Insider: Exploring Modern

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Recently one of the local guys I’ve known for a while top-eighted Modern States with quite an interesting deck. This deck takes Storm in a completely different direction than you’re used to seeing. Instead of focusing on being a pure combo deck and finishing off your opponent with Grapeshot and Pyromancer Ascension triggers, your goal is to attack your opponent with efficient red creatures and a giant Storm Entity.

Storm Aggro is one of the most interesting decks to come out recently, so you may have heard about it--but if not, prepare yourself for some amazing synergies using the lowest land count I’ve seen in quite some time.

Just like any other aggressive red deck you have the best red creature ever printed in Goblin Guide and to back him up Burning-Tree Emissary is joining the party. Burning-Tree seems like the perfect fit for Modern. If another aggro deck is going to exist in Modern outside of what’s already known, I think multiple free 2/2’s is the way to go.

This deck can be very explosive. There are times that between Manamorphose and Gitaxian Probe you can generate a storm count of four or five pretty easily. Even when you don’t play quite so many spells, Storm Entity with a couple counters is still a good aggressive creature.

This aggro deck is very focused on the attack phase so playing against the best deck in the format, Melira Pod, is quite a headache. They have creatures like Voice of Resurgence and Kitchen Finks, not to mention that you can do little to stop them from comboing.

Decks like Junk and UWR Control can be quite difficult as well because even though you are fast, they have a lot of removal and ways to brickwall your creature swarm. With that being said, this deck is a blast to play and you force your opponent to have answers quickly or try to deal with your potent attacks in game two.

As with any combo deck, and this is an aggro combo deck, sometimes you have combo pieces in hand and nothing to do with them. The rituals in this deck can become stranded with nothing to use them on. This type of virtual card disadvantage can lose you games. They may be essential for this strategy to function, but I think the deck would do fine on its own without these cards.

Funny story, I’ve been working on my own Burning-Tree Emissary deck for a while now and it looks similar but different to this list.

This version focuses more on swarming the opponent than creating one big threat, but both of these decks are trying to do the same thing. Your mission: play creatures as quickly as possible and attack your opponent. Not many players have seen Myr Superion in play in a competitive format, especially on turn one. Storm Entity and Manamorphose may deserve a spot in this deck but there may not be enough support for either.

My favorite card in the deck is Lead the Stampede. With so few lands and so many creatures, this card represents drawing a high number of cards for a cheap amount of mana. There have been many times when I’ve cast this draw spell, which is the same as Garruk, Caller of Beasts +1 ability, and drawn five cards. Statistically it’s possible to draw any number from this spell but your average is quite high.

Just like the Storm Aggro version, this deck also suffers from a tough Melira Pod matchup. Having the best deck as a bad matchup is not a place you typically want to start from, but your matchups against everything else are so good that it may be worth the risk.

Both of these decks are extremely fun to play. If you are in need of a change in Modern, the deck is fairly inexpensive overall, especially if built without the fetches. Get ready and go all in.

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been brewing a lot in Modern lately. Standard hasn’t given me much to work with, but hopefully the new changes and the two-set blocks will shake things up more frequently. Until then, Modern has a huge card pool to work with and I’ve got a lot of ideas.

For the most part, this deck should seem straightforward and unimpressive. What you need to focus on is Pack Rat. Last week I talked about his financial possibilities and this deck I whipped up is one of the main reasons.

There are so many options in Modern that many players lean towards these grindy midrange strategies that can disrupt any deck they are playing against and then use their Tarmogoyfs to clean up the mess. When we got Scavenging Ooze, that helped give us another win condition in this type of strategy, but I always felt like many games were hard to win because if they dealt with your first threat, it might be multiple turns or more until you could find another one to close the game with. Enter Pack Rat.

Pack Rat has dominated and warped Standard and we all know it. It never got to the point where it was banned, but there were times when I wondered if it should be. While not quite as broken nor as easy to cast, Umezawa's Jitte reminds me a lot of Pack Rat in the way they both built a metagame around themselves. In both situations your only option is play the card or play a card that beats the card.

Now that we have access to more cards in Standard, there are strategies that can fight Pack Rat by being faster than it, but when it first started seeing play that was not the case. Comparing Pack Rat to one of the most broken cards of all time should tell you how well I think it will play in older formats.

Some decks have no outs to your Pack Rat and the games play out similarly to the ones we used to play in Standard that were easy wins. Respect Pack Rat in Modern. I made a small concession to this line of thought by including Bile Blight, which I think is well positioned right now.

Other than the Standard powerhouse, not much is different about this list other than the addition of Mutavault. Not only does this man land help your win condition as it does in Standard, but it also does great things like blocking Etched Champion.

This list is easily customizable for your metagame but the one I’ve put together here seems great against what you’re likely to face currently. I’m gonna start playtesting with this deck and I expect great results. If you’re interested in putting Pack Rat through the Modern ringer alongside me, please post your results in the comments.

A Glance at Finance

Modern Burn has really picked up lately due to the addition of Eidolon of the Great Revel. Seeing play in all three formats, the red Eidolon seems like one of the best cards you can be trading for right now. Try to find them for under $6, but even that price seems likely to increase. When a card sees play in all three formats, its price should increase and we haven’t really seen that yet. What we have seen is some of the other cards in the Modern deck bumping up in price.

[cardimage cardname='Flames of the Blood Hand'][cardimage cardname='Goblin Guide']

Both Flames of the Blood Hand and Goblin Guide have seen big gains in value lately and neither is really a surprise. I stated earlier that Goblin Guide is the best red creature ever printed and even if you don’t agree, it not going away any time soon.

Starting out with this creature is the ideal opening for any red deck no matter the format and going to battle without them in your deck is likely to lead to failure. Goblin Guide in multiples is how red decks steal games they have no business winning and race strategies they shouldn’t be able to race.

The GP promo held down the price of this card but that was only a temporary setback. Now, the promo is an average of ten dollars more than the regular one, which is about the same price as the set foil. This guide will be leading red mages to battle for years to come; I’d be getting your copies now before they go up even more, but hopefully you saw this one coming.

In other random financial news, sometimes the most innocent looking cards bump up overnight. Neither of these next two cards see lots of play, but their new price tag seems to indicate otherwise.

[cardimage cardname='Maralen of the Mornsong'][cardimage cardname='Umbral Mantle']

While there are some copies to be had more cheaply, most of the copies of Maralen of the Mornsong are around $4-5 and foils are over $30. In the last couple of months I’ve seen her in some bulk boxes. She is worth looking around for because from what I’ve seen, not many players are interested in holding onto their copies.

Umbral Mantle does a lot of sweet things in Commander and is part of an extremely rogue combo deck in Modern, but TCG Mid of $6 is still a lot. The foils have not adjusted in price to this new shift and there is no certainty that this card will gain or maintain its value. If you have copies laying around, I’d suggest unloading them right away. The buy prices have not adjusted yet so if you want to move this card, list them online for sale somewhere.

Well, that’s all for me this week. We are heading into spoiler season, and I’m extremely excited to share that time with you guys.

Until Next Time,

Unleash the Modern Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Insider: Exploring Modern

  1. Loving your “All in red” deck. I have been exploring Burning tree/simian spirit guide decks for awhile, just because a turn one burning tree feels so good to cast into…..

    Have you experimented with Generator Servant yet? He reeeally likes Myr Superion

    1. I have not thought about Generator Servant at all! Wow, what an interesting suggestion! I’m not sure he’s good enough but I don’t know.

      I did mess around with a more metal red version of this deck for a while but consistency was more of an issue with that deck than this one.

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