My 4 Favorite Post-Pro Tour Modern Decks

SCG Indianapolis is coming up fast! Modern will be on display, and Todd Stevens is already chomping at the bit! Which decks does he recommend in the Pro Tour afterflow? Here they are, complete with updates and analysis!

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan has come and gone and, to the surprise
of probably no one, Modern still looks to be an amazingly diverse format
without a dominant deck at the top. However, there were certainly decks
that either cemented themselves among the top tier, Humans and Lantern
Control, or made a name for themselves on the biggest stage, B/R Hollow One
and Mardu Pyromancer. Although there wasn’t any individual deck that was
over ten percent of the field, the most popular deck still had a large
effect on the results of the tournament.

The Humans Effect

Coming in at 9.3% of the field day one, Humans ended up having a much
bigger impact on the metagame than what that small number may imply. As I’m
sure you know by now, Humans is an extremely disruptive aggro deck despite
being composed of entire Human creatures and mana in their maindeck.

Having the combination of a fast clock and a disruptive creature base is
exactly what the unfair decks in the format don’t want to see. It was a
popular prediction that someone would break the format at the Pro Tour with
a new combo deck, or that U/R Gifts Storm and Tron would run rampant, but
neither of those things happened. Humans kept those decks in check, and as
a result we ended up with a relatively fair Top 8. I expect this trend to
continue, with Humans being the number one target of the format moving on
from Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. If that’s the case, these are the
four decks that I’m the most interested in playing in preparation for #GPToronto this
weekend and #SCGINDY
the following weekend, both big Modern events.

Let’s start with the deck I have the least experience with and will be
talking the least about, Mardu Pyromancer. I’m sure our own Gerry Thompson
will have much more to say about the deck later in the week so I’ll just
touch on why I think the deck is so well positioned at the moment.

First off, I love how Gerry basically removed white from the previous Mardu
Pyromancer deck with just the smallest splash for Lingering Souls. This is
something I wish I had done with

the B/G Midrange

deck I played the weekend prior and what Ross Merriam told me I should have
done on the drive up to SCG Philadelphia. Lingering Souls is wonderfully
positioned in Modern these days, and I should have listened to Ross and
splashed for it.

Kolaghan’s Command is another card I’m really high on right now, especially
in a deck like Gerry’s that can get the most out of all four modes on the
card. First of all, there are plenty of artifacts in the format so having
access to a Shatter effect in the maindeck is right where I want to be.
Next, Gerry can use Faithless Looting and Collective Brutality to put
creatures in his graveyard, only to return them back to his hand with
Kolaghan’s Command. The Shock ability can pick off the various small
creatures of the format or team up with Lightning Bolt to add up quick
damage, and the discard ability combines well with the other nine maindeck
discard spells.

I have always thought this was an under the radar type deck that had a lot
of good things going for it, but I’m really impressed by Gerry’s build of
moving to basically a two-color deck.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been
pretty high on B/G decks
recently and really like Reid Duke’s build of Abzan. It has become almost
cliche’ to say that B/G/x Midrange decks aren’t playable, and Fatal Push
killed Tarmogoyf, but with Humans and Affinity being the two top aggressive
decks of the format I believe the classic combination of Dark Confidant,
Tarmogoyf, and Liliana of the Veil is a strong choice. That being said,
when I played B/G Midrange at #SCGPhilly the
previous weekend after the event I really wished I had splashed a third
color, either red for Kolaghan’s Command and Lightning Bolt, or white for
Lingering Souls and Stony Silence. I stayed with two colors at the time for
one specific card that I thought would do a ton of work, but it ended up
being a liability.

Although Field of Ruin did a nice job destroying Celestial Colonnades
against the two Jeskai Control players I faced over the weekend, I didn’t
see a single big mana deck and they were frequently just colorless lands
that didn’t help cast my spells or exile cards with Scavenging Ooze. Most
of the tournament I just wished they were more fetchlands, and even though
they would have helped immensely against Tron if I was paired against it, I
don’t think it was worth the hassle. If I was splashing white like Reid
did, I would have access to Stony Silence anyway to help out the Tron
matchup and would have been able to cast my spells more easily against the
aggressive decks. I like moving away from Field of Ruin for the time being
and adding more fetchlands and creature-lands to the manabase, especially
Treetop Village.

I sideboarded in Liliana, the Last Hope almost every match and it was
frequently the card I was hoping to draw. I would have loved having access
to one in the maindeck, and I loved how Reid put one in the main. The
format is being defined by small creatures and the work Liliana, the Last
Hope puts in is quite worth the slot. I don’t think I would want a second
in the maindeck over a copy of Liliana of the Veil, but one main with
another in the sideboard is the right number.

I was really happy with my call to bring B/G Midrange to #SCGPhilly and the
changes I would have liked to see with the deck after the event Reid Duke
made for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan the next weekend to huge
success. Congratulations to a wonderful person, and I’m glad he didn’t
listen to the masses who said B/G/x Midrange decks weren’t playable, and
instead found a wonderful 75 that took him to the Top 8.

The next deck I’ve been excited to play again for the first time in a long
time is Eldrazi Tron. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the deck
as it’s the only deck I’ve won an individual SCG Tour Open Weekend with,
and my win percentage with the deck is much higher than any other deck I’ve
played before, but since Humans first burst onto the scene last fall I have
had a hard time winning with Eldrazi Tron. Plenty of people, including our
own Brad Nelson, brought it to Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan and had
success with it
, which brought back the itch for me to try it out again.
I’ve been playing the above list in a few Magic Online leagues this week,
including one 5-0, but I’m still really worried about both the Affinity and
Humans matchups for the deck. I love the inclusion of Gut Shot to fight
those strategies, but I haven’t been able to draw it yet in those matchups.
Brad also has many more thoughts on Eldrazi Tron, but I want to talk about
some cards I’m still debating on in the decklist.

My least favorite card by a country mile is Warping Wail. I understand
there are corner cases where the card does something good, like countering
a Past in Flames or exiling a Steel Overseer, but I’ve used it far too many
times as a two mana 1/1, or half of a Lingering Souls Flashback,
for me to want to play the card anymore. The removal part of the card is
the most valuable and therefore, I’m just going to be replacing them with
Spatial Contortions that still kill all of the same creatures and more that
Warping Wail cannot. Sure there are a couple of sorceries that are really
nice to be able to counter with Warping Wail, but having access to a better
removal spell is more important in my opinion. Plus, Spatial Contortion can
act as a Lightning Bolt to send the last three unsuspecting points of
damage when used on your Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, or Endbringer,
and teams up well with Endbringer or Walking Ballista when trying to remove
larger creatures. No more turn 1 Goblin Guides from my opponent where I
just look at my two mana removal spell in hand that can’t deal with it, and
I’ll still die to Scapeshift all the time anyway with or without Warping

All is Dust is truly the best card in the deck in so many matchups that I
don’t want to play less than three in the 75 and honestly, I wouldn’t mind
having three in the maindeck. It’s a much easier to cast seven- drop than
Karn Liberated because your Eldrazi Temples count for two mana, and with it
and Endbringer being your main top end now it’s easier to find Eldrazi
Temples from your Expedition Maps.

Azor’s Gateway has been a test card in the sideboard and although it hasn’t
done anything incredible so far, I’ve been reasonably happy with it.
Besides playing against control decks where you can run out of gas, there
are also plenty of matchups where Eldrazi Tron leans on Walking Ballista
and All is Dust and turns into a colorless control deck itself, and I like
having Azor’s Gateway as a card advantage source in those matchups as well
to help find my important top end pieces. I’m not sure if Azor’s Gateway is
better than Treasure Map or Druidic Satchel, but I like having access to
one of these cards.

Batterskull is most likely the card I’m missing the most for the Humans
matchup, and when putting Spatial Contortion in the maindeck I can free up
a sideboard slot for it. Even though many people bring in anti-artifact
cards already against you, Batterskull is the type of card that can have a
huge impact on the game for a reasonable amount of mana, especially in this
deck. Wurmcoil Engine is similar, but probably a little too expensive and
weak to Reflector Mage for my liking. Even if they Reflector Mage the Germ
token, you can simply equip the Batterskull to another creature.

It’s been good playing Eldrazi Tron again, and I may pick it back up for an
Open soon. Like I mentioned before the biggest matchups I’m currently
worried about with Eldrazi Tron are Humans and Affinity, not to mention the
unwinnable matchups such as G/x Tron and TitanShift, but it’s always been a
deck I’ve over performed with.

And finally we have my updated G/W Company list with the post Pro Tour
metagame in mind and what I’ll most likely be playing at #GPToronto this
weekend. The changes from previous lists are subtle, but hopefully help
give the deck a better chance against the more prominent decks right now.

Dromoka’s Command is a card I’ve played in the maindeck before, and I
believe now is the time to bring it back. A Meddling Mage naming Path to
Exile is devastating for the deck, and therefore I want access to another
removal spell. Dromoka’s Command is much more versatile than a normal
removal spell though, and can also disrupt combat math, remove an important
enchantment, or help protect myself from that lethal Boros Charm.

Another card I had before but haven’t played in while, Whisperwood
Elemental is another nod to the emergence of Humans as it can not only
create more chump blockers for me, but also help find important creatures
like Knight of the Reliquary and Courser of Kruphix faster. It’s also
secretly a decent card against Affinity, because the manifest creatures it
creates are colorless and therefore, can block Etched Champion, one of the
hardest threats for my deck to deal with.

Besides that I have an extra Reclamation Sage in the sideboard over the
second Eidolon of Rhetoric, as U/R Gifts Storm isn’t as popular as it was
before, but being able to destroy artifacts and enchantments is crucial. To
that second point, I wouldn’t mind having a third copy of Engineered
Explosives in the deck to also help out the Humans matchup as well as
Lantern Control, Affinity, etc. If I do put a third Explosives in the
sideboard it will be over the Elspeth Sun’s Champion, which is at its best
against the U/W/x Control decks. That’s the last slot I’ll be testing with
this week, but besides that I’m happy with this build of G/W Company.

So there you have it, the four decks I’m excited about playing in Modern
moving forward from the Pro Tour metagame into#GPToronto and #SCGINDY. It’s hard to
have any decks in your crosshairs when playing the wide open format known
as Modern, but no matter what I play I want to make sure I have a good
Humans and Affinity matchup moving forward.