The Modern Decks To Consider For SCG Baltimore

Want to take down SCG Baltimore’s Modern Open? Which deck is your weapon? We asked eight players what they’d be taking for the big event!

Welcome to What We’d Play! With SCG Baltimore just a day away, 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!

Jim Davis – Humans

Is Humans the undisputed best deck in Modern? No, but it’s hard to find a
Modern deck more consistent. The mixture of aggression and disruption is
fantastic and, frankly, Humans does a great job of beating up on all the
random Modern decks that you may face at SCG Baltimore that you haven’t
really thought about. Nothing feels worse than perfectly tuning your Jeskai
deck for the expected metagame, getting your metagame read correct based on
the metagame breakdowns, but still playing against the one person in the
room who brought Ad Nauseam in round 4.

It’s not only nice that Humans is great in all these random matchups, but
also is very capable of beating its bad matchups with fantastically quick
draws. On my way to top 8 at SCG Indianapolis a few weeks ago, I was
astounded my how many games my opponent would stumble for a turn and die
shortly afterwards. There’s real value in applying good, honest pressure to
your opponents and going fast in Modern is never a bad idea.

With three copies in the top 8 of SCG Dallas last weekend, as well as two
of them meeting in the finals, it’s safe to say that Humans is the de facto
safe choice in the format right now. Having a little extra ammo for the
mirror in the sideboard, be it Hostage Taker or maybe even Whirler Rogue,
is definitely suggested.

Brad Nelson – U/W Control

Luckily, Brian Braun-Duin and Seth Manfield did not kick me off the team
after my poor personal performance at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary. It’s
always a great honor each time these two allow me to play with them, but
usually it involves me playing Standard. Somehow these two dummies kept me
around for Grand Prix Detroit which so happens to be Team Unified Modern.
Not wanting to cost Seth Player of the Year, I’ve quickly gotten to work on
Modern and I’ve started with this archetype. I assumed I would hate playing
with U/W Control or it would be a bad deck, but I’ve actually taken a
liking to the deck. I’m currently 18-5 in matches played, and I find the
deck challenging, interesting, and, most importantly, fun!

Don’t be fooled by what you hear – U/W Control can tango with the Humans
menace. Going into preparation, I’d heard it was a poor matchup, but I’m
doing alright against it. The deck just seems well set up for what’s being
played right now, especially since all these graveyard decks keep popping
up. I’m having so much fun I might just make the drive to Baltimore to play
at SCG Baltimore this weekend – that’s how much I believe in this deck.

Danny West – G/W Hexproof

I’ve played with U/W Control for months. I really enjoy its style, I’m very
experienced with it, all that jazz. But an SCG Tour stop is not a six-round
IQ or a crammed local store; this is a two-day endurance test. And the name
of this feature isn’t, “What deck would you have played when you were

Hexproof is a deck that lets you win and get on with your day. And it’s not
like utility is all its got; it’s a legit deck that can win any given
tournament. And best of all, aside from some ineffectual incidental hate,
no one seems to protect themselves from it. And have you played against
Burn with this? Oh baby!

If you know all the matchups inside out and there’s nothing new under the
sun for your mental metagame, then by all means, pick up Humans or U/W or
Ironworks or whatever. But have you had a busy week? Do you smoke between
your tournament rounds? Do you find yourself making too many mistakes as
you get tired late in the day? Learn how to work around sacrifice effects,
learn how to mulligan aggressively, and learn how to navigate tension
between Slippery Bogle and Kor Spiritdancer getting the next aura. Go get
those Horizon Canopies and have a nice (and potentially winning) weekend in
Baltimore. Just bring another deck in case you want to mix it up for side
events, as I wouldn’t play this deck in an event unless it was a marathon
that I truly wanted to win. It’s a deck to spike with, not to play with
when you just want to enjoy good, clean interactive Magic.

Because as you well know, this deck is not clean. It’s not interactive.
This is a deck for dirty, dirty people.

Ryan Overturf – Grixis Vengevine

Listen. I’m expecting my colleagues to mostly submit stock decks and
reasons why those decks are well-positioned, so I’m here to offer some
spice. I nearly just copy and pasted one of the Sticher’s Supplier
Vengevine decks that others have started to see success with, but seeing as
I’m really not trying to play tournaments right now, I figured I’d just
deliver the latest incarnation of one of my Modern pet decks.

I played a variant of this deck featuring Hollow One when that card first
hit the scene to a PPTQ Top 4 before shelving the deck, though I’m a firm
believer that Stitcher’s Supplier is both a massive upgrade to these
strategies and categorically busted.

The draw to these decks are that your game 1 hands present a combination of
busted starts that can win very quickly and a robustness to fight through
the sorts of interaction that people maindeck. You don’t have to sweat spot
removal, and you can generally race anything with your best hands on the
play. Further, many opponents will mulligan very aggressively to graveyard
hate after sideboard, and enough of them just lose to you casting your
creatures after doing so. The reason that I prefer the Hedron Crab version
over the popular builds is that it has the absolute highest ceiling of any
card in the deck. Cracking a fetchland while controlling a Crab is
essentially dredging a Golgari Grave-Troll, and when you’re already
interested in Vengevines, you just want a high volume of one-mana
creatures. The sideboard and a number of the one-ofs could definitely use
some revision, but this deck is extremely powerful and you don’t really
have any nightmare matchups.

Ross Merriam – Humans

Despite a poor individual performance in Fort Worth last weekend, I’m going
to be running back Humans in Baltimore. It’s the most consistent performer
in Modern right now, and the deck has much more play to it than you might
expect, as evidenced in
my article earlier this week

There isn’t a lot of room to play around with in Humans, but I spent most
of my weekend wishing I had played the fourth Reflector Mage over the third
Militia Bugler since the former is so important in the matchups where it’s
good while Bugler is always mediocre. Modern is a format where you must
play for your high end draws and embrace the variance. I’m also adding the
fourth Phantasmal Image as a reaction to the stark decline in control and
the re-emergence of the mirror, but I’m still not willing to trim on top
ten creature of all-time Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, so out comes a
Meddling Mage, the next worst creature.

The sideboard has a few more subtle changes, but the two I’d like to
address are the Whirler Rogue and Thalia, Heretic Cathar. The Whirler Rogue
replaces my Hostage Taker from last weekend, which underperformed and was
specifically there to target the mirror, where Whirler Rogue is also very
good in removal-heavy matchups. The Thalia is there to handle R/B Vengevine
while being applicable in most creature matchups. I’m honestly so intrigued
by it that I’m, and I can’t believe I’m saying this because the CEDitor’s
Note is going to be agony, I’m considering playing two maindeck over the
Militia Buglers.

[CEDitor’s Note: Ross, my friend, there’s no reason for me to throw

I’m above that

Bryan Gottlieb – Ad Nauseam

I’ve been looking for the right moment to bring Ad Nauseum back into the
Modern mix, and it feels like it might finally be time this weekend at SCG
Baltimore. Ad Nauseam put up a strong showing in the most recent Magic
Online Modern Challenge, and if you think about it, it’s not hard to see
why. Ad Nauseam excels in a field of linear aggressive decks, plodding
control decks, and Mono-Green Tron. The rise of Vengevine decks, Hollow
One, and U/W Control, combined with the omnipresence of Tron means that
these macro-archetypes are now represented in spades at the pinnacle of the
Modern metagame. As far as the Humans matchup goes, I’m not doing the
mental gymnastics required to convince myself the matchup is favorable.
However, Ad Nauseam sideboards have gotten some new tools, and my list is
packing a diverse set of removal designed to at least give us a shot.

I eschew the Spoils of the Vaults most Ad Nauseam decks run, instead
playing two copies of Peer Through Depths. Spoils of the Vault is a
faux-easy mode, inconsistent tutor that also reads: “You lose the game when
you cast this some non-zero percentage of the time.” I’ll pass. I’ve also
made room for a small Tolaria West package. This package, combined with the
Boseju, Who Shelters All, Mystical Teachings, and Silence contained in the
sideboard assures you will eventually be able to play your control
opponents into a corner and resolve your key spells. Happy Lightning

Ari Lax – Humans

I just want to blow off some steam in a Modern event right now. For me,
that means doing some good clean combat math, locking people out of games,
and just bashing anyone who doesn’t show up with a top tier deck. The only
change I would make from Ross Merriam’s list is moving up a Dismember and
down a Gut Shot as I value removal that hits Baral, Chief of Compliance and
Grim Lavamancer, or Hollow One and Grim Lavamancer, or just their normal
Mantis Rider. I’m also not into Hostage Taker
given how much of a liability it is against Phantasmal Image
and would rather just Reflector Mage.

Emma Handy – Storm

This weekend, I’ll be playing Storm list within two or three cards of this.
Despite a Humans mirror in the finals of SCG Dallas last weekend, colorless
decks that are weak to Remand have been ticking up in popularity over the
last few weeks. The only real bits of flare are the Engineered Explosives
to take out the hatebears from Humans and the move back to fetchlands in
the manabase.

Explosives is fantastic against Humans while also being serviceable against
a wide variety of hate (Damping Sphere), and the move to fetches is more a
move away from Shivan Reef. In testing, I kept finding myself in situations
where cantripping off multiple Shivan Reefs in the early game would end up
costing eight life or so over the course of a game. Moving to fetches
raises the median of life paid per game to mana but removes the outliers
that multiple Shivan Reefs can create.