GerryT’s 10 Things: Ruling The Whirled

If you want new SCG Atlanta builds for Modern, Gerry is the guy to talk to! He lays out a detailed look at some interesting new success stories, including the decks that stomp Goblin Chainwhirler!

What’s going on in the world of Magic? Is Goblin Chainwhirler still the
scourge of Standard? Don’t be surprised if this article is ten variants of
Goblin Chainwhirler.

How about Modern? Anything new shown up there? Nah, that doesn’t sound like
Modern at all…

10. History of Modern

While 29th place isn’t awe-inspiring or anything, it’s a reasonable finish
for what is, at best, a fringe archetype. When Jund was all the rage, W/B
Tokens was a solid way to do Jund things while also being favored in mirror
matches, thanks to the go-wide nature of the deck. History of Benalia looks
very nice, as does Collective Brutality.

The downside I’m seeing is that because of Mardu Pyromancer, cards like
Engineered Explosives and Izzet Staticaster aren’t uncommon these days. In
order for your strategy to be effective, Lingering Souls and Bitterblossom
need to be nightmares for your opponents. Maybe now isn’t the time, but if
things ever circle back around, this could be a deck worth having in your
back pocket.

We really have to get some Smuggler’s Copters in here though.

9. My Prison, Part 22

It’s getting to the point where there are numerous Prison decks, they all
have the same core cards, but I still can’t wrap my head around the various
nuances, so I end up just skimming the lists entirely.

I’m sure this deck does stuff, but I’ll never have any idea what.

8. Turncoats

Nahiri is tight. Second Sacred Foundry is still superfluous. Otherwise I
mostly agree with everything that’s going on here.

The real story here is that Ozman Ozguney, someone who plays U/B in nearly
every tournament, has defected to Mardu Pyromancer. That, combined with
Reid Duke registering the deck for Grand Prix Las Vegas, means we might
have a full-blown exodus on our hands. Many of the top players on the SCG
Tour were also seen rocking the deck at the last SCG Invitational.

It’s only a matter of time y’all. #mardulyfe

7. Modern is Broken

“Hey, you know what Eldrazi really needs to be viable? Cryptic Command.”

“Hmm, you might have broken it. It could also really use Spreading Seas

“Damn, you’re right! That fixes everything!”

Truly mind boggling.

6. Newest Zoo Attraction

Given how much information is out there, it feels like a miracle whenever
something unique shows up. This deck isn’t too unique in that each of these
cards has seen plenty of Modern time, but not necessarily in this

Where are the Collected Companies or the planeswalkers that normally occupy
these decks? It seems they aren’t as useful as having Bloodbraid Elf and a
pile of removal spells. There are also some new-ish cards that haven’t seen
too much love in Modern, like Tireless Tracker and Rhonas the Indomitable.
The sideboard has a couple spicy ones in Archangel Avacyn and Domri Rade,
both of which make me happy.

Overall, I’m not completely blown away by this Zoo list, but it does make
me question how I would lean toward building Zoo and that’s a very good

5. The Hero

Finally, we reach the hero of the story: Goblin Chainwhirler!

Not only does Goblin Chainwhirler give Mono-Red Aggro the fighting chance
it needs, but thankfully it also helps various midrange decks, even those
with three Swamps.

Sarcasm aside, this is a cool take on R/B Midrange. Adding Glint-Sleeve
Siphoner and a pile of removal, including Vraska’s Contempt, is a good
recipe for fighting control and Hazoret the Fervent. Quad Glorybringer is
relatively new, especially with Liliana, Death’s Majesty to back it up.

This sort of take seems like a gambit for a specific metagame, not one that
will take long term. As control decks rise up, fifteen removal spells isn’t
going to be successful.

4. The Villain

Thankfully we have our savior Goblin Chainwhirler around to keep these
oppressive Renegade Map decks in check.

Honestly though, Goblin Chainwhirler existing has basically caused decks
like these to disappear completely. Now that the metagame has stabilized
and people are finding success with non-Chainwhirler decks, those decks are
taking up a significantly larger portion of the metagame as the red hype
dies down. That opens the door for archetypes like this to possibly

If you get paired against a red deck, you need a plan against them. There
are only so many games your entire position can get decimated by Goblin
Chainwhirler before you start wondering what you’re doing with your life.
There are also scenarios where you don’t play against Goblin Chainwhirler
at all and your X/1s are free to run roughshod.

3. Japanese Expertise

As a fan of B/U Midrange, seeing Okamoto’s deck in the Top 8 of GP
Singapore made me happy. It’s a different take than mine, so naturally I
had to try it. Unfortunately, aside from Yahenni’s Expertise absolutely
clowning Mono-Red in some games, it left a lot to be desired.

Supreme Will and Syncopate aren’t nearly as effective as Essence Scatter,
at least in this metagame. Karn is also significantly worse than Glimmer of
Genius when you’re trying to cast Torrential Gearhulks. I’m also skeptical
of Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Arguel’s Blood Fast in the sideboard rather
than the maindeck.

I appreciate the innovative take on the archetype, but it’s not for me.

2. Japanese Daddy

At this point, it’s very clear that Ryoichi Tamada is the Japanese version
of Kevin “The Daddy” Jones. All he does is play Jeskai in every format and
far exceeds everyone’s expectations, not because his decks are bad or he’s
a bad player, but because no one else can win with his decks as much as he

It’s a compliment of the highest order.

Tamada’s take on Standard Jeskai is an interesting one, especially the
sideboard. His maindeck features Whirler Virtuoso, which combined with
Glimmer of Genius, causes serious headaches for the U/B-based decks that
are popping up in the metagame. A resolved Teferi is going to have issues
fighting Whirler Virtuoso, as are decks that rely on Settle the Wreckage as
their sweeper.

That sideboard though…

Four Walking Ballistas is a lot, but as a pseudo-transformational sideboard
plan, it kinda makes sense. U/W Control, Mono-Red Aggro, and even B/U
Midrange struggle with the card. When all your opponents are bringing in
Duress and Negate, having a creature to fall back on is great. If it’s your
removal spell, even better.

1. The Metagame Shifts

It might seem weird for a mostly forgotten about deck to make a sudden
resurgence, but three players independently decided it was the deck for the
weekend and it worked out. Zac Elsik may have paved the way with his
second-place finish in the Season One Invitational, but apparently that was
only the beginning.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Corey’s lack of Search for Azcantas is what cost
him some extra percentage points. It might seem useful to get those extra
cards in the maindeck to help red matchups like Merfolk Trickster and
Settle the Wreckage, but U/W God-Pharaoh’s Gift has basically always hinged
on how well constructed its sideboard is.

Sunscourge Champion and Fumigate bridge the sideboard plan nicely, but you
also need ways to help fight control decks with counterspells and Duresses.
That’s where Search for Azcanta truly shines, but even having something
that can play multiple roles, like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, can be