Nearly a full month after Grand Prix Ghent, we are finally back in the saddle. The format had been looking quite diverse but has that held true? Does Modern have yet another broken deck now that Throne of Eldraine has been unleashed? Today we will breaking down the Top 32 decklists of the first big Modern event after Throne. As always, all decklists are available here.
Well let’s get this one out of the way. This was a huge coming out party for artifact combo decks. We are using this term to describe the Mox Opal combo decks that contain Urza and/or Emry. I have been saying for some time that Thopter Sword is Modern’s best deck but we are seeing similar decks vie for that throne. Between these builds, there were six players in the Top 32 and we already have people clamoring for a ban. I am a huge supporter of SCG and the video coverage that they provide but they are partially to blame. It was targeted for the majority of feature matches and the coverage team was a bit hyperbolic about its power level. I do not mean that as a criticism. They are aiming to provide entertainment and they succeeded. I do wish that we as a community could form our own opinions though. Regardless, it is too early for any of us to have a strong opinion. Sure it was the leading deck in the Top 32 but if we were looking at the Top 30 it would be tied with Amulet Titan. The deck is very powerful in my opinion but it is too early for me to confidently say that this is KCI 2: Electric Boogaloo.
The runner up was Amulet Titan with four players and I cannot say I am surprised. We have written two full articles about the probabilities behind Once Upon A Time and Amulet Titan might be the best deck for it. This power boost saw it take two players into the tournament’s final four. This is a first impression but I think Amulet Titan may now be the format’s best ramp deck. However, Tron was just one player behind and is utilizing Once Upon A Time as well. I think over time we will see Tron players divided between Karn the Great Creator and Once Upon A Time with more creatures, but for now they are jamming both and still succeeding. The other deck with two pilots was the once-dominant Shadow. The Shadow pilot that made Top 8 was on a Jund build with, you guessed it, Once Upon A Time. The other two pilots were on the more traditional Grixis builds. The lesson here is that no matter the metagame, there is a niche for one Shadow deck or another.
From here we have a smattering of archetypes that put two pilots into the Top 32. The first I have to highlight is Toolbox. These creature combo decks are the most underrated archetype in the format in my opinion. Their diversity prevents automated data sites from grouping them effectively so they are understated. Furthermore, they have an odd habit of 9th place finishes. This happened here again with a Devoted Druid build in 9th and an Abzan Company build further down. Oddly neither utilized Once Upon A Time and I am personally interested to see what these decks can do with it. The highest placing archetype in this category though was Burn. It has been seen in higher numbers recently but it still brought one play to the Top 4. Following this was an Azorius Stoneblade at 12th and a Bant Snowblade build further down; not quite the dominance that the deck had seen recently. Then we had Humans players at 14th and 22nd proving that deck is far from dead. Believe it or not we also had an Esper Goryo’s Vengeance player make 16th with a Boaryo’s player at 23rd. Note that each of these archetypes was able to put at least on player into the Top 16. The final archetype to put two players into Top 32 was Jund but neither pilot managed to crack the Top 16.
Finally we come to the rogue decks but it would be a massive mistake to overlook these archetypes. Of course we have to lead off with Drake Sasser taking home the trophy on Gifts Storm. When was the last time the deck did anything? Clearly the death of Phoenix was not the death of Izzet decks in Modern. Even Dredge and Selesnya Eldrazi made Top 8 despite being rogue decks. You do not have to play a Tier 1 deck to see Tier 1 results folks. The final rogue deck was Elves in 25th, a respectable performance for the once proud archetype.
Let’s not panic folks. I hate oppressive archetypes as much as anyone but it is far too early to call for bans. I know Mox Opal is an absurd card but artifact decks have had so much hate printed for them in recent months. I think we need to give the format some time to adjust. That is just my opinion though. Where do you stand on these new artifact combo decks? Is this a KCI situation or can we bring them in line? Please share your thoughts 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.