GerryT’s Ten Things: How Did This Go 5-0, Exactly?

Sometimes, the Magic Online results throw out a list that’s just plain odd. Or, as GerryT shows today, ten of them. Maybe more than ten, if we go back and count. But we’re kind of afraid to. We’re pretty sure that Sphinx Tribal list at the end is warping spacetime with its weirdness…

Are mono-colored decks back in vogue? Is Elder Deep-Fiend taking over Modern? Is Razaketh, the Foulblooded the new combo hotness? Should you play Sphinx tribal if you want to win your Standard PPTQ?

Uhh, no.

10: The Noose Is Loose

Noose Constrictor is a better Wild Mongrel and sees virtually zero play, both in Standard and Modern, which makes it very clear how weak the cards were back in 2002. Wild Mongrel was an aggressively statted madness enabler, and Noose Constrictor is one of the best enablers for a different kind of madness. If you’re looking for strictly another discard outlet, you can do better, but can you find one that also sacrifices to Eldritch Evolution and gets Necrotic Ooze?

If you Ooze, you typically lose, unless you’re Capriccioso. This deck combines a bunch of moving parts to form a deck that might actually work. Goryo’s Vengeance needed a redundant combo piece and Through the Breach isn’t it. Tasigur into Eldritch Evolution into Griselbrand is great and using Necrotic Ooze on top of it could actually make a functional deck.

This might not be the tightest list, but it’s worth exploring.

9: Academy Ruins Targeting Your What???

I’m skeptical of any deck trying to play Faerie Conclave. That said, this deck is pretty rad conceptually. Eldrazi Skyspawner facilitating Elder Deep-Fiends and faster Torrential Gearhulks seems pretty nice in a Jund-laden Modern format. Snapcaster Mage and Torrential Gearhulk are semi-sweet ways to enable Elder Deep-Fiend too.

If you’re dead set on sticking with Mono-Blue, Piracy Charm is a clever choice for a removal spell, but Dismember is also a necessity. Dismember seems painful, especially with Snapcaster Mage, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a miser’s Sunken Ruins in the manabase.

Torrential Gearhulk is certainly powerful, but six mana is steep for Modern. Still, this deck (or something like it) has promise. Academy Ruins-ing your Torrential Gearhulk has to feel good.

8: Horror Tribal

This is a story as old as time — an old favorite gets some upgrades but is still a weaker version of another deck. In this case, this looks like a weaker version of U/R Control, Storm, and Jeskai. That said, it is an incredibly sweet deck that I can’t fault anyone for playing.

I’ve played Pyromancer Ascension when I absolutely shouldn’t have, and this one has an arbitrarily large combo! On top of that, it even has Thing in the Ice and Bedlam Reveler as incredible backup plans. Despite that, you’d be wise to not play something that’s simply a bad something else.

7: Mono-Non-Threatening Aggro

Can you beat a pile of creatures in Modern? What if they had minimal disruption? Granted, most of the creatures are a nightmare for Jund or Jeskai, but you need a ton of help against Tron or combo. Two Blood Moons ain’t gonna do it. Surely some of these threats could be additional disruption of some sort. There has to be diminishing returns somewhere. Even some Domri Rades would probably be great.

Sideboard Gemstone Caverns is something I love the idea of, but I’m skeptical that it will come up often enough to warrant using a sideboard slot. On the topic of odd sideboard cards, what are those Ahn-Crop Crashers doing there? Perplexing.

6: The Land Before Time

The original Mastermind’s Acquisition decks basically didn’t have any win conditions. That made control matchups a slog and red matchups horrendous. Having a package of giant Dinosaurs makes up for some of that. While these decks aren’t without issue, from the various builds that have found success, it’s clear that you solve some specific problems with a little ingenuity.

Zacama, Primal Calamity is a card I’m very interested in casting, but the blue version with Entrancing Melody, Vizier of Many Faces, River’s Rebuke, and maindeck counterspells is pretty sweet too. I’m surprised to see Deathgorge Scavenger with no Thunderherd Migrations, though.

5: Nineteen Forests and a Dream

The mono-color trend continues, this time with a color combination that has few ways to interact with opposing permanents. If your game plan is good enough, you don’t really need to interact. Just do your thing and roll over the opposition, which is exactly what this deck tries to do.

Rhonas’s Monument is the all-star here, acting not only as cost reduction but also a way to break through stalls with trample. Being legendary is the only thing that keeps it from being an automatic four-of, since this deck can’t afford to draw too many dead cards.

One of the best ways to beat opposing Vraska’s Contempt decks is to overload their removal by playing more huge threats than they have removal. You’re not going to beat stuff like The Scarab God going long, but this deck has no interest in that.

4: Mono-White or Mono-Tight?

You normally see counterspells supporting Approach of the Second Sun, but what do counterspells line up well against that white removal spells don’t? Would Mono-White control actually work? According to Magic Online, Mono-White Control is capable of several 5-0 finishes.

White doesn’t have great sideboard options, which could be the archetype’s downfall. Attempting to fight control decks by sideboarding into a mediocre midrange deck probably isn’t going to beat anyone, but you’ve got to try.

3: Black Is the Best Color in Standard

Take Fatal Push, Vraska’s Contempt, and Ifnir Deadlands, and beat your opponent to death with a ham sandwich. You can be fancy and double splash Whirler Virtuoso, but you could just play Seekers’ Squire instead and it wouldn’t matter. Hell, play Doomfall and no win conditions and you’ll win anyway.

Black is one of the few colors that can stand alone in Standard and be well-rounded. They have the removal, threats, card advantage, lifegain, and everything else you could possibly want. Splashing a support color could cover some bases, but as you can see, it’s not entirely necessary.

2: A Case for Banning Fast Mana

Sometimes the combo enabler gets banned, but it was really the fast mana that was the problem all along. In some cases, the enabler is going to fuel broken stuff, no matter how many cards you take the banhammer to. In this case, it’s fast mana fueling some Turn 3 kills from an otherwise fair aggro deck.

Can we just stop with this stuff? If Goryo’s Vengeance, decks with Turn 1 Chalice of the Void, Lantern, and Affinity were weaker, wouldn’t Modern be in a better place? These decks aren’t exactly tearing up Modern at the moment, but they’re not particularly fun or rewarding to play against either.

1: News Headline: Sphinx Tribal Causes Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign to Triple in Price!

I’m all for brewing. I really am. This is sort of over the line, though. It’s actually so patently absurd that I struggle to see the rationale. Which came first? The struggle to build a competitive Marionette Master deck (with which I greatly empathize), or the desire to pair Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign with Arcane Adaptation?

The world may never know.

This deck originally made its first 5-0 finish about a week ago, but we haven’t seen another copy 5-0 since. Weird. I guess the metagame adapted to beat it.