Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Dallas 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
Sam Black – Golgari Midrange
I’m not really the kind of person who looks at a Golgari-based list and
thinks, “wow, that deck looks awesome, I should play that!” But, like, this
deck looks awesome, and I think I should play it.
What I love about this deck is the curve. Nothing in this deck costs more
than three mana, and it has ten spells it can cast on the first turn.
Despite this, there are still 25 lands, but Tasigur, the Golden Fang and
Tireless Tracker are fantastic mana sinks, as are creature-lands and Field
These types of decks always have good, cheap threats and versatile answers,
but I think Assassin’s Trophy, especially in conjunction with Field of Ruin
really put it over the edge in terms of efficiency and versatility of
answers, and I think the manabase is a really brilliant approach to the
beginnings of a format that’s so strongly defined by effects that replace
cards with basic lands from their owner’s library.
Assassin’s Trophy and Field of Ruin in the format together create the
biggest pressure the format has had to play only two colors to maximize the
number of basic lands you can find, and Assassin’s Trophy really removes
the need for a splash, thanks to its versatility. Where I’m not sure about
things, I defaulted to sticking with JIsOrange’s MTGO Modern
Challenge-winning list, but I made a couple minor tweaks. I thought J’s
list featured too many black sources, and I like an additional
creature-land that costs less mana to activate, so I replaced a Swamp with
a Treetop Village, and I like a more even split of Lilianas to maximize
options on turn 3. The possibility of having both and my chances of keeping
a Tireless Tracker on the battlefield in a deck that uses it so well.
Finally, I added a Pithing Needle to the sideboard instead of a Nissa,
Vital Force, because I’ve always been impressed with small numbers of the
card, and I like it in particular as an answer to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
in this format.
One additional change I didn’t make but would strongly consider is
replacing Leyline of the Void with Surgical Extraction, because it plays
really well with all the discard in the deck and also plays well with the
land destruction, especially against Tron.
Ross Merriam – Dredge
Dredge has had quite a resurgence since the printing of Creeping Chill and
after playing with the card I’m fully on board. The banning of Golgari
Grave-Troll robbed Dredge of its trademark explosiveness, and while it was
able to adapt for a time by relying on its strong lategame of recursive
threats and Life from the Loam + Conflagrate, it became clear that the deck
was simply underpowered relative to the rest of the format and became a
fringe strategy as decks like Humans, Hollow One, and Azorius Control
Creeping Chill goes a long way of restoring the deck’s fast clock by both
representing a significant chunk of damage itself and helping your
Bloodghasts become hasty a turn or two earlier. The deck once again kills
on turn 4 with regularity while sacrificing little to nothing in staying
power. The time to cash in is now because the graveyard hate will come, and
while Dredge is resilient enough to succeed in the face of hate, it’s nice
to have one or two easy tournaments beforehand.
As good as Creeping Chill is, I’m advocating trimming one to keep the
dredger count up because nothing is worse than having to actually draw a
card and be reminded that you’re actually playing Magic and not Dredge. I’m
also going up to four copies of Leyline of the Void to combat the mirror
and Storm as well as two copies of Assassin’s Trophy over two of the
Nature’s Claims to add more versatility in the answer package and to help
contain planeswalkers against control. You don’t have a lot of decisions
when tuning Dredge, but you see a lot of your deck every game so it’s
important to be right on with the ones you have.
Bryan Gottlieb – Living End
- 4 Street Wraith
- 1 Shriekmaw
- 1 Faerie Macabre
- 3 Architects of Will
- 3 Curator of Mysteries
- 4 Horror of the Broken Lands
- 4 Striped Riverwinder
- 4 Remand
- 1 Ancestral Vision
- 4 Living End
- 2 Cryptic Command
- 1 Thoughtseize
- 1 Yahenni's Expertise
- 4 As Foretold
- 4 Mausoleum Secrets
A powerful combo option brimming with disruption and redundancy? Now this
is how you’re supposed to play Modern! I went very deep on this deck in my
article today, so if you want to know exactly why I’m so high on this
archetype I recommend giving it a read. In short, this is a powerful and
consistent version of an archetype that is tournament tested. The sideboard
switcheroo takes away some of the pain of playing a linear graveyard-based
strategy in a field that may come prepared for exactly that type of thing.
If that’s not your style, see my article for a version of the deck that
instead seeks to answer your opponent’s hate with the versatile Assassin’s
Regardless of which version of this deck captures your heart, don’t sleep
on the value of an unknown gameplan in Modern. At this point, people know
their matchups and sideboard plans for the common matchups inside and out.
Throw a wrench into their plans and force them to adapt on the fly by
cashing in a little surprise equity.
Cedric Phillips – Bant Spirits
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 3 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Drogskol Captain
- 1 Rattlechains
- 4 Spell Queller
- 2 Selfless Spirit
- 4 Mausoleum Wanderer
- 2 Remorseful Cleric
- 4 Supreme Phantom
It pains me to have to switch from Humans to wannabe Humans, but sometimes
you gotta know when to move on. While I don’t think Bant Spirits is as good
as Humans from a power level standpoint, the metagame dictates what one
should be doing. So, what’s doing well in Modern recently?
Burn. Bant Spirits has Mausoleum Wanderer, Spell Queller, Drogskol
Captain, and Dromoka’s Command after sideboard. Additionally, we
can sideboard some number of Knight of Autumns if we really want
Azorius Control. Bant Spirits plays a flash game incredibly well
due to Aether Vial and Collected Company but also has counterspells
in Disdainful Stroke and Unified Will after sideboard, as well as
Geist of Saint Traft and Gaddock Teeg.
Dredge. Bant Spirits can cast Rest in Peace whereas Humans cannot,
but I’ve also included a few maindeck copies of Remorseful Cleric
just in cast this Dredge resurgence is as real as people say it is.
Obviously, there are a ton of other decks to be worried about in Modern,
but you can gear Bant Sprits to beat whatever you’re most afraid of. The
only matchup I’m not in love with is Mono-Green Tron but with Assassin’s
Trophy and Unmoored Ego being real options to beat Karn Liberated and
friends, this seems like a no-brainer and the success that others have been
seeing with Bant Spirits simply cannot be ignored any longer.
Also, I like free wins. Rest in Peace and Stony Silence provide free wins.
Emma Handy – Dredge
- 1 Darkblast
- 4 Life from the Loam
- 3 Conflagrate
- 3 Shriekhorn
- 4 Faithless Looting
- 4 Cathartic Reunion
- 4 Creeping Chill
Dredge is the best deck in Modern right now. Full stop. For a while, Hollow
One had usurped the title of “best graveyard deck,” but the addition of
Creeping Chill from Guilds of Ravnica put Dredge back over the
top. The resiliency to conventional forms of interaction is a big plus, and
on top of that, the buzz around Vengevine has died off a bit. This
translates to a lower respect for graveyards, which in turn makes graveyard
decks better. Funny how that works.
The biggest thing that Creeping Chill does for the Dredge deck is that it
soups up its ability to race in both directions. It makes it harder to try
and kill Dredge before they can establish anything because of the life gain
that Creeping Chill provides and it’s also harder to try and tank up
against the deck because the deck will eventually have twelve points of
damage for zero mana.
Play the basic Forest. I’ve played Modern Dredge off and on for years, and
with people jamming Field of Ruin and the primary gameplan of the deck
revolving around filtering as much of one’s deck into the graveyard as
possible, having a green source in one’s deck isn’t a given. It will win
you more games than it will lose you.
Pick up Dredge and gives yourself the best odds for success, or sleep on
the deck and lose to it. The ball’s in your court.
Abraham Stein – Burn
Since the release of Guilds of Ravnica, I’ve played exactly one
Modern tournament and that was SCG Columbus. I played Jeskai Control and I
regretted it big time. Meanwhile, in that same tournament, Collins Mullen
went on a tear with Burn making it all the way to the finals of the event
which made me green with envy. Lava Spikes in trench coats is my favorite
archetype in Magic to play, and I’m not making that mistake again.
Burn has been making waves in Modern recently, becoming the most played
archetype on Magic Online eclipsing Humans and Azorius Control seemingly
out of nowhere. A few weeks ago,
I wrote an article
about why I thought Risk Factor was amazing, and sure enough, I was correct
as the card has made waves in Standard as one of the scariest cards to have
cast against you. In that article, I wrote up my first Risk Factor Burn
list, anticipating Assassin’s Trophy to come out front and center, but with
that world not yet being the one we live in, this is what I’d play this
A clean sleek 75 with a full set of Lightning Helix and Kor Firewalkers in
the sideboard so we can win every Burn mirror that comes our way. Something
that might be worth considering if you’re more afraid of Ross Merriam than
Emma Handy would be to replace Kor Firewalker with two copies of Rest in
Peace and one more copy of Skullcrack for when you really need it. I’m
mostly worried about the Burn mirror because of how many times I’ve played
it and how much it can come down to luck but playing around with those
three slots is definitely acceptable.
Good luck and happy bolting!
Jadine Klomparens – Jund
Somehow Guilds of Ravnica has been legal for over two weeks now,
and I have yet to play Jund with Assassin’s Trophy in a major tournament.
Indeed, I won’t be able to take Bloodbraid Elf and friends out for a spin
but you, dear reader, have a chance to play it for me this weekend at #SCGDFW. Don’t
let me down.
I wrote my
on the impact of Assassin’s Trophy on Jund right when the card was
previewed, but in case you missed it here’s the summary: it makes Jund
better. Before, you had a bunch of choices. Did you prefer to be weak to
Gurmag Angler or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria? Did you want to beat small
creature decks or big creature decks? The good removal options all handled
a subset of the things that mattered in Modern, and any decision you made
left a sizable hole you could be attacked through. Assassin’s Trophy fixes
I have two primary targets in mind with the sideboard: Dredge and Burn.
Between Nihil Spellbomb, Grafdigger’s Cage, and Anger of the Gods, this
list has a whopping five cards ready to ruin a Dredge player’s day. That’s
important, as Crippling Chill seems to have returned Dredge to the big time
and you need to be ready for it.
As for Burn, it’s really all about being able to take out all your Dark
Confidants and Thoughtseizes for cards that play. Collective Brutality is
the gold standard, but Kitchen Finks and Duress are also concessions to the
Burn matchup. Having this many cards that are good in the Burn matchup is
enough to make it decidedly good for you, not just technically winnable.
Ari Lax – Amulet Titan
- 4 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
- 4 Sakura-Tribe Scout
- 4 Primeval Titan
- 1 Reclamation Sage
- 1 Walking Ballista
- 1 Zacama, Primal Calamity
Amulet Titan has low key been crushing it lately, with highlight finishes
of winning back-to-back Modern StarCityGames.com Classics in Baltimore and
I was on board a month ago, but things have only gotten better for the
deck since then.
You might think Assassin’s Trophy is a problem, but really, it’s just a
minor inconvenience. You beat the Golgari decks with card advantage from
each Primeval Titan trigger after you eventually hit six actual lands, so
Trophy is largely just a Terminate with fringe bonuses. You still hit six
mana against them and you still overwhelm them with threat tutor chains.
What Assassin’s Trophy and a general dropoff in Tron has done is get people
to shave actually problematic cards like Blood Moon or Fulminator Mage.
The other gain from Guilds of Ravnica is Creeping Chill improving
Dredge. Amulet Titan being a reasonable combo deck that doesn’t have
Conflagrate issues is already annoying for Dredge. Maindeck Bojuka Bog with
a bunch of ways to tutor for it and bouncelands to recur it is a nightmare.
I’m conceding the point on Zacama, Primal Calamity over Dragonlord Atarka
just based on every other list having the Dinosaur, but if you have a
chance, try out the Dragon and see how it goes.