Restore Balance In Modern

To help prepare for Grand Prix Richmond, Sam showcases a deck from Pro Tour Born of the Gods with which you may not be too familiar: Alfonso Barcelona Cabeza’s Restore Balance.

To help prepare for Grand Prix Richmond, I’ve decided to showcase a deck from Pro Tour Born of the Gods with which you may not be too familiar. Today I’ll be playing with Alfonso Barcelona Cabeza’s Restore Balance deck.

I have no idea why my opponent brought in Delver of Secrets there. My interaction is really bad against my opponent’s deck and very good against creatures, and they brought in a creature that doesn’t really put a relevant clock on me. I assume this was an overreaction to Leyline of Sanctity. The better plan for my opponent would have been to side in a single Echoing Truth and plan to draw their entire deck when they go off and bounce the Leyline before killing me.

This match played out very differently than I expected. In the first game, despite the fact that I had a great start for it, I never used Restore Balance; I just won with the fair elements of the deck because my opponent’s draw was fairly weak. For game 2, I kept a fairly loose hand that I possibly shouldn’t have since it really needed to draw red mana right away. I missed, and my opponent’s start was good enough to get there. In the third game, my opponent had a good draw with a lot of pressure and the right interactive spells, which they were able to keep up the whole game so I couldn’t play around them.

In hindsight, I think this is often how this matchup will play out, with Restore Balance generally winning game 1 (though not usually in that way) and losing after sideboard when the Merfolk player has more and better counters, though Ricochet Trap can be huge here and resolving a single Restore Balance is usually enough.

In the first game, my opponent just didn’t have enough counters. It’s possible that they should have Remanded my Vendilion Clique, but then they would’ve been tapped out, meaning I could resolve something. By letting it resolve, he at least had the chance to draw into another Remand after I took that one. The following Restore Balance wasn’t game ending, but it left him far behind. Thassa, God of the Sea was able to close things out quickly.

Game 2 I ran into the same problem I had against Merfolk. It’s much harder to resolve a Restore Balance after sideboarding.

In the third game, I adjusted for that, and I was able to win the game as a fair deck despite my opponent getting Tron together thanks to Jace. It’s not clear how often this deck can win those games, but it’s definitely better at it than I expected.

Game 1 my draw was excellent, plus the deck my opponent was playing, Affinity, has no real way to interact with Restore Balance + Greater Gargadon. If I don’t have Gargadon, it’s possible to lose to Nexus, especially with Cranial Plating, but with both together, it seems very hard to lose. The second game was more of the same, as I drew the combo again. This time my opponent had Spell Pierce, but I didn’t move in on the first one and had another cascade spell so I was able to do it again.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed with this deck, especially its ability to play a fair game when it has to. Some of the planeswalkers (Elspeth, Knight-Errant in particular) felt pretty weak in the matchups I played, but they presumably have a place elsewhere.