Tag Archives: Jund

GP DC and a Foray into the Unknown!

Good Afternoon Readers!

This weekend I was able to do something I haven’t done in a very long time. I went and played some Magic. The GP was Team Sealed and was hosted in Washington DC. On Saturday we went and played in some side events, and It was fun jumping back into the scene. As always Matt and I tried to sleeve up close to the same 75. We both Played Jund. Here’s the List I played:

Jund:
Creatures (14):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kalitas, Trator of Ghet

Planeswalkers (4):
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18):
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Terminate
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
1 Forest
2 Swamp
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15):
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize
1 Duress
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dismember
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Spellskite

Round 1, I played against Naya Burn. Game 1, I was facing down 3 Goblin guides by turn 2, and the game was quickly over. There wasn’t much I could do. I brought in the extra Finks, Courser, Duress and Spellskite. I was able to tear up his hand early, land a Liliana to clear the board along side a Finks and stabilize. Shortly after I closed out the game with a Tarmogoyf. Game 3 was similar, Early Discard combined with his one land allowed me to stabilize early. Finks and Huntmaster were able to put it away. I was super rusty, but it felt good to win the first round with a little luck.

Round 2, I keep a slower hand, but it’s good. In hindsight, it didn’t really have any early interaction, and maybe should have been a mulligan against ANY opponent. Regardless it was a terrible keep against.. a second Naya Burn player. He beat me very quickly after I got stuck on two lands. I sided almost the same way, Kept a decent hand, but kept getting boned on my lands. I was forced to play shocks when I didn’t want to, compound that with a bad Tarmo block into a Nacatal + Atarka’s Command and I couldn’t defend myself. I was quickly run over in what felt like two non-games. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Round 3, was G/R Tron. Running Stone Cold at this point. Game 1 I do my best to get under his tron lands, but a one turn late Inquisition allows him to play the Map and get the land he needs. He plays Karn, and I kill it after one activation. He plays… another Karn, and I kill it after one activation. then when I’m starting to mount a comeback he plays the new Ulamog and I literally have nothing in my deck to deal with it. He wrecks my board and I’m quickly dead. Game two, I get a quick start combined with turn 3 and 4 Fulminators. I keep him off mana the whole game and close it out with a Goyf and a Ravine. At this point I know my only hope is to be quick and Thoughseize the Ulamog out of his hand. He mulligans to 5 on the play and Turn 1s a Chrome Star. I have an early discard spell, don’t see an Ulamog and I take his only way to get more lands. Turn 2 he cracks the Star, makes Green and draws into Ancient Stirrings and casts it hitting the land he needs. Then does it again the next turn. He then draws into Ulamog a turn or two later, and I have no way to deal with it. GG

Tron is brutal for us, but I felt like I played decently against him. I feel I got a bit unlucky, as after my first turn he had nothing of any merit in hand. He just happened to draw very well into what he needed.

Finally, Round 4, my opponent didn’t show. Well… Quite the hollow victory, I suppose, to end 2-2.  Matt did a bit better than me. Beating Lantern Control Round 1, Losing to U/R Eldrazi Round 2, beating Merfolk Round 3, and beating U/W Eldrazi Round 4. The last match of the day also lead to the single greatest line I have ever heard in a sanctioned match of magic, but maybe I’ll let Matt tell that story if he’ll do a write up from his side of the tournament.

We both really like’d our lists, I definitely need to add a Damnation. He was playing the single Seal of Fire, which is something I’d like to add moving forward. He played Olivia in the side and I did not. I didn’t miss her. I was glad I did not include Slaughter Pact, Matt is thinking about dropping his. Finks we’re great all weekend as well, and I am still a huge fan of Kolaghan’s Command. Kalitas over performed for both of us, as did Huntmaster, so we both like the 1-1 split.

Kalitas really gives us a way to get extra value out of all of our removal spells. Things like Pact and Seal of Fire give us the ability to get value off Kalitas right on Turn 4 when she comes into play. If you manage to untap with Kalitas, you’re going to start to steamroll your opponent with 2/2s while clearing their board. There’s also the bonus of Kalitas being able to eat it’s own Zombies and become monstrously huge. Tack on Lifelink, and we have one very formidable creature taking a very impactful role in Jund.

I know this was a short “tournament” report, but you gotta dip your toes back in somehow. Also the meta is going to shift again with inevitable nerfing of Eldrazi in April. I will be staying by the old faithful of G/B/x in one form or another, but right now I’m enjoying casting Bolt and Bobs. Jund is still very viable in modern, as it can always be tuned to have the advantage in almost any match up. I would absolutely give it a shot if you want to play “fair magic.”

Lastly, Matt has been getting into legacy, and I think I’m going to do the same. I literally know nothing about the format, but a local shop does Tuesday tournaments with a proxy limit. Matt also knows a guy who is gracious enough to hook us up with real duals and the like so we can partake. I am very excited to learn this format and mostly get to cast things like Deathrite Shaman, Brainstorm, and Hymn to Tourach. Matt intends on playing BUG Delver, while I think I’m going to take a stab at Shardless BUG. Again, I know literally nothing about the format so i’m going to start here:

Creatures (15)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Liliana of the Veil

Lands (22)
2 Bayou
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland

Spells (19)
1 Sylvan Library
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
3 Force of Will
3 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
2 Thoughtseize

Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Null Rod
1 Thoughtseize
1 Divert
2 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Will
1 Golgari Charm
1 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Chill

List looks sweet, no idea what changes I’ll need to make for the board, and I’m sure things will change once I see the local Meta. I am excited to try this out and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading. and hopefully I’ll have some Legacy reporting to do in the next few weeks. I will be out of town, for 3 of the next 5 blog post days. I will try to have some posts ready to go up while I am gone.

You can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. Thanks again, and keep fighting the good fight against the Eldrazi Menace.

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A New Modern World

Good Afternoon, Folks!

Sorry for the missed post on Monday! Its was snowy, I worked from home, and didn’t want to. My brain was League of Legends soaked from nearly 72 hours of non stop play. But… We have our first results from our new Twinless-Bloomless-Meta in the Magic: The Gathering World!! And surprise, surprise… It’s as fast as greased lightning!

SCG Modern Classic – Atlanta:

1st – Temur Delver
2nd – Merfolk
3rd – Merfolk
4th – Jund
5th – Affinity
6th – Affinity
7th – Burn
8th – Zoo
9th – Burn
10th – Temur Delver
11th – Zoo
12th – Merfolk
13th – B/W Eldrazi
14th – Abzan Company
15th – Goryo’s Vengeance
16th – Infect

Oh baby, oh baby. Temur Delver! I love it, nothing quite like keeping the old Goyfs and Bolts and shifting to a Tempo Shell. Might be time for Matt to retake his throne as the King of Tempo with U/R Fae.

As predicted, Aggro is King. I mentioned Delver to Matt briefly and I’m so glad it put up some results. There much less combo then I expected. I was sure a Scapeshift or two might make it in. Even just more CoCo decks. The Merfolk decks worry me from a Jund players perspective, but if we know we are facing nothing but Robots, Zoo and Delvers we can tech against aggressive decks very easily.

but wait… what’s this? Not a single Tron deck?! Holy Moley, the boogeyman of the format may not mean anything. It’s too early to tell since  new format almost always defaults to, get em dead, but i am STUNNED there isn’t a single Tron deck.

The closest, and most odd looking deck, is the B/W Eldrazi deck. It does play big Colorless things, and it ramps into them by using colorless lands, but it is NOT Tron. It plays almost like Midrange Deck with early game discard and board control, with big creatures in the mid to late game to close out. It seems to to function on bringing cards out of exile, There aren’t too many Tasigurs running around, and giving your opponent more graveyard resources seems counter productive. Regardless, this deck has the ability to churn out huge threats quickly, and I think Reality Smasher may be as good as I thought, just a matter of finding the right shell.

So lets take a look at some lists.

Temur Delver by Todd Anderson:

Creatures (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Hooting Mandrills
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Young Pyromancer

Spells (25)
1 Dismember
1 Izzet Charm
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Mutagenic Growth
4 Remand
3 Spell Pierce
1 Thought Scour
3 Vapor Snag
3 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions

Lands (20)
1 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Breeding Pool
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
3 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Grim Lavamancer
3 Spreading Seas
2 Threads of Disloyalty
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Dispel
2 Gut Shot
2 Surgical Extraction

So this deck uses Delver of Secrets to get a fast threat with evasion, backed up by Tarmogoyf, and Lightning Bolt to close out games. It also uses lots of spells to protect your board, draw cards, and slow down the opponent. Having 25 spells ensures your Delver will flip regularly to start dishing out damage on turn 2. Hooting Mandrills is the new tech here, in that you can get another cheap threat after ripping through a bunch of one cost cards. A 4/4 with Trample is legit. Snapcaster needs no introduction. Young Pyromancer pumps out tokens with all of our cheap spells, and can put some hurt on the opponent.

The single Dismember main board is interesting to me. I guess it’s to kill just any creature that gets in the way. Opposing Goyfs can be a problem. Siege Rhino is still out there. I also like the single Mutagenic Growth. It can be a surprise damage boost to help you trade or give you reach. Looking to the board we see double Lava Man, so sign me up. I like the Idea of Spreading Seas. We don’t really want to be wasting time Ghost Quarter-ing our opponent’s lands. Seas actually makes it more difficult for our opponent to cast spells and draws us a card. Threads of Disloyalty is always awesome, stealing Goyfs or Bobs, or anything really. There are a ton of prime targets for it. Ancient Grudge is a must against Affinity. The value is just too good.

Finally, we have Surgical Extraction. This is a card I’ve always like as well, but it doesn’t see much play. This is again another card that I just kind of have to speculate on what Todd may have been thinking. It doesn’t seem very good against Zoo or Affinity. Unless you just pluck all of the Goyfs or Cranial Plating out of their decks. Maybe it’s just a way to make your Grudges and removal spells last longer. You grudge a ravager, or a plating, or manage to kill an Etched Champion, then spend 2 life to remove the other three from the game before they can play them.

This is definitely going to be one of my two prime test targets in the upcoming week as we watch the meta change.

Jund by Dustin Green:

Creatures (12)
4 Dark Confidant
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (19)
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
1 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
1 Twilight Mire
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Faerie Macabre
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
4 Crumble to Dust
2 Painful Truths

Here’s deck number 2 I’m going to be testing. This deck drops Tasigur the Golden Fang entirely, and lowers the curve a bit. Pia and Kiran seems to be the new flavor of the week, and rightfully so. It does a lot of things, especially against Aggro decks. We talked a bit about the Terminate Decay Split with Tron looming, but it looks like Aggro is what we’re gunning for. In which case, Terminate is still great, so I agree with this split. The same goes for discard, I was originally wanting to cut down on it, but these cards, especially Inquisition, hits so many things in aggro that it can save you a ton of health. Liliana was being trimmed regularly down to three copies, but again this card does some serious damage against aggro decks. If you’re forcing them to discard creatures, or burn, you’re in great shape, and then she controls the board by forcing them to sacrifice.  It’s interesting to see Chandra back in, but she also does a lot against creature based decks. She also just kills a lot of things out of Affinity.

This list is fairly stock for the most part. The biggest change is 4 Crumble to Dust in the Side. This card will exile all copies of a non basic land, from anywhere, from the game. He was running 4. I have to imagine this was an attempt to be prepared for Tron and I’d love to know how many, if any, he faced and/or beat. I imagine this card does just beat them outright, but it’s hard to say just looking at a list.

It’s also worth mentioning that he did not have a single Hissing Quagmire in his list. It’s possible with Raging Ravine, Jund just doesn’t want that card. It may be relegated to Junk where the manlands are just worse in general. The list also doesn’t have any Anger of the Gods, Pyroclasm or Kozliek’s Return, which I find interesting. I’d want some number against all the Aggro deck in this Top 16.

I love that list is low to the ground, and has lots of Finks for the matches you’ll need them. In an all aggro meta, I could even see moving them to the main board and keeping Chandra in the side. The Baloth is a nice touch as well. I am excited to change my deck to something more similar.

So with our “weapons of choice” picked, what are we looking to beat?

Merfolk by Jacob Betts:

Creatures (29)
4 Cursecatcher
4 Harbinger of the Tides
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Master of Waves
3 Merrow Reejerey
4 Silvergill Adept
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner

Spells (12)
4 Aether Vial
1 Sea’s Claim
4 Spreading Seas
1 Dismember
2 Spell Pierce

Lands (19)
7 Island
4 Cavern of Souls
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Mutavault
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

Sideboard
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Spellskite
1 Threads of Disloyalty
2 Dismember
2 Dispel
2 Hibernation
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Spell Pierce

This is pretty standard and nothing new to see here. The idea is to control the board early and not let their lords stick. Bolt is great early game, and save the Decay’s or counter spells for their Kira’s if you can. This game instantly becomes a race when they land a Spreading Seas, so either keep them from having creatures or be ready to burst them down. This match has always been difficult for Jund, but apparently Todd did ok against them. Jund FEELS like it has a better match up because we have tne million kill spelss to their ten million creatures, but it hasn’t alwasy played out that way due to the Islandwalk insta-kill. I’m interested in testing the Delver Deck against the Fish.

Affinity by Chirayu Patel:

Creatures (25)
4 Arcbound Ravager
1 Etched Champion
3 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
3 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Spells (19)
4 Cranial Plating
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Welding Jar
2 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
3 Thoughtcast

Lands (16)
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Island
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus

Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Etched Champion
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Illness in the Ranks
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Dismember
2 Spell Pierce
1 Wear
2 Thoughtseize
1 Whipflare

Affinity by Cody Beamish:

Creatures (26)
4 Arcbound Ravager
3 Etched Champion
2 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
1 Spellskite
2 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Spells (18)
4 Cranial Plating
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
3 Thoughtcast

Lands (16)
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Mountain
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus

Sideboard
1 Master of Etherium
1 Spellskite
2 Blood Moon
1 Illness in the Ranks
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Spell Pierce
2 Wear
2 Thoughtseize
2 Whipflare

So these lists are pretty stock as well. Some run Master of Ethrium, some don’t. The numbers differ between lists, but the cores are the same. There are no new cards, and no new strategies. Just lethal, lethal artifacts. The goal is the same. Kill them and their dangerous creatures. Watch out for their multiple angles of attack. Affinity cycles through popularity based on how prepared everyone is. IF every has had for it, as it is REALLY easy to hate out, this deck will wane. IF you aren’t ready, they all show up to wreck everyone. Give them the respect they deserve and it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Zoo by Zan Syed:

Creatures (30)
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
2 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Goblin Guide
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kird Ape
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl
2 Dryad Arbor

Spells (12)
4 Atarka’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

Lands (18)
1 Forest
1 Mountain
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
1 Blood Moon
1 Worship
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Destructive Revelry
3 Molten Rain
2 Pyroclasm

This is where the Finks come in handy, we can block and trade early as well as gain much needed life. Goyf Matches will against their non Goyf Threats. Bolt hits and kills a lot of their things. These Aggro decks are all straight forward. I am a bit surprised there aren’t any Become Immense, but I suppose Ghor-Clan Rampager does the job better, and can be used as a body. BTE can give you monster starts and be used to cast Atarka’s Command which is sweet. Control the board early seems to be the theme here. Whether you use your removal spells or try to tempo them out, this deck is the one that scares me. It isn’t as popular as the other have been in the past, but every creature they run is huge. Combine that with plenty of reach and Lava Man, and we are looking at a quick game, one way or another.

I also love the Worship Tech in the side. Clearly Decay doesn’t care about it, but it’s actually a sweet trump card when you only need one or two more turns to live.

All in all, a lot can still change as we move forward, but when choosing a Modern Deck, make sure you take tools that can kill Fish, Metal Abominations, and all the animals at the Zoo.  I’m going to start keeping track of the meta the best I can using SCG and MTGO results as I usually do. In a month or so, I’ll post some number as see where we stand.

You can email me questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Be sure to click follow over on the right to make sure you never miss an update. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for streaming times and posts. Stream Here: twitch.tv/thegreat_andini. Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the meta shakes out!

-Andy

Banned and Restricted – Modern 2016

Good Afternoon Readers,

I come to you today with the talk of the magic world: The Banned and Restricted announcement. This announcement was leaked Friday night and was linked to Wizards’ actual website, to prove (more or less) it wasn’t false. To the surprise of no one, Summer Bloom was banned, effectively making the Amulet Bloom deck unplayable. This was a degenerate deck that could win on turn 2 and quite often on turn 3. It broke some of the rules of Modern, one of which is being a turn 4 format. This mean there are no decks that can reliably win before turn 4. Not only did Bloom break this rule, it was almost impossible to stop the actual combo. It was extremely “un-interactive.”

Then to the surprised of LITERALLY EVERYONE, then also banned Splinter Twin. Twin has been a corner stone of the format since the very beginning. This was one of the deck that DEFINED Modern. Click the link below to see WotC reasoning behind these bans.

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/january-18-2016-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2016-01-18

The argument is basically, that too large a portion of the field is playing this deck because it is very good, so to promote competitive diversity, they are banning the deck.

At first, I was furious, appalled even. How could they do this, Twin was a great deck. Yes, it was very powerful, yes, sometimes you had the “Oops, I win” moments, but it never felt unbeatable. There were so many answers to this two card combo. It was “creature based” so you could kill the creature and 2-for-1 the enchantment. Abrupt Decay did this VERY nice, as it was even uncounterable. There we’re endless options for killing Deceiver Exarchs, Pestermites, and the now banned Splinter Twin. More so, in a world where Tron is poised to be literally everywhere, Twin was a deck that helped keep it in check. Now that balance isn’t just upset, it’s gone.

Then it hit me. This sinking feeling I had was all too familiar. Basically a year ago, Pod was banned the same way. It was “too powerful” and “too large a portion of the meta.” Pod stifled diversity and with every new creature printed, could essential break Modern. I felt the pain for the poor souls who chose to build Splinter Twin as their first modern deck. People who have played Twin for years now felt the pain of the Pod players.

The internet was on fire.

This is my personal favorite:
https://twitter.com/ExarchUntapTwin/status/688390452425437185

So, all in all, I do understand why this banning has happened. I do believe a lot of crazy strategies are going to come out as a result, which is good for Modern on a whole. The problem I have with it is the Pod/Twin dilemma. Is anyone going to want to invest in Modern when WotC can just devalue your thousand dollar deck over night? I know I didn’t. In fact, even thought I did reinvest after Pod, I have not had the desire to play like I used to. Something changed after Pod was destroyed. I had a deck I loved and I still haven’t, to this day,  found the same level of success or enthusiasm I once had for the format, or MTG in general.  It sucks, a lot. There was even a time I had thought of just buying Twin outright, so I could keep playing the format with a deck that was very good. I think I may have quit MTG forever had I had two deck banned out from underneath of me, back to back. I am sure there are many more people who would quit for less.  and THAT’S what worries me. The format will struggle to grow and gain new followers if at any point in time WotC wrecks your investment in what is supposed to be a “non-rotating” format.

It’s a very slippery slope.

Regardless, this is the price we pay for having regular Modern Pro Tours. Again, I understand completely and think a lot of good will come out of the ban, but I feel for these poor Twin players.

So where does this leave us?

I think Affinity, Aggro, Burn, and Infect all get better. They don’t have to waste card slots and their third turns by leaving open mana to stop the combo, and can continue just attacking their opponent. Delver may be a bit more viable as the Tempo deck of choice. I think this is yet another blow to G/B/x strategies on one hand and a boost on the other. We already know that the combination of new cards, and the lack of Twin makes Tron look unstoppable right now. This is the blow to the G/B/x. The boost will come in the form of G/B/x potentially being able to prey on the decks that CAN beat Tron. If Modern becomes Tron versus Beat Tron, then G/B/x may find a way to take advantage. Combo will find a way. Scapeshift is looking real good all of a sudden and things like Goryo’s Vengeance and Living End may become more popular as well. CoCo has been, and will continue to be very popular as well.

As far where I stand, I’m sticking to Jund. I think If we’re going to fight this fight, I want to get lower to the ground, and try to kill tron before it start landing hay-makers. I don’t really want to trade my Lightning Bolts or Kolaghan’s Commands when Affinity/Aggro is going to rise up, for Paths and Lingering Souls. So, sorry Rhino’s, but you’re staying in the binder for now. So lets see where we are, how low to the ground can we get?

Jund by Brian Huffman:
Creatures (13)
4 Dark Confidant
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (20)
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
2 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
4 Fulminator Mage
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
1 Painful Truths
1 Pyroclasm
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize

Matt wanted to start here, and I think that’s a great idea. We’ve noticed a trend for a while now about only playing 3 Lili. I felt this was entirely wrong until the Twin ban. It’s likely now that Lili is just not that great against the types of decks we will be facing. She won’t really do anything against Tron and their walkers, she doesn’t act as removal and isn’t fast enough to empty their hand. Against aggro, we will have more efficient removal and the discard is too slow.  We can always go back to 4 if control becomes very popular. I love the idea of dropping Tasigur. I have never really been a fan of him, and if we want to get aggressive, there are much better options. My goal is to lower the curve, giving us a more aggressive start, and getting the most benefit out of our Dark Confidants. Cards like Kitchen Finks are great as they allow us to gain life, and trade against the aggro decks, while still packing a punch with a hard to remove threat against controlling strategies. Chandra can go as well. She’s better in grindy matches and I’m expecting less of these. Ooze may get a bit better if we’re killing lots of creatures. A mid game ooze can be unstoppable. I think we switch the split we are doing on Decay and Terminate. Terminate will have a wider application when we don’t need to dodge counter spells lest we automatically lose the game.

Main deck discard might be less necessary as well. I could almost see going to a 2-2 split of Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek for Game 1, and bring out the 3rd and 4th copy of IoK for Games 2 and 3, if needed. Our side board will be drastically different, and probably take a huge weeks to figure out. So lets see what that gives us:

Jund:
Creatures (15):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Kitchen Finks
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (3):
3 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18):
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Terminate
1 Disfigure
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
2 Forest
1 Swamp
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
2 Hissing Quagmire
1 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15):
4 Fulminator Mage
2 Kozilek’s Return
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Shatterstorm
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Painful Truths

I basically move the Finks all main, swap the Decay and remove Discard for more Terminates. I fit in Hissing Quagmire (albeit most likely incorrectly) and added Kozilek’s Return in the side. Pointed out by my teammate, Matt, Return is going to be great. For one extra mana, it’s an instant speed pyroclasm, this will allow us to decimate those pesky lands Affinty likes to animate on their turn as well as torch the Etched Champions. I’m not sold on Pia and Kiran but they seem to have a lot to utility. I also really want to try Goblin Dark-Dwellers, but that is the opposite of lowering the curve.

Land base will be tough as well, I love the idea of main deck Ghost Quarter, but I want more than one. Like, a lot more than one. Plus this will help us cast a card i REALLY want to try, Matter Reshaper.

As previously stated, This card is a value house. Against Aggro we can block and potentially replace it with a creature like Finks or Goyf. We could hit a Lili off of it, or a land. If it ends up not being a permanent, we just draw it. So can we adjust our deck to run enough permanents to make this worth while? Is the draw clause weak when we’re already running four Dark Confidant? Are 3-4 Ghost Quarter and a Filter land enough colorless sources to actually cast this thing? Probably not in a 3 color deck, so what about just straight G/B?

G/B:
Creatures (16):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Reality Smasher

Planeswalkers (4):
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Garruk Relentless?????

Spells (5-6):
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Grasp of Darkness
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2-3 ????????

Lands (24):
3 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Hissing Quagmire
3 Treetop Village
2 Llanowar wastes
1 Urborg
4 Ghost Quarter (or Tectonic Edge)

Ugh, this sounded better in my head. After typing it out, Matter Reshaper feels bad. It’s not a big enough threat on it’s own, the creatures it could hit are fine, but then we don’t have room for hay-makers, and our spell suite feels terrible without Red or White, so drawing a card of a non permanent feels weak. We lose all the good removal of Path, Bolt, Terminate. The side board would probably look even worse. I opted for Reality Smasher so we actually have a way to win games, but then that hurts us with Dark Confidant. The idea is to have to not worry about color requirements in our mana base so we can play a butt load of Tectonic edges and/or Ghost Quarts to finally put Tron in it’s place. Then this also gives us enough colorless sources to reliably cast Reality Smasher. We could go even smaller and faster by looking to use things like Strangleroot Geist and Dreg Mangler (ugh did I really just type that??), but they we’re playing like an Aggro deck, and Naya probably just does it better. So I’m leaving this one up to you Matt. Feel free to call me a conehead, and make something better.

As is quickly becoming my tag line, I am not a brewer. All I know is that Gerry Thompson has been a big fan of straight G/B for a long time, so maybe he could give us a list. Mostly I’m just excited to see what happens to the Pro Tour, and PRAYING Tron doesn’t win. Lots of people are suddenly in need of a new deck, due to these bannings, and people tend to flock towards “flavor of the week” winners. If that winner is Tron… then god help us all…

As always, feel free to email me at ModernGentlmenGaming@gmail.com. Your deck list could be featured!! YES, YOU!! Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini, and be sure to click “Follow!” over on the right so you never miss an update! Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

-Andy

 

Banned & Restricted: No Changes

Good Afternoon, Dear Readers!

Well, another set, another B&R List announcement. This time there are still no changes. Since moving to Jund (and honestly, since I started playing Modern) Team MGG has wanted to see Deathrite Shaman and Bloodbraid Elf unbanned. I think this is probably a fairly unpopular opinion, but I’ve discussed before in detail which cards I think could be unbanned without breaking anything. I’ve always said I like playing with powerful cards, so I wouldn’t be upset to see lots of cards come off the B&R List. Regardless, Modern is in a really great place right now. Without any changes to the List, it will give Team MGG a chance to continue to hone our Jund lists. Matt and I are playing very silimar lists. Something like 72 or 73 of the same 75. Here’s mine, below:

Jund
Creatures (13):
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Dark Confidant
3 Scavenging Ooze
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Walkers (5):
4 Liliana of the Veil
1 Chandra Pyromaster

Spells (18):
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Terminate
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Wooded Foothills
3 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Stomping Ground
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Raging Ravine
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Swamp
1 Forest

This is the list I am currently playing. I literally only have 4 sanctioned matches of magic with this deck under my belt. We have done a solid amount of testing though, and will continue to do so. Things to note: I need a fourth Verdant, a fourth Blackcleave. I’m sure I’m missing a few percentage points by not having these two lands, I just never got around to getting that last fetch, and the Blackcleave was put off while I wasn’t playing. More importantly, I’m looking to add a third Terminate so I have a 3-3 split between that and Decay. Huntmaster Probably Deserves a spot in the main board. Originally, I had only 1 Kolaghan’s Command, and then ran Huntmaster. For me, Command has over performed almost every time I’ve played it. looking at it as objectively as possible, it’s probably correct to only run one, it’s possible my small sample size may affect my opinion, and certain metas would certainlycause me to want 2 main for sure. Knowing all of that, I may cut back on a Command for a main Huntmaster, as I think in a vacuum the Huntmaster is better and gives more value.

As for the side board, it changes weekly, as it should. This is the list of cards I use along with a list that i keep with me to make changes each week as I see fit:

Sideboard (15):
2 Choke
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Shatter Storm
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Duress
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Spellskite
1 Grim Lavamancer
2 Fulminator Mage

Somethings to think about:

  • Some combination of Shatter Storm and Ancient Grudge. Either 2-0, 2-1, 1-1, etc. This is totally reliant on how prevalent affinity is. Clearly, our Commands are solid and give us an edge game one, so going over board on Affinity hate can be real. Lighting Bolt is already great, as we have a ton of removal. Shatter Storm just gives us a way to nuke them into oblivion.
  • Grim Lavamancer has been solid and comes in for a number of matches. It’s removal, and has helped a bit in the Merfolk match which appears to be terrible for us. It also aligns itself with our grindy game plan at times.
  • Slaughter Pact is a removal spell that helps us play around counter and catch our opponents off guard.
  • Kitchen Finks, Feed the Clan, Etc. This is another hotly debated split. How much Burn tech do we need? I think Feed might not be as good as Finks, but its much harder to Skull Crack and a well placed Feed will basically end the game. The trade off is Feed is ONLY good against Burn, and not so much else where. Fink’s helps against Merfolk since it can block twice. I may want to add a third Finks to the board.
  • I do not own Damnation and it might be right to have a 1-1 split between it and Anger of the Gods. Right now, two Anger has been solid. A look towards Engineered Explosives is something I’ve discussed with Matt as well.
  • I love Spellskite and don’t think I’d enter a tournament without it. (Looking at you, Matt)
  • Night of Souls Betrayal really puts the thumb screws on some decks. This is another card I do not own, but would like to look towards adding.

This past Friday I was able to enter a Modern FNM for the first time in months. It was four rounds and I ended 3-1. I got a little lucky, and lost the last round to arguably one of the best players in the room. We’ll get there.

Round 1: R/G Tron. This is supposed to be a free roll for them. Game 1, I was able to apply enough pressure early on, tear up his hand enough to slow him down, and recover after an Ugin wipe to finish him off with bolts. Game two wasn’t even close. He rolled me just like I would have thought. Game three played out similarly to game 1 except I had Fulminator Mage. This again, slowed him down enough to allow me to apply pressure. I kept a hand with 3 lighting bolts in the opener knowing I’d need to use them on a Walker. When my opponent misplayed, I was able to ignore with Ugin and bolt him for 9. 2-1, win, 1-0 on the night.

Round 2: Mono-Green Infect. Early hand disruption takes his creature and protection spells. We proceed to kill anything he plays for the rest of the game while punching in with Goyf. Game 2: Rinse and repeat. He floods out, and hand disruptions destroys his hand.  Goyf get’s it done. 2-0, win, 2-0 on the night.

Round 3: Merfolk. I curve IoK into Confidant into Liliana. Using Lili as removal, he kills it, and Bob grants me another plus more removal. He doesn’t have Vial, so our 1 for 1 removal keeps us in the lead. Goyf and Ravine get us there. Game 2, I play Turn 1 IoK, Turn 2 IoK+IoK, Turn 3 Lili. I sided Lili’s out and drew the only one left in the deck. I never draw a Goyf or threat or any kind and die to Mutavaults. Game 3, Combination of discard, Goyf, removal and Grim Lavamancer help me run him out of resources and win a very tight game. Had my opponent not flooded out, I don’t think I would have won. A little luck goes a long way. 2-1, win. 3-0 on the night

Round 4: Merfolk. Yup, knew it wouldn’t be easy. No way I win this match up twice. Game 1 I get absolutely rolled. He has what looks like a God hand with a Vial, a million threats and double mutavault. Finished me off with a very high devotion Master of Waves. I tried to keep parity but a lack of removal and Islandwalk make that impossible. Game 2, I keep and EXTREMELY loose 6, that almost certainly should have been a mulligan to 5. I miss two land drops before I find my third land, and cannot keep up. Not a problem, it was a good first dip back into the scene. 0-2, loss. 3-1 on the night.

Open packs. Get a foil Hangarback Walker. Looks like I was the winner after all.

Merfolk is definitely a tough match up for Jund. We have tools to beat it and I think I was under prepared. Anger of the Gods is good. Lavamancer is good. Kitchen Finks seems good. Choke does nothing. I think I may try to fit a 4th Abrupt Decay in the board. Having uncounterable removal can be important against Curse Catcher. Liliana needs to come out. I took out 3, probably should have removed all four. Tasigur seems to slow. Master is tough to deal with because we don’t actually have an answer to it outside of Pulse. They usually run 2-3 MoW and we run 1-2 Pulse. That math is sketchy. Vial, you basically ignore. We kill their Lords so they don’t get out of hand, and try to run them out of resources.

Outside of that, I think the night went well and I need to keep honing the list. This weekend will be another FNM, and then on the 10th, I’ll be playing in a Modern GP Trial for GP Pittsburgh, which i would also like to attend. I am going to continue to play this list, and hopefully I’ll be back with more tales of victory.

I’m going to be streaming for a bit tonight. The Hearthstone Ladder season is just about over. While Legend is looking grim for this season, I’ll be messing around with Secret Paladin, among other things, and trying to get the best rewards we can. Come hang out around 7 pm ET at twitch.tv/thegreat_andini. I’ll be posting on Twitter if the time changes.

Thanks for tuning in! As always, you can email us at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream schedules. Be sure to follow the blog on the right and you’ll never miss an update! Thanks for everything, and good luck!

-Andy

GP Charlotte and the Invasion of the Green People

Good Morning everyone, Happy Friday, and welcome back!

We had a heck of a GP this past weekend. I was really happy I got to watch a good amount of it, and I am not really happy with the way things turned out. Let’s just jump into the Top 8.

1st – Elves
2nd – U/R Twin
3rd – Affinity
4th – Ad Nauseam
5th – Goryos Vengeance
6th – Abzan Company
7th – U/R Twin
8th – Burn

Elves guys… Elves. They are just straight up taunting me now. I didn’t think Elves had what it took to get there, at least not before Abzan Company. I was off on my predictions. I correctly guessed two copies of Twin in the Top 8 but got the flavor wrong. I figured one bloom deck would get there. I am not surprised to see zero copies of Tron. I just don’t think Tron is that great. In addition, both Tron and Bloom just had targets on them from the Invitational. People were ready. Company put up another solid result. There’s Affinity squeaking in there. Then the two that threw everyone for a loop; Ad Nauseam and Goryos Vengeance. Holy Smokes.  So what happened?

Well U/R Twin has a better mana base then Grixis, so the big question becomes, does Blood Moon hurt the opponent more than having Black for Terminate, disruption, removal, and more flexibility? I think it may. If you’re playing against Bloom and Tron, and can play main board Blood Moon, you start the match with a huge advantage. In a deck where twinning on turn 4 can just give you free wins, playing main deck Blood Moon can also just net you free wins, but from a different angle. I watched a Grixis Player (it was either Delver or Twin) LOSE to his OWN Blood Moon. You don’t seem to get it both ways all the time. Giving up that third color to lock people out of the game on turn 3 seems like a fair trade to me.  It’s worth noting that Patrick Dickmann just barely missed Top 8 with R/U/G Twin and that is something I really would have liked to see. I don’t think it’s even remotely time to count the Twin Flavors down and out, but it is interesting to see both copies in the Top 8 were straight U/R. Again, I think this was due to people being ready to beat Bloom and Tron.

Elves is a deck that can go very wide, very quickly, and at instant speed. It does not play like Junk Company, in that it is less combo and more about reaching critical mass. The G/B/x decks (at least Junk in my opinion) can have a very difficult time dealing with a “go wide” strategy. Maybe people weren’t prepared for it, or maybe he survived the bad rounds and reached a point where the Top 8 was literally 7 other combo decks.  Does Elves have a good combo match up? It’s hard to say. The winner mentioned in this post win interview that he felt he got lucky against Ad Nauseam, and the finals were literally 1 game due to an unfortunate Game Loss awarded to the Twin Player for an illegal deck list. I don’t think Elves making it to Top 8 is a fluke, but it’s very possible Elves beating multiple Combo deck in the Top 8 was. Regardless, this is a deck we will have to keep our eyes on moving forward as it may be the next “big thing.”

That leads up to the next question, why so much combo in Top 8?

It’s possible what with the expected meta game, that the decks that hate on combo, were pushed out by the decks like Tron and Bloom. If I had to guess, Tron and Bloom did the heavy lifting, knocking out the G/B/x decks early on, paving the way for all the combo, because they didn’t have to fight through as much disruption. When your opponents are trying to go big and over the top, with giant monsters, some people will just ignore everything they do and try to kill them. Don’t interact with them, make it so they can’t interact with you, and just win. Ad Nauseam is very good at this. They play lots of cards that say, you can’t lose the game this turn. That’s a very difficult thing to overcome if you want to OHKO your opponent.  Some people may argue that Burn isn’t a combo deck, but I disagree. It’s also very uninteractive. Unless you have counter magic out the wazoo, you aren’t doing anything to stop them from burning you out. So whatever the reason maybe, it is important to notice the trend of 7 out of 8 decks being combo.

If you look at 9th-16th you’ll fine 4 more Company decks (1 Naya, 3 Abzan). The first G/B/x deck doesn’t even show up until the first page in the 17th-24th. I think Graveyard hate is going to become more essential than ever. Tron will probably og back to being a fringe player. Bloom should hold about steady. Affinity is going to start creeping up again like predicted. Burn is still good. Twin is still absurd. Somewhere amongst all of these lies G/B/x. What’s it going to take for us to make a comeback? We need to use G/B/x’s flexibility to gain an edge against these archetypes. I still don’t know if Jund or Junk is better. The answer continues to be, “it depends.” Which is a terrible thing to write an article about, I realize.

I’m still sticking by my opinion that Twin is the best deck in Modern. Company is going to continue to grow in popularity, so graveyard hate and sweepers (for those damn elves) are going to be important. We will see where Burn goes from here, but it appears to have fallen off a bit. Definitely don’t let go of your affinity hate just yet.  For reference (and because I want to have a primer posted soon *AHEM*, Matt) here’s the list I’m currently playing:

Junk Midrange:
Creatures (12)
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Siege Rhino
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Planeswalkers (5)
4 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (19)
3 Path to Exile
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Dismember
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Thoughtseize
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lingering Souls

Lands (24)
2 Swamp
1 Forest
1 Plains
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
1 Godless Shrine
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Windswept Heath
2 Marsh Flats
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Stirring Wildwood
2 Treetop Village
2 Tectonic Edge

Side Board (15):
2 Choke
2 Feed the Clan
2 Stoney Silence
1 Creeping Corrosion
1 Batterskull
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Fulminator Mage
1 Duress
1 Zealous Persecution

There are changes I’d like to try, like:

  • Add a third Scavenging Ooze
  • Switch the Tec Edges for Ghost Quarters as they play very well with Path to Exile
  • Maybe move Sorin to the board
  • Possibly take Thrun, Engineered Explosives and Batterskull out of the board (last one due to Kolaghan’s Command)
  • Add Damnation and Leyline of the Void to the board

But these are all things I’ll get into when we really dive into Junk Midrange next week. Until then, be prepared for Twin, Collected Company, Elves, Bloom, Affinity and Jund. Those are the big ones. Burn, Junk, Infect, Tron, Control (Grixis and U/W/R) less so, but it’s still very likely you could run into them.

Thanks for taking the time to read. As always, you can email us at MonderGentlemenGaming@gamil.com. We take questions, comments, concerns, and content ideas! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. Click “Follow” over on the right to follow the blog and never miss an update! Thanks again, and good luck navigating the Modern landscape!

-Andy

SCG Invitational and Looking Forward in Modern

Welcome back to Modern Gentlemen Gaming!

This is the first official article, and boy, does it feel good to be back! Welcome, welcome, welcome! If you’re a new-comer, I cannot stress it enough. If you’ve made your way over here from East Timber Basement MTG, then welcome back! I’m glad you found you’re way here. Something important to note is if you liked receiving notifications on new articles, then you’ll need to re-follow this blog. Just click “Follow” over on the right and/or submit your email address. This way, you’ll never miss an update!

Thank you, and let’s get to the article.

Matt and I have formed Team MGG to better serve you guys, the readers. Obviously we’re still going to be focused on MTG, but we’re adding a whole bunch of new stuff to our repertoire. We left off in The Basement deep into modern testing. I’m going to be updating and reposting a lot of that content over here, so we have a compendium. The other good news that I mentioned in our introductory post was the insane amount of Modern tournaments going on. Today marks the beginning of Grand Prix Charlotte. I have no idea where the meta is going to go after this weekend, but I can tell you that Star City Games’ Invitational LAST weekend really shook things up.

If you don’t know, the Invitationals are usually Standard and Legacy. SCG mixed it up and made it Standard and Modern, with the top 8 being Modern. So, let’s take a look at that top 8.

1st– G/R Tron
2nd– Amulet Bloom
3rd– Jund
4th– Merfolk
5th– G/R Tron
6th– Abzan Company
7th– Amulet Bloom
8th– Grixis Twin

Mother of God… What is happening?! This is a FAR cry from the meta we saw at the Pro Tour. Those days are far behind us. The top decks used to be Junk Midrange, U/R Twin, Burn and Infect. Now, lots of Junk players are switching to Jund, Twin is shifting to Grixis, Burn and Infect are slowly fading away, Bloom appears to be getting more and more popular, and finally… where the HELL did Tron come from?

As a Junk Midrange player, all of this scares the hell out of me. Tron is (supposedly) a horrific match up for us. These results will definitely cause an uptick in the number of Tron players for the next month or so. Against Bloom, discard is our primary weapon and, admittedly, not the best angle of attack. In addition, we basically have to have a Path to Exile in our opening hand or we’re in serious trouble. Merfolk is a very weird thing to see in this Top 8. I actually, very recently, had the opportunity to play a bunch of games against Merfolk. The Collected Company decks have been growing in popularity steadily in the flavor of Elves and Junk Company. Junk Company looks to out value you with Eternal Witness and Finks, and does a very interesting Pod impression with Merlia and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit infinite combos.  Jund has gotten much more popular due to Kolaghan’s Command.

So a lot of these shifts in the meta make sense. Everyone was on Junk Midrange, as that is the “best deck” Day Zero, when you don’t know what you’re playing against. G/B/x decks are decks that can be tuned to beat almost anything, and have good game against most of the field. It’s a safe choice that rewards knowing what you want to beat and knowing your deck inside and out. Once new cards are introduced to the format (Kolaghan’s Command and Collected Company) old archetypes get a revival, new archetypes are made, and everyone must adjust to beat those decks. So, how do we beat them?

Amulet Bloom

Blood Moon is good. That is a given. If they aren’t getting value from the double lands and Amulet of Vigor, they cannot power out huge threats. If they cannot get their appropriate colors, they cannot kill you with Hive Mind. Land destruction will only slow them down. You cannot rely on Fulminator Mage alone; you have to combine it with a clock. This goes doubly with discard and disruption. These act as faux “tempo” plays, as Bloom will kill you eventually, if you let it. The actual Amulet doesn’t necessarily kill you either; it just helps them kill you faster. So again, Decaying the Amulet slows them down and gives you time to get a clock on them. The issue with Decay is there are very few targets for it and it doesn’t kill their win conditions. Spellskite does a decent job slowing them down, as they cannot power up their Primeval Titan to OHKO you. Granted, this also means you need a rather large Goyf (or some decent sized blockers) on the field as well, but it’s definitely possible.

Tron

So it’s funny because you’d think Blood Moon might be good here as well.  The reality is it’s kind of the inverse of Bloom. Whereas Blood Moon stops Bloom in its tracks, Tron can still cast its threats with Mountains. It will get to 6, 7, and 8 mana to just cast Wurmcoils, Karns and Ugins. Then against Bloom, where Land Destruction only slows them, it does handicap Tron. Fulminator, Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter (being played by Gerry Thompson), all do a great job keeping their lands to a minimum. Combined with threats creating a clock (sensing a theme?) you will be able to stop them from going over the top. This is also another deck where Decay can look embarrassing. Decaying an Expedition Map can help slow them down, but you have to catch them tapped out, and outside of that you don’t have a ton of targets.  Gerry also mention Boom//Bust as a great option here and I agree. This is a deck that doesn’t run a ton of fetches, as they cannot fetch Tron pieces. So by casting Boom, you target a Tron piece and one of your fetches; you can then sac your fetch in response and force just them to sacrifice their land. It’s a gross play.

Collected Company

There are two flavors of Collected Company. The Junk version seems to be the more popular of the two. This deck uses Company at instant speed to gain value. It can be through Kitchen Finks for life gain, a sizeable threat, and a resilient creature, Eternal Witness, to rebuy Company, or other value cards, or to just win on the spot with infinite life combos. The first thing I would say is all of those mentioned lines use the graveyard in some way. I first thought about adding a couple of Gralfdigger’s Cage to my side board. Gerry Thompson has been championing Leyline of the Void. Basically if you can cut off access to the graveyard, their deck becomes a bunch of mediocre creatures. Cage stops creatures from coming into play straight from the library, but doesn’t really stop the graveyard (Cage is better suited for fighting Snapcaster Mage). Leyline doesn’t stop the actual card Collected Company, but it does entirely remove any graveyard interaction. If you already have a way to stop Snapcaster Mage (like Scavenging Ooze), then I would totally go with Leyline of the Void. The issue is it is a Black card as opposed to an Artifact. Other options would be Rest in Peace, or Relic or Progenitus, but Leyline may be the cleanest answer. A well timed Anger of the Gods can really put a pinch in their plans due to the exile clause.

Elves is another story. This is something I’ve personally seen start to become more popular, so I am unsure if it is more so than Junk Company. This deck simply uses Company to put more and more elves into play. They want to hit a critical mass of creatures, generate a ton of mana and Overrun you with Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Obviously, graveyard is much less of a factor and controlling their board is key. Anger of the Gods is very good as even with one or two lords, you still wipe their board. Damnation is great as it gets around the Regenerate on Ezuri. Wrath of God is the same but White. Cheap removal is important for helping you get to turn 4 or 5 and actually cast the big sweepers. Lightning Bolt does a fantastic job of slowing them down. Zealous Persecution or Golgari Charm can get them before they play a lord. I have also always been a fan of Engineered Explosives, but it appears to be less popular than it used to be.

Choosing a Deck

Burn can probably handle Tron and Bloom pretty well, but has a pretty difficult time beating the life gain out of Junk Company. With Company keeping Burn in check, it could be contributing to the swell in the other two archetypes.

Infect is probably in a similar vein. It is definitely fast enough to beat Tron and Bloom, but Melira is actually seeing play again. That small fact could be enough to warrant NOT playing Infect, which would give room for Tron and Bloom to flourish.

Twin seems like a pretty good answer to all three of the archetypes. I’ve mentioned in many of my Modern musings previously that you need a way to just win out of nowhere. No deck does it like Twin does. It’s a great deck that does not rely solely on the combo, which forces your opponent to defend on multiple angles. Twin can be faster than Tron, can slow down Bloom with counter magic long enough to combo, and just combo BETTER than Junk CoCo. This is a deck I’d fully expect to rip thought a meta full of Tron, Bloom, and Company.

With all of the hate cards in mind, it’s no wonder that Gerry Thompson has been all about Jund. It has access to many of tools to beat these archetypes. This is another deck that has also been gaining popularity due to Kolaghan’s Command. It does everything a Jund deck wants to be doing. It can disrupt, buyback a threat, help you get to those long, grindy stages of a game, and even kill things.

So if I had to guess what the meta will look like at the GP it would be something like the following:

Tron will get a boost in popularity due to its highly successful finish at the Invitational; same goes for Bloom. Both of these archetypes will contain players who were on the fence about playing a “mediocre” deck, and the Invitational results will force them off the fence, back into the Tron or Bloom camp.  Junk Company will continue to rise in popularity, and this may include Elves. I think the Junk version is probably better than Elves, so I don’t expect to see any Elves in the top 8 (but if Merfolk did it, why not Elves?).  Twin will continue to be popular due to its “free win” angle. It is always a solid deck choice. Jund will continue to pick up steam, what with many high profile players battling with it, and it’s access to many tools needed to win against the meta. I think Affinity is posed to make a comeback. It’s been pretty quiet for a while, and that usually means people will begin dropping their Artifact hate. As soon as that happens, BOOM! Robots Attack! It may not be this weekend, but I think it’s on the horizon. Lastly, I predict Junk, Infect, Burn, and the like will all be in the lower percentages of representation.

If I could play any deck this weekend at the GP, I would choose U/R Twin, Jund, or Junk. Twin has Red which gives you Blood Moon, Anger, Pyroclasm, Bolt, etc. Jund has access to the same, but with Black added for Leyline and “better” options for removal. The only reason I would consider playing Junk is, if enough people are on Jund to beat the meta, Junk might be a good choice to win those G/B/x mirror matches. This honestly feels like a stretch to me, because in all reality Jund and Twin are probably best. I just can’t help but at least mention Mr. Rhinoceros.

Regardless, I’m excited to watch some magic this weekend since I am unable to actually attend the GP. It’s going to be a great weekend. I have a few primers planned. I’d like to do one for each of the major archetypes. This way, they will always be available for reference, and I can update them as time goes on. I have a few on the old blog that I would like to move over and update, and then I’ll be creating the others. In between these posts, I’ll be writing about major tournaments, and finally start talking about Hearthstone as this season progresses. Thanks for tuning in this week. If any of you guys are going to GP Charlotte, send me your stories about how you did or the decks you played with. We’d love to hear from you.

As always, feel free to comment below. You can email me with comments questions, or concerns at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your ideas for a future post! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. You can click “Follow” on the right side to follow the blog and make sure you never miss an update from Team MGG! Thanks again for your support during this rebuilding phase and good luck at the GP!

-Andy