Let’s Make Modern Great Again! (Bridge from Below was Banned.)

Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski

Introduction

Hi! According to the official announcement, we have some sweet changes in Modern!

Bridge from Below

《Bridge from Below》 was banned on 08/07/2019.

I know not everyone is happy about the recent change, but it is what it is, and we have to move forward. Today, I’ll try to figure out what that ban means for Modern, explain to you why I believe it’s good, and how it will affect Mythic Championship IV.

My Thoughts on Bans

I know majority of people hate bans, and I can understand why, but in wide formats like Modern, with so many sets an unbalanced cards we need a ban hammer to make a format healthy. Magic is different from most of the competition nowadays. Games online like Hearthstone or Gwent can just change the rule text on cards very easily, nerf them or buff, or whatever they want to balance cards more.

Magic is different, if you print something, it will stay in that form forever (in exception to some erratas, but they can’t make too many of them, as it would destroy the game. Can you imagine casting 《Lightning Bolt》 on your opponent’s printed 2/2 creature, and getting ‘oh sorry, you misplayed, it’s 4/4 now because of yesterday’s errata’?).

This time 《Bridge from Below》 got a hit from the hammer, basically to just nerf 《Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis》 deck. I wish they even went further and ban something from other ‘I get a turn one/two kill if I’m lucky’ deck, like 《Neoform》. Magic deserves more from the gameplay, than compering both players’ starting hands and choosing a winner.

Hogaak, Arisen NecropolisBridge from BelowAltar of Dementia
Allosaurus RiderNeoformGriselbrand

What Does It Mean for Modern?

Leyline of the VoidRavenous TrapRest in PeaceSurgical Extraction

There are some winners and losers obviously, but the biggest winner for me is Modern itself. Before bans we had to play insane number of graveyard hate cards. You couldn’t play competitive tournament without 4 《Leyline of the Void》/《Ravenous Trap》 or 4 《Rest in Peace》 in your sideboard. UW Control even played 2 《Surgical Extraction》 in the maindeck. Now, some decks that couldn’t fight Hogaak in the direct match up can show up again. Metagame will be more diverse, so we can have give up on some graveyard hates and make sideaboards more versatile.

The Winners

Dredge

The first deck that comes into mind after Bridge ban is Dredge. Every Dredge player just switched into Hogaak for a month. Bridge ban doesn’t affect 《Prized Amalgam》 fans at all, and since we can expect people to decrease number of 《Rest in Peace》 in a short future, I think Dredge might be the biggest beneficiary of the announcement.

Prized AmalgamFaithless LootingCreeping Chill

Grixis Urza

Decks like Humans or Grixis Urza can now see more play. They were out of the meta, because of lack of interaction against quick Hogaak kills, and too slow clock to fight them. Now, when the most oppressive deck is gone, they can shine again. Urza deck is still unexplored, so there might be even more busted version of it. People just didn’t have a reason to work on him, as it was better to pick Hogaak instead. This might be even a next 《Krark-Clan Ironworks》 (KCI) at some point if people figure out better lists.

Urza, Lord High ArtificerThopter FoundrySword of the Meek

The Losers

The biggest loser of bans for me is Jund. Midrange decks tend to be great in fighting well known metagame, as you can usually tune them to beat whatever you want, you just can’t beat everything at the same time. With Hogaak being a big share of the meta, we could see 《Leyline of the Void》, 《Ashiok, Dream Render》, and 《Surgical Extraction》 in the sideboard as addition to maindeck 《Nihil Spellbomb》. Jund unlike UW Control has a lot of good creatures, so Hogaak’s plans B and C (which means smashing with small creatures) just don’t work, and without graveyard synergy, deck wasn’t able to beat Jund postboard.

Now, when metagame shifts again, and Modern will probably end up being more diverse it’s not gonna be easy for Jund to adapt quickly.

TarmogoyfWrenn and SixLiliana of the Veil

What Happens Next? Mythic Championship IV

Last but not least, ban gives Mythic Championship competitors a nice space to brew. Modern has changed, there is not something like a clear metagame right now, and everyone is trying to figure out how to adapt. For an average viewer it all means a great event! No more boring Hogaak mirrors, no more 30% of the event occupied by one deck. We can have an exciting show in a kinda fresh format. Be sure to tune in the coverage and root for your favorite players!

Until next time,

Greg! (Twitter / Twitch)

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Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski He made top 8 in GP Lille 2012 and GP Brussels 2015, and GP Santiago 2017 has achieved second place. His extraordinary skill is also demonstrated on Pro Tour, experiencing countless top prize and money finish. He is one of the top players who travels the world and continues to fight. Read more articles by Grzegorz Kowalski