This weekend marks the Modern RPTQ and I couldn’t be more uncomfortable. A format that has been historically quite good to me is making me quite nervous. I feel although I’m most likely not the only person feeling this predicament of playing a format that hasn’t been relevant in months. It just feels weird to be playing for a shot on the Pro Tour with a format not many people have played in months. I have a daunting decision to make in what the heck I’m going to play this weekend. My goal is to be Mr. Rogers and be the last man standing; without the sacrificial suicide at the end of course.
Last time I wrote about Modern I had high hopes for Grishoalbrand. After playing the deck in numerous medium sized tournaments I recognize the deck is truly broken. There’s only one deck that actually has a good matchup against it. That deck is itself. When you have it you do not lose; Period. When you don’t have it you rarely if ever win. You keep a lot of hands that has half of the combo and some card draw. But without any interactive spells, not finding the other half means bad times for you. A fun little game to play when you’re playing a small casual tournament, but not something I want to use to determine my future on the Pro Tour.
The last Modern PPTQ I won I was playing Collected Company combo (CoCo). A couple of my friends also qualified for the RPTQ playing the same deck. Even Logan Mize has had a pretty good run with the deck on the SCG circuit when he attends such events. My biggest gripe with the deck is the combo is slow and when you don’t draw the combo the deck is really bad at stopping your opponent from doing literally anything. It can certainly out attrition a grindy deck like Jund, but it has trouble stopping a deck like Twin from just running over it with their combo. It also feels really bad to cast Collected Company and hit nothing. It’s not very likely, but it has happened enough to me to make me think twice about casting the card.
Another deck that has been heavily suggested to play is Amulet Bloom. There are a few things that scare me away from wanting to play this deck. The first thing is that I lack experience with the deck. This might sound trivial but I don’t really want to risk my chance at the PT on a complicated deck I’ve never played before. Missing a kill can be the difference between a win and a loss that I can’t afford. Another reason is like Affinity this is easy to hate out. Every deck that has Blood Moon can easily beat this deck. Yes you can combo off before Blood Moon sticks, but it’s the Stony Silence of Amulet Bloom. And speaking of Affinity….
Affinity is a deck we all know by now is my go to deck in the format. I’ve had my most success with the deck on the PT and GP levels. I was pretty positive that was what I was going to play at the RPTQ. That is, until the last Modern GP happened and Lantern Control won the entire thing. That really puts a target on the back of any deck packing Artifacts as its core strategy. It makes me really nervous to pull the trigger on a deck that I know can be easily hated out if the opponent is willing to devote the cards. Not to mention Twin also got second place in that tournament and with the lack of interactive spells in Affinity, I would be scared that they would just have it and get an easy win. I’m not saying I’m for sure off of it, but rather it’s my fallback deck if I don’t find anything else acceptable.
With all that being said, what the heck am I going to play? Even as I write this article I honestly don’t know. Well it’s certainly possible I will end up playing any of the decks listed above. There’s still time to put in work online and figure out the in’s and out’s for the most part of any deck. One of my front-runners is actually the traditional UR Splinter Twin. Nothing fancy here, just a basic copy and paste of the second place list from the last GP. Twin has a lot of very good matchups, along with just one fairly bad matchup in Jund. At the RPTQ I can really only think of one person I can expect to see playing Jund. Also I have a reasonable amount of experience with the deck when it was in Standard. I know the two lists are fairly different, but the concept is much of the same. I’ve been playing the deck online in Modern Leagues and have a consistent 4-1 record in each event.
Another possibility is that I could just play Jund. Gerry Thompson has been on the deck for quite a while now and has performed very well at the majority of recent Modern GP’s he has attended. He even managed to get Brad Nelson on board the Jund train. That is really saying something about the power of the deck. There aren’t a lot of complicated lines for the deck and there aren’t many bad matchups for the deck. Of course because it’s Jund there aren’t a lot of good matchups for the deck either. It’s very close to 55-45 against everything and the deck has a lot of play to it. It’s also appealing to me because I have a lot of experience with this type of deck in the past. I’ll probably end up testing this deck online tonight and see how I’m feeling about it.
The final deck I am considering is Infect. Tom Ross would be proud. I know a few articles back I had said I didn’t really want to be playing the deck in Modern. Looking back on that however the deck played very well. The only deck I lost to was Abzan and realistically it’s just Lingering Souls that actually beat me. This deck is very powerful and can win quickly. It’s also relatively hard to hate out. Spellskite and Melira are the two ways to really hate out an Infect deck. Of those, Spellskite is expected and has many ways to be dealt with. Melira is the only true problem and of which only one deck in the format plays anyways.
I’m very excited if nothing else to see all my friends who’ve qualified for the RPTQ and see hopefully some of them and myself make it out of top 4 alive. After thinking it over I know Grishoalbrand, Amulet Bloom and CoCo are out of the running. That leaves Affinity, Twin, Jund and Infect as my lead choices for what to play Saturday. I am admittedly running out of time to decide and hopefully my indecisiveness doesn’t bite me in the ass. Either way I’ll let you know next week how it goes. Hopefully it will be as glorious as the Ultimate Showdown.
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