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Making It in Modern

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Good day fellow Magic players. I have been producing competitive content on the free side of this site for the past few years. As one of the few authors being brought over to premium side of the site, I will be continuing my story telling adventures with you there.

Much of my focus in writing is on the development of Standard and finding ways to attack the metagame. From time to time, usually when there is a big tournament coming up or when the PTQ season is right, it will be my privilege to bring you some Modern strategy.

There will be some set reviews as well as a smattering of tournament reports. If you PTQ or travel to Grand Prix on the east coast, you will see me grinding away and writing about it the next day. I’m excited to continue this journey with you guys over on the premium side of the site and continue my efforts to qualify for the Pro Tour all the while, bringing you the best competitive content possible.

The article for today is a bit different from my normal routine, but it’s a topic that’s been on my mind for a while now.

Lately I have spoken to a number of players who have never played Modern before. Even if you have been playing for many years, there is a chance that you have yet to experience the wild world of Modern.

Most shops focus on Standard and Draft, the majority of PTQ’s are going to be Sealed and Standard, and the big independent tournaments like Star City and TCG Player are Standard. If you are trying to get into Modern, it can seem tough when most of the available events do not support the format.

Do not forget though, every year we get one Modern PTQ season. In addition, the US has been getting at least one Modern Grand Prix every year, so if you are willing to travel some, the events are there. Wizards is pushing the format so much that over the next couple of years I think we will start seeing more opportunities to play in this eternal format.

Why Should You Play Modern?

There are a number of reasons why every player should think about making an investment in Modern. At the top of the list is deck diversity.

Wizards continues to show time and time again that they are focused on the health of this particular format. That fact is clearly evident when you look at the viable archetypes available for you to play. Take a look at this breakdown of the metagame on day one into day two of Pro Tour Born of the Gods.

Archetype Day Two # Day One #
Zoo 44 64
Twin 23 45
Melira Pod 21 33
W/U/R Flash 19 29
Hexproof Auras 18 24
Scapeshift 13 14
Affinity 12 22
Living End 12 14
Jund 10 27
Storm 9 12
Blue Moon 7 8
Kiki Pod 7 10
Merfolk 7 8
Burn 6 15
Infect 6 7
Tron 5 8
Amulet 4 5
W/U Control 3 5
Faeries 3 6
Other 22 30

 

That right there is twenty plus decks that are all competitive options for players looking for an Eternal experience. Standard will never have that type of diversity because the card pool is too small to support that many decks capable of winning at the highest levels. Modern, however, can and does consistently show results from so many of these decks.

Even when the format is shaken up and cards are banned or unbanned, the format may turn in a different direction but the majority of decks will continue to be playable. Most of the time when there is a change to the format, even more decks become reasonable choices.

One of the best parts of Modern can sometimes seem like the most daunting part to players trying to begin playing an eternal format. If you have not been playing since the original Mirrodin block, you may not be familiar with the entire card pool which can bring some anxiety.

For as large as the card pool is though, there are only so many playable cards. Take Path to Exile for example. This one-mana removal spell will be found in a variety of decks in Modern because of how efficient it is. Many cards like it see play because they are the best at what they do.

Sure, you may sit down against an opponent and have to read some of his cards, but that’s part of the fun of the format. After a while, there won’t be many cards you haven’t seen.

Eternal = Investment

There is no sugarcoating the fact that Modern will require an investment of your time and money. What is becoming more apparent to me though is that these cards will always be valuable. Sure Wizards may reprint some or all of the important cards in Modern, but that will only be a temporary reprieve from their mountainous heights.

The fact is that even though some cards may lose value, they will always be worth something because of how much they are played. It may take some time to collect all the cards needed to build your Modern deck, but once you have them, you can trust they will be playable for years to come.

Another thing to remember is that many of these Modern cards can double in price overnight. What that means is that holding onto them can prove quite profitable in the long term and most cards have room for financial growth.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples of this principle in action. The first card I will cite is Celestial Colonnade. At the beginning of last year, this highly played manland doubled in price from three to six dollars when UWR Control emerged as a viable deck option. I would expect Raging Ravine to follow this same pattern as it is becoming a four-of staple in Jund.

Amulet of Vigor is a great example of a card going from zero to semi-hero. Although it has fluctuated a bit, it started out as a bulk rare and has jumped back up to five dollars after the recent showing at the Pro Tour. There will always financial opportunities hiding in the shadows and crevasses of Modern waiting for someone to capitalize on.

Low Barrier to Entry

Despite the fact that Wizards is working hard to make Modern affordable, it will still take some start-up capital to get a deck together. Modern Masters has not necessarily brought down the price on the highly sought-after cards, but what it has done is made more copies available.

Because there are more copies floating around there, players have these cards in their trade binders and dealers have them in their cases. Now that there are more copies, you can also turn your trade binder into a Modern deck from one of the dealers.

Finally, if you want to play Modern, there are some inexpensive options like Infect, Burn, or the upcoming Event Deck.

Skill-Intensive Format

Another great reason to get involved with Modern is the fact that it will test your skills more than Standard or Draft. With such a large card pool, there are tons of unique interactions and combinations of cards that don’t come up in any other format. There are many combinations that will test your knowledge of the rules.

The main reason Modern is so skill-intensive is because you often have less time to work through a game plan. In this format, the stated goal is for players to regularly be able to win the game on turn four. The power level of so many of the cards is much higher than in Standard so if you take the wrong line of play, you won’t have long to get back on track before the game ends right before your eyes.

With all that being said, you can apply your skills to many different archetypes--whatever you like to play, there is something available.

If you are having a hard time learning some basics about the format, I would suggest you take a trip over to the Born of the Gods Pro Tour page and start watching some deck techs. There is no one better to hear about the deck from than the pros themselves who developed the specific decks. After that, stop back here to read my articles and learn more about the format.

Modern will be around for a while. Don't wait to start jumping into the format. Take your opportunity and start as soon as possible. You won't regret the decision. Once you have your Modern deck you can start attending great tournaments like Modern PTQs, Grand Prix, and my favorite, the split format invitational TCG Player 50k.

Until Next Time,

Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

Mike Lanigan

Mike Lanigan is high school math teacher by day and a shop owner by night. His tournament grinding may have slowed a little, but his love of the game has not. Mike's goal is to bring you a mix of perspectives from shop-owner insights to finance tips to metagame shifts and everything in between.

View More By Mike Lanigan

Posted in Free, Modern, PTQ, StrategyTagged , , ,

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5 thoughts on “Making It in Modern

  1. Modern has rapidly become my favorite format. I love the diversity, I love my collection getting more valuable, and I especially enjoy playing puzzle-type decks like Melira Pod.

    Best of all, if my opponent is tapped out I know there’s a 99.9% chance he can’t counter my spells!!! (Sick of Force of Will, in other words). Great writeup!

    1. It’s definitely a great format, and people are slowing realizing this. Of course, that also makes the format more and more expensive. $80 Scalding Tarns, really??!?!

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