Real Cool Decks: Modern after the Bannings!

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Real Cool Decks: Modern after the Bannings!

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

There were two Modern Grand Prix this weekend. The story out of Brisbane may have been the reemergence of Dredge after the Golgari Grave-Troll ban. Two Dredge decks (by MTG Mint Card) made the top eight, and another graveyard based deck (Living End) did as well. It appears that the death of Dredge was reported a bit to early, and it turned out to be fake news. Brisbane also saw Lantern Control win the whole thing and Affinity also play in the top eight.

The lesson may be that it is time to update some sideboards!

In Vancouver, there was another deck impacted by the bannings, this time by Gitaxian Probe, that ran roughshod all over the event. Three incredibly talented Magic players, Sam Black, Gerry Thompson, and Josh Utter-Leyton played Death’s Shadow Aggro to a top 4 finish. Josh won the event, and Gerry and Sam were knocked out in the semis. The bans, I feel did what they were intended to do, in terms of pushing the power level back of some of the decks featuring them, but players were just woefully unprepared for them.

Of course the other big Modern event, the Starcity Classic, was won by Jeskai Control.

Modern is a great format!

I love the format, and while I am still building paper decks for it in hopes that my body will stop rejecting my attempts to be normal again, I am always excited to see what happens in the format. We can’t just look at top eight results though, we do need to dig deeper into the published lists to see more of the picture of the format. So let’s look at some lists shall we!

Starting off we’ll look at the Grand Prix Trial winnings list from the Grand Prix. These on-site events offer a last chance for players to get byes, and can sometimes show off some overlooked tech. Here are the lists from Brisbane and Vancouver.

Our first list is a sweet Expertise deck that uses Kari Zev’s Expertise, Sram’s Expertise and Brain in a Jar to power out some of the split cards with Fuse. This deck does not play fair Magic at all, as either of the previous spells allow you to cast Beck // Call or Breaking // Entering for cheap. While the Beck side of combo is kind of fair, getting four creatures and four fresh cards, the Breaking side of it is potentially game breaking, and can functionally end the game quickly! Break yourself and stock your yard while you get an Emrakul or Griselbrand and enter it into play. Let’s take a look at Bryton Kaufman’s list.

This list does not have the backup plan of Through the Breach in the main, but does take care of that out of the board. This has been one of the most exciting decks to see develop, and tcgplayer featured two articles about it recently. You can watch Corbin Hosler play his version here, and Seth Manfield has a look at his build here. I prefer the tcgplayer lists a little bit more because I like having backup plans in my combo decks, but this did serve Bryton well!

Scrolling down the Vancouver GPT lists I was struck by a deck that was to be a huge beneficiary from some unbanned cards, but so far it hasn’t ruined Modern forever. Ancestral Vision was a card that I was personally worried about in the format, but it’s done a whole lot of nothing so far in its return to the scene. Heck it’s not even a full four of in Kevin Kwong’s UB Faeries list. I am not sure if that is the correct number, it seems like an automatic four of to me, but it’s also an incredibly bad topdeck! Bitterblossom was a card that struck me as being banned for no good reason. Faeries plays a fair match, with cheap flying creatures backed up by countermagic. Here is the list.

Other interesting decks from the Vancouver GP Trials include a Mono Green Devotion list that powers out quick Primeval Titans through Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and then casts huge Genesis Waves to close out the game. There was a Blue Moon list that took advantage of the Madcap Experiment and Platinum Emperion package. Finally of note, there was an Esper Control list that looked to rebound some great spells with Narset Transcendent.

Brisbane’s Grand Prix Trials were a little less interesting, there were more stock or known decks in Australia during the Trials. However, as a lover of Turns, I would be kicking myself if I did not share Clint Hanna’s Mono Blue Turns deck. I’ve played it on the site before, and the game plan is still the same, draw a lot of cards, chain a lot of turns together and win, but that has usually been done by awakened Part the Waterveils. This time it appears that Inkmoth Nexus is an additional kill, as it is significantly easier and quicker to deal ten damage instead of twenty.

I highlighted the top 8 lists from each Grand Prix event, and the winner of the SCG, so for a minute let’s slide right into the SCG results page.

Jeskai Control won as I noted, but scrolling down we see some Eldrazi decks, some Chord of Calling decks and some Titan decks.  Bant Spirits really jumps out at me, and Joseph Horton Sr took the deck to a top eight finish.  True, it’s a Collected Company deck, but it is a company deck that really plays into the synergies of the Spirit tribe. Drogskol Captain is not a joke, and a really good lord that gives Hexproof.  Selfless Spirit jumping into play to save the rest of the team from mass removal is a super nice thing and there is some nice tech in the main deck Anafenza, the Foremost.  She grows the air force of the deck just fine, and being able to hose Dredge and Living End decks is a huge bonus!

The rest of the Starcity event looked relatively normal. There was nothing truly off the wall there, Amulet Titan seeing some play again makes me really happy, for unknown reasons. Storm has gotten new life thanks to Baral, Chief of Compliance, and Fatal Push is killing things all over the format. It looks healthy, the bans looked to have helped things, though some sideboarding will have to happen to keep those in check, and lots of different decks are being played in the format.

Modern is great! No matter what you want to do with the format, you can almost do it, unless that thing is cast Bloodbraid Elf, if so, I’m sorry.

Thanks for stopping by!

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