Since we have a couple big Modern tournaments coming up, I figured it would be a great time to start talking about Modern. Luckily for me, we have results from a number of post-ban tournaments to investigate at this point. After looking at the results from these tournaments, I have come to a few conclusions about the format at large.
My first observation is that blue based control decks are dead. I would love for someone to prove this wrong, as I personally love to fight against the blue control decks. Why are the blue based control decks dead? The main reason is that blue control needs a defined metagame to be good. In Modern there are so many different decks that it is hard to have the correct 75 cards. In a smaller, more defined metagame blue decks can be molded into the perfect answer. In the wild west that is Modern you really can't do what the blue decks want to do. If there was to be a good blue control deck I would think it would have to be molded in the way of Splinter Twin. While many don't consider Splinter Twin a control deck, I believe that it was the closest thing that we had to a good blue control deck in Modern. The deck was good at controlling the game, but also had a way to beat the decks they weren't prepared to beat with interactive spells.
If you want to play control, play either Jund or Grixis. I just said that blue based control deck are dead, but neither of these decks are blue based. Both Jund and Grixis are control decks, but they prominently feature black/red cards with a splash of the third color. Why are these decks successful in the new Modern format while Counterspell decks aren't? The power of discard. With discard you get to be proactive in stopping your opponent from getting set up, or you can just pluck their big finish. Breaking up the synergies or the big payoff card is huge. Also the extra information that you get from discard can be just what you need to develop a game plan to defeat your opponent. It can let you know when you are safe to tap out or how many turns you have to win the game. While Grixis might have the slight edge in the head to head matchup, I believe Jund is the better deck right now because of how hard it can hit. Tarmogoyf hits harder than Snapcaster Mage, and killing your opponent fast is a big deal right now.
Eye of Ugin decks are great at beating the under-prepared. Both Tron and Eldrazi decks are very powerful, and have heavily shaped the new metagame. They both have a very straightforward game plan, and if you don't stop them they will kill you. I have seen so many people try and beat these decks in so many different ways. Counter magic, land destruction, Blood Moon, Cranial Extraction effects, etc... These cards are not the ways to beat these decks. While they help you get an extra turn or two, you need a quick way to finish them in that turn or two that you get. If your plan is to blow up a few lands and then sit around as they rebuild I can promise you that their spells will beat yours. You need to limit the amount of turns they have with their mana online- disruption in the absence of a clock won't do it.
My final conclusion about Modern is that fast is best. This is usually true in a new format, which Modern pretty much is after the bannings, but it is especially true in this new Modern format. Why is it good to be fast? Players in new formats will want to play something they didn't think was good before because either their Twin matchup or their Summer Bloom matchup was poor. These decks are usually doing something powerful but are either slow or inconsistent, so the more turns they get the worse it is for you. If you combine this and the fact that the best ways to beat the Eye of Ugin decks is to be fast, then you get an advantage against a lot of the format by just playing a very fast deck. There are a lot of decks that fulfill this goal, so choosing one shouldn't be too hard. I won't list them all, but I personally like either Infect or Affinity. Both are very fast and have been good for a very long time.
This new modern format might be less like the wild west but more like Australia- a continent lousy with deadly monsters. If you sit around long enough, something will kill you. You can get busy killing or get busy dying.
Whether you are playing in the Pro Tour, SCG Regionals or just some sweet local tourney I hope reading this helped. Once again thanks for reading!
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