Welcome to my first ever article and what I hope to become a weekly occurrence. The purpose of my articles will be to test new ideas and ‘brews’ in the modern format. Feel free to post ideas or decks in the comments below that you’d like to see written about.
Before I get into things, I’d like to talk a bit about myself. I started playing Magic in 94-95 with my first deck containing the Urza’s lands and Yotian Soldiers. From there I moved on to U/W control with Force of Will, Arcane Denial, and Helm of Obedience. It wasn’t until a friend of a friend came to town with his Standard Fires of Yavimaya deck that I learned about “good” decks. In my small town we all pretty much played powerless Vintage until the original Ravnica block, when Standard started to become popular. I was a big fan of the original type 1.x and type 1.5 formats and played Gavin Verhey’s Overextended before Modern existed. I play Standard occasionally, but my favorite formats are Modern and Legacy. Legacy is my preferred format, but card availability issues and card prices limit the number of local players so I’ve decided to focus the majority of my time on Modern.
This article will be about constructing a Modern gauntlet that I can use to test future deck’s viability. I’m going to try and keep the number of decks in the gauntlet to around six or seven so things don’t get out of hand and take forever to test. I’ll be including decks based on archetype and percent of the metagame. I’d like there to be a mix of aggro, control, and combo. While I’d like to include Splinter Twin, Scapeshift and UWR Control I’ll probably only be able to include one of the three. With the recent banning of Deathrite Shaman I’ve decided to remove Jund from the gauntlet until I see if it can evolve to be competitive. Due to the unbanning of Bitterblossom and Wild Nacatl I’ll be adding Faeries and Zoo even though they are untested in the new Modern metagame. Below I’ll go over the six decks I’ve decided to test against and why I chose each individual deck.
The first deck I chose for the gauntlet was GR Tron. GR Tron has the ability to play Karn on turn three and has the inevitability or recurring Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Somewhat weak to land disruption and artifact hate like Blood Moon, Stony Silence, and Molten Rain, GR Tron is strong enough to power through these sideboard cards. While having a bad combo matchup, GR Tron is good to great against small creatures and control. I believe GR Tron has the tools to beat Faeries with maindeck Pyroclasm, Oblivion Stone, and Wurmcoil engines. I can see it having trouble with fast Zoo due to their x/3s surviving Pyroclasm.
Other options: Mono U Tron, U/W Gifts Tron
Melira Pod is a Junk color deck based on the old Project X deck from Extended and updated with better creatures and combos. The deck has become much more resilient and powerful. The deck plans to win with it’s infinite combos, but has an excellent aggro plan B. The banning of Deathrite Shaman means that Noble Hierarch will have to do as a replacement. On the plus side, Persist creatures are a bit better off without the little druid running around.
— Note with Deathrite Shaman recently banned, we will need to wait to see what other card fits best in his place. —
Other options: Naya/Kiki Pod
This was the hardest choice on the list so I’ve decided to leave it up to you. I had chosen Splinter Twin because I think it’s the best of the three options and tends to be more popular online, but UWR Control is the more unique deck for a gauntlet. Please vote in the comments below for which deck you’d like to see added.
No longer the only ‘aggro’ deck of the format now that Wild Nacatl is unbanned. Affinity has consistently shown itself to be more resilient than people gave it credit for. While similar to Zoo in the sense of a turn four aggro deck, Affinity was different enough to be included in my list.
Other options: None
The new-old kids on the block. The above list was taking from a Modern Premier Event where osmanozhuney got 1st place. This list should tear up combo and control but will struggle against aggro, hence the 4 sideboard Deathmark.
Other options: Grixis Faeries
Another deck that is back because of the recent unbannings. I chose to go with a one drop heavy list because I think it is the best starting list. If this list becomes popular, I can see going with a Big Zoo list to win the mirror matches.
Other options: Big/Kibler Zoo, 5c Zoo, Counter-Cat
I could see adding a fast combo deck like Glass Cannon Griselbrand as the seventh deck to provide a better spread of archetypes. Some decks I had to exclude from the gauntlet for various reasons are Soul Sisters, Ad Nauseam, Merfolk, Burn, Reanimator and Living End. If you’d like to see a deck included other than the decks above, please let me know in the comments below. Next weeks article will feature a new deck versus the above gauntlet and pending resources might contain some MTGO videos. I’d love to hear people’s opinions in the comments below regarding my gauntlet choices or ideas for decks to test in the future. Until next week…