Turn 3 win in Modern

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Welcome to the year 2018! I think we never jumped into the professional season as early as this year ever. The new set Rivals of Ixalan is right around the corner and the Pro Tour is happening in roughly a month. After two years absence Modern is returning to the Pro Tour in Bilbao, Spain. While it seems that the new set won’t have too much of an impact on the format, but there are some possible strong cards. In particular this card jumps out and probably got the most attention so far: 《Blood Sun》.

Blood Sun

While it looks a lot like 《Blood Moon》, the card does very different things and therefore is interesting. It replaces itself immediately and shuts down all the utility lands like 《Field of Ruin》, 《Celestial Colonnade》 and most importantly Fetchlands. It also does not mess around with your own manabase if you are five color 《Death's Shadow》 or if you are playing RG Tron. The card looks more like a sideboard card, but I am almost certain that this card will see play at the upcoming PT. Besides the new set joining the party we know that there won’t be any bannings or unbannings before the Tour, which makes testing worth our while.

For me the Modern format is always challenging because I never play the format. While my performance in Modern Tournaments is mostly good the effort it takes is pretty huge without playing it throughout the year. That is mainly the starting point of this article as for me I only consider a handful of decks viable options for a Modern tournament and they are all combo decks. I don’t know all the cards, I don’t know all the shenanigans and I much rather try not to interact with my opponent and do my own thing and possibly win before my opponent is even set up. Modern is considered a “Turn 4-Format” where decks are designed to not be able to win before that very turn. Today I will present you 3 different decks which I consider possible deckchoices for myself and all of them break the Turn 4 rule and are able to win on Turn 2 but more likely on the third turn.

UR Storm

That is a pretty stock list for this archetype which had its ups and downs in the past. It used to be one of the strongest decks in the format, then a lot of relevant cards got banned along the way and it was nowhere to be seen. Nowadays you have to be prepared for this deck as it is the third popular archetype after all the Shadow and Tron Decks.

Baral, Chief of ComplianceGoblin ElectromancerRemand

While the deck is not particularly hard to play you need a lot of practice to maneuver it. When you are interested in playing that deck proxy it up and do the “Goldfish” because otherwise you would bore yourself and all of your opponents and probably lose a lot. I had to learn this myself as I just borrowed the deck on MTGO and started a league without having ever played a single game with the deck nor did I ever watch a single game. As you might figure this did not go too well, even though I learned a lot and still think the deck is great, now that I am capable of piloting it. 《Baral, Chief of Compliance》 is such a strong and important card to the deck and while it does not look important at first glance, the interaction with 《Remand》 is crazy. You delay your opponents plan and draw a card and then loot afterwards. You are almost guaranteed to combo off the following turn after doing this.

Gifts UngivenGrapeshotPast in Flames

But what is the deck trying to accomplish? We are not attacking with this deck, we much rather try to assemble a hand where we can generate a lot of mana and spells, play a 《Past in Flames》, do it all over again and then 《Grapeshot》 our opponent. Sounds simple, right? 《Gifts Ungiven》 is an important piece of the puzzle as it always gives you 《Past in Flames》 and some card advantage. You can go off without one of your 7 《Baral, Chief of Compliance》/《Goblin Electromancer》 but then it can sometimes be challenging, with one in play you can easily combo on the third turn. One important thing for starters is the interaction between 《Grapeshot》 and 《Remand》. You can play 《Grapeshot》, let all the copies resolve and then bounce the original copy with 《Remand》 and do it all over again. This ways you safe yourself a lot of trouble and 50% of spells you would need to cast otherwise.


The second deck I would like to present is Griselshoalbrand:

This deck looks pretty weird on the first glance and it certainly is nothing ordinary. It can win out of nowhere with a lot of bad cards and can win as early as Turn 2. For those of you who have never played with or against the deck: We try to cheat a 《Griselbrand》 into play with the help of 《Goryo's Vengeance》 or 《Through the Breach》 and then draw 14 cards, exile a 《Worldspine Wurm》 to 《Nourishing Shoal》, draw more cards and the this all over again. At one point we found our SSG’s and 《Desperate Ritual》 and then either put a 《Borborygmos Enraged》 into the Graveyard and Vengeance is (with the help of 《Manamorphose》) or Brech it, discard a bunch of lands and attack or we Breach one of the 《Worldspine Wurm》. That is the little downside of the Wurm: it is not legendary and therefore you cannot Vengeance it.

Goryo's VengeanceThrough the BreachGriselbrand

All this might sound very complex but truth be told: it is one of easiest decks to play out there. Sure there might be cornercases where you will struggle finding the right path but again it is all about the practice and especially when to mulligan. I do really like the deck and it has huge potential and does not get the credit it deserves even though it is not the most consistent deck, but the power level is absurd. I don’t think that it is currently needed but there were a lot of discussions about 《Simian Spirit Guide》 should be banned and if this deck would be too powerful I think they would axe the Ape.

Traverse Infect

And the last deck I want to present is my pet deck in a new suit: Traverse Infect.

To be honest I have not played this deck just yet, but when I saw it just a few days ago I decided to present you this new kind of Infect. While the old deck was running more lands and some bad cards like 《Jace, Vryn's Prodigy》, 《Peek》 or other cards that don’t contribute to the gameplan found the way into the deck but the Delirium package in form of 《Street Wraith》, 《Mishra's Bauble》 and 《Traverse the Ulvenwald》 do two different things.

Street WraithMishra's BaubleTraverse the Ulvenwald

First they increase the speed of your deck as you can speed up your 《Become Immense》 and in the same breath they improve your lategame as you can always tutor for an Infect card and don’t run out of fuel. Another important thing to note is that it should decrease the amount of mulligans as you have your Infect creature more reliable. While this list is not tuned yet, I am pretty sure there is room to improve, especially when you look at the sideboard as you might be tempted to put in some silverbullets due to 《Traverse the Ulvenwald》. I know that Infect is not everybody’s darling but there is a chance for a comeback. As it might not be as strong as the old 《Gitaxian Probe》 version there is room for another turn 3 deck.

Thanks for reading, I hoped you liked the article and feel free to ask questions in the comment section and you will hear from me pretty soon!


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