It felt like quite the wait but we finally have the results of a Modern event featuring War of the Spark. This massive influx of planeswalkers generated both excitement and concern in the community. UWx Control gained Narset and another new Teferi while Tron was overhauled with a Wish-esque sideboard due to the new Karn. While the former saw some success, Tron fell flat entirely. For the most part, post-WAR Modern was much of what we saw before; Phoenix perched atop the pile as always. We are going over the Top 32 but all decklists are available here.
Soaring Over the Competition
This heading may have taken a break for MC London but we are right back to it. Phoenix is Modern’s best archetype and has been since it was printed. You can go ahead and look through the Events archive as I will not be listing them here. The hottest tech on display for it this time was Finale of Promise and it does look very promising. It is worth noting that one of the Phoenix pilots opted for Mono-Red. Trailing Phoenix we continue to see Humans. It was last year’s Phoenix before falling off but has been a consistent contender for a few months now. There is not much to say about it. The deck has a great core gameplan and is difficult to sideboard against. As long as Phoenix reigns I would expect Humans to be there to rough it up. The true breakout star of the event was UWx Control, which has received very little attention as of late. It did manage a Top 8 appearance featuring new toys from WAR, however it totally missed Top 16 otherwise. Among the lower placements we saw mostly the traditional build though two players favored Jeskai. Of particular interest was a combo-focused Jeskai Saheeli build. These appear to be the decks to beat until Modern Horizons enters the format.
A step down we see Dredge. However, it was the eventual tournament winner and had another pilot in Top 8. It waxes and wanes with the graveyard hate in the format but is never truly a bad choice. Fundamentally it has the strongest gameplan in the format. It is rare for a strategy to be favored against Dredge. If you want to beat the deck, you do it when filling out your decklist; better pack some grave-hate. At this same level we saw the constantly underrated Amulet Titan. This is the most challenging deck to pilot but it is very rewarding. Going into this tournament, many players of the archetype had adopted the new Karn but the most successful pilot among them passed on it. The final recognized archetype just barely snuck in with two pilots but I wanted to highlight it. Traditional Tron was receiving significant hype going into this event but did not put a single player into the Top 32. In its place was the long extinct Eldrazi Tron. In 2017 the format was a close race between it and Death’s Shadow but the format eventually left it behind. Its niche was eventually filled by the Stompy build featured in our Eldrazi-focused article. However, it has returned with Karn, the Great Creator at the helm. I will note that both players missed Top 16 but it will be interesting to see how this develops.
The most successful among the rogue decks was a Titanshift list in Top 8. This deck is not widely played but consistently puts up respectable performances. If you want to do Titan things without thinking too much, this is the deck for you. We also saw Storm poke its head out of Phoenix’s shadow and into 9th place. This was in the hands of Caleb Scherer, Modern’s best Storm pilot, so I am not surprised. Also within the Top 16 we saw what is being called Boaryo’s Vengeance. This is similar to the classic non-Shoal builds of Griselbrand reanimator that feature Emrakul. The Raze-Boar has provided redundancy to their Through the Breach effect though it will be delayed a turn. It is worth noting that he himself can be cheated into play with haste to net the attack trigger. Then in the lower rung we saw Mono-Red Prison and Abzan Counter Company. Regardless of final placement, it is worth looking at any rogue deck that makes Top 32 of an Open.
Well some things never change. Izzet Phoenix is still the best deck in the format. Though, I am glad to see that Wish Tron was not the format breaker that it was purported to be. What do you think about UW Control’s resurgence? Are there any WAR cards that you believe were overlooked? Let us know about it in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with a Top 8 Tech entry for this event. Until then my friends.