Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Worcester this weekend, many are
unsure what they’d play in such a high profile tournament. That’s where
we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it.
Hopefully this last minute advice aids in your decision-making! Be sure
to vote for who you agree with in the poll at the end!
Ari Lax – Burn
Still no respect.
Three Burn decks narrowly missed the Top 8 of GP Oakland, finishing 10th,
11th, and 12th after a rough Round 15. SCG Columbus featured six in the
Team Modern Open Top 16 and three more in the Top 8 of the Modern Classic.
That is literally 15% of the Top 16 metagame across three events.
The list of things I consistently am losing to with Burn right now is very
small. It’s maniacs with Jeskai Control, maniacs with Smallpox and white
cards, jerks with Stinkweed Imp, literally perfect Tron draws, and
I probably should lose to Selesnya Hexproof, but I haven’t.
[Don’t walk down my side of the street, Pro Tour Champ. I’ll fix that
real quick. –DWest]
Same with Amulet Titan, but their deck is so creature-based you can Searing
Blaze them right out of the game. Maybe a Golgari Midrange or Bant Spirits
or Humans opponent should have beat me, but they haven’t. I literally beat
a Kitchen Finks Collected Company deck in my RPTQ win and it was a joke.
Until people actually try to win games against me, I’m showing up with Lava
Sam Black – Ironworks
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, or, more precisely, if it’s clearly broken
and they can’t ban it yet, play it until they can.
I’d play the exact deck I played at
Grand Prix Oakland
. Yes, with four copies in the top 8 it will absolutely be the deck to beat
for SCG Worcester, but one of Ironworks’ biggest strengths is its
resistance to hate. Nature’s Claim and Sai, Master Thopterist do so much
work to get around hate that it’s really hard for anyone to have that much
of an advantage against Ironworks.
People have known they needed to beat Ironworks for months. No one just
forgot that it was a deck in Oakland; it was just strong enough to win
Card choices for the deck are all pretty standardized at this point. I view
the one Engineered Explosives in my sideboard as kind of a flex slot; I
played a second Tormod’s Crypt in the slot in Portland. I like having a
zero-mana artifact because it functions as a combo piece when you don’t
need it as interaction, so the cost to including it is very low, which is
also why I like the fourth Explosives. In most matchups I only want 2-3 in
my deck, but against decks where it’s very good and you want a ton of
interaction, like Infect, Selesnya Hexproof, and Hardened Scales, it’s the
perfect card because it’s an answer that doesn’t disrupt your engine, and
it enables a control strategy with Scrap Trawler, so I wanted to maximize
Todd Anderson – Ironworks
This week, we have the same format as
. And while #SCGCOL was
Team Modern, it wasn’t unified, so you could effectively play whatever you
wanted. This weekend, at #SCGWOR, we
have Modern again, and my tune hasn’t changed one bit. Krark-Clan
Ironworks, get your butt up on the stage. It’s your time to shine.
I’ve seen Ironworks beat multiple copies of Stony Silence. I’ve seen
Ironworks fight through Abrade, Ancient Grudge, Leyline of the Void, and
Surgical Extraction. You name it and I’ve seen Ironworks beat it. To me,
that’s the sign of a great combo deck, where your opponent’s hate cards
just aren’t good enough on their own. You need pressure backed by powerful
disruptive elements, and sometimes that isn’t enough either.
For me, the only downside to playing Ironworks is that you have some
matchups, like Infect, that are virtually unwinnable. With that said,
unless you play against Aaron Barich or Tom “The Boss” Ross, chances are
your opponent isn’t going to be knocking you out with Glistener Elf.
The true strength of Ironworks is that your entire deck cycles. So even if
you’re being hit with discard effects or counterspells, you’ll eventually
find your combo pieces. You have enough redundancy and resiliency to fight
through just about anything. And on top of all that, you have one of the
most disgusting Plan Bs I’ve ever seen in a Magic: the Gathering combo
Sai, Master Thopterist is it chief.
Tom Ross – Infect
I’ve played Infect in the Team Constructed events in Las Vegas and Columbus
and at the Winter SCG CON. Modern is full of great matchups for Infect that
are trending upwards like Amulet Titan, Ironworks, and Tron. Even Izzet
Phoenix and Whir Prison are reasonable once you know what’s important.
Against the Arclight Phoenix decks, the key is to not play to the stack and
make sure you get through Thing in the Ice. Against Chalice of the Void,
it’s all about Become Immense.
I’ve been wanting a taste of card selection and information in Infect for a
while now ever since the loss of Gitaxian Probe. I’ve tried Peek and Serum
Visions, but those strained the blue mana quite a bit. Mishra’s Bauble is
nice with Become Immense and the fetchlands and is the next step I’ll be
taking with Infect.
At SCG Columbus last weekend, our team lost to Bant Spirits four times, all
close three-game matches that went down to the wire. I believe for Infect
to do well in the near future, a solution to Bant Spirits needs to be
found. The best two I’ve come up with are Skylasher and Kraul Harpooner as
cheap ways to pressure them and combat flyers. Going forward, I’ll be
testing a mix of them in the sideboard to see what mix leads to converting
some of those tough losses into narrow wins.
Shaheen Soorani – Izzet Phoenix
My boy did it again! The champion of GP Oakland, Eli Kassis piloted Izzet
Phoenix to glory against a field of Scrap Trawlers and Krark-Clan Ironworks
enthusiasts. I’m no stranger to the artifact-based combo deck, but I’ve
been all about this Izzet Phoenix deck ever since I saw it trending on
Magic Online. The deck is one of the most consistent tempo decks ever used
in Modern and provides a similar clock each game. There are some runaway
games with Thing in the Ice unopposed, but most of the matches involve a
few turns of big burst damage that force your opponent to answer or perish.
One of the big points I pushed when I suggested that you all should play
this deck is the inclusion of Blood Moon, which Eli Kassis incorporated to
dominate the tournament. Blood Moon is the key sideboard card that locks
out opponents in bad matchups and steals games you had no business winning.
If there’s an Izzet deck you are looking into for this weekend, I implore
you to take advantage of one of the most broken hate cards ever created.
Some sideboard cards stop entire strategies; this stops the manabase of most of the format. I hate that the card is Modern-legal, but we
don’t get to pick and choose what cards are banned/unbanned.
Well, until they release Stoneforge Mystic in a few weeks!
Abraham Stein – Jeskai Control
There’s nothing like the classics.
Last weekend in Columbus, I got to take my customary ride into the Midwest
with the Jeskai braintrust of Benjamin Nikolich and Luke Purcell.
Unsurprisingly, I had resigned myself to registering Celestial Colonnade
and Lightning Helix in Columbus before I got into the car with them. This
week will be no different.
Ironworks is coming off the back of a dominant performance in Oakland, next
to Burn and Izzet Phoenix, as the cream of Modern’s crop and all three of
those are matchups I feel good about from the Jeskai side. I know it has
been a controversial take in the past to choose to register a control deck
like this instead of one of its more powerful counterparts, but I think
that other than Dredge, it’s very well-positioned this weekend.
The Ironworks deck’s biggest weakness is countermagic backed up by pressure
and answers to Sai, which is exactly what Jeskai Control offers. Just be
certain to sideboard out your Bolts and Verdicts in the matchup and to
avoid giving them a window to resolve something with Negate backup. If you
can do that, you’re very favored to take down the bogeyman while being fine
to great against the rest of the room. It’s the road less traveled, but
that will make all the difference.
Cedric Phillips – Burn
Turns out Ari was right last week, so he gets to stay here with Star City
Games for a good while longer. Congrats, Ari!
At GP Oakland last weekend, I was 5-1 in the main event before some
untimely losses to Bant Spirits and Humans, two matchups I consider to be
extremely close and bordering on favorable, to miss out on Day 2. The
Sunday PTQ saw me go 5-0 to make the Top 8 (with wins against Izzet
Phoenix, Zoo, TitanShift, Ironworks, and Bant Spirits) before losing to the
Burn mirror in roughly five seconds.
All weekend long, I felt like Burn was close to unbeatable. I lost four
matches total on the weekend so let’s recap:
- Burn. Twice.
Last week in this column, I said I hated Burn. And when I said that, I
meant it. I’ve always done terribly with the deck when I test with it for a
tournament, which is strange given that I live with Patrick Sullivan a
non-zero number of weekends per year and we play it on Magic Online after
doing coverage most nights. That all changed during my trip to Oakland. I
felt like I couldn’t lose in almost every match I played unless I screwed
up (which I did in my match against Bant Spirits) or ran bad (which I did a
few times, but that happens in the Burn mirror to one of the players).
Never did I think I would have that feeling when sleeving up Lava Spike,
but I certainly did last weekend.
Be smart and do the same.
Andrew Elenbogen – Azorius Control
After the results of GP Oakland and SCG Columbus last weekend, I think it
is no longer arguable: Krark-Clan Ironworks is the best deck in Modern.
That said, most people reading this should not play Ironworks next weekend.
The deck is obscenely hard and requires a huge amount of practice. Last
weekend, I believed I was prepared to play it, and punted my way to an
individual record of 7-7. If you are supposed to play Ironworks in this
tournament, you’re already aware of that fact because you locked it in
Of the decks I feel proficient with in Modern, I think blue control is the
best at beating Ironworks. My experience is that the combination of hateful
white enchantments and a critical mass of countermagic is simply too much
for the deck to overcome much of time. It doesn’t hurt that Ironworks is
strong against Dredge and big mana strategies, all of which are the natural
predators of control in Modern.
I think straight Azorius Control is a better choice than Jeskai this
weekend. Jeskai cannot easily sideboard Rest in Peace due to the number of
Snapcaster Mages and Logic Knots it typically runs. That card is amazing
against Ironworks as well as a huge swath of the current Modern field.
Also, nobody plays Humans anymore, so the days of getting your Terminus
owned by Aether Vial plus Meddling Mage and Kitesail Freebooter are over.
Lastly, the sweeper is a lot better than Lightning Bolt against the
Arclight Phoenix decks that I expect to be popular this weekend.
Long live the one-mana wrath!