My Top Choices for Modern at Grand Prix Hartford

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While I will not be competing in Grand Prix Hartford or Sydney. Reid, Logan, and I are still in the running in the Modern Super League and I’ve been enjoying Modern a lot. I figured I would get back to Standard after the MOCS, but I might just wait until Dominaria is legal or until we’re out of the Super League.

Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor have been legal for a month and a half now, and a lot of people, including me, were wrong about the impact of these cards. They’ve both made decks they’re played in better, but we’re far from the apocalyptic scenarios some envisaged. The format has seemed less diverse on Magic Online, as I feel like I play against Humans and Bogles a lot, but I don’t have the data to back this claim, and if you look at the 5-0 deck lists, you still see a decent amount of brews and newer decks.

I’ve been playing a lot of White-Green Value Company, Hollow One, and Jace decks, and I’ve had decent success with the first two—a bit less with the blue decks.

If you have a Twitter account, you might have seen one of Logan’s recent post where he broke down the Modern MOCS Monthly results:

While it isn’t the biggest sample ever, it did comfirm most of my beliefs about Modern’s archetypes’ hierarchy.

Let’s take a look at the decks I would strongly consider if I were playing in GP Hartford.

Hollow One

No surprise there—the deck is powerful and I’ve had a lot of success with it online, as well as going a respectable 8-4 post-byes at GP Lyon. I wrote a thorough guide for the deck a couple weeks back that you can find here.

I’ve played the deck a bit since writing that, and Call to the Netherworld has performed (very?) well, and I’m up to two now.

The split of Angler/Tasigur is even better now because it helps against Meddling Mage/Reflector Mage. I’m trying out Torpor Orb for the Humans matchup as well, even though it’s narrow and I’ve been giving Leyline a shot. The black enchantment is growing on me and it’s strong in the mirror match, but I still believe it to be quite narrow unless Living End and Dredge pick up in popularity or the card is effective against Storm.

I’m not sure if Hollow One is the best deck in Modern right now, but it would probably be my number one choice for GP Hartford because I feel comfortable playing it.

Humans

I’m guessing this would be the top answer if you polled players and asked them what the best archetype in Modern is right now. Given the results it keeps putting up, it might well be. I always struggle against it no matter what I play, and I think it has a slightly favorable matchup against what might be seen as the other best deck, Hollow One.

Here is the list Patxi recently used to go 8-0 in the Modern MOCS Monthly:

This is close to the list Steve Locke used to win GP Phoenix. Patxi is playing a Kessig Malcontents and a fourth Phantasmal Image over a Dire Fleet Daredevil and a Mirran Crusader, two changes I like. I like Patxi’s sideboard better: He’s playing two Auriok Champion, two Reclamation Sage, and a third Xathrid Necromancer in lieu of two Grafdigger’s Cage, one Dire Fleet Daredevil, one Dismember, and one Hostage Taker. I’ve only played Humans a little and it was challenging. Most of your cards cost 2 mana, which means that you’ll have a lot of sequencing decisions.

Affinity

Affinity used to be my go-to Modern deck a few years ago, but I felt that it was poorly positioned for PT Rivals of Ixalan, so I haven’t been playing it much. It especially had a really bad Jeskai matchup, but I think it might be a good choice right now. The percentages will vary depending on how much hate the field is packing on a given weekend,but I think Affinity is a slight favorite against Bogles. Humans and Hollow One bear an unreasonable amount of hate and you shouldn’t have any horrendous matchups either. I’m not exactly sure about all the numbers, but I’m confident that you want to max out on Galvanic Blast main deck. Here is what I would fire in my next MTGO League:

You might notice I don’t have too many cards like Thoughtseize or Stubborn Denial in my sideboard, as I would rather have a bunch of silver bullets since I’m probably not going to be bringing in too many cards in most matchups. I haven’t tried Ceremonious Rejection in Affinity’s sideboard yet, but the Tron matchup, which used to be favorable, became much rougher with the addition of Walking Ballista. I’m actually lukewarm about a lot of my sideboard cards, but I’m just as unexcited about the other available options (Dispatch, Thoughtseize, Relic, etc.). One card I’ve tried that seemed quite bad was Shapers’ Sanctuary, and even though I only got to bring it in once or twice, I’m fairly positive that you shouldn’t play it.

If Hollow One is at the top of my list right now, I wouldn’t mind sleeving up Affinity and I’d feel good about my chances, so if the deck is in your repertoire I would strongly consider it right now.

Blue-White Control

I played Blue-White in the last PT but have set it aside since, so don’t put too much stock in my current list:

While I haven’t gotten to play with the deck much, this list would do quite well against what I believe to be the best decks in the format right now. The downside is that it is light on permission and you might struggle if you play against Tron and Storm every round, but a control strategy with a strong main deck against creature decks might be a good bet this weekend. Make sure that you’re comfortable enough with control and can play it at a decent pace if you decide to run with it.

White-Green Value Company

I’ve been playing this deck a decent amount, but mostly casually. I would want to get some sets in against Humans and Hollow One, and refine my sideboard plans before I ran the deck in a major event, but I think the deck is good and possibly tier 1—it’s also a ton of fun to play. I’m happy with my Hollow One list, so if I had an important Modern tournament coming up, I would probably have spent most of my time fine tuning my current pet deck.

I decided to add a copy of Llanowar Elves as my ninth 1-drop as the deck can feel underwhelming when you just say “land, go” on turn 1, and I’ve been happy with it. I’ve played a few Leagues with Worship main deck now, and it has performed well. I just added the Dismember, so I’m not sure about that one yet. I haven’t had a chance to bring in Choke yet, so the jury is still out, and Fairgrounds Warden has been the standout card of the past few weeks so I might consider a second copy or even a main-deck spot. Storm is popular online, so I’m sticking with a couple of Eidolons as a metagame choice, but it is very narrow and probably the card I’d cut to make room for more Revoker/Warden/Spirit/Sage, which are all more versatile cards (Warden probably being decent against Storm as well).

The Decks That Didn’t Make My List

Take this with a grain of salt, since these are decks I have pretty much no experience playing, but I still get to play against them a lot.

If I had to keep going, Bogles would probably be next. The deck has been putting up results consistently in big events for the past few months, it’s quite popular online, and it has earned my respect. One deck that hasn’t is Jund. The deck is mediocre and Bloodbraid Elf isn’t enough to make it tier 1. I don’t think it has a favorable matchup against Hollow One, Affinity, Humans, or Tron.

Storm is strong but suffers from a really bad Humans and Burn matchup. I think Mono-Green Tron is not the best choice these days, and if you’re a Burn player, you’re probably better off playing something else right now as the deck seems poorly positioned.

My Hypothetical GP Sydney Team Trio Setup

If I had to play in the Team GP, I would go with Humans, Afffinity, and Hollow One. Your only overlap is Ancient Grudge in Affinity and Hollow One’s sideboard, and I would let Hollow One have the flashback instant, probably replacing it with a couple of Vandalblast in the artifact deck. The other deck I would consider as a metagame call is Blue-White Control, but we know it can be kind of tricky to predict a Modern field.

This was more of a format overview article so I didn’t go very in depth into any of these decks (obviously not discussing every archetype either), but I tried to bring you up to date with the latest additions. If you have any specific questions about pretty much anything Modern related, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer.

I’m really looking forward to the GP Hartford broadcast, and it will be interesting to see if the metagame narrows down or if people keep playing their pet decks and Modern stays wide open.

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