The Modern Files, Part 2: Aggro, Disruptive Aggro, Fair Decks, And Ramp

Pete Ingram concludes his grand survey of the Modern metagame! What’s your deck choice for the SCG Season Two Invitational?

You can find Part 1 to this article here. Without further ado, here is Part 2!


Rank: A

Abzan is likely a better Jund at this point. I would give Jund a B. Lingering Souls is a powerful card and white has the best sideboard cards in the format. I think playing Noble Hierarch and Grim Flayer is a trap; just play better cards on their own. The same can be said for Siege Rhino, as that card is really medium for four mana in a format like Modern.

I think that Dark Confidant is a non-negotiable threat and my two-drop creatures consist of four Dark Confidant, four Tarmogoyf, and three Scavenging Ooze for any B/G/x deck. I actually think that these decks are very well-positioned, and so long as you have a plan for the popular matchups, you will do well.

Grixis Death’s Shadow

Rank: A

Ah, the boogeyman and supposed “best deck” of the format. I think this deck is quite good, but I think the requirement of having to play perfectly, combined with managing your life total as a resource, makes this deck very hard to play. One mistake could mean death and I think that the margins for error are too thin to warrant playing this deck in a tournament. The margins for error on something like Eldrazi Tron, for example, are much larger.

In short, I would only play this deck if you are very well proficient in it.


Rank: A

Affinity is still one of the top dogs of the format and I think it is quite good right now. I played one League with it this week and easily went 4-1. I know many of my friends have done the same, if not better, so be prepared for Affinity these upcoming weekends. Jeskai is still somewhat popular, which is bad news for Affinity, but a lot of other decks don’t match up well.

If I had to fall back on a deck for the Invitational, this would be one that I would consider. I am a lover of mathematics and sequencing, so I do rather enjoy playing this deck. My biggest fear is running into someone who wants to beat Affinity, because if that is your opponent’s goal, it becomes rather easy to accomplish.


Rank: B

I suppose that Hexproof could be considered a combo deck, but I forgot about it last week and I definitely want to talk about it. Hexproof has been gaining a ton of traction online and it’s not surprising. The metagame has shifted around and I actually think this deck is pretty good right now. What does surprise me, however, is the lack of maindeck Leyline of Sanctity I see. I am no Hexproof expert, so I can easily be wrong here, but Leyline of Sanctity maindeck was one of the things that impressed me most about the deck.


Rank: B

Burn did manage to take a slot in the Top 8 of the online RPTQ this past weekend, and Frank Skarren came in tenth as well (always the bridesmaid, never the bride), so maybe Burn is in a solid position. I have a “no mono-red” policy, which maybe is just something dumb that I have held onto. This list seems solid and well-polished, so I wouldn’t fault anyone who decided to pick it up for a tournament.

Counters Company

Rank: B

I think we would see this deck do a lot more winning if it were actually really strong. The deck is fine, but it is weak to spot removal at times. It also really just lacks the interaction needed against linear decks like Storm and Tron. One thing this deck does have going for it is that it can improve over time. New sets mean new tools for this deck to get and I think that it can rise to the top again.


Rank: C

Oh, Faeries, how I wish you were actually good. I think you would have much better luck playing straight U/B than including Spellstutter Sprite in your deck. Don’t get me wrong, because that is a great card, but it just isn’t going to cut it against a large portion of Modern decks.

Blue and black have some of the strongest cards in Modern, so I don’t think you need to play any Faeries. I have been toying around with a U/B deck that I like a lot, and if it works out, I may be sleeving it up for the Invitational.

Eldrazi and Taxes

Rank: C

I think this deck seems good in theory, but it’s just taking half of Eldrazi Tron and half of B/G/x decks and trying to mash them together. I think both of those decks are good, so why mash them together? This deck is great to play on Magic Online because Leonin Arbiter is so easy to forget to click on before fetching. Nothing gets me more tilted than things that would never happen in real life that happen on Magic Online because of programming or misclicks.


Rank: B

Humans was cute for a while, but now that the metagame has shifted again, I think it is a bad choice. All the “fair” decks that I think are well-positioned in the current metagame prey on this deck. They need to draw a specific portion of their deck to be competitive, which usually involves multiple Mantis Riders.

I wouldn’t play Humans at the Invitational, as I think it is a very poor metagame call. That being said, I’m sure it will be good again at some point. It also stands to gain a lot from future sets, as I’m pretty sure Wizards is not going to stop printing good creatures that are Humans.


Rank: B

Merfolk is a solid deck that is the epitome of the linear creature archetype. I think that Merfolk has some good draws available but ultimately loses to removal decks. I wouldn’t ever sign up Merfolk, but maybe Rivals of Ixalan can change that!

G/B Tron

Rank: B

There is no deck that frustrates me more than this one. It seems that any player that opts to play this strategy has made a deal with the devil to get Turn 3 Tron every game. That being said, the deck is solid and it is quite consistent. While I wouldn’t touch this deck with a ten-foot pole, I think this deck is a fine choice.

Eldrazi Tron

Rank: A

I think this deck has gotten marginally worse since its inception, but its nut draws are still unbeatable. Field of Ruin is gaining a lot of popularity in Modern, but this deck actually can cast its spells despite being interacted with on that front. I don’t think Eldrazi Tron is going anywhere and I don’t mind it being one of the good decks of Modern. Chalice of the Void can stop so many decks cold that I can’t really fault anyone for picking up Eldrazi Tron.


Rank: B

TitanShift can be extremely punishing, and Primeval Titan or Scapeshift usually wins the game outright. The deck is very soft to counters and somewhat soft to discard plus pressure. That being said, the deck is also very resilient to discard because it plays so many redundant ramp pieces and all it has to do is draw one of twelve cards to win. It’s not my type of strategy, but I think it’s a fine choice to bring to the Invitational.

That wraps up this series on the Modern Files. I’ve played a lot of Modern this past week and I have had a surprising amount of fun doing so, possibly because I’m starting to win. Maybe we can revisit after the Pro Tour and some possible bannings or unbannings.

If I missed your deck, please feel free to ask about it in the comments and I will give you a ranking along with my thoughts!