My pick of the week for Modern is Amulet Bloom combo.
Amulet Bloom Combo
Those who have followed the history of Modern know two things have remained true: a soft rule of combo decks being limited to kills as early as turn 4, and a delayed announcement of bannings until just before the Modern Pro Tour to shake things up. Amulet Bloom is in a funny space since it can kill on turn 2 or 3, which isn’t at all uncommon, and its rise to popularity came after one banning announcement but before the next. This deck has never been popular or successful at a time during which bannings occurred, so it’s never truly survived a ban cycle and I don’t believe it will now.
This is my pick of the week because it’s an insanely powerful deck, and you might as well play it at GP Pittsburgh while you’re still allowed to. It’s too good, and it won’t be around forever. If they do ban a card, it will either be Amulet of Vigor or Summer Bloom—they’re both just lame cards that nobody plays an interactive game with. The goal of both of these cards is to generate an advantage early in the game which you can parlay into winning before your opponent has a chance to get on their feet. Winning before your opponent has a chance to participate and meaningfully interact—the way Richard Garfield intended.
Let’s talk about Primeval Titan—I love this card! It’s a great mix between big dumb green creature, fast mana, and tutoring, so 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Primeval Titan has always been the focus of successful decks. In the time of Extended, people played it in Scapeshift, in Standard it was awesome with Valakut, and here it is in Modern. It even sees occasional success in Legacy in Cloudpost decks. Primeval Titan is an amazing card. I remember opening this card in Modern Masters draft and having a friend ask if it was good in Limited—I said “well it’s a totally busted card everywhere else, it just has to be a great rare,” and spoiler alert: it is.
Public enemy #1 for this deck is easily Blood Moon and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see cards from the Amulet deck banned and the popularity of Blood Moon drop off. As it stands, Amulet is a great deck and is generally hard to metagame against if you don’t play Blood Moon—they’re too fast and have multiple combos that win the game with Primeval Titan and Hive Mind. It’s a deck that’s popular, successful, and hard to interact with—the perfect set of circumstances you could concoct in which you would play a narrow-but-killer sideboard card. Blood Moon is basically a joker in a deck of aces: 2R, sorcery speed, win the game.
With a nod to the power of Infect, he’s got Melira to Pact for. Not only does Melira cost 1G, gain 20 life (against Infect), but it’s even better because it ignores all previous infect damage you’ve taken, making future damage act as normal combat damage. For example, if you’ve been dealt 9 poison, Melira is like gaining 29 life, because the damage you took is ignored and all future damage will be considered regular damage. It’s clever deckbuilding.
Props to this player for playing Thragtusk. OK, look—all of these points I’ve raised are true and accurate for the format, but it’s all a facade, I just want to play with Thragtusk again. There’s only 1 and it’s in the sideboard, but I love that card so much. It’s here to Summoner’s Pact for against Burn, and I also think it has some utility against Jund since it’s got insulation against Liliana of the Veil. I imagine Sigarda, host of Herons is much better in that matchup, but pulling double-duty against Liliana and Burn players is almost certainly worth a downgrade in power.
Amulet Bloom is the single best choice for Grand Prix Pittsburgh. The deck difficulty is extremely high which will scare some people off from playing it, but the reward is also high—it’s a good deck to master.