Modern At SCG Syracuse

We’ve asked a handful of reputable Modern mages what they’d be taking to battle at SCG Syracuse this weekend! Vote on the deck you’d take!

Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Syracuse right around the corner,
many are unsure what they’d play in such a high profile tournament.
That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play this weekend
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 – Burn

Burn crushes Mono-Green Tron. Burn crushes Storm. Burn is ahead against
Humans and Spirits, if you hedge for Worship in the second case. As an
Azorius Control player, I was not excited to face off against Burn.
Hardened Scales Affinity is probably fine.

That leaves the only scary matchups as Hollow One, which is not in a great
spot, and Ironworks, which isn’t putting up results and no one plays it.
People aren’t playing Collective Brutality. They are shifting away from
Lightning Helix because Jeskai is for chumps. Burn is easily driven away,
but right now there’s nothing really stopping it from being the best

Hopefully I didn’t ruin it by writing this.

Cedric Phillips – Humans

Big surprise, I know. Though Grand Prix Detroit was equal parts frustration
and annoyance, I was able to take away a few things from the weekend:

  • Unless something weird happens, I cannot imagine changing my
    maindeck. This configuration is an amazing game 1 deck, and anyone
    who cuts a Reflector Mage or starts Militia Bugler is a
  • Sideboarding into two four-drops in the Humans mirror was
    incredible for me. I didn’t get close to losing the Humans mirror
    all weekend at Detroit, and sideboarding into Hostage Taker and
    Whirler Rogue were a big reason for that. While cards like
    Dismember, Gut Shot, and Izzet Staticaster have their moments in
    the mirror, the games last long enough after sideboard that you can
    confidently sideboard into a few four-mana spells and expect to
    cast them.
  • Speaking of Dismember, I think it’s completely unnecessary right now.
    That isn’t to say Dismember is a bad card – quite the opposite, in
    fact – but I don’t see much of a reason for it right now.
  • Dire Fleet Daredevil continues to be outstanding, underplayed, and
    misunderstood. Most see the powerful Pirate as a way to trump decks
    like Jund and Mardu, but its uses go far beyond that. I happily
    bring it in against all blue control decks (Jeskai and Azorius) as
    well as something like Bant Spirits, in which you’re more than
    happy to recast a Path to Exile or Collected Company.

Keep calm and play Humans.

Todd Anderson – Grixis Death’s Shadow

Grixis Death’s Shadow is traditionally a great deck against a field full of
weird, linear strategies. Aggressive decks like Burn, Humans, and Affinity
can give it problems, but we can shore up a bit with our sideboard.
Deathmark and Kozilek’s Return are both fine cards against several
aggressive decks, with Deathmark being a standout removal spell against
Humans. Although it’s sorcery speed, there’s a good chance we just
one-for-one them to death with all our cheap removal. Dreadbore replaces
Terminate to give us an answer to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Though, again,
sorcery speed could be problematic against things like Mantis Rider or
Aether Vial.

With the rise of Ironworks, as well as a number of slower strategies like
Mono-Green Tron, I think Grixis Death’s Shadow is in a great position to
prey on those decks. And if we compensate for the Humans matchup, I think
we should end up doing well. Having extra removal should help with that a

As someone who plays Humans quite a bit, Grixis Death’s Shadow is one of
the easier matchups, so I don’t want to sugarcoat it. Reflector Mage is
quite good against you, and there isn’t a lot you can do about it. I’m
compensating as best I can with the extra removal, but long story short is
that Humans will be one of your harder matchups. Outside of Humans, and
possibly Hardened Scales Affinity, I do like the position of Grixis Death’s
Shadow, and it’s exactly what I would play this weekend at SCG Syracuse.

Ross Merriam – Humans

Just some minor updates from my PTQ winning list for me. Humans is a good
deck and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just keep current with the

The cards that’ve changed are the Kambal, Consul of Allocation, the Riders
of Gavony, and the Kessig Malcontents. The Malcontents is a nod to the
metagame becoming more uninteractive. Thalia, Heretic Cathar tends to be
good against the same matchups, but Malcontents is the better topdeck later
in the game while Thalia is better on turn 2, so I’m going for the split.

The Riders of Gavony replaces the Whirler Rogue as my four-drop of choice
as a nod to Bant Spirits, a deck that has gained in popularity and is
awkward for Humans because the battlefield clogs, but all their creatures
have flying, giving them the tactical edge. Riders flips the script there
while still being good in the Humans mirror.

And lastly, the Kambal replaces the third Sin Collector, a card I’ve become
unhappy with. Kambal is in because of its applications against Burn and
Storm, two decks I think are well-positioned that I could use some
additional percentage points against.

It’s not flashy, but it doesn’t need to be.

Emma Handy – Burn

What I’d play at SCG Syracuse this weekend is a no-brainer. Jadine
Klomparens had the best record during the team portion of Grand Prix
Detroit last weekend while Goblin Guiding people, and on Sunday, all my
matches with the deck felt completely winnable.

Playing the full playset of Smash to Smithereens is a pretty huge upgrade
over Destructive Revelry when Leyline of Sanctity is at an all-time low. On
top of the card being easier to cast, the extra point of damage ends up
being incredibly relevant; doubly so when multiple copies are drawn.

Burn isn’t for the faint of heart and is much harder to play than one would
assume, but if you have the reps and were sleeping on this one, I have a
word of advice: don’t.