It felt like a terribly long wait but we finally have the first results of post-WAR Modern. In yesterday’s article we did a high-level analysis of the Top 32 metagame. Today we will be focusing on the Top 8 decklists and the technology they utilized. These are the deck building choices, some new and some old, from the most successful players at the SCG Louisville Open. They are all available here.
UW Control: Narset PoV and Threeferi
This archetype’s resurgence was the talk of the event once the dust settled. It has not been bad by any means; quite underrated actually. However, it had lost serious steam in recent months. It would appear that this deck gained more than any other from WAR. It was obvious that Dovin’s Veto would be better than Negate in this deck and it motivated Bodee to work two copies into his mainboard. The more dramatic change is removing Jace and the miracle package to make way for new planeswalkers. Narset, Parter of Veils was on top with three copies. Despite being one of the uncommon walkers that lack a + ability she prevents greedy opponents from drawing additional cards and can provide two non-creature, non-land impulses before running out of gas. Also interesting was his choice to run a 2/2 split of Teferi HoD and Threeferi. The new Teferi is very harsh on opponent’s instants while allowing him to cast sorceries, board wipes in particular, as instants. On top of that he even has a bounce and draw effect; quite the package for only three mana. Overall it is a very interesting decklist and I wonder how similar it will be to what we see going forward.
Humans: Gaddock Teeg
If you are a member of the Humans Facebook group, this should not be a surprise. Leading up to the event we were actively advocating a return to Teeg. The decks most anticipated to rise were Tron and UW Control. He may not be a Human but in these matchups Gaddock Teeg acts as a Meddling Mage for large chunks of the opponent’s deck. Admittedly, I am not entirely certain whether it will be the correct choice going forward. Clearly it worked out for Daly and Strasler. However, Tron fell entirely flat despite gaining Karn and UW looks to be moving toward planeswalkers that cost fewer than four. It will still be a solid inclusion for each matchup though. I must also note the presence of Militia Bugler. I have loved the card since it was spoiled but I often end up being convinced to drop it. However, with each high result we see more and more Bugler in both main and side. I am certainly putting it back in my list.
Amulet Titan: Seeing Red and Hivemind
If you pay close attention to Amulet Titan builds, as of late they have been commonly utilizing white in order to beef up their sideboard with Path to Exile. However, Matthew opted for the classic red and I strongly believe that to be the optimal build at the moment. Humans is everywhere again and they all are packing Damping Sphere. Abrade cleanly answers every nonland permanent in the deck at instant speed. Also Firespout is a nasty board wipe in general; the white board wipes being too mana restrictive. I also appreciate his use of Hive Mind which is a contentious subject for Amulet Titan players. I do find their ability to pull Titans out of nowhere to be impressive but the absolute fastest path to victory is an early Hive Mind. I do wish that this list had a Chalice of the Void to dig up with the Trinket Mage though. It is notable that despite the hype he passed on Karn the Great Creator and ended up placing higher than the players that used it. This may not be causation but it is something to consider for Amulet players who were on the fence.
Titanshift: Staying Stock
I honestly do not have much to say about this list and I consider that a good thing. Titanshift is not a deck to get cute with. Samuel wanted to beat up on other big mana decks a bit so he ran Acid-Moss. He wanted a relatively fast goldfish speed so he ran a split of KHE and Explore. He even split his red wraths to make Meddling Mage ineffective. It is just an ideal stock list for the current metagame. If I were to sleeve up Titanshift tomorrow, I would be within five cards of this list.
Izzet Phoenix: Finale of Promise
Crackling Drake Sasser came to play with the hottest new tech for Modern’s best deck in Finale of Promise. I am not exactly sure why this inclusion got so little attention during spoiler season but the proof is in the pudding. The deck is built around spamming cheap instants and sorceries while stocking the graveyard. The hope is to cast multiple in a turn to flip Titi or get a free Phoenix. Finale’s potential depends on you filling your graveyard with cheap instants and sorceries. The reward is that you net three cast triggers in a single turn. Furthermore, the Phoenix deck naturally runs a near 50/50 split of instants and sorceries. It fits like a glove and turns one card into two spells and a Phoenix trigger at just three mana. I would expect this to be standard going forward but Phoenix players must take care to not become overly reliant on the graveyard. Note that he also had a Saheeli in the board which functions quite similar to Young Pyromancer. The upside in this deck is that you can sometimes turn those 1/1s into flying 3/2s or massive 7/8s.
Dredge: Blast Zone
Then finally we come to the tournament winning archetype and the utility land they always wanted. Blast Zone was another card that was predicted to put Tron over the top as they now could find a near-EE with Expedition Map. However, the greater beneficiary was Dredge. Both Oliver and Connor managed to make it to the Top 8 with Dredge featuring Blast Zone. We have seen Ghost Quarter fill a similar role in the past but it appears there is room for both. The idea is that when you mill most of your deck, the utility land will end up in the grave alongside Loam. You will dredge up Loam, use it to pick up the land, and then play it out. This allows you to see your one-of quite frequently. Then once you sacrifice it for the effect, Loam is already in the grave to be Dredged up and do it all again. For a deck like Humans that relies on low cost permanents, this is a near lock with Blast Zone. In particular, it allows Dredge to answer Auriok Champion. Dredge cares little for the collateral damage either as their threats are recursive. I would be very surprised if this did not become a singleton staple of the archetype.
I am always excited to take a look at results after a set release but I will admit that the flood of planeswalkers made it particularly interesting. What do you think about Wish Tron failing to perform? Are there any new cards that you think we are sleeping on? Tell us 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 the May installment of the Humans sideboard guide. Until then my friends.