Hello all! I’m heading into Bilbao very soon, and in that light, it’s time to a look into Modern, check out the new decks and my current (pst same) list! Also there will be a special announcement(s) to the end that I’m sure you are more than anxious to hear! So without further delay, hop in!
State Of Modern
The current Modern metagame has evolved from the last time quite a bit. Arclight Phoenix decks have proven to be a serious contender, not only that but we have seen a resurgence of Grixis Death’s Shadow and Burn, now wearing Rakdos Colors and having access to Skewer The Critics, Bump In The Night and Light Up The Stage. Also the 4C Whir Prison deck is definitely a real threat. Dredge has, like always been a solid threat and keeps showing up. So definitely the graveyard is _the_ angle of attack in Modern at the moment. Now some of these changes aren’t very good for us unfortunately. Both Burn and Grixis Death’s Shadow are real hard matchups, even with some sideboard help. So that definitely isn’t the best thing going for us in the future. 4C Whir feels pretty even, they have lots of super frustrating lock pieces (and ways to tutor them with Whir Of Invention), but no pressure. So that at least gives us hope of piecing together a win.
I will also say, Phoenix has started to maindeck Surgical Extraction because it’s just a free spell to trigger Archlight Phoenix, hits nicely in the mirror and against Dredge for example. Can also just be Faithless Lootinged away if it’s not good in the matchup. Now this is annoying for us, so if and when you face U/R Phoenix, keep that card in mind! The best way to combat this plan is Noxious Revival to guard the card they try to Surgical away, or then making sure that you have 5 mana floating after Gifts Ungiven. Remember, you have priority after Gifts, so what you can do is Flashback Past In Flames, hold control and cast your other rituals in hand. Yes, they still get to Surgical, but at least they dont hit your Past In Flames, after this you should have enough cantrips to draw into the killing Grapeshot (especially because we run 3 and not 2).
But like always, coin has 2 sides, the good thing going in the Burn matchup is the fact that they play much more Sorcery speed stuff, Bump In The Night, Skewer The Critics and Light Up The Stage are all sorceries, so they can’t hold as many burn spells up at instant speed, and that creates the window for us to kill them. Granted the matchup is still bad, but a bit more doable then Boros Burn in my eyes. Many have also tried Madcap Experiment and Platinum Emperion Combo to combat Burn. Now this plan, is not great. Yes it sounds incredible on theory, but once you try it, you will see what’s wrong. And the problem is that Rakdos Burn plays Rakdos Charm in the sideboard (which can blow up artifacts), and they board it in no matter what because it hits our graveyard AND answers Empty The Warrens. Boros Burn on the other hand plays Path To Exile for example, so both builds can and will deal with Platinum Emperion. Yes it won me some games, IF they don’t find those answer cards, yeah it’s great. But more often than not, it just gets removed and then you are truly in trouble. It also creates some real annoying mulligan situations if you happen to have the Platinum Emperion(s) in hand. You just have to automulligan those hands. 1 Final thing to note about this plan is that it takes 6 slots from sideboard. 6 Cards, is a lot let me tell you. You have to shave all the Pieces Of The Puzzles so against discard decks, you basically have no chance. So for these reasons, I would never recommend playing this combo.
Other option that people have tried was splashing White and playing Timely Reinforcements, now this is kinda sweet, but suffers from 1 fatal flaw. It doesn’t answer Eidolon Of The Gret Revel, our nemesis card. The way I see this card, it only prolongs the inevitable.
Grixis Shadow we have to take the advantage of them taking a lot of self damage in order to get those Death’s Shadows online. So you don’t necessarily need to “fully” go off in order to win, small Grapeshots can easily kill them. We can also tune the sideboard a bit, so if you have trouble with this matchup and your meta is filled with this deck, add more Empty The Warrens and Lightning Bolt effects to fight on a different axis.
4C Whir is still a bit new to me personally, I would say I have faced it 10-30 times so far. So my sample sizes are fairly small. It plays very similarly to Lantern Control but they pack much more hard lock pieces like Chalice Of The Void, Damping Sphere and Witchbane Orb all in the main deck. Thankfully they have 0 pressure, so you have time to try to find the pieces for the win. This matchup is also the other reason that I absolutely want to keep Repeal in! It serves as a critical bounce for that key hate piece that would prevent us from winning.
Overall, Modern is great at the moment, meta feels fairly open and wide, granted those decks above are very good and will see loads of play, especially Phoenix. But I have faced anything from UW Control to Boggles to even Ad Nauseam. So the meta is not just those 3 bad matchups I guarantee ya. Those specific decks are trouble for us sure. But who knows what’s going to happen, then again, decks that are great versus the decks above, are fairly poor against Storm. So I wouldn’t drop your hopes if you want to keep Storming! I was even considering a different deck for Bilbao, but in the end I remembered my love for Storm and you fantastic people out there. So no fear, I will be sleeving up my Grapeshots!
My build has stayed the same as before, this has been due to the fact that the meta has stayed in a shape that I haven’t had the need to really change anything, especially from the main deck. Repeal feels very needed to answer those hate pieces that we talked about, Merchant Scroll has been winning games very consistently and Remands do their job very nicely. 7th cost-reducer was a thing I tried, but it never felt like I really needed more of them. Most have shaved Noxious Revival and I can understand that call, it’s a very weird card in the sense that it does so many great things, and can just suck at times. I still find the effect of making many Gifts Ungiven piles just autowin, and heck even just recurring fetchlands or cantrips is great! Against Aggro it does stink, so if you want a 7th cost-reducer, cutting Noxious Revival is the way to go. Call me stubborn, but when a list works, it works!
Below is my updated sideboard guide, the new decks are added first like always!
BUG Wilderness Reclamation
Essentially a new control deck, but they are using Wilderness Reclamation and Mystical Teachings as their engine cards to keep their mana untap and tutoring different answer cards. Blue Sun’s Zenith is their kill card, or just random Snapcaster Mage+Creeping Tar Pit beatdowns. Now this matchup is not the easiest for us, they run multiple good counters like Spell Snare, Remand, Mana Leak, Cryptic Command and some removal like Fatal Push. Also their whole deck plays at instant speed so it’s much harder to find an opening to kill them. Good thing is that they have literally no pressure, so you have time to hit enough land drops and baiting them out with Gifts Ungiven and just killing with double Grapeshot from hand.
Postboard Empty The Warrens is your best friend, they don’t play many answer cards for that plan. Cryptic Command only delays the inevitable, so really try to go for that plan. Gigadrowse and Swan Song are obviously great since we are dealing with control deck and Swan Songs ability to hit Wilderness Reclamation is huge! We do also have to go for Pieces Of The Puzzle due to them having Surgical Extraction and other graveyard hate postboard+jamming Pieces against their counterspells forces them to act.
4C Whir Prison
Very close to Lantern Control, they don’t run the “Mill Rocks” that Lantern does, instead they pack more disruption pieces like Damping Sphere, Tormod’s Crypt, Chalice Of The Void, Witchbane Orb and such. So a harder version of Lantern you could say. This mathchup is not great for, they pack so many ways to disrupt our game plan that it’s hard for us to piece the win together. Good thing is that they have absolutely no clock, so you have time to try to get it all together. Just try to go off quickly on turn 3, or then utilizing Remand for their Chalice and/or Repeal to bounce their key piece away.
Postboard we turn our deck around completely, Gifts Ungiven just isn’t reliable here, thanks to their many graveyard hate cards. Try to kill them via Empty The Warrens or just going with the good but trusty Pieces Of The Puzzle plan. They usually keep in Ensnaring Bridges for Goblins but we board in all of our bounces and artifact hate in order to combat them.
GB Midrange (Jund, Abzan, GB)
UW Control (Azorius)
UWR Control (Jeskai+Spell Quellers)
UWR Control (Jeskai no Spell Quellers)
Collected Company Decks (Abzan, Bant, GW Company)
RUG/Bring To Light Scapeshift
Classic Tron (RG, GW, MonoG)
Mono U Tron
Death’s Shadow Variants (Grixis, Esper, 4-5c, Jund)
Death&Taxes Variants (MonoW, GW, BW Eldrazi)
Soul Sisters/Martyr Proc
Hardened Scales Affinity
Zoo (5C, Naya)
Living End (Jund)
Living End (Blue)
BR Hollow One
Now then, the news I’m sure many have been waiting! Yes, my Storm token is complete and they are currently in the jaws of the printter and waiting to be shipped to yours truly!
“Well how it looks then??” You ask? Well, your long wait is over!
I have to say, InklinCustoms has done a fantastic job! Now I will have them, hopefully withing next month or so. They are available for order too! Just PM me on Twitter or in Discord to place your orders. Signed or Unsigned, you choose! 🙂
And in the other news, Combo Cabals is now fully owned by me! I have removed the WordPress Domain, so this is again a nice step further on polishing my site, the way I want it to be!
Last but the hell not the least, I have completed my Foil Storm! 75 Is now fully shiny, many years of hunting cards has finally come to an end, a bittersweet feeling I must say. But hey, end of 1 project means the start of another foil project! So no worries, will not run out of foils to buy 😛
I will be at GP Bilbao this weekend, if anyone wants to just say hi or hang around, don’t be shy to pop up and say it. I’m there whole weekend Storming and hopefully (and finally) making Day 2 again. Wish me luck, let’s take Storm to the top and show those Phoenix decks who is the top U/R Deck in Magic!
Until next Storms!