Modern Innovation is Coming!

Petr Sochurek

Petr Sochurek

Hello everyone! It’s Petr again and today we’re going to look into Modern.

Modern is currently in the spotlight – not just because of the Pro Tour; there are many other Modern events running around and if you are trying to succeed in competetive Magic you should definitely get familiar with the format. Given the fact that Modern is currently extensively played by infinite players we see a lot of innovation – players are trying new decks and ideas to attack the metagame from many different angles.

Now most of those ideas usually end up being bad or not good enough. It’s hard to create a deck that have no chance of being at least a contender – the diversity of the format is so huge, that any archetype can have a good tournament if it’s built/played properly and you get lucky in draws/pairings. Your deck doesn’t have to be spectacular if you play turn 2 《Stony Silence》 on the play against Affinity and you can say similar things about many decks.

That being said there exists Tier1 (Tier 1.5) decks and it’s not so easy to find something new that is capable to compete with these in the longrun. I am not necessarily talking about a scenario when you actually face these decks, it’s more about how you fare against the entire field and it’s very difficult to have something enough powerful/consistent that you can do well.

These are what I currently consider to be the Tier 1 decks:

Tier 1 Decks

Titanshift, Green(B/G) Tron, Lantern control, Grixis Death’s Shadow – I think that the 5c version is better but Grixis is more popular.

Primeval TitanKarn LiberatedLantern of InsightDeath's Shadow

Tier 1.5 Decks

Affinity, Jeskai Tempo, U/W control, BGx, Abzan Counters.

Steel OverseerSpell QuellerSupreme VerdictLiliana of the VeilDevoted Druid

There are couple of things I want to say about these decks, first of all – it’s very likely that I forgot something and I apologise if I did, secondly; this is not Standard – you can’t just look at these decks and go: “ah all of these decks are bad against x, let’s play that card maindeck.” Even the most popular deck is propably going to be around 10% of the field! Maybe not even that – that means that you are going to face it once in ten matches! – once you realize this, it becomes clear that you can’t just simply do well in Modern by playing hate cards or archetypes that aren’t really strong shelles in “vacuum”, but have strong matchups against some of the more popular decks. I am aware that even if the deck is only 10% you might face it more often that, because it’s more likely to do well in the tournament and there will be higher density of those at the higher tables, but the point remains.

All of the above decks (at least most of them) have 1 thing in common – they are inherently powerful and usually have a potential to nut draw their opponent, while being consistent enough to still win if they don’t. Having a potential to nut draw your opponent is incredibly important in Modern – it means that you can’t really have any truly horrible matchups, because there is always a chance that you draw the 4 cards you need and you just simply destroy them.

What I want to do in today’s article is to look at some of the new decks that impressed me and might have enough to become part of the above decks – these decks are fresh and people haven’t had enough time to find out what the best version is, but there is certainly potential for the future and I would like to bring these decks to awareness of people who maybe don’t play as much Magic Online as I do and might have missed these.

Mono-Blue Living End

As ForetoldLiving EndAncestral VisionStriped Riverwinder

I would like to make clear that I realize that this deck currently isn’t good enough, but I think that it’s interesting enough to put it on my list. The goal is simple – there are very few turns when you don’t have counterspell up, so you can just counter whatever is relevant and eventually assemble the 《As Foretold》+《Living End》 and win.

This deck also has a real nut draw and I think that there might be a very good version of this somewhere out there. There are obviously many problems to be overcomed here – you are forced to play many of the cards in the list and you have real problems with some decks and especially cards like 《Rest in Peace》. I guess we will just have to wait for someone to breake it.

Mardu Pyromancer

Next up is Mardu Pyromancer.

Bedlam RevelerYoung PyromancerLingering SoulsFaithless Looting

This is a deck that the current trophy leader uses to get all of his trophies. I heard rumors that the guy just plays infinite and it takes him 10 leagues on average to get a trophy. I don’t know if that’s truth or not, but the deck can’t definitely be bad. Think about it; the guy plays infinite, which propably means that he has a pretty good understanding of the format and he STILL plays this deck. I didn’t play the deck myself, but I watched it on stream couple of times and I play against it regularly and I was certainly impressed – it’s great against any creature matchup and against the 《Thoughtseize》 decks – it’s just very easy to trade resourses and eventually outgrind them.

This deck obviously struggles against decks like U/w Control and big mana decks – you have a lot of death cards and they can either stop or ignore your engine. That being said I think that the good matchups might be so good that it’s worth it and/or you can maybe fix those bad matchups.

I am not sure how but you have access to a lot of options in Mardu colors so it’s more about finding the right balance – I would definitely advice against overboarding to fix your worst matchups – in the end it might lower your overall win percentage against the field.

U/R Through the Breach

Emrakul, the Aeons TornThrough the BreachSnapcaster MageBlood Moon

I know that this deck isn’t completely new, but it has gained on popularity lately so I wanted to include it. There are many ways to build U/R decks – you can play without the combo, you can play 《Deceiver》/《Kiki-Jiki》, you can splash for other colors etc.

I am not entirely sure what is the best option in terms of colors, but I am pretty sure that you want to play the 《Breach》/《Emrakul》 package – it’s just gives you these “ups I win” games and that is very important – you are often able to stall the game for a long time, but without the 《Breach》 you will still lose a lot of those games, because your control elements might just not fare that well against your opponent deck (especially game1).

G/W Company

Collected CompanyKnight of the ReliquaryRamunap ExcavatorGhost Quarter

This is a deck that Todd Stevens brought to light and I though that it would be awful the first time I saw it, but it’s actually way better than you might think – you are just naturally very good against many decks – it’s really hard to get outgrinded by the discard decks, you have a lot of landdisruption against the big mana decks and your big creatures give you advantage over any kind of small creature deck.

There might be something going on, but I believe that the deck still needs work – there are many options you can choose from and some matchups (Affinity comes to mind) seem straight up unwinnable.


I hope that you try one of these decks and have fun with it!

Untill next time,

Petr

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