Modern PTQ season is over, which I find myself regretting. I’ve played a decent bit of the format over this past year and every time it is an interesting and enjoyable experience. Since the PTQ season is at an end, the only time we will have any Modern action is from professional level events like Grand Prix or the Pro Tour. My hope is that some shops will start running more Modern events so that this format doesn't become a once-a-year thing like Extended was.
The last event of the season did bring us some interesting developments in the format. The top eight of GP San Diego was about as diverse as it gets. Here’s what made the final cut: 5-Color Aggro, RWU Control, 2x White Jund (different builds), Scapeshift, Naya, Robots, and the winner Eggs.
It’s no surprise that turn-three-combo-deck Eggs won the event. Hopefully Wizards will take note of another high profile win for this deck and remedy the problem. Decks that consistently win on turn three, even through counters, is exactly the opposite of what they want in Modern. I am still surprised that Second Sunrise didn’t get banned along with Bloodbraid Elf and Seething Song.
Speaking of those bannings, it seems that Jund has finally recovered from losing Bloodbraid Elf and shown just how powerful the rest of its cards are. Both versions that made the top eight had white mana for Lingering Souls, and the Channelfireball deck also had Ajani Vengeant. Ajani seems like a great replacement for Bloodbraid. It can become a two-for-one if protected and it is good against many decks in the format, not just aggro.
In case you missed it, he should have been your financial tip of last week. He is now a ten dollar card, but if you can find them for under that, it’s probably still a good long term investment.
4-Color Jund by Eric Froehlich
3rd place at GP San Diego
As you can see, Froehlich's version runs most of the “normal” cards you would expect out of a Jund deck. Cards like Abrupt Decay, Lightning Bolt, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogoyf will always see play in Modern on their inherent power level alone. Jund is a deck that does not rely on synergy between cards, but rather on the natural power of each card on its own. They will disrupt your hand, kill your creatures, and usually beat you quickly with large Tarmogoyfs.
This build is truly a four color deck though. With eight cards maindeck and another eight in the sideboard, it is much more committed to the fourth color than previous versions of the deck were.
The Jund archetype is still powerful enough to succeed in Modern so do not dismiss it quickly. You may not play against this specific iteration of the deck, but the core of the deck will be around for a while. The nice thing about this deck is that is easily customizable depending on what decks you are gearing to beat.
Looking at individual card selections, there is not much I would change about this deck. I really like all of the card selections, especially the 2/2 split of manlands. If I were playing this deck I would not play the fourth Liliana of the Veil, but that is mostly a personal play style choice. I would rather have a second Abrupt Decay in that spot or something similar. This deck provides so many different types of creature threats that it’s hard to control all of them. The diversity of threats is amazingly perfect.
Make sure not to miss the Timely Reinforcements out of the sideboard as well. That card can help in a couple of the hyper-aggressive matchups as well as being crazy good with the amount of damage you are capable of doing to yourself from your lands.
Junk by Matt Ferrando
8th place GP San Diego
Junk is the new Jund. It was the most represented archetype on day two. The fact that only one made the top eight tells me that it is clearly not the best deck, but a high percentage making day two is still quite noteworthy. Ten percent of the day two field played Junk. The only other deck that came close to that percentage was URW Tempo. It's also worth noting that there were a handful of other Junk-colored decks that did not get included in that number.
What is the strength of running this version over four-color Jund? You definitely get a more stable manabase, but running four colors is not that difficult in Modern. The bigger issue would be losing a little less life from your lands when you run fewer colors. Junk was able to fit in three Tectonic Edges and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which seem strong in this metagame.
I was quite confused about Knight of the Reliquary’s presence in this deck as well as Brian Kibler’s Naya deck. The presence of Deathrite Shaman kept players from utilizing Knight of the Reliquary for a while. What happened to change that? I do not have an answer, but I know I wouldn’t want to be the one leaning on my Reliquaries in a metagame full of Deathrites.
I think a much better card for that spot would be Loxodon Smiter, which several players at the GP were battling with. They seem particularly potent right now in Modern. The combination of uncounterable, undiscardable, and a sizeable body add up to be quite powerful.
Modern is always changing as more players innovate changes in existing archetypes and develop entire new archetypes. This format is here to stay, so try not to forget about it even though PTQ season is over with. If you plan to play Modern in high level events in the future, try to get some practice in the format before the next event sneaks up on you.
The Standard PTQ season is underway now, so the next couple weeks I will be transitioning back to Standard. There are some cards I want to try out in the format and hopefully many PTQ’s to attend. Adventures in Qualifying will have a few more installments this season, so stay tuned for those exciting details.
“A tournament is a marathon, not a sprint. The individual who gets the trophy or the blue envelope is rarely a person who got lucky and ran hot for twelve consecutive rounds. It is much more common that the last man or woman standing is the individual who kept their wits about them and minimized small but costly mistakes.”
-- Bryan Demars
Until Next Time,
Unleash the Force
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