SCG Dallas took place this weekend and gave us our first look at the new Modern format. It has been such a turbulent few months. Between the London mulligan, Modern Horizons, and the B&R update it has been a trip. Now with all of that behind us, hopefully we can return to a sense of stability and maybe even have some fun too. Let’s take a look at and break down the Top 32 from the SCG Dallas Open. As always, all decklists are available here.
This new Modern is similar to Week 1 Standard formats. No one is quite sure what to do. What is the best archetype? What to I tune my sideboard to beat? Often the right answer is to default to the linear red aggro deck and in Modern that is straight Boros Burn. It is favored against the midrange and control decks, if SFM is popped immediately, as well as the ramp decks that look to go over them. This came to pass with Burn taking five spots in the Top 32. I imagine the deck will be a solid choice going forward but not dominant.
Just behind it were the decks revived by Modern Horizons. Whirza ended up winning the whole event and if you follow my articles, again and again I claim that it is the best deck in the format. Obviously that is a heavy statement but I am willing to die on this hill. It is an artifact prison deck that can turn three combo kill you while playing four colors without taking significant mana damage. Okay, I will stop gushing about it; just do not skimp on artifact hate going forward. Jund continues to be an impressive 50/50 deck after the printing of W6 resurrected it. If you want the majority of your games to come down to skill versus skill; this is the deck for you. The only real exceptions are that ramp decks smash it and small creature decks get stomped by it. As a result of ramp’s resurgence, none of the Jund players managed to make Top 8 and only one Made Top 16.
A small step behind those were Tron and UW Control. In a recent article, we tabbed Tron as a beneficiary of the B&R update and that has come to pass. The London mulligan helped, Karn the Great Creator helped, the racecar metagame really held it back. With the format slowed down we will now see what the deck can do; make Top 8 at large tournaments. It absolutely crushes Jund and the SFM decks after all. UWx did well but fell somewhat short of the sky-high expectations that were placed on it. SFM+Batterskull is fine in Modern but is not in any way broken; something we will talk about more this week. This saw two UW players run it, along with Sword of Feast and Famine, to Top 16 finishes. An Esper player also made it into Top 32 by passing on SFM entirely.
The remaining recognized archetypes put two players each into Top 32. Grixis Shadow has returned with a vengeance and I must admit that I am sad to see Mardu discarded so quickly. Alas, the old format king is back and one pilot took it all the way to Top 8. Behind that we see Amulet Titan return after utterly disappearing post-Horizons. While neither player made it into Top 16, it is a welcome site for those faithful to the archetype. Then we finally come to Devoted Vizier. This deck has been hanging out in Top 16s of large tournaments for about two years now and it continued here. The community cannot reach a consensus on a best build, not even on what colors to play, but the deck continues to perform admirably thanks to the new toys from Modern Horizons.
The following decks may have put only one player each into the Top 32 but that does not mean they are poor choices. We saw Titanshift wind up in 3rd as the ramp deck that beats other ramp decks. We also saw an interesting Rakdos Midrange list, reminiscent of Mardu Pyromancer, in the 7th spot. Even Orzhov Smallpox just barely missed Top 8; ending at 9th after the archetype fell off for two years. Even Storm came back and ended up in the Top 16; sadly not the Twiddle variant that we recently featured. Rounding out the Top 32 we saw Merfolk, GW Eldrazi, and Humans; a very low performance for the once dominant archetype.
To be candid, I have not enjoyed Modern much post-Horizons. Change is not always bad but the state of the format truly was. Now though? This was only Week 1 so I cannot draw too many conclusions but it looks fun. What is your take though? How are you approaching the format now that its speed has been reset? Please share your ideas 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 another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.