Modern for SCG Cincinatti

I’ve had trouble lately.

Jace hasn’t impacted Modern the way I believed it would. It doesn’t really appear like Bloodbraid Elf has made a huge impact either. I don’t want to say that I was wrong, but I will imply it here that the sky hasn’t fallen.

Also, woops

It turns out trying to find the right balance in Modern for your Jace deck has proven a more difficult task than previously thought. We’ve seen players get close. Kevin Jones and Jim Davis, with Bant Company and Jeskai Control respectively, both narrowly Top 8’ed major Modern tournaments. While I’m not sure where Jace’s home will be, I do appreciate both sides of this coin to get something going with the Mind Sculptor.



As such, I’m really at a loss where I want to head to next in the Modern format. This weekend will be SCG Cincinnati, and while I’m not sure if myself or Dylan Hand will be in the middle seat, we decided that the most important find here would be the Modern deck. Since we have Legacy specialist Kevin King, there’s no need to worry about Legacy, and it looks like Standard is set up in such a way that playing something like Grixis Energy or {U}{B} midrange will be the best case for either myself or Dylan.

So let’s take a look at our short list for Modern and talk about the pros and cons of those lists. You may notice a trend in this list of being proactive. Modern has always been a format about playing what you’re comfortable with, but the way the format has been panning out we can see a pickup in this proactive decks that can play long games.

The first deck on the list is Humans.


Since Collins Mullens win with Humans, the aggressive tribe has been steadily putting up results. Boasting a consistent deck with quick kills and the ability to shut down decks with Meddling Mage and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben gives the deck surprising amounts of interaction. Kitesail Freebooter does double duty giving you both time and information, allowing for some informed turns. Nothing is better in Magic then having an idea what your opponent can do for sure and being able to counter it perfectly.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar give the deck an added dimension of having a late game powerhouse that’s going to be great against removal heavy decks. Against Jund, it’s going to be important to make their removal be as awkward as possible by going wide. Out of the sideboard, I think Hostage Taker is one of the greatest pieces of tech. Since you can cast the card you exile, you could steal a Bloodbraid Elf to even get full value. Removing blockers or getting ahead in the mirror is a nice bonus, but I’m looking at nabbing an Ensnaring Bridge against Lantern to get that last piece of damage through. Since we’re moving away from Kessig Malcontents to push through damage, it’s important that our late game make an impact. Bloodbraid Elf has almost required more creature interaction which makes how we build our Humans deck more important.

An old favorite but possibly well positioned deck is Burn.


Burn was a scary deck for quite some time, but fell off a little bit. Humans seems like a potentially scary matchup between Meddling Mage, Kitesail Freebooter, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and a fast clock with Thalia’s Lieutenant and Champion of the Parish, but I like how it matches up with the rest of the format. I’m seeing a lot of slow or clunky decks and Burn still maintains a fairly high level of consistency. If players are going to get greedy with four colors, Burn will always be there to punish them. It’s also the kind of deck that when folks forget about it can manage to take a tournament by storm. Storm could potentially be a tough matchup but I think some good game plans beating the deck is fairly reasonable.

A short time agom Brennan DeCandio played one of the sweetest decks I’ve seen with a card near and dear to my heart in Grim Flayer. I’ve always loved playing this card in plenty of decks and the four color Pyromancer deck Brennan Top 16ed SCG Dallas with looked like a blast to play and fantastic for grinding. Here’s my take which I will have played a bit this past weekend to get some reps in.


Traverse the Ulvenwald has consistently been one of the most powerful cards in Modern but also not the easiest to manage. This deck does a great job of working within the constraints of the card without making your deck atrocious. While Architects of Will is uncastable, it does a fine job of making Delirium a snap. Lingering Souls allows this deck to grind through any creature stall and the discard combined with heavy hitting creatures means the deck has the ability to put on a clock against every deck in the format. It has all the tools to succeed in the format between powerful removal and synergies to make your deck consistent. When your graveyard in some ways acts as an extension of your hand, it opens up a way to grind through most decks. With Jund being popular, being consistent is going to be key.

The last deck on our list and possibly the most important one is {B}{R} Hollow One. The deck has been picking up steam at a fast pace and has looked incredible. By most rights it breaks a lot of rules of Modern. Being able to kill on turn three makes it the fastest deck out there. Surprisingly, the deck has a lot of play to it despite looking completely random with the choice of card draw.


Because of our draw spells I’m not sold on the idea of Blood Moon. A card that you never want in your opener and have to hope you don’t discard off a draw spell since it costs three doesn’t seem ideal, but I certainly can see how it can just crush some decks. Since this deck plays on its own axis it’s fairly easy to mostly ignore what your opponent is doing.

No matter which deck we land on, I’m feeling pretty confident for our Modern seat. Modern is fairly wide open, and being proactive will be the best bet in the current meta. What Modern decks are you looking at playing?


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