Modern has been pretty miserable as of late. Hogaak is woefully overpowered card and continues to dominate despite the heavy levels of hate. Yesterday’s report was an ugly site to behold. However, if you look beyond the Hog there were some truly exceptional deckbuilding choices featured among the Top 16. With Hogvine’s overrepresentation in mind, today we are looking at the nine best pieces of technology that brought players to the top tables at Grand Prix Minneapolis. As always, all decklists are available here.
Eldrazi Tron: Going Overboard on the Wishboard
I absolutely love Evan’s list. Eldrazi Tron is an extremely consistent deck that was historically known for having an awful sideboard. Enter Karn the Great Creator. When other decks trim on their sideboard to fit wish targets it is a significant cost. This is not quite the case in a truly colorless deck. Evan has taken this to the extreme by basically not sideboarding. His sideboard is eleven singleton wish targets and a playset of Leyline of the Void. I cannot say whether this is optimal but I am a huge fan of this approach to building the deck. Of course he will board in Leylines to beat graveyard decks but outside of that I imagine he only does it when Chalice is bad. If Chalice is ineffective in the matchup he will not board in the especially relevant wish targets. He will board in generically powerful wish targets such as Walking Ballista. May favorite wish target that he is playing is Skysovereign. How can you not love a big boat with a Bolt? You do not need a creature to crew it as Karn can animate it with his +1 and it will be a 5/5 flyer.
Humans: Xathrid Necromancy
Jund has become a rough matchup for Humans anymore and this is due in large part to Plague Engineer. Upon entry this nasty carrier can wipe out much of the deck and leaves the survivors quite diminished; often for W6 to pick off. So Stephen thought back, “how did we beat up on Jund in the past?” Well back then Humans used to bring Xathrid Necromancer into postboard battles. When Jund fell off and UW Control went to Terminus it lost much of its value. Neither of these conditions are present in Modern now. In fact, Necromancer might just be better positioned than ever before. When the humans get wiped up by a Plague Engineer, they will become 2/2 zombies which will often actually be a buff as long as the Engineer is in play. Humans players are playing Engineers as well and it is the absolute mirror breaker. When two humans players clash now, there will be a very potent counter to the mirror breaker. I will begin testing this for myself immediately but do not expect to see it in next week’s sideboard guide; that is nearly complete already.
Burn: No Pain, No Gain
It is great to see Burn back on top as it has been so scarce throughout 2019. Many players assumed it would make a post-Horizons comeback entirely on the back of canlands. The deck gained a canland in its primary colors to mitigate the dreaded midgame flooding. Furthermore, many opponent’s would be taking additional damage from their manabase as they added. For the first few weeks though, it was more of the same for Burn on the big stage. Lucien recognized that Burn had to embrace the pain and run six canlands. With this build nearly one out of every three lands in the deck can be cashed in for a top deck. With this build you will be able to cash in once you hit three lands 68.1% of the time and if you hit four lands those odds jump to 79.3%. Other than that is it the mostly traditional and optimal Burn build. Of course the full set of Leyline of the Void in the board are necessary right now.
Mono-Red Prowess: Going Your Own Way
As alluded to yesterday, the GGG team absolutely loves this deck. We developed a Mono-Red Prowess list some time ago that passed on Phoenix. Luke was leaning toward keeping Looting so that he could run Bedlam Reveler. Clearly he an Ryan Overturf were on the right track. Over on the premium side of SCG he said that the deck deserves more respect and he proved that this weekend. Arclight Phoenix may provide the archetype with some nutty draws but these are not consistent. Bedlam Reveler on the other hand often is one mana for Treasure Cruise and one mana for a 3/4 prowess threat. You really cannot beat a rate like that. The further benefit of cutting Phoenix is that you can cut Gut Shot. It is not a bad card but is boarded out more often than any other. Between W6, Lava Dart, and Plague Engineer players are actively avoiding x/1s right now. Ryan opted to run Burst Lightning in its stead.
Hogvine: Playing the Best Deck
I will be upfront about it, I did not even want to write any entry for this deck. The best tech on display here is that the deck is broken. I do not mean to belittle the accomplishments of the five players that made Top 8 with the deck. They obviously played extremely well and earned their victory; though they were advantaged. The builds on display were lean, mean and not very spicy. Two of them went four-color for Hedron Crab to gain an edge in the mirror and one of them brought a set of Glowspore Shaman. I personally did not know this card existed until now. It seems like a solid inclusion. Basically a Satyr Wayfinder that does not dig as deep but swings for triple the damage. If I were to give in and play the deck I would certainly be playing the Crab or the Shaman.
Well it sure sucked to see yesterday’s full dataset but there was still plenty to love among the Top 16. I honestly have not been enjoying Modern lately but I am optimistic that September will be a return to form. What was your favorite piece of tech on display? Do you have any secrets of your own to share? Please share it with us 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 sweetest tech from the tournament’s Top 8. Until then my friends.