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This deck sounds really fun to play. I've been tinkering around with big ol' tap out decks in Modern. I wouldn't be surprised if that Gifts deck has either Sakura-Tribe Elder or Coalition Relic in it. You've got to be careful in that kind of deck that (1) it's not just completely recursion and (2) that every Gifts you cast can be gamebreaking. Can we get Damnation/Shriekmaw/Liliana/Slay? What about Cruel Ultimatum/ASD/Snappy/Witness? Woof.
Conley Woods is playing Snapcaster Zoo in Modern, as I mentioned before. You can read about his performance in a feature match here (pops). He's running Geist of Saint Traft maindeck, which is pretty cool. The big issue I found with Counter-Cat is that you'd land one or two threats and they had to stick. If someone removed your first two dudes, then you're stuck drawing things like Path and Bolt and you lose a lot of the pressure that you could put in. Geist makes for 1.25 threats or so; it makes it much more profitable to aim your burn and removal at creatures, and it's a Hexproof Goyf if the opponent can't muster a blocker. You can see how Kessig Wolf Run also helps, since it makes any creature that stays in play into a much more important threat. It's exceptionally greedy to run Wolf Run in a four-color deck, by the way.
Woods was smart to bring in his Finks in G2 in that match, too. Obviously, they survive Damnation and Death Cloud, but they're also good against the x/3 guys that the Death Cloud deck fills up on. A deck like that can often just 1-for-1 you until it makes some big card-advantage play like the Cloud. It's straight-up painful to have to Doom Blade a Finks.
I suggest Zoo players read the R2 coverage very closely. Look how Woods holds his Helices, even when the opponent is coming in with Treetop Village and Shriekmaw. Did he have that Snapcaster in hand? Was he waiting on it or another Helix? I don't know, but he was very focused on his mission. It's almost as if he threw away his opportunities to attack with Finks for value, since he swung into an open Village. Had he kept Helices in hand, he could have burned it out and rode his creatures to victory, which is a traditional Zoo strategy. Instead, he showed a lot of focus on his burn turning into reach. I'm not sure I agree completely, but I'm basing that on not knowing what was in his hand. My guess is that he drew the Snapcaster later, since we might have seen the Snap/Bolt play much earlier otherwise.
There is a lot packed into that one round.
Coverage is so frustratingly bad that I just emailed Kelly about sending reporters to Lincoln to independently cover the Modern GP there next February.
Conley has conceded his second match, knowing he's locked for the T8. Conley's deck in Standard features Tempered Steel and Etched Champion.
I wish I had more to report : \
The last two days were huge for competitive Magic and speculators alike. The biggest news was Olivia Voldaren, who broke out in Patrick Chapin's 5-1 deck from the Standard portion. You can check out the undefeated decklists (pops) and get a good sense of what will be strong in the post-Worlds metagame. People everywhere will be trying Patrick's deck. Even if you missed out on Olivia, the manabase for the deck is sure to get more valuable as well. I suggest snagging foils of Desperate Ravings, a card Chapin identifies as a Standard staple.
People are desperate for Modern updates, as well. If we had great ones, I'd be passing them out to Insiders through our exclusive email tip system (and if you want to get in on it, all you have to do is subscribe and you'll automatically get 'em). Team CFB is running Snapcaster Zoo, from what I've heard. A 1uR Bolt plus dude is fine in Modern, and adds both threat density and reach to a Zoo deck. Counter-Cat and similar blue-splashing decks tend to run cards like Bant Charm and Flashfreeze (best card in Modern btw) and have a hard time finishing the game against grinding control decks. Perhaps Tiago will give the deck a little more reach.
I have also heard that Kessig Wolf Run has made appearances in the Modern portion. We'll keep you updated.