Daily Digest: Modern Transcendent

Got the post-banning blues in Modern? Look on the bright side! With control archetypes ready to shine once more, Ross Merriam has just the list for you!

Gitaxian Probe? Gone. Golgari Grave-Troll? Gone.

As Dredge players wipe away their tears, Infect players run to Gatherer to find a suitable replacement, and the lone remaining Storm player sticks another needle into their WotC voodoo doll (just give it up already; this is getting sad). What’s easy to lose in all of the hubbub is the second-wave ripple effects of these bans.

Modern is about to get a whole lot slower as two of the premier combo decks have been significantly nerfed. Infect will still be around and Dredge may even stick around to some extent, but neither will be the powerhouse it has been for the past six months. Jund, a deck which has been slowly losing stature in the format over the last few years, may rise again unless Fatal Push usurps Lightning Bolt as the premier one-mana removal spell in the format.

With the shift toward midrange decks, control decks gain a renewed hope to break through into the top tiers of the format after so many years battling in the fringe. This Esper list is particularly attrition-focused, chock-full of removal and discard to go along with Esper Charm and some planeswalkers for card advantage.

Narset Transcendent is particularly strange for a format where tapping out for a four-mana spell could leave you dead on the battlefield, even if the coast looks relatively clear. As that threat diminishes, playing a hard-to-answer planeswalker that snowballs with card advantage and can recoup the tempo loss of casting it with its -2 ability becomes much more appealing.

You have Lingering Souls to establish a battlefield to defend your planeswalkers as well as function as the powerful threat it has always been against midrange decks. Fatal Push no doubt earns a slot in the deck in high numbers, which only bolsters the deck’s standing further.

Be prepared to see decks like this more often in the coming months, and prepare your sideboard accordingly. The crazy train that is Modern has pumped the brakes.

Also, for those of you who missed WednesdaysDailyDigest, I am taking user submissions of post-Aether Revolt decklists for next week’s Digests. Details can be found at the bottom of that digest, so get those lists in while you still can!