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Modern Mastery: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

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

Last week we discovered the power of two very distinct strategies: Splinter Twin and Blood Moon. Having never really had any experience with these two strategies, outside of the trouncing we received last week, I decided it was time to be on the right side of the moon. I began to look for the best deck I could find to do two things: Play Blood Moon and beat face. For those of you that follow MTGO results closely, it should come as no surprise that I came across the list wielded to good success by none other than @xMiMx.

It seemed like it was going to be a straightforward list that was going to do both things I set out to do. The list had huge dudes that came down quickly, with a Blood Moon plan baked in to shut out interaction from the opponent. It also had a few cards I have been anxious to play with: Burning-Tree Emissary, Vengevine, and Domri Rade. Knight of the Reliquary is a huge beater that often gets overlooked in Modern right now, but with fetchlands being so ubiquitously played and Jund on the decline (less Deathrite Shaman), it seemed like it was time to rock the staple of Standard days gone by.


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This deck is not remotely ready to play. Or at least, not as easy as I thought it would be. The deck was being dragged into a bunch of different directions, none of which could I put together in much semblance of order. This feeling was clearly made stronger by the matchups we faced. When facing down a midrange creature matchup, I felt very well-positioned. Most of the Game 1s against combo decks, however, were 30 percent in our favor at best. This might get a little better if we land an explosive Turn 2 of Burning-Tree Emissary into Tarmogoyf followed by a big Knight on Turn 3.

But the major issue we have with is very simple. Splinter Twin is everywhere online right now. It smoked us last week, and it was brutal this week. Thankfully I’m not alone in my evaluation, and even xMiMx himself made some changes that are quite good:

This plays out much more to my liking. The Thundermaw Hellkites have been amazing, and even the Zealous Conscripts have been good. There is more than enough lifegain to offset the fetches, and in general, the list feels like it goes bigger than the other midrange/aggro strategies. The sideboard feels well positioned, with the only exception perhaps being the Leylines, but we might just tinker there before the next stream.

There were some interesting lists spoiled this week that caught my attention and merit mentioning. First is the “White Jund” list that was brought to us by Carrie Oliver (@onionpixie) on Channel Fireball:

This is really the best possible way to take the Jund archetype since the Bloodbraid Elf banning. The numbers are almost the same, but you get to play Gavony Township to help push through the late game, and you are running creatures that cannot be countered like Loxodon Smiter and Thrun, The Last Troll. These creatures are alongside the regular Jund offenders, but the fact they do so well against both UW decks and Lightning Bolt cannot be overstated. It has a very well-rounded set of tools that basically gives them one really bad matchup: Tron. If I was playing in a PTQ this week, this would be on my short list of decks.

I have long been a hater of the Martyr of Sands/Soul Sisters deck, but this list makes me think it might be interesting to run:

This deck gains lots from the recent addition of Gatecrash in the form of Orzhov Charm and Vizkopa Guildmage. Orzhov Charm is valuable removal that has basically no downside in this deck because you can return a one-drop to great effect, specifically Martyr of Sands. Vizkopa Guildmage has the unique ability to turn your passive lifegain into a devastating tool for destruction.

Huge thanks to everyone that turned out this week. Please make sure that you add a comment below or you won’t be eligible for the weekly store credit! Matthew Blades is this week’s winner, so make sure you get in touch with us to collect!

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