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Modern Mastery: Tightening the Screws

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

Last week we bashed incessantly against the U/G Infect monster. But with only a month to go until the Grand Prix, I had to start using our time together to tighten down my list for the upcoming Grand Prix Trials that are available to me in the coming month. There are four I plan to attend until I am able to secure my byes.

Hopefully, this experience will end up being worthwhile practice. I will be playing a lot more this month and will likely be running a bunch of streams intermittently. Please feel free to tune in and watch. I’m also down for random challenges this month so hit me on MODO at LegitMTG_Scotty. Anyhow, here is what we settled into after some discussion on stream:

Tech time

You should notice the maindeck numbers are quite tight. I’m narrowing in on one of the most powerful and consistent builds I have been running Some of the spice comes in the sideboard, where we are trying three new cards this week: Grave Pact, Golgari Charm and Fulminator Mage.

For those of you whom watched the GP Lyon coverage, some of these cards should be of no surprise. Maksym Gryn, a well known and equally reputed Canadian Pro player is responsible for the Grave Pact tech that showed up as an effective way to battle against the Jund mirror. Now that the lists are mainly favoring Abrupt Decay over Maelstrom Pulse, Jund basically has no way to remove a Grave Pact once it sticks, essentially providing even more value to the owner of this devious enchantment.

Golgari Charm is present for a few different reasons I wanted an instant speed sweeper for rush decks like infect and robots. The versatility of being able to remove Blood Moon in the robots match if necessary, as well as the potential for creature regeneration against other creatures or UW sweepers seemed relevant. Fulminator Mage should need no introduction nor explanation to anyone who has watched more than three games of Modern. Nearly all of the manabases in the format are comprised of nonbasic lands and are similarly greedy in nature. A well timed land-destruction effect can be devastating against most decks, and will often result in free wins. For those of you that attended last week’s thrashing, you will notice the happy effectiveness Fulminator Mages have against Inkmoth Nexus.

We had to build our own daily event again this week, but that was fine by me! Here you go!

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Build Your Own Daily

Round 1

I couldn’t have been happier than to sit down against an Eggs player. I had been searching for someone to test this with me on MODO after the Pro Tour, but nobody was willing to volunteer for the pain that is playing this deck online. Thankfully, I was not to go without!

Game 1 was a good game, with me beating the opponent down to lethal on board next turn, until they went off on the turn before dying. The beautiful part about playing against this deck on MTGO is that the timer plays a relevant role. I knew that I was bringing in Leyline of the Void for this matchup, and I also expected that the opponent would assume differently. I knew that there would be three games, so I made the opponent proceed through the act of actually killing me. This ran the opponent’s clock down to about 15 minutes left after Game 1, with ours still well over 23 minutes remaining. Game 2 was amazing. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. We didn’t even get a turn. We pulled out Game 3 with the help of Liliana demolishing the opponent’s hand before they could build a critical mass of cyclers, resulting in a win!

Round 2

I was pleased we got a chance to play against KikiPod as well, because I feel slightly disadvantaged in Game 1 because of the number of large toughness blockers that the deck contains. Game 1 went very long, and just when I thought we were going to win, I blew the game with the kill on the stack. I attacked as a hail mary in the face of a lethal Restoration Angel from my opponent on the following turn. I had an active Deathrite Shaman and a Lightning Bolt in hand, and I allowed my opponent’s Kitchen Finks to persist back before pulling the trigger. Punted. On to Game 2. This one ended up very close as well, with me losing to the combo while my opponent was at 1 life. The old saying is that if you lose with the opponent at 1, you probably made a mistake is likely very true here. About partway through the match it dawned on me that Grave Pact would be amazing in this matchup, and I should have certainly brought them in over Liliana as a way to get through the large blockers.

Round 3

This was the match we were begging to find all night: the Jund mirror. In true anticlimactic fashion, a first-turn discard spell revealed a rough keep by our opponent — six lands and a Deathrite Shaman. A few turns of smashing face later, and we were on to Game 2. This one showed us the power of Fulminator Mage, as blowing up the opposing Overgrown Tomb was just what we needed to cut off the stream of threats from that side of the table. Not only did it stick the opponent on three lands, but it cut access to green mana out entirely. Running Bloodbraid Elf didn’t hurt too much either.

We took some time to really analyze the list as it stood at this point, and made some quick changes. I found some more Fulminator Mages and then made the following changes: -1 Geralf’s Messenger. +1 Fulminator Mage and -1 Raging Ravine, +1 Graven Cairns. The sideboard got a big overhaul too.

2 Abrupt Decay
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Golgari Charm
2 Grave Pact
3 Fulminator Mage
4 Leyline of the Void

Round 4

With our equipment restocked and reloaded, we ventured into the fray against the dreaded Merfolk deck. This match seems absolutely terrible for us on paper because they have a consistent string of threats that all pump each other, and all which eventually become unblockable. Aether Vial gives the deck an unfair mana advantage, and most of the removal is cheap and effective (Path to Exile and Dismember). To cap it all off, the most obnoxious thing is that once you get hit with a Spreading Seas, the deck completely ignores you during combat and just attacks you directly with all the islandwalkers. Maelstrom Pulse did some heavy work for us in Game 1, and Fulminator Mage helped us punish a light land draw.

Success stories

Ultimately, we went 3-1 tonight, and if we had not made the errors vs. KikiPod in Round 2, we may have even went 4-0. I had a couple of amazing takeaways from this experience, specifically learning to appreciate the value of some Fulminator Mages and Deathrite Shaman. Both of these cards won games for me throughout the night and impressed me with their usefulness. I will be definitely looking for more ways to abuse these all-stars in the coming weeks.

I have some great guests lined up for the next couple weeks and GP Chicago is this weekend. The format may shift slightly after the event, so I will be paying close attention to those results. Tune in at 9 p.m. tonight! Hopefully we can get in a real daily!

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