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The Next Plateau #3: Adding Modern to your Repertoire

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

Let’s say you’re a fairly competitive Standard player, but you’re looking for a new challenge. Perhaps a bunch of your friends play Modern on a specific night of the week, and since you’ve hesitated in trying that format, you haven’t been able to join them except as a railbird.

That’s where this article comes in. Here’s some good tips, tricks and reasons for jumping into Modern with both feet. Soon, you’ll expand your Magic skill beyond rotating formats into the realm of the eternal.

1. Modern is pricey, but not that much more than Standard right now

It costs a lot to get into the Modern format. Just over the past year, according to finance expert SaffronOlive, the average price of a Modern deck has jumped 20%. However, since Standard is also expensive at the moment, you ought to be used to the financial commitment by now. Most of the biggest expense comes in the manabase, especially the enemy fetchlands that haven’t been reprinted yet, and a few powerhouse staple creatures that command sky-high prices like Tarmogoyf and Vendilion Clique.

2. Some cards cross over, but most don’t

Since Modern has a much larger card pool to choose from, there are often better card choices for any given deck than what happens to be in Standard right now. That said, allied fetchlands are all over both Standard and Modern, as are cards like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Rending Volley, Roast, Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Kologhan’s Command, and even Pia and Kiran Nalaar.

3. A typical Modern match plays very differently than Standard

Modern is typically a much faster-paced format with a bigger emphasis on cheaper spells; cheaper, bigger creatures; universal counterspells, and a wicked infinite combo called Splinter Twin. It takes a lot of practice with good decks to hang with the best that Modern has to offer, so don’t expect to last long with a brew like you might in a typical Standard FNM. With the right draw, a deck like Summer Bloom can win on the second or third turn. Splinter Twin can win out of nowhere. And red burn decks are much deadlier than their Standard counterparts. That said, some matches can be as grindy as in Standard, especially if you’re playing the mirror match.

4. It’s fun not to have to rotate cards

Cards do get banned and unbanned on occasion in Modern, but it’s pretty unusual. Odds are, the deck you build will last you years, with only a few changes to adjust to the metagame and add in the odd new card. Still, the threat of the banhammer is always looming. It’s possible that the release of Oath of the Gatewatch will bring an end to certain degenerate strategies, but then again, Wizards might decide to leave things exactly as they are. Still, if you do decide to buy into a particularly cheesy strategy and it gets axed soon after, talk to the Birthing Pod players. They’re still drowning in their tears.

5. It’s easy to find a good deck that fits your style

Check out the Modern articles right here on LegitMTG for great examples of decks for any playstyle. Whether you’re into Zoo aggro decks, burn decks, creature-based midrange decks, combo control decks or huge ramp decks, you’ll find a Tier 1 deck that works for you. Though Standard still rules in popularity, you’ll likely find a Modern playgroup near you with a minimum of looking.

6. You’ll be able to play many more competitive events

After you’ve jumped into Modern and become skilled at your choice of deck, you’ll have access to many more preliminary Pro Tour qualifiers, Grand Prix, and SCG Opens and Regionals. Nothing hurts like having a free weekend, but the big event near you is the wrong format. Now you’re equipped for the two most popular formats in Magic. There’s even split-format events where you’ll need to bring both a Standard and a Modern deck … and now you can do just that.

7. Modern is where spikes thrive

A Spike is a competitive Magic player who believes winning is the most important thing. Modern is definitely the format for you. If you’re tired of showing up at FNM with your great deck, only to get little to no practical experience playing against all the newbs with their terrible homebrews, try Modern night instead. The players that show up for Modern take the game a little more seriously, because they’ve invested more into a deck they really care about. Not to say that Modern players are too cutthroat, it’s just that casual and Modern really don’t go together. Casual is when you get the bye round 1 and break out your Commander deck for 50 minutes.

8. Try this deck first

So what’s a good first modern deck? Zoo isn’t too expensive (other than the enemy fetches and Goblin Guides), it plays well against a variety of archetypes, and is an interesting variation on the typical burn deck. Anyone who plays Atarka Red, Landfall or Abzan Aggro in Standard will feel right at home with this one.

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