Hey everybody! Today’s article is about the Modern format. Personally, I love Modern. I think it is a fantastic format. For those who do not know, Modern is all sets from 8th Edition and on. I have been playing since the original Ravinca was the current set, which means this is all of sets legal in my Magic playing lifetime. It is very nostalgic for many like myself. However it is also a ton of fun to play in. The amount of brewing that is possible is enormous. At a competitive level, the amount of decks that are able to perform well in a tournament is quite astounding. Just a quick list of decks to get a feel for the format
• Jund w/ or w/o White
• RG Tron
• UWR Control/Midrange
• Martyr Proc
• Melira Pod
• BW Tokens
• Mono Red
• Boggled Enchantments
That is just decks that have done well recently. At the most recent Grand Prix in San Diego, an Eggs deck won the tournament and UWR Control took 2nd. A short primer on Eggs: the deck abuses 1-2 mana cost artifacts that cycle and draw you a card, Lotus Bloom for continuous mana, and Second Sunrise or Faith’s Reward to bring back your permanents that went to the graveyard this turn. It wins usually through Pyrite Spellbomb and continuous cycles of the combo. Some people are clamoring for something to be done to Eggs; something should be banned. I however think that is unnecessary. The deck is capable of winning on turn 3 but it is not unbeatable. The deck is shutdown by many easily accessible cards, like Stony Silence, Relic of Progenitus, or Rest In Peace. This is similar to other combo decks: if people are prepared for the deck, the deck should not be able to win tournaments consistently. The deck is not unbeatable by any means.
Another quite formidable archetype is Jund. Jund is the RBG shard from Alara, where the deck’s origins are. It looks to play the most efficient and powerful spells. It plays powerhouse staples across multiple formats, like Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, Liliana of the Veil, Thoughtseize, and Lightning Bolt. Newer versions of the deck now include white to play Lingering Souls or Ajani Vengeant.
I could go on to describe the main decks, but I think this mini primer would be sufficient for those interested in learning about the format. The other reason behind this article was to introduce a homebrew deck that a good friend and I came up with as we prepare for Grand Prix Portland. He loves playing Grixis colors, or UBR. He sent me a preliminary list but also wanted my help with an idea. So I tried to come up with a Grixis deck. Then something popped up in my head: The Rack. This card is a personal favorite of mine from back when Time Spiral was the current set. I played a Mono Black discard deck that usually won through The Rack. I knew with the cards in Modern, that I could brew up a deck that he would like. This is that list.
Keep in mind, this is a slightly budget build. Some stuff he was actually borrowing from me. The deck worked ok. It was not great and needed some work. In testing, we figured out, which we did not catch at first, the deck was weak to massive amounts of creatures, specifically Lingering Souls. I shot the idea of playing white instead of red at him, and he really liked it. The synergy between discarding a Lingering Souls and being able to flashback is awesome. You are not even really losing a card while your opponent is. Smallpox is a great card that whittles down an aggressive deck quickly, making them lose their steam. Liliana is also good at this. If you flashback Lingering Souls off of these mutual discards, you are gaining advantage and tempo. It is very nifty and makes you feel powerful. Couple these things with blue and white control elements allows The Rack to be a perfect fit for the deck. Dropping The Rack on an aggro opponent can be devastating to both their game state and their morale. It can often tilt your opponent to make bad decisions in order to counter The Rack’s effectiveness. Here is the current version of the build.
The Spanish Inquisition
This certainly is not the final version but we are closing in on what we want the build to be. The mana base needs some work to tune it up. I would like to put in a Isolated Chapel in and possibly a third Tectonic Edge. He also wanted to rely more on planeswalkers rather than creatures, so it became more like a Superfriends deck. We want to test more, but through initial testing, the deck had a very good matchup against Jund style decks. Also pre-sideboard it had a winnable matchup against Eggs, except for when Eggs had a perfect hand. However it did not do very well against my UWR Geist Control deck. I also have Cryptic Command and Electrolyze in my deck, which make a huge difference. I think this deck has potential, but it still needs some work. It can do some very degenerate things but also has some hiccups. If you like this deck, go ahead and try it out. If you like control, you will probably love this deck. It is all about controlling the game state. Find anything you would tweak or have tweaked, let me know. I’d love to share it and give credit for it.
On a side financial note: Pick up Lingering Souls while you can cheaply. It is currently sitting around a $2 midrange price. You can often get these as throw ins in your trades. This card is absolutely brutal and I fully expect it to be a highly sought after, and valuable, uncommon in the near future. My thoughts immediately go to Kitchen Finks and Spell Snare which are around $11 and $9 respectively. These were much cheaper while they were in standard, and now they are hot staples that are difficult to find. I am picking up as many of these as I can. Also Jace, AoT is way too low for as amazing as a card he is. He is currently sitting at around $11 and this is quite abnormal for a planeswalker that can do so much. He does not have a deck in Modern yet, but only time will tell. The aggressiveness in Standard has done a large portion of the drop on his value. When RTR was released, he was a $40 card and then hit $50. I personally played him to many victories at States. People do not give him love that he deserves. Another pick is Abrupt Decay. This card is phenomenal. It is wrecking face in multiple formats. It started as a $20 card but quickly dropped. Now it is on the rise again after reaching it’s low of around $5. It is currently about $8 and I bet that you can pick them up from people for $6-7 still.
One moreeeee thing! Currently, WOTC is doing another “You Make the Card.” Basically it is just weekly polls and the community votes on making a card. Currently the card is an enchantment. The next vote is on the color of the card. You all should go vote if you haven’t already. One successful community created card is Crucible of Worlds. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/240
Hopefully this was an insightful and enjoyable read. Also, hopefully at least some of you get the reference of the article and deck name. If not, use your preferred search engine to look it up. As always, comments are appreciated and I would love feedback on my article as well as for requests of future articles. You can always contact me through comments, email, or you can tweet me. Farewell, I’m blasting off againnnnn.
on twitter @keithcodyj