on to blog about his experiences in Modern Daily events with a bunch of the newer breakout decks in order to give the reader a really accurate window of what to expect from the format. I really recommend that you give it a read if you haven’t already, as it is in my opinion the go to resource for anyone thinking about getting into the Modern format with any level of seriousness. The blog is http://swaseyshuffle.wordpress.com/ so go check it out.
One of the decks that Larry mentions in his blog is an Esper deck which splashes green for Deathrite Shaman, in order to enable the dreaded Geist of St Traft on turn 2, which is a very potent weapon against a number of decks in the format. Larry supplements this game plan with another less known creature and shell based around a Coldsnap rare; Zur, The Enchanter. Zur has some pretty unique things going for him when you consider the current removal in the format. Zur is a 4 casting cost creature, which allows him to dodge Abrupt Decay, and is a 1 / 4 creature, making him immune to Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix. Zur also flies, which means that he can block Lingering Souls tokens, and flies over most of the bigger creatures in the format like Tarmogoyf or Wurmcoil Engine. What makes Zur so compelling as a complement to the Geist of St Traft plan is his attacking trigger. When Zur attacks, you are able to search your deck for an enchantment with converted mana cost of 3 or less and place it on the battlefield. There are a bunch of amazing targets for this ability in modern, and the deck seeks to take advantage of them all. The most important one in my estimation is Steel of the Godhead, which is an aura from Shadowmoor that when placed on a blue and white creature, gives that creature +2/+2, lifelink, and makes the creature unblockable. If you ever remember playing Spectral Flight on a Geist during standard, this is like that, except about a million times more oppressive. Lingering Souls was a nearly ubiquitously played foil to the flying Spirit Cleric during that standard era, but a Steely Geist is basically impossible to remove in Modern currently, and the fact that each swing also gains you 4 life, makes even the most bleak of game state seem suddenly winnable once you get this combination online.
After reading about the deck on Larry’s blog, and watching Caleb Durward pilot the list in some Channel Fireball videos recently, I knew that I had to have this on stream. Larry, being a great sport and great streamer in his own right, was more than happy to jump on and give us a walk-through for his format shaping monstrosity. Here is the list that we played.
Modern Zur: By Larry Swasey
This deck is a blast to play. We actually did very well against a lot of the field. Here are the games.
Sorry for the split stream this week, but it looks like Twitch just wanted it that way.
One of the issues I had with this deck initially was understanding the timing of when to remain defensive, and when to get aggressive with Creeping Tar Pit. Also, a little more card draw against the decks that we don’t want Spreading Seas for would be great. Larry suggested that we should cut one Mana Leak for a 3rd Remand, as there are a number of matches where the tempo gain is enough to put games away for us. Thassa I have found to be surprisingly good against a lot of the field, and I have achieved devotion for her on more occasions than I initially thought I would. Having her as a scry effect and a way to push Geist through unharmed is good enough, but getting her to attack is just gravy. I really like the fact that we have a bunch of game ending bullets available to us, and being able to tutor them up at will makes you feel unbeatable. Larry mentioned during the deck discussion that if you ever get to attack with Zur, you should just win the game. There are a lot of different decks out there right now, each with a specific set of weaknesses. Being flexible with versatile answers, and being able to play powerful and narrow bullets designed to prey upon these weaknesses make this a very good place to be right now in my opinion. I can tell you with all certainty that I will be on #TeamGeist this modern season. What cards I play to support him will undoubtedly change, but you can be assured that Zur is on my short list for decks to play at GP Boston.
I will be going to a PTQ for Standard on Saturday, and so this week will be a brief return to Standard while I grind some matches with my Spicy deck. Willy Edel shipped it over, so you can bet that we will be bashing down with some hasty dragons. Tune in 930PM EST www.twitch.tv/legitmtg. If you want to see some specific decks from the Modern format leading up to PT Born of the Gods, let me know below and I will make them a priority for the coming weeks. I know I will find experts on the archetypes and bring them here for your viewing pleasure!!
Thanks for your continued love and support.
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