1st – Zoo
2nd – Lantern Control
3rd – Abzan Company
4th – Burn
5th – Elves
6th – Jeskai Thopter Foundry
7th – Scapeshift
8th – Mardu
I love the look of this, especially when we compare it to the MOCS from only a little more than a month ago, which featured three Eldrazi decks (with one winning). Here is the winning list from that MOCS:
- 4 Drowner of Hope
- 4 Endless One
- 4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
- 2 Ruination Guide
- 4 Vile Aggregate
- 4 Eldrazi Mimic
- 3 Eldrazi Obligator
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
ASD defeated another Eldrazi deck, then Lantern Control, and finally G/W Hate Bears in the finals to win the event. If you go further down into the event, there are three more Eldrazi decks in the Top 16, and even more below that, making it easily the most played archetype.
Compare that to now, and we see a wide variety of archetypes.
That is likely to change. They always do. Archetypes rise and fall, and even in the most diverse metagame, you see things dominate. I do know that when I look at the Top 8 of the Modern Classic in Columbus, it takes a lot of work to find the sheer number of these two cards I once saw:
In addition, there are certainly a lot more of this card running around:
The reasons for all of this are pretty obvious. They look a little otherworldly, even:
These cards still exist in Modern, but they simply aren’t the ubiquitous forces that they once were. Suddenly, the prospect of running Lightning Bolt becomes reasonable again. If, for example, we compare the Top 8 of the Modern Classic to the MOCS, we’d see the following:
Lightning Bolts in the Columbus Modern Classic:
Lightning Bolts in the MOCS:
This isn’t simply because of happenstance. It is a direct result of the Eldrazi themselves.
Lightning Bolt has simply been one of the best cards of all time, and for a fairly long time, you would absolutely see it in nearly every deck that packed red mana. It wouldn’t be all such decks, but it would be in a great many of them to be certain. Here are the number of Lightning Bolts in the combined Top 8s of Grand Prix Detroit, Grand Prix Melbourne, and Grand Prix Bologna:
Now, the three Grand Prix that weekend were utterly decimated by Eldrazi, so that affects things, but even the red-based Eldrazi deck that played that weekend barely touched the card. Several played two or three copies, but none played four. The card was good enough to consider playing, but not good enough to play the full amount of copies.
Thankfully, now, we live in a new world. You aren’t going to hear me complain when Lightning Bolt sees a great deal of play!
Check out the other deck hit by the change, Tron, post-Eye of Ugin bannings:
- 1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- 4 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Spellskite
- 2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
- 1 Conduit of Ruin
I chose these two lists because they both were in the same Top 8 in the Modern #SCGStates in Fargo.
Neither of the decks even touches a card that seemed like it was the big player before in Tron, World Breaker. This card almost felt like the discount version of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, and it was common to see a large handful of this card in basically every version of G/R Tron. Now, though, it is nonexistent.
Instead these decks are both leaning on heavy planeswalkers builds, in large part to get Sanctum of Ugin to trigger.
Personally, I love a ton of planeswalkers. Without Eye of Ugin, finding a payoff for all of the mana you are generating is important, and a powerful planeswalker is a great way to do that. With that happening, Sanctum of Ugin begins to make sense as a choice, and the two choices work together quite nicely.
If so, it’s a sad state of affairs for Tron players. Yes, it somewhat does what you’re looking for it to do, by tutoring up an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger (or even an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, in the case of Hepola’s list), but it doesn’t do it very well, basically requiring a Karn Liberated or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to help make that happen. Importantly, it certainly isn’t going to make these cards scary:
This has a huge impact on how other decks are built. Take, for example, the deck I played at the SCG Invitational in Las Vegas at the end of 2015, Lantern Control:
So, this looks pretty typical, I’m sure.
But this card:
Hide // Seek was absolutely there because of G/R Tron, and basically for only one purpose: to knock out the last (or only, in some cases) Ulamog so it couldn’t be tutored up, and to have a way to reasonably beat the utter degenerates like Hepola who needed to go all the way to the top of the food chain with Emrakul (no disrespect, Mike).
This might have been overkill on my part, but over time, I found I just wanted the card.
G/R Tron didn’t suppress the format in the same way that Eldrazi decks of various stripes did, but they did require a certain kind of contortion to be able to truly handle properly. Both of the decks made it practically impossible to play certain strategies, such as a more classically controlling deck like U/W or Jeskai Flash-style.
In the past, you would simply get to a point where you’d be fighting over literally every land-search spell if you were one of these decks, and you couldn’t make the fight work out because you’d simply run out of gas and be unable to kill them in time before they buried you under Eye of Ugin activations. These decks got clobbered with Eye without there actually needing to be an Eldrazi deck to really punish them. This meant they weren’t even around when the Eldrazi finally arrived to take the world by storm.
Try playing Jund/Junk/BG-x when Eldrazi come rearing their ugly heads. Here you are, trying to take a powerful midrange stance in your games, and you just start getting eaten alive by the more powerful, more resilient creatures of your opponent.
Now, though, without that menace, this list looks pretty great:
It’s not exactly the build that I’d play (I think, though I’m not certain, that I prefer Dark Confidant builds), but I really like the overall look of the deck. In a midrange world, there is very little that does more work than finding a lot of ghosts:
Craig did lose in the finals to Infect, but he still plowed through a great many decks on its path there, include absolutely tearing up Korey McDuffie in the final round of the Swiss:
The thing about these various Rock-like decks like Jund, Junk, and the rest is that they are completely capable of running a grind on basically anything, and while they aren’t a huge fan of seeing one of the new unbanned cards (Ancestral Vision is a beating for them), they were even less of a fan of seeing Eldrazi, whether in a proper Eldrazi deck or in something like Tron.
We’re still in the beginning of our New Modern World, and this weekend I’m going to take the quick jaunt off to Milwaukee for the SCG Tour®‘s stop there. I still haven’t figured out which Modern deck I’m going to be playing at #SCGMKE, since I basically have spent most of the last month living and breathing Standard and Shadows over Innistrad Draft, but I’m honing the last couple of cards for a number of decks. Right now, I’m still not sure which one of the following decks I’m going to play.
Will I play Burn at #SCGMKE? Will I play Lantern Control? Will I play Obliterator Rock? I’m even thinking about dusting off my Cryptic Commands!
Those are the big ones that I have in contention right now. If I knew exactly the list I’d be playing, I’d be sharing it right here, right now, but I don’t know which I’m going to go with.
I know this: a month ago, I wouldn’t have considered any of them.
See you in Milwaukee. Wish me luck!