SCG Regional Deck Dive

While there was a Standard Pro-Tour going on this past weekend, countless other Magic players across the country gathered together to do battle in what is easily the most popular competitive format Magic has ever had: Modern. SCG’s Regionals crowned victors all over the country and the results of these events gave us lots of sweet deck lists to peek at all at once.

In total there were over a 100 Top 8 lists posted from over a dozen different states. Today, I would like to pull out a few of the sweeter lists that broke through to the single elimination matches in different parts of the country.

Up first we have an especially sweet aggressive deck:


Lightning Bolt is undeniably one of the best pieces of removal and interaction in Modern, so naturally this means playing eight must be better than playing just four. While not exactly Lightning Bolt, Wizard’s Lightning does a pretty good job of imitating one of Magic’s most iconic cards.

At its core, this deck functions as a Blue Burn deck that utilizes cantrips to find the best burn spells in Modern more consistently. Past the suite of Sleight of Hand, Opt, and Serum Visions, we also find three copies of Faithless Looting which can turn additional lands into gas in the mid to late game. This deck also gets to leverage the power of Snapcaster Mage, a card traditional Burn decks in Modern can only dream of having access to.

Up next we have a fan favorite color combination that often comes up just a bit short in Modern:


Effectively a {B}{G} midrange deck splashing Blue for Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Serum Visions, this list is mostly a reasonable assortment of Modern legal cards. The thing that jumps out at me the most in this list is the fact that it contains four copies of Dark Confidant, with the only main deck sources of life gain being two copies of Scavenging Ooze. It’s worth noting that hiding in the mana base is also three copies of Creeping Tar Pit which is a reasonable upgrade from Hissing Quagmire in most games of Modern when it comes to dealing damage.

Next we have an archetype that is near and dear to my heart. I have found memories with this one all the way down to the 61st main deck card:


Not only does this deck contain the Dominaria card Shalai, Voice of Plenty, it also contains a copy of Standard all-star Goblin Chainwhirler. While this triple Red goblin is going to be difficult to cast on occasion, people who have played Kiki Chord in the past are no stranger to drawing an uncastable goblin. All in all, I think Chainwhirler is an excellent addition to this archetype and it is one I am surprised I had missed previously. In the past, Kiki Chord had often splashed for cards like Orzhov Pontiff or Izzet Staticaster for clearing out tokens, so having a Naya colored card that could provide this effect on a reasonable body is fairly good.

The thing I like most about this main deck is the recognition that Kiki Chord is a deck that needs to interact more and race less. We see this with the inclusion of not only four Path to Exile, but also three copies of Lightning Helix. Helix not only provides supplemental removal, but it can also buffer our health total against decks like Burn.

Speaking of Burn, this is a matchup that Matthew obviously wanted to slam dunk. Not only are there copies of Burrenton Forge-Tender and Obstinate Baloth in the board, but there is also a singleton Lone Missionary hanging out to gain lots of life.

The only specific thing that jumps out to me as a bit odd in this list is the lack of copies of Damping Sphere in the 75. I feel like this is a fantastic tool for a midrange-combo deck like this one for some of the harder matchups like Storm and Tron.

I think if I was going to take a crack at playing a traditional Kiki Chord style deck like this, I would start with something along the lines of:


Traditional Kiki Chord was not the only Kiki combo deck to finish in the Top 8 of a regional:


Unlike Kiki Chord which tries to be a bit bigger and more interactive, this creature combo deck is a bit lower to the ground and more linear. Lotus Cobra in combination with fetch lands, Renegade Rallier, Saheeli Rai, and an Eldritch Evolution can actually end the game as early as the second turn with an absolute nut draw.

While there is not any strict removal in the main deck of this configuration, two copies of Reflector Mage, as well as Huntmaster of the Fells give you some control over the board in games you need to go a bit longer. Tireless Tracker and Voice of Resurgence also let you grind out a bit of card advantage when you need to.

Finally I would like to wrap up with a pair of aggressive decks that caught my eye. First we have a deck looking to create explosive starts on the back of Burning-Tree Emissary and Hidden Herbalists:


Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile are arguably the two best pieces of removal in Modern for different reasons. Combining them with efficient threats is a good way to get people dead as fast as possible. The fun of Devastating Summons in conjunction with Reckless Bushwhacker also makes me a touch giddy to think about.

Then we have an aggressive deck that goes a little bit larger up the curve in comparison:


If you are a fan of power Naya cards there is a lot to like in this list:

Ajani Vengeant
Arlinn Kord
Thundermaw Hellkite
Sigarda, Host of Herons

Arlinn Kord is especially interesting in that we do not generally see her every day. I like that she both serves the role of generating board advantage via tokens when we need it, while also being able to help us pressure our opponent’s health total by boosting our creatures as well. Flexible cards like this allow our midrange deck to assume different roles depending on where we are at in a given game of Magic.

The only thing that strikes me as a bit odd in the main deck is the volume of one-of creatures. It feels slightly out of place in a deck that does not have a tutor of any sort to find the specific creatures you’re looking for.

Wrapping Up

As always, Modern feels like an endless landscape of decks to explore. Did you play at SCG Regionals last weekend? Were there any decks that stood out to you as sweet that you saw or played against that maybe finished outside of the Top 8? Let me know in a comment below!

Cheers,
—Jeff Hoogland


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