Like many other players, I was up late Monday night waiting anxiously to see the Banned Restricted Announcement. There were theories about what would happen but I was uncertain as to the outcome. The Result?
The Following cards are banned in Modern:
While some of you might not care about Modern, this is quite huge for the format. Especially with the upcoming PTQ season in this format, these changes will impact the format drastically. I expect an actual metagame to develop now that the format is more open. Many more decks will playable and there is a lot of room to innovate. This has me really excited to go to some PTQ’s. The rumor around twitter is that Wizards is moving some of the PTQ’s to the store level so they may be even more accessible than ever before! If you are not into modern yet, this might be the opportunity you were looking for. The cost is still prohibitive to some, but budget decks are available. Over the coming months, I will be looking at Modern, analyzing the metagame and the new decks, as well as trying to innovate in the format myself. For those of you who follow my articles for the Standard content, do not distress as I will continue on that front as well.
For today, I wanted to look at some initial Modern decks just to get your gears turning. Let’s start with the obvious. Zoo. Zoo is by no means dead, so do not think that. Certainly Wild Nacatl is, and will always be, amazing and one of my favorite cards, but the deck can operate with out it. The next question? Is Jund just a better combination of colors now that Wild Nacatl isn't in the picure? I don’t believe so and the reason is Knight of the Reliquary. This three drop can just be enormous sometimes and the utility he provides is quite large. The following is a list of lands that might be used in conjunction with Knight of the Reliquary.
There are a few lands on this list I want to highlight. Any deck that is playing Knight of the Reliquary should definitely exploit a few of these utility lands. I think it is mandatory that there be one or two man lands to fetch. I have seen Stirring Wildwood, Raging Ravine, and Treetop Village all being played so far in modern and they were all quite good. In my opinion, I think that Stirring Wildwood is the best of the bunch because it taps for two colors of mana but the reach along with the 3/4 body is actually quite relevant with many players including Vendillion Clique in their decks. Ghost Quarter or more likely Tectonic Edge seem quite good against the control decks so a couple of those main or sideboard seem necessary. And don’t forget to leave home without your Bojuka Bog. Most likely in the sideboard, Bojuka Bog provides a tutorable hate card against any graveyard deck. I have even sided this land in against other Knight of the Reliquary decks to shrink their Knights. Finally, I think that a one of Kessig Wolf Run would really go a long way towards finishing games. It turns any of your creatures into a threat just like in Standard. What I am not sure of is if just playing another Stirring Wildwood isn’t just better. Another route is that of Moorland Haunt.
If Zoo is still viable, then what is this deck going to look like? Good question. Here is my preliminary build.
This deck is basically a direct port of the deck Reid Duke played in the MOCS this year. The only change I made initially was replacing Wild Nacatl with Loam Lion. It is possible that Kird Ape would be a better choice than Loam Lion depending on what lands you are searching for. If your first land search is going to typically be for Stomping Ground, then you want Kird Ape, etc. If this deck interests you though, go read the article he wrote about his experience. It was a very well written article.
In addition, there are a few decks unaffected by the bannings. Both Affinity and Melira Combo will still be solid, viable options for the upcoming PTQ season. The following two deck lists are successful versions from Worlds. Certainly they will need tweaked for a new metagame, but both decks are primarily concerned with their board state and not the opponents, so they should not require too many changes.
Modern is full of possibilities for many different archetypes. Combo is still viable with Splinter Twin, Ad Nauseum, or some type of storm deck. Control will certainly be played, though I expect it to be extremely hard to build. Regardless of what decks you like to play, there are now many options. Wizards wants the format to be open and foster creativity. I think banning these two cards has successfully accomplished that goal. There are still come cards that feel so powerful that many decks will be playing them like Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Mage, but there are a lot more ways to put those cards to use now than there were before.
It seems this article turned into an intro to Modern, but that's ok. Hopefully it got you thinking about a fun new environment to build decks in. Cards like Anathamancer, Bloodbraid Elf, and Lotus Cobra can now be revisited and used again. This metagame is unexplored and has a lot of room to grow. My friends have been talking about everything from Illusions to Doran. What are you talking about with your friends? More Modern content will follow after the new year so start brewing.
Until Next Time,
Unleash that Modern Force!