Hello everyone, My name is Lee Shi Tian from Hong Kong and I am really happy to join the Hareruya Pros.
This is my first article and I am going to write about the format I love playing the most: Modern. Today I would like to share some potential cards in “Guilds of Ravnica” for the format.
New Cards for Modern from “Guilds of Ravnica”
Cost reduction abilities are always a thing to be considered in high-powered formats. A cheap universal removal spell is something lacking in aggressive decks. 《Conclave Tribunal》 can be a premium removal spell in decks with lots of creatures. I can see it being utilized even better in decks with 《AEther Vial》, like Spirits or even Five-Color Humans. Also, while White-Black Tokens has kind of fallen off the scene lately, a tempo-positive answer could be a start in bringing back the archetype.
Call me crazy, but I think 《Gird for Battle》 could actually open up the possibility of “Heroic” decks. I like how 《Akroan Crusader》, 《Favored Hoplite》 and 《Monastery Swiftspear》 provide a solid core for the deck which is a basic requirement for a good aggro deck in the format. Now we have extra cheap spells to provide double “Heroic” triggers along with 《Coordinated Assault》, it might push the power level of the fringe deck type.
There is no deck which 《Creeping Chill》 suits better than Dredge. Dredge had fallen from its position as the go-to graveyard deck before the release of “Guilds of Ravnica”, due to the emergence of RB Hollow One and BridgeVine which threaten a more interactive and/or explosive draw. Decks like 《Hardened Scales》 also increased the speed of the format beyond Dredge’s capabilities.
But I think the speed of Dredge is now on par with the format with the addition of 《Creeping Chill》, which should speed up the deck’s clock by a full turn. Combining with 《Conflagrate》, you have lots of reach. I have seen games where Dredge deals 18 damage solely from these spells. Be ready for the return of Dredge!
When I first saw 《Gruesome Menagerie》, I knew it would belong to Abzan Company. This is a card that bring back the whole infinite life combo by returning 《Viscera Seer》, 《Vizier of Remedies》, and 《Kitchen Finks》. Even if you don’t have the full combo, it can still be a good value spell. You can always bring back 《Eternal Witness》 and return 《Gruesome Menagerie》.
《Mausoleum Secrets》 can be a 《Demonic Tutor》 in the right deck. There are lots of cheap black cards in the format: 《Thoughtseize》, 《Death's Shadow》, 《Postmortem Lunge》, 《Goryo's Vengeance》 or even 《Gruesome Menagerie》.
I would say Grixis 《Death's Shadow》 would be the natural home for 《Mausoleum Secrets》. Yet there are lots of key undergrowth enablers such as 《Street Wraith》 or 《Insolent Neonate》, and you can also feed undergrowth with threats that naturally demand an answer such as 《Devoted Druid》. There are certainly lots of possibilities for 《Mausoleum Secrets》.
《Runaway Steam-Kin》 is full of combo elements. There are lots of free spells in red including 《Gut Shot》, 《Pact of the Titan》, and 《Burning-Tree Emissary》. I think 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 opens up a possibility of “all-in” Red aggro. 《Flamekin Harbinger》 is a reasonable way to tutor 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 and provide a consistent game plan. Even if 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 was killed, you could go for a regular beatdown plan with 《Goblin Bushwhacker》 and 《Reckless Bushwhacker》.
《Beast Whisperer》 is a tutorable 《Glimpse of Nature》. Elves is always a reasonable tier 2 deck in Modern and 《Beast Whisperer》 could actually bring the deck a new dimension where you can go off with an end of turn 《Chord of Calling》. Four mana is easily affordable to the Elves deck and I think it is not an embarrassing top-end card for Elves in case you have to hardcast it.
《Assassin's Trophy》 is “The Modern Card” of “Guilds of Ravnica”. The fact it can hit any permanent has provided Green-Black based decks a tool to fight Tron. We used to have to rely on 《Fulminator Mage》, hoping we don’t just lose to a turn 3 《Karn Liberated》 on the play. Now 《Assassin's Trophy》 can actually break up Tron even on the draw. I can see the return of Green-Black based midrange decks. I personally think straight Green-Black with 《Field of Ruin》 would maximize the power of 《Assassin's Trophy》.
While 《Assassin's Trophy》 is my pick for the set, I bet Kelvin Chew will say 《Knight of Autumn》 is the best card in “Guilds of Ravnica”. The flexibility of 《Knight of Autumn》 is huge. It is a 《Kitchen Finks》 or a 《Reclamation Sage》 in one body. This type of card is great in a diverse metagame as it can save you some sideboard slots.
Metagame with “Guilds of Ravnica”
So these are the cards I picked for Modern in “Guilds of Ravnica”. About the metagame, we will definitely see the rise of Dredge. I foresee that graveyard hate will become more and more popular and any graveyard strategy will take splash damage. I also think 《Tarmogoyf》 will making his comeback within any kind of Green-Black midrange deck.
In fact, the final of Modern Challenge on Magic Online last week is exactly Golgari midrange against Dredge. Below is the deck lists of both decks:
2 《Overgrown Tomb》
4 《Verdant Catacombs》
4 《Blooming Marsh》
3 《Hissing Quagmire》
4 《Field of Ruin》
1 《Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth》
-Land (25)- 4 《Tarmogoyf》
3 《Scavenging Ooze》
4 《Tireless Tracker》
2 《Tasigur, the Golden Fang》
3 《Inquisition of Kozilek》
4 《Assassin's Trophy》
2 《Collective Brutality》
1 《Maelstrom Pulse》
4 《Liliana of the Veil》
1 《Liliana, the Last Hope》
2 《Stomping Ground》
2 《Blood Crypt》
4 《Wooded Foothills》
3 《Bloodstained Mire》
4 《Copperline Gorge》
1 《Gemstone Mine》
1 《City of Brass》
-Land (19)- 4 《Narcomoeba》
2 《Golgari Thug》
4 《Stinkweed Imp》
4 《Prized Amalgam》
4 《Cathartic Reunion》
4 《Life from the Loam》
4 《Creeping Chill》
My next Modern event will be GP Atlanta 2018 (2-4 November 2018), and I can’t wait to see what crazy strategy will pop up out of nowhere after the release of “Guilds of Ravnica”.
Thanks for reading,