I'm here to tell you: Your Modern deck is underpowered. The litmus test for Modern decks nowadays is being able to beat a turn-three Karn Liberated, a million 1/4s attacking you on turn four, a turn-four Grapeshot for 20 or more, a Wrath while putting 3/4s and 4/4s into play, or a turn-one Steel Overseer with three Memnites. You better have a damned good reason for playing a deck that doesn't do something degenerate . . . or a deck that has enough disruption to survive through these.
The March 17 Magic Online PTQ Top 8 is comprised of R/W/U Scepter–Delver, Splinter Twin, two mono-brown Tron decks, Jund, U/w Tron, MeliraPod, and W/b Aggro Martyr.
Charles Gindy, also known as thekid, managed take down this PTQ with the mono-brown Tron deck:
"Charles Gindy’s Mono-Brown Tron"
This deck breaks a lot of conventional thinking about deck-building for big-mana decks. There are only seventeen actual lands in your deck!? However, on closer inspection, you see that you have a bunch of artifacts that cycle (Chromatic Star, Chromatic Sphere, and Prophetic Prism), four Ancient Stirrings (which can find a land or a win condition), four Sylvan Scrying, and four Expedition Map.
After talking to Charles Gindy on Facebook about this deck for a bit, here is what he had to say regarding the deck and possible updates to it:
"Updated Mono-Brown Tron"
Other cards that are extremely effective against this deck: Blood Moon, Molten Rain, Avalanche Riders, and any other land destruction. The deck doesn't have any mana acceleration besides assembling the Tron, so in particular, Sowing Salt is even more lethal. If you decide to play a blue-based Tron deck in the upcoming weeks, Annex is a good option against mono-brown since it lets you assemble your Tron and keep your opponent off his.
The March 18 Magic Online PTQ Top 8 was comprised of Artifact Aggro (U/r/w), Caw-Blade, two Jund decks, Splinter Twin, Living End, Storm, and Hive Mind.
haiSOOOOdesu, aka Marco Orsini Jones, finally managed to take down a Magic Online PTQ after losing in the Top 8 multiple times.
His list has evolved quite a bit since the first Magic Online PTQ, ending up here:
"Marco Orsini Jones’s Caw-Blade"
The major changes from previous lists are the adoptions of Geist of Saint Traft, and two Elspeth, Knight-Errant to synergize with Geist of Saint Traft. For the most part, he hasn’t changed the core of the deck, and he just managed to grind enough PTQs to eventually win one!
Living End is back on the rise, and it seems to be a great metagame call with the rise of Tron decks—due to its copious amounts of land destruction (Beast Within, Fulminator Mage, and sideboarded Avalanche Riders).
Here’s an example of an evolved list:
This list seems pretty well-positioned at the moment seeing as how it has good matchups against Jund, Tron variants, the current Splinter Twin builds (since they don’t have Remand at the moment), and Affinity. Burn doesn't seem like the greatest matchup, although you can probably steal a few wins here and there with a fast Living End after cycling creatures on turns one and two.
After looking at the results from these two PTQs, if you want to have a representative metagame gauntlet, I would include Jund, Affinity, U/w Tron, mono-brown Tron, Splinter Twin, Storm, and R/W/U Delver Aggro. There's still a lot of room for innovation in this format, so don't be afraid to figure out a new way to attack the metagame, but do be sure to make certain that you have reasonable plans against most of the decks in the format. It's fine to take a certain matchup as an auto-loss. In some ways, Legacy and Modern share similarities: A lot of powerful, linear strategies exist, so taking one or two of them as an auto-loss is acceptable, but taking more than that is a bad formula for winning a given tournament.
As usual, you can contact me on Twitter @jkyu06, and any constructive criticism is appreciated.
P.S. Rizer (also known as Shintaro Ishimura) just won the Magic Online PTQ starting at 6:00 A.M. on March 24 with mono-brown Tron as well, but he included Wall of Roots in his seventy-five. (I do not yet have a list, but it will be published on the Wizards site relatively soon!)
P.P.S. Here’s an updated U/r Tron list that I would play if I were playing in any upcoming PTQs: