Keeping Up With Modern, Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the 4 most played decks in the Modern metagame right now. Today, I’ll be going over the next four:

  • Storm: 5%
  • Counters Company: 5%
  • Dredge: 4%
  • Bant Eldrazi: 0.01% (Me)

Storm

I know, I know, I literally wrote these words 7 months ago:

“Every time I’m thinking about bringing back Storm from my dusty closet, as I’m reaching to open the door, I can think of a million reasons to stop doing what I’m doing. So should you.’’

In my defense, the deck has changed quite a bit, mainly because of this little guy.

Storm’s plan A has always been Rituals and Past in Flames. Plan B used to be Pyromancer’s Ascension, but now, because it can essentially run 8 Goblin Electromancers, Gifts Ungiven has become the back-up plan of choice. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it’s actually just plan A these days. I haven’t played it enough myself to know.

Storm

Martin Müller, 4th place at GP Copenhagen

Platinum Pro Martin Müller reached the Top 4 of Grand Prix Copenhagen with the list above, and two other players placed in the Top 32 of Grand Prix Kobe and the latest Modern SCG event.

Merchant Scroll used to be a staple in these lists, but it looks like everyone has moved toward Peer Through Depths, presumably because it is much more flexible than just fetching Gifts Ungiven.

The deck looks like it gained a ton of consistency over its Pyromancer Ascension predecessor. Your plan is more streamlined, and unlike with the red enchantment, you don’t need multiples of a certain card to turn on the machine.

Despite packing only 2 Remand, it’s still nice that the deck has access to some countermagic. If you’re facing Storm, be aware that they’re now able to slow you down! Casting one for a single mana then looting thanks to Baral seems pretty great.

Counter Company

From what I understand, a ton of people showed up with different variants of the new Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid combo at the latest big Modern events.

Naturally, there were quite a few at the top tables since it just saw so much play, but only one copy made the Top 8.

Counter Company

Michael Steinecke, 8th place at GP Copenhagen

This take is essentially the regular Melira Company we’re used to, except it cuts Melira, Sylvok Outcast entirely, since Vizier of Remedies does the same thing and also combos with Devoted Druid. Duskwatch Recruiter is a big new addition. On its own it’s perfectly fine, especially in a deck filled with creatures. Then when you get infinite mana via the new combo, you find your Rhonas, the Indomitable (or Walking Ballista) and kill them.

I’ve heard from a few pros who played similar decks during these events that it didn’t meet their expectations. Most of them thought that if you really wanted to play the combo, you should be playing it in Elves instead.

Elves

Martin Juza, 16th place at GP Copenhagen

That’s what Martin Juza did, and he managed to finish in 16th place in Copenhagen. That’s a super straightforward Elves lists to which he added 4 Devoted Druid and 1 Vizier of Remedies. The deck already has Ezuri, Renegade Leader in it—no need to add a sub-optimal Rhonas or Walking Ballista. Devoted Druid is already an Elf, which fits nicely in the deck, and it would often play white for sideboard cards anyway. I’m not surprised at all to hear that this is the best Vizier of Remedies deck.

But if you’re looking to have the double-meaning of “counters” in your Vizier deck, look no further:

Counters Company

Eli Kassis, 26th place at SCG Modern Open Baltimore

Eli Kassis had success with Knightfall in the past and he brings a hybrid between Counter Company and Knightfall. Counterspells, actual counters, and two different combos—couldn’t be less confusing!

Dredge

There was exactly 1 Dredge in the Top 8 of each of the major Modern events held two weekends ago. The banning of Golgari Grave-Troll might have made the deck worse in a vacuum, but if everyone starts disrespecting the deck and it does not face hard graveyard hate, it’ll put up results just as well as it did before.

Dredge

Terumasa Kojima, 2nd place at GP Kobe

Terumasa Kojima reached the finals in Kobe with a fairly straightforward deck list. In fact, there isn’t really any variation between anyone’s list except having Scourge Devil, Rally the Peasants, or neither. Nothing has really changed in the deck, so if you were familiar with it a few months ago, you should still be ready to go.

No matter what strategy you’re bringing to Las Vegas, I recommend you pack some graveyard hate. Particularly because it will overlap against Grixis Shadows, another deck that uses the graveyard quite a lot. Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, Relic of Progenitus, and Scavenging Ooze are my top picks.

Bant Eldrazi

According to the deck list websites, Bant Eldrazi has pretty much left planet earth. Which is strange, considering that it has a reasonable Death’s Shadow matchup.

It’s even better if people are on the Grixis version that has Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, Kolaghan’s Command, and Stubborn Denial. It is essentially the worst version of Shadow you could play against Bant.

Ceremonious Rejection is good against Eldrazi Tron, but not so much against our 3-4 Cavern of Souls decks.

Why doesn’t it see more play, then?

Living End and Counter Company. Those are two new decks that have picked up popularity recently, and they are bad matchups.

What if we borrow some Eldrazi Tron technology?

Counters Living End, kills Devoted Druid, and as a bonus, counters Conflagrate from Dredge. Seems like what we need.

Bant Eldrazi

The sideboard Disdainful Strokes are gone because Valakut doesn’t see that much play.

Pithing Needle is an experiment against Living End’s Fulminator Mages, Devoted Druid (note that it only stops them from making infinite mana, not a single mana), and has random uses against Affinity and Eldrazi Tron.

Dismember has gotten better since Grixis Shadow has actual targets, unlike the previous Tarmogoyf versions.

Grafdigger’s Cage is nice against Company decks, Storm, and Dredge. I still wanted a Relic of Progenitus and a Rest in Peace against Death’s Shadow though, and having 5 graveyard hate cards against Dredge is perfectly fine as it’s a pretty bad matchup.

I used to have a Botanical Sanctum over a Cavern of Souls, but by adding another colorless spell (Warping Wail) and because I want to fight Ceremonious Rejection, I want 3 Cavern. I’m considering a 4th over Hallowed Fountain as well.

I’m still not sure what I’ll be playing in Vegas, and hopefully it doesn’t matter as I’ll be doing well in the Limited Grand Prix. But if not, Bant Eldrazi, Ironworks Combo, and Grixis Shadow are my front-runners.

Come say hi if you see me during this super exciting week of Magic!

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