2 Decks You Should Be Playing In Modern

You can always count on SCG Players’ Championship Finalist Gerard Fabiano to take you to some great places with deckbuilding! See two great rogue lists for tomorrow’s #SCGDFW Modern Open and check out Gerard’s work on a great and underrepresented cause!

I’ve been playing a fair amount of Modern lately preparing for the RPTQ, GP Pittsburgh, and the StarCityGames.com Players’ Championship, so I wanted to
talk about a pair of decks that I think most people don’t even know about. Both of these decks are solid choices in Modern right now, and they’re both
under the radar which means that most of your opponents won’t immediately know what you’re up to at #SCGDFW.

Justin Bova played a Mono-Blue deck to a top 8 finish at a Premier IQ in Pennsylvania that is very close to the following:

I only made a few changes to the original decklist. For starters, the list had 61 cards, so I trimmed it down to 60. In addition I replaced a few of the
Islands that the deck originally played for some of the legendary lands. Players who play a fair amount of Modern know that the reason to run some of these
lands instead of basic Islands is so that you have more of a chance against a sideboard card like Choke or Boil. On the other hand, those lands sometimes
give you problems against Blood Moon, but luckily this list is running Islands for almost all of its lands so that should not be a real problem. The deck
has very smooth draws and can take nearly infinite turns. One reason I specifically say nearly is because there is no infinite combo or anything that
actually guarantees you can continually Time Walk, but the deck is full of repetitive effects, however, which generally allows you to continue taking extra
turns once you position yourself.

This deck is also pretty interesting because there are a lot of options for potential splashes moving forward. Splashing white gives you the option of
running Narset Transcendent as well as a few dedicated sideboard cards. Planeswalkers are generally very good in these style decks because you’re able to
get an extra activation in during each of your Time Walk turns. This is a very common strategy in Cube decks, as well as Standard for a time a few years
ago. A black splash gives you the option of running discard and removal spells. I’m not sure that you really need discard spells, however, because of how
redundant the deck is; each type of spell in the decklist has multiple cards that produce a similar effect, meaning that a discard spell isn’t nearly as
effective at stripping a particular card. You’re also able to see a large number of cards over the course of the game, which also makes your opponents
discard spells less potent.

The way the deck works is that you try to stay alive through your counters while making land drops until you’re able to start taking extra turns. Dictate
of Kruphix is the Howling Mine effect of choice, with the major distinction of having flash. Dictate allows you to keep your counterspell mana open on your
opponent’s turn while still being able to play Dictate during their end step. Once you have one Dictate of Kruphix on the battlefield, it means that you
get to see many extra cards for every Time Walk effect you play. It’s hard to fizzle once you have one on the battlefield, and I think that it’s actually
nearly impossible once you have two on the battlefield. Another card I’m considering trying to find room for is an actual copy or two of Howling Mine.
Having Dictate of Kruphix on the battlefield is very important for going off, so it seems to make sense that you would want more copies if possible.

Gigadrowse is very powerful in a few different matchups and is possibly the best card in the deck. Against control, you’re able to tap their lands during
their end step to make sure that you can resolve your spells. Against aggro, the card is still great at tapping your opponents’ creatures and giving you
time to set up.

Part the Waterveil is the most recently printed extra turn effect, and it seems insane in this deck. I’ve never lost a game where I cast the card with
awaken, and it happened multiple times during my most recent tournament with the deck. I’m considering cutting a copy of Walk the Aeons for a second copy
of Part the Waterveil moving forward; that’s how good the card is.

I spoke to Justin, who went 5-1-1 to draw into top 8 with the deck. He was eliminated in the top 8 after getting a game loss, but I think the deck is very
powerful. The game loss he got was for a deck registration error as he wrote down “4 Time Walk” instead of “4 Time Warp”. The lesson here is that everyone,
even seasoned players, should take the time to double check their decklists before submitting. It’s very easy to make a silly registration mistake, and
nobody should be losing games that way.

The other deck I wanted to talk about is one that I played against during the tournament when I was playing Grixis Delver, played by Trae Olson.

This deck actually has the potential to kill as early as turn 2 with multiple traps if you can believe it! The trap clause on Archive Trap is very easy to
trigger since almost every deck in Modern plays multiple fetchlands. Previously, this type of deck existed in a format with only the enemy colored
fetchlands, and I imagine Archive Trap is easier to activate now that Khans of Tarkir brought the allied fetchlands to Modern as well. Like the
extra turns deck, this deck is unique and hard to play against, which gives you an advantage that an expected deck like Affinity or Splinter Twin wouldn’t

The deck plays out similarly to Burn, in that you often ignore what your opponent is doing and point your spells directly at their head. The difference of
course is that you are attacking a resource that starts out with about 53 instead of 20. That may sound like a daunting task, but while the Burn generals
generally deal three damage, the mill cards mill between seven and thirteen each. In addition, Archive Trap is often cast for zero mana, which allows you
to effectively race other aggro decks that are still paying mana for all of their aggressive threats.

The big mill cards that have been present in most mill decks are Archive Trap and Glimpse the Unthinkable. These are the best mill cards, which is why the
deck is running the full playset of each. Breaking // Entering does a good impression of Glimpse the Unthinkable by milling eight cards to earn its spot in
the decklist. The last dedicated mill card is Mind Sculpt. I think that if you worked on the manabase for this deck, you would likely want to only run two
copies of Mind Sculpt and go up to four copies of Breaking // Entering. My opponent, however, ran three copies of each. There are also two copies of Mind
Funeral, which have the potential to mill a ton of cards on their own.

Visions of Beyond is likely at its best in this deck. Josh Utter-Leyton and Luis Scott-Vargas have recently run this card in their version of the Jeskai
Ascendancy Modern deck as a replacement for Treasure Cruise. In the Mill deck, the card is even better since you can consistently draw three cards off of
it. Even in the rare circumstances when you only draw one card, the card functions as a cheap cantrip in the earlygame. Many of you haven’t gotten a chance
to play with Ancestral Recall before, but believe me when I say you’re going to enjoy drawing three cards at instant speed for one blue mana.

Surgical Extraction provides a great angle for you to abuse against dedicated combo decks. Against a deck like Ad Nauseam or Splinter Twin, you’re able to
mill one half of their combo, and then remove all of the copies of that card from their maindeck. Against certain decks, this interaction is devastating
and gives you more than enough time to finish milling them for the win. If the deck picks up in popularity, then this card could also be used to exile a
card like an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn that helps your opponents shuffle their graveyard back into their library. After sideboarding, however, you have
access to four copies of Leyline of the Void to stop that interaction as well. Crypt Incursion gives you a cheap way to gain a ton of life against the
aggressive and midrange strategies that play a ton of creatures.

I played the Mono-Blue Time Warp deck at my most recent Modern tournament, but I’m considering playing this U/B Mill deck since it appears to be a powerful
strategy that isn’t getting much press. The thing that I love the most about Modern and Legacy is that there are so many different viable strategies,
especially compared to a smaller format like Standard. My one wish though would be for Wizards to support non-Standard formats more. Modern, Legacy, and
Limited are all great formats that constantly get less support than Standard. Only a few Legacy Grand Prix per year is not enough, and I would like to see
more. Modern is just as popular as Standard on many metrics, and yet Standard gets the majority of the coverage. I understand why the Pro Tour focuses on
Standard and the newly printed cards, but I would love to see more Grand Prix support for these Eternal and Limited formats. If you agree, please voice
your opinion and help us have more high level tournaments in these formats. I know I would love to see an SCG Invitational with the split format of Modern
and Legacy.

Top 3 Cards That May Spike in the Future

1. Stifle

2. Wasteland

3. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

I’ve been writing a little bit about card prices in my recent articles because I like saving my readers money when I can. I think that these three cards
are likely to go up in price in the short term due to format swings. Stifle and Wasteland were always Legacy staples, but both have gone down in price in
the last year due to the dominance of delve cards. Now that both Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are banned I think that both of these cards will come
back in a big way. Ugin has also been showing up a lot lately in Standard in this new R/G Eldrazi deck. I think that this deck is going to be pretty
popular in the coming weeks, so I would get a playset of Ugin while you can for relatively cheap.

Lastly, I just wanted to briefly mention a video that I worked on very hard with my students for a very charitable and important issue. Most of you know me
as Gerard Fabiano the Magic player, but during the week I go to work as Mr. Fabiano the teacher. Recently I teamed up with American Idol finalist Adam
Ezegelian and producer Spruke (both Magic players themselves) to make an anti-bullying rap song;

The three of us worked together with the Belleville High School students to create the song and the video to raise awareness about bullying and harassment
in our nation’s schools and online. The song is available for purchase on iTunes/CDBaby and all of the proceeds will go towards the Belleville High School
HIB Program to help prevent Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation.