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The Ideal Modern deck

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

The Ideal Modern deck

Joshua Claytor

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

A few weeks ago I mentioned in an article a list of things that I wanted to play with in Modern. At the very top of that list was Enduring Ideal. I’ve enjoyed the thought of the epic sorcery since it first came out in Saviors of Kamigawa, and played with it in Standard, because doing dope things is a really great thing in Magic! Ideally, you survive long enough to cast the sorcery and let uncastable enchantments take over the game. But how would we survive to actually get Form of the Dragon into play, let alone win after we do?

Shayne Morris has the answer to that, and after a 6-1 finish in the swiss rounds, showed it off in his third place finish at the Modern Classic in Roanoke recently. Let’s take a look at the list and see how the Magic happens!

That is quite the decklist! Magic has changed a lot since Saviors of Kamigawa was Standard legal, and that for sure, is a good thing.

What we have here is a White Devotion deck. You get cheap enchantments into play, like Runed Halo or Ghostly Prison and these keep the aggressive decks in Modern from just running you over. What is Death’s Shadow going to do about a Runed Halo? How will Elves pay the Ghostly Prison tax and still beat you? How can Storm Grapeshot your face off with Leyline of Sanctity in play? It’s almost like a Hatebears deck, but without the bears! When your devotion is high enough, or when Lotus Blooms come out of suspend, you play Enduring Ideal for whatever you need. Form of the Dragon is typically the first one out. While it does lower your life total to 5, it keeps non fliers from attacking you, and really outside of stuff with like Restoration Angel in it or Faeries, you’re not really going to worry about flying creatures. The next one out is for sure a choice. If you are facing down a flying horde that didn’t kill you, Overwhelming Splendor is probably the most correct call, as that card takes away abilities, which means creatures lose flying, which means they can’t attack you! If you’re not, and need to protect Form of the Dragon, Dovescape is where you need to be. It may also be correct to just get another copy of Form of the Dragon, I mean, if you can just kill your opponent, you might as well do that right?

For a deck that is reliant on Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and to a lesser extent Mistveil Plains, I am surprised to see Blood Moon in the main. It is a unique way to help cast Form of the Dragon, but outside of that, I can’t really see the benefit here. Taking away the Devotion part of the deck to me does not make much sense, and while I do love dropping Moons on the decks of the format, it seems counterproductive to me to have it here. I kinda feel like those two slots could be metagame dependent, but it is also entirely possible that I am missing the real benefit to Blood Moon, especially when Rugged Prairie, Sacred Foundry and Temple of Triumph are all a part of the deck. Casting Form of the Dragon may be difficult but it shouldn’t be worth including Blood Moon to wreck your own mana with!

I do like the idea that those two cards may just be an ever changing part of the main deck, as the other fifty eight cards look great. What if you could just replace the Blood Moons with whatever enchantment based hate you expect out of the field? Say you expect a lot of Dredge, why not run Rest in Peace in those slots, which is also kinda good against Storm, because it makes their Past in Flames useless? Or if you expect a lot of Storm, why not use Rule of Law in those slots? Blood Moon is fairly weak against a deck with lot of red rituals and Manamorphose! Greater Auramancy keeps Cryptic Command from bouncing key enchantments or Qasali Pridemage from killing them.

The sideboard does address some of the most popular decks in the format and some of my concerns about Blood Moon.

Yes, I know it’s a great card, but it’s not as much of an auto win when it gets slammed in to play as other players make it out to be. I’ve been on the receiving end of so many losses after I cast Blood Moon.

Another thing that I love about this deck is the amount of control hate in the sideboard. Boseiju, Who Shelters All ensures that the initial Enduring Ideal won’t be countered, Defense Grid can help with that as well, but also control when you opponent can afford to cast their own hate spells. The three mana tax is a real thing, and if they are using their main phase to deal with your board they are not really adding any additional threats to it. Silence is another great anti control spell, but remember, it’s not a counter spell!

So the sideboard does a truly great job of shoring up any weaknesses that the field may present. Ensnaring Bridge is great against attackers, Stony Silence is great against Affinity, Story Circle is an underplayed, but powerful, flexible option in the format. At a glance, the deck feels really weak to stuff like Oblivion Stone, Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Suppression Field will help there, but only when Tron is not complete, so maybe Blood Moon makes a little more sense then I was willing to let on, as turning off Tron is huge! Though again, Overwhelming Splendor keeps activations from being used!

With this deck existing, I will soon be able to cross off the casting Enduring Ideal part of my Modern wish list, and I think that’s a super great thing! What do you think of the deck? Am I overthinking the inclusion of Blood Moon? Let me know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

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