Picking a Weapon for Modern

Do I want to utilize the power of Tron lands with huge spells, the Golgari and the graveyard, or the impulsive yet somehow calculated Izzet Storm? I could also put people in prison with Lantern Control, or I could wield the power of fire and lightning to burn my opponent’s faces off. Everything except that last option (come on now) is a weapon I would gladly wield in a Modern event. While you’re reading this, I will be traveling to the SCG Baltimore Open for the team tournament they will be having. If you couldn’t already tell, I am the Modern player for the event. I have two decks I am thinking about. One is Lantern Control with Whir of Invention and the other is Jeskai Control. I also want to be ready for the new boogeyman in Modern, Five Color Humans. So, I will be mentioning the humans deck then I will go into my options for the weekend.

Hate, that’s what started all of this. It’s how this deck was created and born. In hate! It was originally just called “Hate Bears” and it was Care Bears evil and twisted cousin. Now the hate has spread, and it has infected its best host yet, humans. Humans can be conniving though, and they’ve changed their name. They have named themselves, the “Rainbow Human Warriors.”


Kitesail Freebooter
So much hate! Hate for every deck! At least they aren’t destroying our lands anymore with Ghost Quarters and Leonin Arbiters. Instead, they are just making all our lands come into play tapped, spells cost more, taking cards out of our hand, and just straight out forbidding us from playing our spells with Meddling Mage.

They have the tools to do almost anything they want, which is stopping you from doing what you want. Kitesail Freebooter was an amazing addition to the deck and works so well with Meddling Mage. First they take a card from your hand and then play Meddling Mage with an Aether Vial after seeing your hand, you better pray you don’t have two copies of the same remove spell. They have super cheap threats that can kill you very quickly in Champion of the Parish, Mayor of Avabruck, and Mantis Rider. Counterspells are traditionally very bad against small creature decks but these Rainbow Humans take it to another level with Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial. They even have access to Izzet Staticaster for other small creatures, Xathrid Necromancer for control decks with board wipes, card advantage in Dark Confidant, more storm hate with Ethersworn Canonist, and even graveyard hate in Anafenza, the Foremost. They have a plethora of more humans they can choose from since it’s Modern.

A very powerful and hateful deck that put three people in the Top 4 of the Modern PTQ. This is Pseudonym’s list and he had the highest placing human decklist, which was second place.

With this deck in mind there are two decks that I’m looking at to wield in Baltimore. The first is a Lantern Control variant. The variant? It plays Whir of Invention.


It’s everyone’s favorite deck! It’s a different kind of hate than Five Color Humans. It doesn’t kill you nearly as fast but it sure does lock you out of the game quicker. Lantern Control has been a strange deck in Modern for some time ever since Zac Elisk brought it to light. People have tinkered with Glint Nest Cranes, Whir of Invention, and a lot of other Kaladesh block toys but player F2104 (what a name) is going in the right direction. Every land in the deck produces blue except for your powerful utility lands, Academy Ruins and Inventors’ Fair. This is to insure you can cast Whir of Invention early and efficiently. Whir of Invention is artifacts Chord of Calling and let me tell you, artifacts are stronger than creatures. Lantern Control has really wanted to play like two more copies of Lantern of Insight but it can’t because no card like it exists that doesn’t cost a ton of mana. Whir of Invention lets you play eight copies without having to play eight copies. Whir not only lets you setup your lock in Lantern of Insight and Codex Shredder but it also finds you other powerful artifacts that progress your game plan or hinder your opponents. Here are just some things you can do with Whir of Invention:

  • Whir in response to a Grape Shot or even a Liliana of the Veil ultimate by tutoring up a Witchbane Orb. It’s great in a pinch to stop burn decks from burning your face.
  • You can Whir for Pithing Needle or Sorcerous Spyglass to shut down annoying cards like Ghost Quarter or powerful cards like Karn Liberated. You can even get your opponent if they have two fetchlands with the same name. You can Whir for Pithing Needle and if they don’t crack those in response to Whir of Invention you can get a Pithing Needle and essentially double Stone Rain them.
  • Whir also lets us play a card that is normally just for Sideboards, Grafdigger’s Cage. If you get paired up against an unfair deck that uses its graveyard, say like Dredge, all the sudden you have five ways to get a Grafdigger’s Cage to shut them down. What’s better than Grafdidder’s Cage against Dredge in games two and three? A Grafdigger’s Cage Game 1, when they have no answers to it.
  • Ensnaring Bridge is a great plan for this deck that many decks can’t beat. Having more ways to find your Bridge always helps.
  • Chalice of the Void on one got you down? Whir for an Engineered Explosives and get rid of every Chalice of the Void on the battlefield. You can then later just recur your Engineered Explosives with Academy Ruins and kill other things.
  • Whir of Invention opens the door to all kinds of possibilities. We have access to so many artifacts in Modern. Something like Mindlock Orb can be relevant if Scapeshift ever becomes tier one. It’s also just good against all your opponent’s fetchlands.
  • You can even Whir for other silly things like Bottled Cloister. You’ll have no hand for your opponent to tear apart with Thoughtseize or Inquistion of Kozilek and almost no creatures will be able to attack since you’ll have zero cards in your hand. On top of all that, you’ll draw an extra card every turn on your turn.

This deck is also solid against humans since they have little ways to interact with you outside of Kitesail Freebooter and Meddling Mage. Game 1 they have no way to deal with a resolved Ensaring Bridge. Even they do manage to name Ensnaring Bridge with a Meddling Mage, you can still kill it with Collective Brutality or just tutor up an Ensnaring Bridge with Whir of Invention.

The other list I’m considering playing is my Jeskai Azcanta list.


Torrential Gearhulk
This isn’t the traditional tempo Jeskai deck. It’s a very dedicated control deck. Don’t let it fool you, though, because, when it’s ready, it can turn the corner and close the game out very quickly. I got tired of paying six mana to Snapcaster my Cryptic Command or Glimmer of Genius. Even Snapcastering Electrolyze is five mana. Torrential Gearhulk still costs six if you’re getting Glimmer of Genius or Cryptic Command. All that costs the same and you get a 5/6 body. A 5/6 is huge! It’s so hard to kill and it can just eat things in combat and live. You know what’s great against a Reality Smasher? A 5/6 creature with flash.

Control decks in Modern can have a tough time keeping up and I’ve tried all sorts of Control decks, from Esper Control to Blue Moon. I’ve personally found Jeskai to be the best. You have cards that are reactive and proactive. Cards like Lighting Bolt and Lightning Helix are great removal spells but they are also fine top decks late game where as something like Inquisition of Kozilek can be just dead. You get to control the flow of the game and how it plays out, the key is to recognize what your role is. Don’t just pick a role and stick to it, that’s the biggest mistake people make with these types of decks. You might be the Control deck early on, but you can easily turn into the aggressor mid to late game. Mastering when to do so is fundamental. Be flexible; it’s the Jeskai Way.

I mentioned Control decks can have a tough time keeping up pound for pound because they tend to play more lands and they are mana hungry decks. Search for Azcanta helps so much with this. When Search for Azcanta flips into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin you can start keeping your hand full and you don’t have to tap out main phase to do so. It’s hard sometimes to bring in cards like Rest in Peace because you are playing things like Snapcaster Mage. Azcanta can help with at the very least by just scrying the top of your deck, if you manage to flip it first and just cast Rest in Peace later, you won’t even miss your graveyard. Remember you can always just bounce Rest in Peace late game with Cryptic Command if you need to.

I really like Jeskai Control but I also like Lantern. It’s going to be tough to pick one. I could ask my team mates which they think I should play, but where’s the fun in that? I’ll just sleeve both up and put them in a deckbox then ask my team mates to pick one. That’s a great solution to any problem, right? RNG BE WITH ME, PICK ME MY WEAPON!

As always, thanks for reading!
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi


Unstable is available for Preorder!

Comments

comments