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Speculating on the Modern Metagame Shift

Welcome back, guys.

The team Pro Tour 25th Anniversary has concluded. As usual, the Pro Tour is likely to affect the online metagame, and in turn prices. Here’s the list of the most played Modern decks at the Pro Tour:

  • BR Vengevine
  • BR Hollow One
  • Humans
  • UW Control
  • Ironworks Combo
  • Tron

Players have started to discuss whether BR Vengevine might soon replace Hollow One as the better version of the archetype. The main difference between the two decks is that Vengevine is heavily graveyard-based, while Hollow One deck is based partially on discard and partially on the graveyard.

In other words, Leyline of the Void can shut down Vengevines and Bridges easily, but not Hollow One. Technically, BR Vengevine can win through a Leyline with Greater Gargadon, but the deck wouldn’t be that explosive anymore.

Anyhow, I don’t think these are the best decks in Modern right now considering how many Leyline of the Voids and Rest in Peaces are appearing in sideboards. So, be prepared to sell off the components of these black-red decks, as well as the expensive sideboard card Leyline of the Void.

Rest in Peace, being the cheaper option, is a better card to play with from a finance point of view. Also, one of the current Tier 1 decks—UW Control—plays two to three copies of the card. If you want to play some Modern while still holding cards for speculation, I strongly recommend picking up UW Control.

Let’s have a look at how Hall-of-Famer Gabriel Nassif built his deck at the Pro Tour:

Terminus and Settle the Wreckage are really good against the BR decks, while four copies of Path to Exile are great for big threats that comes down early like Hollow One, Gurmag Angler, and Tarmogoyf.

Once the deck stabilizes after turn four, that’s the time to start pressuring with Vendilion Cliques and Celestial Colonnades. The blue-white creature land is the most expensive card among its cycle right now:

Colonnade might still increase in price considering its highest price in history was 42 tickets, but the most important thing about picking up UW Control is that it consistently wins games, and its cards rarely go down in value. Meanwhile, certain cards in the list have the potential to increase; let’s have a look at those.

We talked about RIP earlier. This card is not just good against Vengevine and Bridge from Below. At the same time, Dredge and BG Midrange decks with Goyfs and Scavenging Oozes are weak to RIP. This card increased by 1.5 tickets since I talked about it last week, and I think it will continue to grow in value as players continue to shift away from black towards white.

Snapcaster Mage is a card that I usually pick up when the price goes down to 12 or lower, as its price will slowly go back up again. Snapcaster is also getting more popular in Legacy since Deathrite Shaman was banned, and I believe more blue decks will be playing with Snapcaster, making its price higher in the near future.

The Archetypes That Gain

There’s one thing in common among the Tier 1 decks I mentioned earlier, with the exception of UW Control: they have very little removal in the mainboard. These decks are basically racing each other, and whoever can come out with a better board presence usually wins the game.

Given this, my theory is that two decks in the format are in a great position right now: Infect and BG Midrange. Let’s look at each.

Infect was a Tier 1 deck when Gitaxian Probe was still legal, but now it’s overshadowed by Humans and the BR decks. However, I found out that this deck is actually pretty good against the current metagame.

Inkmoth Nexus is one of the core components besides Noble Hierarch. Hierarch is already at its high price so if you want to play this deck, do keep an eye on any possible price drops and sell them as soon as possible unless you want to continue grinding for treasure chests with this deck.

As for Inkmoth, it’s a creature land that is evasive and hard to deal with. It is played in all Affinity variants so at its current price, I think its worth picking up a few playsets as investment.

Besides Infect, there’s another deck I’ve been following for quite some time: BG Midrange, often played by edward40hands on MTGO. This player has a very unique build of BG Midrange as shown below:

If you look at the leagues that edward40hands won, he has played the same archetype in all of them—so we can be sure this player is very good at tweaking black-green decks!

Considering that edward’s BG deck took down two Competitive leagues in two weeks, I imagine it has a good matchup against BR post-sideboard, with cards like Kalitas, Flaying Tendrils, and Nihil Spellbomb. It’s surprising that this deck is not playing any copies of the black Leyline when the field is full of graveyard-based decks. But edward40hands is a highly experienced player with this archetype, and he thought Scavenging Ooze and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet combined with the correct removal was enough to beat most graveyard decks in Modern.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet was the best weapon in Jund when Melira combo was a thing, but its price went downhill after Oath of the Gatewatch rotated out of Standard. I don’t think the price of Kalitas will go above 5 tickets but I would play this card in the mainboard for the current meta. Meanwhile, all the main staples in BG variants are at their respective low points (very low points) as shown:

Liliana at 30 tickets each and Goyfs at 16 tickets each? This is definitely the lowest possible price that these two cards can get. For your information, LotV was about 100 tickets before any reprints, and Goyf was a 30-40-ticket card. I’m going to give this deck a try; I strongly recommend you guys do the same, and pick up some Goyfs and Liliana if possible. BG decks might not be the best right now but its time in Modern will eventually come back.


Alright guys, that’s all for the week. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week.

Adrian, signing off.



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Adrian Tan

Adrian Tan

Adrian started playing Magic relatively recently, during Return to Ravnica block. He used to play a lot of paper Magic, but family and work commitments starting at the end of 2016 led to him selling off a large portion of his paper collection to focus on MTGO. He's found speculating on MTGO singles to be a great way to subsidize his gameplay expenses, and he's here to help you go infinite on MTGO!

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