Modern’s Hidden Gem Archetypes For SCG Columbus Weekend!

It ain’t all about Tron and Storm, kids! There are a lot of archetypes that are starting to bubble beneath the metagame’s surface! Professor Shaun McLaren has two Pro Tour Finals appearances to his name and his class is in session! Pay attention, you!

Digging Up Modern’s Hidden Gems For SCG Columbus

Start your year off right.

Start it with Modern.

It’s the beginning of 2018 which means it’s Modern season. You know why?
Because it’s always Modern season.

will be the first chance to take down a Modern event in the new year before
the Modern Pro Tour. With Rivals of Ixalan previews just starting
to drop, they will hopefully shake up many formats, Modern included.

I’m thinking the new Rivals of Ixalan card Silvergill Adept is the
early standout candidate that could be a great card for Modern Merfolk!

What’s that? It’s a reprint and already the best card in Merfolk? Well

But there are some gems of decks that are already hidden below the surface
of the vast Modern metagame. Today we explore them, along with their
strengths and weaknesses!

Yup, this is

definitely a Jeff Hoogland deck


Much to my chagrin, the Cobra in “Cobra Saheeli” is actual Lotus Cobra and
not Coiling Oracle. Ah well.


Lotus Cobra is amazing with Renegade Rallier, effectively allowing you to
cast the Renegade Rallier for free if you have Lotus Cobra out and return a
fetchland with it since you generate three mana with a fresh fetchland.
That’s with just one Cobra, considering Rallier can return Lotus Cobra to
the battlefield and you can also copy Rallier or Cobra with Saheeli Rai,
it’s easy for things to get out of hand and onto the battlefield in a

Speaking of which, Saheeli Rai has a lot of great targets to copy. Felidar
Guardian for the win, but Sun Titan is as well if you have two Saheelis in
the graveyard. Avalanche Riders, Eternal Witness, Reflector Mage, and
Thragtusk all provide an extra chunk of value when you copy them.

Overall the deck has a solid midrange gameplan with lots of value with the
explosive combo potential mixed in.


Not doing anything inherently broken (by Modern’s standards) and lots of
moving parts that need to align for busted draws.


I would personally like so see a more combo-focused version of the deck
with Wall of Omens, Chord of Calling, and more Felidar Guardians instead of
Voice of Resurgence.


Sigarda, Heron’s Grace is a spicy meatball since its hexproof ability is
great for Saheeli Rai considerations. No need to worry about a Lightning
Bolt disrupting your Felidar Guardian infinite combo by killing Saheeli
Rai, since all Humans have hexproof, and guess what, you’re a Human.
Congratulations! Avalanche Riders, Eternal Witness, Renegade Rallier,
Reflector Mage, and Izzet Staticaster are all Human as well, which means
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace protects them as well. You can copy them with
Saheeli freely.

Vs the Gauntlet:

Tron: Solid. Avalanche Riders goes a surprisingly long way when you can
tutor it up and reuse it any number of different ways. You also have Acidic
Slime after sideboard.

Grixis Death’s Shadow: Slightly unfavored. They have answers for everything
you can throw at them, but you have a lot of value creatures that will make
it difficult for them to deal with everything.

U/R Gifts Storm: Bad. Your interaction is weak and they can combo off
faster than you. Storm players will likely expect some shenanigans in the
form of Eidolon of Rhetoric after sideboard and be prepared.

Burn: Good. Voice of Resurgence is the speed bump that keeps on giving, and
Thragtusk can seal the deal if they don’t have Skullcrack handy.

Jeskai: Slightly favored. You should have a better value engine and not be
too likely to get burnt out.


The deck is fairly cheap, both in mana cost and overall card cost. Your
opponents will probably not be very familiar playing against you which will
give you a small advantage as well. Martyr of Sands is an incredibly
powerful lifegain card that will win you matchups where the lifegain is
highly relevant.


There’s a reason that we haven’t seen much Martyr of Sands + Proclamation
of Rebirth in the meta for such a long time; Many of the top decks can just
punch through a couple hundred points of lifegain or can kill faster than
you can set up. Fatal Push becoming ubiquitous in the format means that
even a quick 6/6 Serra Ascendant isn’t a surefire path to victory either.


Adding black to the deck allows you to play with Orzhov Charm which is a
really nice addition to the deck, as it allows you to kill opposing
creatures or return a Martyr of Sands or Serra Ascendant directly to the
battlefield. Some other black cards worth considering if you want to go
that route are Anguished Unmaking and Vizkopa Guildmage.


I’ve seen some lists running Aetherflux Reservoir as a neat way to kill
your opponent when you get up to 50 life. Surprise! It definitely fits the
theme of the deck, but I don’t think that it is competitive enough to
improve the deck.

Vs the Gauntlet:

Tron: Very bad. You have almost no way to interact with them and your
lifegain won’t help you win the game. Your only chance is to try and
quickly race them down with Serra Ascendant.

Grixis Death’s Shadow: Reasonable. Your abundance of creatures will make it
difficult for them to attack you without you gaining the upper hand in a
race situation.

U/R Gifts Storm: Terrible. They’re going to be able to go off very quickly
before you can gain a reasonable amount of life to get out of Grapeshot
range. You also aren’t well equipped to keep Goblin Electromancer and
Baral, Chief of Compliance off of the battlefield.

Burn: Fantastic! Here’s where the life gain is really just going to win you
the game. You always have to be aware of Skullcrack though. Nothing in
Magic is an auto-win matchup, but you definitely have all the tools to win.

Jeskai: Favored. Jeskai as it is built nowadays is slanted a bit more to
the aggressive side, which gives you the edge. Most Jeskai is just fancy
Burn.dec right now so lifegain can negate a lot of the burn spells that
they throw at you, and your late game ramps up nicely.


Don’t need to worry what your opponents cards are if your opponent doesn’t
have any cards.

The Rack and Shrieking Affliction present a quick clock and are hard to
play around as your opponent is put into a bind of trying to play out cards
to win the game or trying to hold on to them so that they don’t die and
then you can just make them discard them anyways.


The issue of “You Can’t Thoughtseize The Top of their Deck”. ™ Patent Pending.


You can add white to this deck to get access to Flagstones of Trokair that
pairs nicely with your Smallpox. You also get access to Lingering Souls and
whatever your favorite flavor of Gideon is.


I’d like to draw special attention to Delirium Skeins as a way to make your
opponent discard cards even when they are protected by Leyline of Sanctity
or Witchbane Orb. If your opponent is protected by one of these two cards,
you’ll likely have useless targeted discard in your hand anyways, so it
works out perfectly. Ensnaring Bridge is occasionally just game over for
your opponent in some matchups. Take that, Humans! The other nice card is
Bontu’s Last Reckoning, which gives an underpriced wrath effect against
creature-heavy decks.

Vs the Gauntlet:

Tron: Tricky. Tron can quickly get a lot of mana onto the battlefield
before you have a chance to properly disrupt them. From there they are
usually just one good topdeck away from winning the game.

Grixis Death’s Shadow: Reasonable. They are quite threat-light, so if you
can prevent them from landing a creature with either discard or removal,
you’ll have plenty of time to kill them. Also, if they hurt themselves too
much, you’ll have an easy time racking up wins by burning them.

U/R Gifts Storm: Solid. You have to be careful of them going off with Past
in Flames, which, when it resolves with sufficient mana, allows them to
undo all your hard work of making them discard. If they resolve a Gifts
Ungiven, make sure to take into account what discard spells you’ll be
casting in the upcoming turns to make sure it’s effective when divvying up
the piles.

Burn: Not good. All their cards cost one or two mana so they can quickly
unload their hand. They should also be faster than you on average.

Jeskai: Pretty good. You can make them discard their most impactful cards,
and they won’t have a lot of interaction or ways to deal with The Rack and
Shrieking Affliction.

If you start comboing off with this deck right now, you’ll finish killing
your opponent next New Years Eve at exactly midnight. All you need is some
perseverance and a clan-do attitude.

This deck’s good draws are quite fast and it can pretty easily go off on
turn 3 with some artifact acceleration into a Krark-Clan Ironworks. You
sacrifice artifacts for a Scrap Trawler and each new artifact you draw
allows you to rebuy a chain of lesser artifacts while making more and more
mana until you can eventually cast an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.


Fast, robust, and versatile. It’s robust and versatile in that it can do
amazing things with Engineered Explosives to clean up almost anything and
it can use cards like Scrap Trawler and Hangarback Walker for value even
when you’re not comboing off.


All the hate in format basically smashes this deck directly on the chin.
Splash hate that was targeted towards Affinity and other artifact decks
like Stony Silence and Ceremonious Rejection are both amazing against it.
Graveyard hate is also very potent against this deck. Even Chalice of the
Void is a beating!


This deck is very far off the radar. It has excellent spot removal with
Fatal Push, Path to Exile, and Snapcaster Mage. Decks with large creatures
are going to have trouble keeping them on the table. You get to be a
control deck, but can also have excellent combo turns where you return
Obzedat, Ghost Council or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (and flip it) with Goryo’s


Without any counter magic in the deck you’ll be weak to topdecked
non-creature threats, so your only option is try to go over them using
reanimation. Since you’re reliant on the graveyard, hate can disrupt your
gameplan. It both shuts down your Gifts Ungiven package with Unburial Rites
and also prevents you from getting five cards in the graveyard to flip
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.


It would be possible to add a fourth color in green, which would give you
access to mana acceleration such as Birds of Paradise and possibly even
Sylvan Caryatid. The speed boost makes the Gifts Ungiven combo plan even
more explosive.


Liliana of the Veil fits nicely with the gameplan of this sort of deck and
allows you to go a more attrition-based strategic route. Also works nicely
with sideboard Supreme Verdict effects.

Vs the Gauntlet:

Tron: Wretched. Your cards don’t line up well versus this big mana
strategy. Reanimating an Iona, Shield of Emeria that can’t stop colorless
spells is downright tragic. The Esper colors don’t give you many ways from
preventing your opponent from getting Tron online. Since you’re a
three-color deck, you don’t really have room for Ghost Quarter or Field of

Grixis Death’s Shadow: Nice. Your spot removal really makes it difficult
for them to keep a creature to beat you with, and Iona naming black should
lock them out.

U/R Gifts Storm: Reasonable. Spot removal for the creatures and a bit of
discard give you a reasonable chance of winning. Iona on red in game 1
should be game.

Burn: Awesome. Four Collective Brutality in the maindeck against Burn is a
dream that I want to live one day, and this is just the deck to make it

Jeskai: Tricky. They’ll be able to disrupt a lot of your big plays and race
you with creatures in conjunction with burn spells to get you dead before
you can get established.

That’s it for me today, see you next week when there will undoubtedly be
some juicy new Rivals of Ixalan to sink our teeth into.