Can Anything Overshadow Stoneforge Mystic’s Debut At SCG Dallas?

No Hogaak. No Faithless Looting. Maybe Stoneforge Mystic? We asked eight content creators what they’d play at SCG Dallas … and got eight different decks back. Vote for your choice at the end!

Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Dallas this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in such a high-profile tournament, especially one after the banning of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Faithless Looting and the unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this last-minute advice aids in your decision making! Be sure to vote for who you agree with in the poll at the end!

Ryan Overturf – Selesnya Eldrazi

I’m still working on updating Mono-Red Prowess, largely because Stoneforge Mystic is going to dramatically change Modern. The card is busted and on Week 1, I’m a fan of a proactive “join ’em” strategy. Players will try to prepare for Stoneforge Mystic, but this deck does a combination of planning on them not preparing enough and hammering them with threats that require different answers.

I strongly believe that Thought-Knot Seer and Stoneforge Mystic will show up in a very powerful deck once the dust settles, even if it doesn’t end up looking much like this list. Karn, the Great Creator is a nice cherry on top of the threat equation that also gives you absurdly high access to hateful artifacts in conjunction with Ancient Stirrings. You see some exploitation of this with my sideboard being heavy on Damping Sphere.

I’ve seen a little chatter about Bant Eldrazi in the wake of the Banned List update, though I like Selesnya better as a starting point. This deck is very focused on executing a range of proactive plans and presents a lot of powerful threats to the opponent while also having a strong selection of hateful permanents. It’s possible that missing on sideboard countermagic will end up being a mistake in retrospect, but for now I’m big on just throwing haymakers at people while they try to figure out the new format.

Ari Lax – Devoted Neoform

There are a few routes I would consider this first week. Play the best Stoneforge Mystic combo deck (probably Felidar Blade); play a really good Karn, the Great Creator deck that ignores a Batterskull (maybe Mono-Blue Tron); or this.

All-in fast kills are powerful. You need a ton of removal to reliably beat Devoted Druid combo and none of the tuned and known powerful Ancient Stirrings / Mox Opal / Urza’s Tower sector of the metagame have that. You’ll be playing against weird loosely tuned midrange decks, colorless byes, or stuff you can reliably race. Infect was also a consideration for this job but it is weaker against Wrenn and Six.

Andrew Elenbogen – Mono-Green Tron

In the wake of the sweeping changes to Modern this week, everyone and their brother will be scrambling to find the best shell for Stoneforge Mystic. The most obvious of those is the controlling Azorius shell that I expect to be out in force this week. In addition, Jund, which was one of the better decks before the banning, lost two of its bad matchups in Hogaak and Izzet Phoenix and can utilize Kolaghan’s Command to combat anyone who shows up with Batterskull. There were also probably be some innovative small creature decks and existing shells like Humans that players will attempt to slot Stoneforge Mystic into.

You’ll notice that all the decks I mentioned above have one thing in common: they’re fair. Conveniently enough, there’s a Modern deck that was already Tier 1 and is perfectly situated to exploit this glut of fair strategies. I’m talking about Mono-Green Tron.

The biggest change between my list and previous versions of the deck is Karn, Great Creator. Honestly, I think little Karn was always an amazing addition to Mono-Green Tron but failed to see play because it was unimpressive against specifically Hogaak. In the new Modern metagame, Karn is great. It’s a cheap threat that’s effective when your mana is pressured or on Turn 3, while winning the game immediately on ten mana. It can find Trinisphere against combo decks, Witchbane Orb against Burn and Scapeshift, Liquimetal Coating in the mirror, and Walking Ballista against Humans. In virtually every matchup, Karn presents a powerful piece of disruption on Turn 3, with Mycosynth Lattice typically following soon after.

Also, Urza, Lord High Artificer decks are among the few that can utilize Stoneforge Mystic, as the card both finds a piece of their combo and helps them play a fair game. Karn, Great Creator makes a substantial portion of their deck into expensive bricks. My list also makes room for a maindeck Emrakul, the Promised End to ensure that we remain favored against Azorius Control going long.

Did I mention that Mono-Green Tron is incredibly consistent these days due to the London mulligan? If Mono-Green Tron is on the play, Fulminator Mage isn’t even scary anymore. It’s a Karn world now; we’re all just living in it.

Emma Handy – Temurge

Sometimes you just gotta keep bending something in hopes of breaking it.

This is based off a list that Kellen Pastore originally posted online and that I’ve been running through Leagues on Magic Online throughout the week. Some things still need to be worked out, but it feels like this deck is going to absolutely crush anybody trying to play something grindy.

The pseudo-combo finish in the deck is using Wrenn and Six to rebuy Sanctum of Ugin after it’s triggered by Elder Deep-Fiend, finding another Elder Deep-Fiend. This does a sort of Sower of Temptation impression for multiple turns in a row, with the theory being that whatever the Temur deck does in the meantime is going to be enough to close the door.

This deck isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you want to play something grindy and aren’t able to find Stoneforge Mystics before the event, this is a great way to go about things – did I mention that this deck is great at embarrassing the Kor herself?

Have fun!

Bryan Gottlieb – Azorius Urza

I really don’t think I need to waste all that many words defending this choice. Prior to Hogaak’s ban, the Urza-based decks were already posting format-shattering win rates. Stoneforge Mystic now finds the portion of your combo you never want to draw naturally, provides you card advantage, and singlehandedly beats multiple fair gameplans. Thopter-Sword represents an infinite combo that was previously thought to be too strong for the Modern format. Mox Opal is the best mana accelerant in the format. You have Whir of Invention targets that multiple decks can’t beat in Game 1s. Your sideboard plans cleanly transition away from any vulnerabilities to artifact hate, assuming people even show up with said hate in reasonable amounts.

This is the slam-dunk choice for SCG Dallas, and it is almost impossible you make a mistake by playing this deck. It’s too good at too many different gameplans to be effectively accounted for this early on. Play on easy mode this weekend.

Cedric Phillips – Burn

In the very first What We’d Play of 2019, Ari Lax recommended that I played Burn after he used it to qualify for Mythic Championship I. Upon his recommendation, I made the Top 8 of a Modern MCQ at MagicFest Oakland before being knocked out… by Burn. Since then, Burn has plenty playable, has gotten more options over the course of the year, and was one of the few viable decks during Hogaak Summer (RIP).

So why should you play it at SCG Dallas? There are lots of reasons:

  • Hogaak was a close matchup due to how much damage they dealt themselves, their inability to block, and how soft some of their draws were to Eidolon of the Great Revel. But the truth is that no one had a good Hogaak matchup, so there’s one less bad matchup in the format.
  • Dredge was a terrible matchup for Burn due to Creeping Chill. With Faithless Looting out of the format, Dredge isn’t dead but it will take some time for it to adjust. That means there’s some time where Creeping Chill and company aren’t worrisome, like this weekend.
  • Burn has a lot of ways to kill Stoneforge Mystic, Batterskull, or Sword of War and Peace. Skullcrack also bricks Batterskull for a turn in case your draw doesn’t come together.
  • Auriok Champion is likely on a downswing given the lack of Hogaak and Dredge in the metagame.
  • If things keep shifting towards midrange slogs, Burn doesn’t really mind. I don’t find Jund, Abzan, Mardu, or anything based around Stoneforge Mystic to be terrifying.
  • If everyone is going to gravitate towards Mono-Green Tron, which makes a lot of sense since it didn’t lose anything and it just won the last Mythic Championship, life has gone from good to great!
  • Horizon lands are messed-up Magic cards and Burn gets to play at least four (Sunbaked Canyon) but more than that if you want to (Fiery Islet).

As usual, if people want to smash Burn, that’s not terribly difficult to do. But I think the focus will be on beating Mono-Green Tron, Four-Color Urza, Golgari-based Midrange decks, and decks based around Stoneforge Mystic. This all adds up to Burn being well-positioned, at least for this weekend.

Here’s hoping someone can take advantage.

Todd Anderson – Azorius Stoneblade

So here’s the thing: Stoneforge Mystic might end up being just a little too good for Modern. Right out of the gate, there are few decks leaving the format that could have put a big hurt on Stoneforge Mystic strategies: Dredge and Izzet Phoenix. Without either of those top dogs running around, it’s safe to say that Stoneforge Mystic might just slide right into the “best deck” slot without much opposition. But what is really giving it legs?

Stoneforge Mystic is a powerful two-drop creature that gives control decks a reasonable finisher for a very low cost. In Modern, it’s important that you have as few wasted slots as possible, and Stoneforge Mystic gives you a neat little package to close games at the low cost of six or seven cards. The rest of your deck gets to look like a normal Azorius Control deck.

Snapcaster Mage plays a great role in giving you more bodies for Equipment, all while doubling all your removal and giving you some hard-hitting mid-game against decks without a ton of interaction. Combine that with Vendilion Clique and you can actually just close games with medium-sized creatures and a Sword of X and Y. Pretty cool, right?

For this weekend, I expect Mono-Green Tron to show up in high numbers, so I’m leaning towards Field of Ruin at the moment, but I definitely want to try out Mutavault at some point (maybe combined with Spreading Seas maindeck?). With Stoneforge Mystic getting unbanned, all eyes are going to be on Dallas this weekend, and while this is my first draft of a Stoneblade deck, we already have all the pieces necessary to build it right. It’s just tuning the numbers to fit the expected metagame. Even something as trivial as nailing the right numbers of Spell Pierce VS Spell Snare could mean the difference between first and dead last! Let’s hope I got them right!

Shaheen Soorani – Four-Color Urza

Although it may disappoint some, my first instinct with Stoneforge Mystic is to go unfair. All control decks received a huge boost and I am sure they will eventually rise to the top of Modern, but the turnaround for SCG Dallas is too short to graft an optimal list together. This Four-Color Urza list by Ross Merriam is where I want to start the new Modern format with one of the most powerful utility creatures of all time.

Stoneforge Mystic digs up Sword of the Meek, but also retrieves a Batterskull for an immediate threat against a plethora of matchups. There are multiple aggressive decks that fold instantly to Batterskull, which will be the most-searched-for option in other decks. It presents a clock, but more importantly shuts down the damage you receive due to the Germ with lifelink attached. Not only is Batterskull lights-out for aggro, it’s also disastrous for control decks. Even if Stoneforge Mystic is immediately removed, the damage has been done, whether it’s retrieving the combo piece or providing card advantage through a future, renewable threat. I will eventually align my new, unbanned threat with Celestial Colonnade, but not this weekend.

Enjoy Four-Color Urza with confidence!