WIZARDS CLEARLY HATES MAGIC
Well, hah, not really, but that seems to be the reaction that we see all over the internet the past few days since the banning of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom have come out. The banning of Summer Bloom, to most of the Modern community made sense. After all, it isn’t exactly “fun” to die on turn two fairly consistently. The Splinter Twin banning, however, makes much less sense to the masses. Personally, as a big Karn Liberated and RG Tron fan, I’m in love with the idea of my worst matchup getting the axe, but I think it’s safe for myself, and everyone else, to understand that our feelings towards the issue don’t really matter. What matters is how we’ll respond and what the most popular constructed format will look like in the future.
What does Modern look like?
A thing that is important to remember about this format is that bad brews are still bad brews. Yes, your deck had to pass the “Twin test” which was a simple test of “if I don’t tap out on turn 3, can my deck still be a Splinter Twin kill?” This was the test before the banning of Splinter Twin, but afterwards, a format inducing test will still be very present. Can your deck beat an Affinity deck that drops its hand on turn 1 and equips a Cranial Plating on turn 2? Can your deck beat burn? What about a turn 3 Karn, turn 4 Ulamog, and turn 5 Kozilek, the Great Distortion?
Since we’re talking about discovering the new test of the Modern format, it would be helpful to look at the different levels of decks that we’ll see coming here in the next few weeks
Level 0: Affinity and RG Tron
Affinity – Andrew Hanks
RG Tron – Ali Antrazi
These two decks lose nothing, and RG Tron gains some pretty new pieces in the form of Kozilek’s Return and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Affinity has always been a great, but fair, deck in this format. It can kill you explosively, but it can also just grind you out over a long game with value thanks to its strong creaturelands. Both of these decks had awful matchups against Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom decks, and because of this, they are the clear front-runners coming out of the banning period.
The only downside to playing Tron is that there will be less Jund in the format because Jund had a great matchup against Splinter Twin. Jund is a lot like the Collected Company decks, when Tron plays against it, it is basically a bye.
Level 1 – Burn, Infect, and GrisShoalBrand
Infect – Matt Rasmussen
So what do you play when you think the best decks right out of the gate will be Affinity and Tron, two decks that have consistently been poor against fast aggro decks or aggressive combo decks? You play fast aggro decks or aggressive combo decks, of course!
Now it is true that RG Tron’s matchup improves considerably against decks like infect because of cards like Kozilek’s Return which allows the deck to operate on its opponent’s turn, something that has been greatly lacking in the deck’s arsenal, but without having a reliable blocker until turn 3, and not having a way to take over the game until turn 4, Tron will still have a difficult time interacting with a deck that can have you dead before you ever take your third turn.
Grishoalbrand – KOGAMO
Grishoalbrand is still disgusting for everyone. Turn 2 decks aren’t what Modern is about, but it’s important that we understand our weaknesses and develop plans to defeat them. Decks like Tron and Affinity have an impossible time dealing with this deck, so if you’re looking for a deck to play that is really good against the level 0 decks week one, this is the deck to go with.
Burn – Arya Roohi
Burn is still burn. It has a great matchup against Tron and a good one against Affinity. Burn loses to itself too much for me to be comfortable with it, but at the same time, it is a fair deck to look at week one.
Level 2 – Soul Sisters, Podless Pod (GW Collected Company)
This is pretty funny. I’m writing this article in the middle of my Contract law class, and I was trying to brainstorm some decks other than Collected Company decks with mono Kitchen Finks that beat burn, and my classmate happened to message me on Facebook asking me if I thought Soul Sisters was going to be a good deck going forward. Uh, yes, yes I do. I think that this deck will be amazing given that Burn will probably a known entity in the format. The best part about playing Soul Sisters is that Burn players have to point all of their burn spells at the Sisters creatures, or they’ll gain infinite life, and the burn players can’t very well kill their opponent if they aren’t burning their opponent’s face, can they?
Soul Sisters – Tom Ross
The biggest problem with Collected Company decks is that they’re awful against Tron, and if you’re going to play in a big tournament over the weekend, you’ll undoubtedly play Tron once or twice. It may be a good call if you can manage to dodge Tron all weekend, but it may be a loser if you don’t do that.
Collected Company – MTGGoldfish Sample Deck
So what’s the answer?
What’s the best deck to play this weekend in brand new Modern? Your guess is as good as mine. Honestly, I’ll be sleeving up RG Tron as always, and jamming my head against all the decks that came prepared against me. If you’re doing the same, make sure you play around Crumble to Dust and get ready to Ghost Quarter yourself against your red playing opponents.
If you’re more combative in your deck selection, a list from the Level 1 category of decks wouldn’t be a bad idea, and if you’re deranged and feel like playing loose, sleeve up the Level 2 deck Soul Sisters. If you do, please let me know how that goes. Seriously.
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