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Can Anything Spoil Karn, The Great Creator’s Debut At SCG Louisville?

SCG Louisville features the first Modern Open with War of the Spark, and Karn, the Great Creator looms large. Five players give the decks they’d play, and as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…

Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Louisville this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in such a high-profile tournament, especially one with new cards from War of the Spark. 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!

Ari Lax – Azorius Control


In case you missed the first seventeen times I said this – Narset, Parter of Veils is really, really good.

With the reduced focus on Modern since the Mythic Championship, I don’t think people will have adjusted to just how impactful Narset is. More than just a well-costed card draw spell, she’s an impactful hate card against Izzet Phoenix, the fast parts of Dredge, and Tron’s refuel – basically just half the format.

So until I see people actively adjust to beat Narset, I would show up and make them do it. If you have some original idea that’s doing well with Narset, I’m all ears, but the other 56 Azorius cards are proven contenders and I’m not into playing a bad deck with Narset if this is an option.

Ryan Overturf – Mono-Red Prowess


I was an early adopter of Soul-Scar Mage in Modern when I first built Izzet Wizards, and this list is in many ways the spiritual successor to that deck and Jeffrey Carr’s Mono-Red Phoenix. I was never impressed by Arclight Phoenix in Mono-Red due to inconsistency in the Phoenix plan relative to Izzet Phoenix, but the draws with multiple prowess creatures were clearly extremely powerful. The big find here is Crash Through, which I was impressed with during a failed attempt at a Death’s Shadow / Arclight Phoenix hybridization. It allows decks like this to punch through cards like Auriok Champion with relative ease, which, coupled with the deck’s card advantage engines, gives reason to play this Lava Spike strategy over traditional Burn.

I played this 75 at the five-round 90-person MCQ at MagicFest Madison and missed Top 8 at 4-1. My wins were against Humans, Restore Balance, Death’s Shadow, and Burn. My loss was against Martyr of Sands. Go figure.

This deck is capable of Turn 3 wins as well as playing grindy games, which is exactly where you want to be in Modern. It’s rare that a deck is good against both Lava Spike and Bedlam Reveler, and in the case that you run afoul of such a strategy, Molten Rain will often be enough put them in their place. Sixteen lands seems like a pretty low count, but if you find the courage to register this list I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at its consistency and power level.

If nothing else, Faithless Looting and Manamorphose are among the most busted cards in the format.

Andrew Elenbogen – Humans


The more Modern changes, the more it stays the same. While War of the Spark has impacted the format, the three best and most popular decks are Mono-Green Tron, Humans, and Izzet Phoenix. Humans boasts a slightly favorable matchup against Izzet Phoenix, a slightly unfavorable matchup against Tron, and a favorable matchup against virtually all the nonsense.

Without the London Mulligan rule, I think the Neoform combo deck is not worthy of respect and I therefore have opted for Ravenous Trap over Grafdigger’s Cage, even though the deck will be around this weekend. Ravenous Trap is far stronger against the Blast Zone plus Life from the Loam plan that Dredge often utilizes these days. The Phyrexian Revokers already played a role against Tron and Hardened Scales, but now can also keep the various Karn, the Great Creator decks in check. In addition, they are reasonably effective against the new Narset-powered Azorius Control lists. Overall, my list hasn’t changed much, but it doesn’t need to. Humans remains among the best decks in Modern.

If you do decide to play Humans this weekend, the most important thing is to play your best. To help you with that, consider reading my article on how to make all the hard decisions Humans presents you with. It’s conveniently posted today on this very site.

John Dale Beety – Affinity


Somehow, some way, classic Affinity is still alive and kicking in 2019. Despite all the artifact hate floating around in Modern, including Karn, the Great Creator from War of the Spark, Paul Mendez still came within a match of taking down the SCG Syracuse Modern Classic. And he did it without a single Experimental Frenzy in the maindeck!

Instead, he ran a full playset of Master of Etherium for Game 1, and I love that choice. When the artifact hate in the metagame mostly shuts off artifacts’ activated abilities instead of actually destroying them, accelerating out a Master of Etherium starts looking like a great plan. Stony Silence may stop Cranial Plating and Arcbound Ravager shenanigans, but it can’t change the big numbers in the Master’s bottom-right corner or its team-buffing static ability.

If the artifact hate in the metagame shifts back to Ancient Grudge or (gulp!) Shatterstorm, then Master of Etherium should go back to being a one-of, like in Matt Sperling’s runner-up deck from Mythic Championship London. But SCG Louisville is the first big event for War of the Spark and Karn, the Great Creator, so I don’t think the switch will happen this weekend. I’ll take the playset of Master of Etherium to take on the field.

Emma Handy – Mono-Green Tron


Karn, the Great Creator is a messed-up Magic card.

Modern is still settling after the shakeup that War of the Spark has given the format, and whenever it’s difficult to determine the best metagame call, it’s generally going to be best to just go as consistently powerful as possible. Sound familiar?

Tron in general is a deck that has been great at going over the top of what other decks are doing, with the biggest issue that plagued the deck was its closing speed. Sure, Karn Liberated and Wurmcoil Engine are powerful, but ultimately, Tron isn’t killing anybody before Turn 6 or Turn 7.

This combo isn’t exactly news at this point, but the reason it makes Tron so much better can’t be overstated. Having the ability to slam the door shut as early as the fourth turn has so much value. Despite having only played a handful of games with the deck in the last week or so, I’m already considering locking the deck in for the upcoming #SCGINVI, based solely on how powerful its good draws can feel.