Between doing commentary and focusing on Limited for a bit, I haven’t had a chance to actually play in many Constructed tournaments in real life, but that
doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on them, both online and off. Magic Online is always there for me, plus with all the plane rides I’ve been taking, I’ve
had a lot of one-on-one time with my best friend: my notebook.
Here’s what I’ve been working on.
- 1 Dragonmaster Outcast
- 4 Mantis Rider
- 3 Soulfire Grand Master
- 3 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
- 1 Dragonlord Silumgar
- 4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
With Jeskai Black on the decline, I think we’re able to still play Jeskai, but now we don’t necessarily have to tune our deck for the mirror match. Brad
Nelson made some excellent points last week about why
Abzan rose to dominance, and part of this is certainly due to the lack of Roasts and Valorous Stances in current Jeskai Black decklists. Basically, we need
to play more cards that kill Anafenza, the Foremost.
Removing Kolaghan’s Command certainly weakens us in the mirror match and against decks with Become Immense, but I like this list against everything else.
Valorous Stance, in particular, gives the deck a little more game against Dragonlord Ojutai. You might think with the full set of Crackling Dooms, you
won’t need the help, but that’s not exactly true. If you’re able to keep them off Dragonlord Ojutai, they probably won’t be able to keep up with you.
The Dark Petition package in the sideboard is something I like right now. You typically don’t need more than one Virulent Plague or Infinite Obliteration,
yet if you have a bad matchup against the decks where you need those cards, you might want to play multiple copies despite the second copy being
unimportant. By playing Dark Petition instead, you have multiple copies of each if you want them, and it’s better than playing multiple copies assuming you
can turn on spell mastery.
My main worry is the lack of cards against Atarka Red. In order to do well consistently against them, you really want some sweepers and brick walls, such
as Arashin Cleric. While I’m a big fan of the Dark Petition package, using that to search for Virulent Plague against Atarka Red is sketchy at best. Sadly,
Atarka Red requires too many slots to defeat on the regular, so right now, I’m choosing to try and get lucky. I’d rather have a shot against all the decks
out there, including Eldrazi Ramp and Esper Tokens.
Jeskai Black was the top deck for quite a while, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts doing well again. To discount it now would be a mistake.
I’ve been slowly updating this one. Last time, I had some Ruinous Paths maindeck to defeat Jace, even after it become Jace, Telepath Unbound. I think we
can do that with just Utter End. The other real change is that I’ve been playing a Foundry of the Consuls. It might be a bit greedy, but the card is
Treasure Cruise is basically a replacement for Ob Nixilis Reignited in the sideboard. I didn’t like having any BB spells, regardless of the matchup, so
Treasure Cruise is stepping in to be my card drawer against control decks.
- 4 Siege Rhino
- 2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
- 1 Dragonlord Ojutai
- 4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
- 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Oddly enough, I think this deck might be well-positioned again.
I was inspired by Makihito Mihara’s deck from #PTBFZ, which was basically this deck, except it had Den Protector instead of Bring to Light. I still like
having a small Tutor package, even though it’s a tad on the slow side. Dragonlord Ojutai was a card I deemed not good enough in the past, but it looks
really good against the new crop of Abzan Aggro decks.
If the metagame is all Esper Dragons, Abzan Aggro, Jeskai Black, and Atarka Red, I think this deck has a great shot. There’s a lot to work with here, and
it’s probably where I’ll go next.
This is the last one for Standard, and I’ll be honest, it’s just a goofy brew.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this one lately, but it’s tough. Zoo made a huge impact a couple weekends ago, although Modern is strange, and I don’t
know how big of an impact that will have. If Zoo does get more popular across the board, Grixis Control won’t be successful, at least the way I currently
have it built.
My list has gotten more streamlined, and I’m pretty sure that’s a good sign.
Ah, yes. My old favorite.
Assuming Zoo actually becomes a real deck in Modern, I’m very excited about the prospect of anything that wants to play Timely Reinforcements maindeck, so
here we are.
This deck has gotten two recent upgrades that have gone unnoticed: The first is Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and the second is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
Sure, both have been adopted by G/R Tron, but nobody even thinks to remember ole U/W.
With Crucible of Worlds and Haven of the Spirit Dragon, you can have infinite Ugins if you want them. That should be a better plan than trying to
Mindslaver people because of the clock, plus Ugin is a card you might want to actually play anyway. Still, it’s a little awkward to set up, plus I always
liked having Expedition Map be able to find a powerful threat in Eye of Ugin. No, Celestial Colonnade doesn’t count.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is probably what you want maindeck, but this package is way more fun. If you do make that swap, I’d increase the Map count to
four and the Tron count back to twelve. With Ugin as your finisher, you didn’t necessarily need the extra Tron lands since you’d often function like a U/W
Control deck anyway.
I’m also interested in the prospect of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy in U/W Tron, but I’m not sure what kind of craziness is possible with that yet.
- 1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
- 1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- 1 Snapcaster Mage
- 1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
- 4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
This one is a little wilder. It uses a lot of the same principles of the Grixis Control deck, but has a much more powerful end game. If Lightning Bolt is
bad, then a deck like this is probably pretty good.
Again, I’m pretty high on Timely Reinforcements, so that’s another reason to give this deck a shot. It’s not as powerful as U/W Tron, but it also has more
cards that interact with its opponents, making matchups like Splinter Twin much easier. If your opponents are trying to grind you out, Lingering Souls,
Liliana of the Veil, and Gifts Ungiven should give you the edge.
The exact contents of the deck don’t matter. I think the point that needs to be made is that Pia and Kiran Nalaar are for real, even in Jund. Liliana of
the Veil seems particularly bad right now, as does Lightning Bolt, so perhaps now is not the time for Jund. Also, if you decide that those cards don’t look
great but you decide to play Jund anyway, you should probably play four of each.
I played Sneak and Show at #GPSeaTac alongside Chris VanMeter. He wrote about his experience last week, but I had some
Limited to cover and my tournament was relatively short, so I didn’t write about my experience. My matchups weren’t bad and my opponents didn’t play any
specific hate cards — I just lost.
Sometimes that’ll happen. As with CVM, I liked the deck.
This is not the list that I would necessarily play, but this is the best version of the list that I think most people would want to play. Basics lands and
the Meddling Mage splash have been widely adopted by the hive mind, although I’m not a huge fan.
Here’s a checklist for Shardless Sultai:
-Ways to deal with True-Name Nemesis and/or small creatures.
-Ways to beat combo.
-Graveyard hate if necessary.
-Ways to solidify your matchup against Miracles.
-Ways to beat opposing Jace, the Mind Sculptors.
-Plans vs weird decks or strategies like Blood Moon and Burn. Sometimes the best answer is to concede.
-Plan for the mirror match. Misdirection is probably the best card if you have space for it.
I think this deck has most of that covered.
This deck started on the premise that Painful Truths is a playable Legacy card, which I believe is true. I dislike decks with Volcanic Island and Deathrite
Shaman as much as the next sane person, but there is probably some merit to it.
I had a great Grixis Control deck when Dig Through Time was legal, but unfortunately I couldn’t register that one for #GPSeaTac. While hammering people
with Sneak and Show seemed appealing, I kinda wish I registered something like this considering how bad my record in Seattle was. Going forward, I’ll be
working on decks like this.
Again, this deck relies on the premise that Painful Truths is good. If you don’t like how Shardless Agent restricts your deckbuilding capabilities, perhaps
you should try something along these lines. True-Name Nemesis and Spell Pierce are basically the payoffs here.
It’s probably going to be a while before I get another chance to play Legacy, but I will almost always want to play a blue midrange deck that beats other
blue decks. Both of these decks seem quite capable of doing that. My sideboards could use some work though.
Well, I hope this was fun! I’ve got some other, more fun stuff in the works, but I’ll have to flesh out those brews a little more. Like it or not, this is
my best stuff.