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Insider: Modern Metagame Update

Mike-Lanigan QS Magic the Gathering MTG

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Welcome, fellow Magic players, to this week’s episode of the Modern Metagame Update. A couple of months ago, we had Birthing Pod and Treasure Cruise on the show to talk about their recent bannings.

While they were distraught about not being able to play in the format any longer, their early retirement came as no surprise. Rumors were going around that some all-stars were coming out of retirement to see if they could put up a good fight, but those proved to be false. Here’s what they had to say.

Treasure Cruise said, “Well my boy, it seems like I barely got started before they were telling me I was too good. I thought players just wanted to have fun. My cruises are the best in the business, old chap. I have no regrets.”

Birthing Pod followed up with, “It’s been a good run. I’ve helped a lot of players start their careers off on the right foot. As I always say, a good tutor is the best way to find success."

Dig Through Time added in, “I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked to see my name come up. I was just minding my own business helping an underperforming deck succeed and they came along and ripped everything I had away almost before I had even gotten started. We could have had something.”

In the wake of these changes to the format, many players were also struck by the bannings and took some time off to play other formats. Local news said that Modern events stopped firing for a while as players recovered from their decks being unplayable.

Then along came the young challenger, Collected Company. Today on the show we’ll be talking decks to beat and first up is Mr. Collected Company himself. Take a quick look over his first success story and then we’ll be back for an interview.

Mr. Company had this to say when we spoke to him, “Yeah everyone thought I was just a casual kid favorite, but I told them I had real potential. Now, everyone knows I belong at the forefront of Standard.

"I’m not happy with just Standard though, you know? I want more for myself. I want to really live it up for my whole career and the best way to do that is to get a foot into Modern now. Not a lot of players are respecting me, but respect is earned you know? I’ve been helping out those poor folks who lost their Birthing Pod teammate, but I’m not stopping there. I’m trying to help out Elves, Naya, and who knows, maybe I’ll even pop up somewhere else.

"For now, I’m trying to focus on this Abzan team because I think they are my best shot to victory. I’ve already had some initial success but we’re still working out the kinks.”

Next up we have Ms. Splinter Twin. She’s been the belle of the ball for quite some time, but will she ever settle down? There are rumors about you seeing a new guy, any comment?

“I’ve been hanging around with that fella in the blue and red for a while now and everyone knows about our relationship, but we decided to just be friends. We’ll hang out from time to time, but nothing serious. As far as your question about Mr. Grixis, yes, it’s true, I’ll finally admit it. I’ve been seeing him for some time now in secret, but I think the cat’s out of the bag now. Some people still don’t know about us, but I want the world to know were together and we’re going to do great things together!”

You heard it here first folks, Grixis and Twin are officially together!

I’m honored to bring you an interview with our grizzled veteran. Tron, how are you today? The biggest question on everyone’s mind is will you finally break through into the big leagues? You’ve been around for a while now, but we haven’t seen much from you. There are a lot of dedicated fans out there though and despite your lack of results, players still stick by you.

“I’m Tron the Great. No one is going to get me down and if I get knocked down, I’ll get back up again. I have a lot of tutors and I’m always consistent. Many of my fans think that this is my time and I’m going to prove it to them. They’ve been loyal to me and I’m going to bring them a championship!”

There you have it. Tron says, this is his time. Some players think Tron’s time will never come, while others think that his time is now. We’d like to hear from our viewers on this one. Post in the comments and let us know. Are you true supporter, or do you think Tron should sit the bench?

We barely managed an interview with Junk as he stormed away from reporters. Here’s what the irritated competitor had to say.

“What. Yeah I changed my image, so what? This is who I really am. Sure I’m still me, I have all my normal components and I’m just getting back to who I really am. I may have changed my name and colors to Jund, but that’s me. Junk was just me trying out a new image. Jund is who I really am. You’ll see.”

What do you the viewers think? Should he stick to his current image Junk? Or get back to his Jund roots? Initial reports are that Jund will stick this time, but only time will tell.

Finally, our last interview today is with Temur Delver. This kid is new to the scene but with how many supporters his dad has in Legacy, players are definitely throwing their support with him quickly. Temur Delver, how are you adapting to life in the big leagues?

“Hey, let’s get one thing straight. My dad may be a big deal from time to time in Legacy, but Modern is my format and I’m going to take what’s mine. They say that Tasigur, the Golden Fang is too much for my Hooting Mandrills, but did you see how many spells I can counter? And you know what? If they resolve one, maybe I’ll just start Vapor Snagging his butt back to the bench.

"The best part is the punch they never see coming. I sneak Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells back in the game after sideboarding and they never know what hit them. Did I mention I have Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration too!? Yeah that’s right. He may be underappreciated right now, but he’s ready to help us out and get back to the big time at tier one."

We tried to continue the interview, but Temur Delver threw the mic down and stormed off shouting about how he was going to show everyone what’s up. We wanted to ask him about his interesting teammates Simic Charm and Curiosity, but he was unavailable for comment. So, are they a thing of the past? Should Temur Delver just stick to Legacy and stay out of Modern? When we get more info on this, you’ll be the first to know.

So, Modern fans, that’s our show. Until next time, this has been the Modern Metagame Update.

Summary

For those of you just interested in a less flavorful summary, here’s the short version for you. I talked about Abzan Company first and it being the new deck to watch out for in the format. It seems underrated despite putting up consistent numbers. This is most likely due to the fact that the past few months have not highlighted any big events for Modern. This weekend with the Invitational and Open having some Modern coverage, that is likely to change. If Abzan Company gets a lot of air time and/or Top 8’s the event, expect lots of players to switch to Podless decks using the new Dragons of Tarkir card.

I’ve been helping some friends prep for the Invitational this weekend and at the top of our gauntlet is Grixis Twin. From testing, the deck seems extremely strong, maybe even the best thing you can be doing in the format. Most of the decks we’ve thrown at it have been left in the dust.

I thought Kolaghan's Command was a neat new card that might be a little helpful, but is has proved a potent weapon that is staggeringly good. I would start trading for these immediately, especially foil versions because this card isn’t going anywhere but up. Expect this deck to have a good showing this weekend, maybe even winning the event, so if you want on board, get on now before the results start pouring in.

G/R Tron has definitely been around since the beginning of the format. When you can get lots of mana early in the game, players will always try to utilize that route to victory. This deck definitely does have some good matchups but I think once more players start playing Collected Company and Grixis Twin, Tron players will back down.

Tron is great when you are fighting against Junk all day, but some of these other decks have a hard time losing to this deck. One thing to be said for this deck is that the matchups where you are favored feel like such easy wins, but the ones where you are the underdog feel unwinnable. The sideboard helps, but only so much.

Don’t skimp on lifegain or Rending Volley either. If you’re planning on playing Tron, I would suggest updating the sideboard from the deck I posted. That deck may have done well, but the sideboard needs to be changed according to where the meta is headed.

On the Junk vs. Jund front, Jund seems to be not only the winner in the semi-mirror, but also better positioned in the meta. I know from my testing, Junk always felt a little clunky against these new current decks. While they are quite similar, I think you want the efficiency of Lightning Bolt and the new options of Kolaghan's Command. Any of the modes combined with getting back your Tarmogoyf are insane and the deck might need a second copy of the card maindeck.

Temur Delver is in an interesting spot right now. On the one hand, draws where you sequence Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration into a bunch of Counterspells, makes the deck seem as dominant as it once was, but other draws where you are filling your graveyard so you can cast Hooting Mandrills while your opponent has any of their 4/5’s seems like you won’t be able to win many games.

This is on my decks-to-test list, but there have been higher priorities. It’s possible that this deck just wants to swap out the Mandrill plan for Young Pyromancer and/or go Grixis instead of Temur. The deck is interesting though and if you are playing Modern, I would expect to face off against some type of Delver deck. This is just the latest iteration.

When preparing for Modern, there are so many viable archetypes that it can be difficult to get an accurate picture of the metagame. Make sure you test against the most common matchups and try to also prepare for some others that may come up.

My current gauntlet has these decks in it: Abzan Company, G/R Tron, Jund, Junk, Grixis Twin, Affinity and Burn. I want to add Grixis Delver and/or Temur Delver. Those decks are just scrapping the surface of playablity in the format though.

Whatever deck you are going to play, know it well and know how you plan to sideboard in a plethora of matches. The best thing you can do for yourself is play against a bunch of archetypes and watch others play them as well.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

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