The Best Modern Decks For SCG Charlotte!

The writers have spoken! What do they think can defeat Dredge at SCG Charlotte? Humans? Amulet Titan? Azorius Control or Selesnya Hexproof?

Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Charlotte right around the corner, 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 this weekend 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!

Shaheen Soorani – Azorius Control

Control is at the top of its game these days in the Modern world. It took a while after the hero’s unbanning, but we are truly living in great times.

Do I think Azorius Control is the dominant force of the format? Not exactly, but it is stronger than it’s ever been. Aggressive decks have always been a decent matchup for us and the sideboard helps sure up those matchups with the best lifegain spells the format has to offer. The remaining combo decks of Modern are less potent, Dredge is a new super-enemy that can be hated out with additional copies of Rest in Peace, and the midrange craze is upon us.

Assassin’s Trophy hasn’t been a format-shaper in Standard, but it has crept its way into the catacombs of the dead midrange decks of Modern. It is quite possible that Golgari and Jund decks make a resurgence, which opens the door for any aspiring control wizard to strike the metagame with force. The focus around Terminus makes it resilient to many of the tough-to-kill creatures in conjunction with its mana efficiency. This is a 5-0 list from a competitive League that I would confidently jam this weekend as the SCG Tour hits one of my favorite cities on the East Coast, Charlotte!

Ryan Overturf – Grixis Phoenix

I half-jokingly Tweeted about something like this last week, and then Evart Moughon went and finished 16th at the Dallas Open with his own flavor of Arclight Phoenix deck. Evart’s list has some cool elements, though ultimately I believe his list plays a little too much air. Izzet Charm really just isn’t a Modern-playable card. The Grixis mana is a little tougher, though honestly with Manamorphose it’s not a big deal at all, and Collective Brutality is immeasurably better than Izzet Charm. Bedlam Reveler versus Snapcaster Mage is a more interesting discussion, though I’m sticking with Snapcaster Mage, as the card has a more consistent power level. My build is a lot more like Grixis Control with a combo finish, which I’m all about.

I hadn’t considered Thing in the Ice previously, though I’ve gotta hand it to Evart for maindecking a card that massively improves the Dredge matchup, which was the deck that placed the most players in Day 2 in Dallas. Speaking of the Dredge matchup, my sideboard plan isn’t something that I’ve poured a ton of thought into, and I’m erring on the side of just playing too many Surgical Extractions. Once you get to four graveyard hate cards it makes sense to start considering Leyline of the Void, though this deck both has higher access to Surgical via the Thought Scour / Snapcaster Mage engine and cares about casting instants.

I’ve only been playing this deck for about a week, though it has tons of parallels to other decks that I have played and had success with and I’m already convinced that this shell is deserving of my endorsement. I’ll be covering SCG Charlotte, but I expect that I will be playing something close to this list at Regionals.

Emma Handy – Humans

Humans is fantastic this weekend.

My article this week gives a longform explanation of why it’s so well-positioned, but the short version is that, with the proper answers in the sideboard, Humans is absolutely fine against Dredge. What Dredge does is that it pushes a bunch of the grindy fair decks out of the format, which ends up reducing the likelihood of playing against the removal-heavy things that Humans suffers against.

The only real decisions in deckbuilding here are choosing Mayor of Avabruck; Thalia, Guardian of Thraben; or Militia Bugler. Thalia is the best against specifically the mirror and Tron, but can end up being really crummy against some of the other things I’m expecting to play against. Militia Bugler and Mayor are both very nice with Phantasmal Image, and I tend to err towards trying to kill the opponent rather than the card selection side of Humans.

Ari Lax – Amulet Titan

I told you to play maindeck Bojuka Bog last week. You didn’t listen. Play maindeck Bojuka Bog this week. Please.

With the important part out of the way, I’m going to pontificate on small single-card decisions. These probably won’t matter until they cost or win you a game. At that point they are the only thing that mattered all event and you are a genius or an idiot because of it.

Firespout versus Radiant Flames is close. It’s possible a split is correct to avoid Meddling Mage, but that’s really narrow, as odds are they won’t name a random sideboard sweeper unless they see it in your hand with Kitesail Freebooter. At that point the odds of drawing the second are about zero, so I’m off it. Radiant Flames is currently behind in this race because wanting to cast it off an untapped colorless land does come up, and being able to cast Firespout for green only against Spirits and keep your Sakura-Tribe Scouts is really nice.

This deck actively wants Reclamation Sage over Knight of Autumn. One of these cards is castable with Blood Moon on the battlefield and the other isn’t. Not that your plan versus Blood Moon actually works most of the time, but I like having hopes and dreams on occasion.

The second Cavern of Souls in the sideboard is mostly just to make drawing one against Azorius Control easier. You should already be juggling the one you draw with bouncelands to avoid Field of Ruin disasters.

Danny West – Selesnya Hexproof

Look, every time I’m on this series I end up with this archetype as the go-to in my rotation. If I’m playing at SCG Charlotte, I just don’t want to participate in graveyard stuff. This is not the week to run that gambit. Dredge is probably going to put multiple copies into the Top 8, but the room will be packed with the less lucky of that bunch. Pass. If you’re all about first or bust, go for it, but the entire field will have the anti-Dredge hate turned up. I want no part of it.

A few different “metagame” sketches cut down on Horizon Canopy and stuff like Gryff’s Boon in order to maindeck Rest in Peace. It was misguided and ridiculous; that’s the kind of critical thinking that fair decks have to resort to. And who in the world is playing fair in an event like this?

The new Dredge decks are much more like Burn than before. Plus, Burn is having a bit of a comeback in its own right. This is the deck you want against that sort of business. Let me know how high your life total gets before they quit.

Abraham Stein – Humans

I’ve been talking myself out of playing Humans routinely for months now, but that time has come to an end. Sans decks like the one I wrote about this week that are entirely built to shut out creature strategies, I can’t think of many decks worth playing this week that are heavily favored against Humans. There’s no shame in playing the boogeyman when it’s the right thing to do, and while Dredge was top of the heap last week, I don’t think it’s quite dethroned Humans yet.

After talking to Zan Syed following his Top 8 performance in Dallas, he said there wasn’t much he would change from this list, and for good reason. This list was very prepared for beating Dredge decks and, by virtue of being a Humans deck, was already prepared for the vast majority of the format. It’s possible Grafdigger’s Cage and Militia Bugler could be different flex spots, but for this weekend I’m deferring to the hours and hours of playtesting Zan has that I don’t. If you have time, consider trying some of the ideas in Gerry’s article about beating Dredge this weekend, but if not, don’t pick against Emma Handy and just play Humans. You won’t regret it.