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The Modern Bible (part 3 of 8) by Nick Rennard

BG (Avignon 4-0 modern daily 8-22-2013):

Manabase (24):

  • 4x Marsh Flats
  • 4x Verdant Catacombs
  • 1x Misty Rainforest
  • 3x Swamp
  • 1x Forest
  • 2x Overgrown Tomb
  • 1x Twilight Mire
  • 4x Treetop Village
  • 4x Tectonic Edge

 

Mainboard (36):

  • 3x Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 3x Thoughtseize
  • 4x Deathrite Shaman
  • 2x Abrupt Decay
  • 1x Go for the Throat
  • 4x Dark Confidant
  • 4x Scavenging Ooze
  • 4x Tarmogoyf
  • 2x Maelstrom Pulse
  • 3x Dismember
  • 4x Liliana of the Veil
  • 2x Garruk Relentless

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 1x Phyrexian Arena
  • 1x Wrench Mind
  • 2x Deathmark
  • 1x Thrun, the Last Troll
  • 1x Obstinate Baloth
  • 1x Deglamer
  • 4x Fulminator Mage
  • 2x Shadow of Doubt
  • 2x Engineered Explosives

This is a deck that has popped up recently with the printing of Scavenging Ooze. This deck is almost strictly worse than your typical version of Jund (like the Lingering Jund list that was posted in the first article of this series). It has a few situational and minor advantages over Jund, but those advantages are so few and far between that I would consider Jund to be enough better that I would call it strictly better. Many of the cards in this deck overlap with the cards that you see in Jund, so this deck will often play out very similarly. This means that a lot of its strengths and weaknesses in the Modern metagame are parallel to those of Jund. However, losing red and white comes with more disadvantages than advantages.

The biggest advantage that this deck has over Jund is its access to Tectonic Edge. Tectonic Edge is a very good card in Modern, and most Jund decks are incapable of playing it because they are trying to play 3.5 colors (white is generally just a splash in Jund). The only other advantage is that fetching up basic lands in this deck is a little better than fetching up basic lands in Jund. This is only relevant when you either don’t want to shock yourself because of your life total or you’re afraid that your opponent is going to play a Blood Moon effect against you.

Let’s go over the disadvantages. First of all, the sideboard in this deck is terribly non-versatile. You can see that this particular list is jamming 4 Fulminator Mage into its sideboard just because it doesn’t have access to better sideboard cards versus Tron like Stony Silence and Sowing Salt. This deck also loses access to sideboard cards such as Rakdos Charm, Jund Charm, Ancient Grudge, and Slaughter Games. The biggest disadvantage is the loss of Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt is the best removal spell in Modern. BG still has to play removal spells in place of Lightning Bolt, but as you can see in this list they try to make up for the 4x Lightning Bolt by playing 1x Go for the Throat and 3x Dismember. The life loss in the casting cost of Dismember (not to mention revealing these to Dark Confidant versus revealing a Lightning Bolt) makes them strictly worse than Lightning Bolt. Go for the Throat and Dismember also cannot be used proactively to finish off an opponent at a low life total, whereas Jund players have the advantage of throwing their removal spells at their opponent’s face.

Again, this is not a bad deck. You can easily 3-1 and 4-0 dailies, take down FNM’s, and even do well at PTQ’s and other competitive tournaments. However, if you want to seriously play a Jund-style deck like this, then I highly recommend that you don’t try to cut corners and you just play Jund.

 

Bogles (Reid Duke 3-1 Modern Daily Event 8-20-2013):

Manabase (20):

  • 4x Razorverge Thicket
  • 4x Horizon Canopy
  • 4x Temple Garden
  • 3x Misty Rainforest
  • 3x Verdant Catacombs
  • 1x Wooded Bastion
  • 1x Forest

 

Mainboard (40):

  • 4x Slippery Bogle
  • 4x Gladcover Scout
  • 4x Kor Spiritdancer
  • 1x Dryad Arbor
  • 4x Daybreak Coronet
  • 4x Ethereal Armor
  • 4x Hyena Umbra
  • 3x Spider Umbra
  • 4x Rancor
  • 4x Keen Sense
  • 3x Unflinching Courage
  • 1x Spirit Link

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 2x Path to Exile
  • 1x Suppression Field
  • 2x Dismember
  • 4x Leyline of Sanctity
  • 3x Stony Silence
  • 2x Rest in Peace
  • 1x Grafdigger’s Cage

Bogles actually has quite a few good match-ups in Modern. Hexproof is one of the hardest abilities to be able to interact with, and many decks can’t keep up with an early, fat lifelinker that is difficult to remove (UWR has a terrible match-up against Bogles). The true weakness of this deck lies with Liliana of the Veil. Bogles tries to defend itself against Liliana of the Veil with cards like Dryad Arbor, but the fact of the matter is that Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, Abrupt Decay, and Liliana of the Veil are all amazing at interacting with Bogles. The new changing of the legend rule also makes Liliana even better against Bogles than it was before.

There’s not a lot of room for change in the mainboard of Bogles, but I like the Spirit Link that Reid Duke included in this deck. Lifelink is one of the abilities that really pushes a lot of games out of reach for this deck’s opponents. It’s smart to play the singleton Spirit Link as a cheap, extra source for the lifelink ability. I’ve always liked the idea of playing Geist of Saint Traft in this deck, but maybe it’s a little too clunky. I’ve never actually played with Bogles, but I’ve played against it a copious amount of times. I struggle to pick up decks like this because they are high variance and lack consistency. As stated before, this deck has an awful match-up against Liliana of the Veil, which is a card that sees enough play in Modern for me to recommend that you stay away from piloting Bogles.

I like the sideboard of this list a lot. I’m not sure why the 2x Dismember would be better than just playing 4x Path to Exile, but he could have just been testing both of them to see what was better. Dismember seems like it would be better against early creatures since you don’t want to Path to Exile creatures that come out on turn 1 like Deathrite Shaman. I just feel like this deck wouldn’t care about the early creatures. I’d rather have Path to Exile for the seriously annoying cards like Wurmcoil Engine. Suppression Field, Leyline of Sanctity, Rest in Peace, and Grafdigger’s cage are all awesome sideboard cards for Modern. Suppression Field definitely doesn’t get enough love and recognition. It’s a very powerful tool against fetch lands, Deathrite Shaman, Scavenging Ooze, Liliana of the Veil, Splinter Twin, Birthing Pod, and many other cards that see a copious amount of play in Modern.

 

Merfolk (asd 6-0 Modern Premier Event 8-19-2013):

Manabase (19):

  • 13x Island
  • 4x Mutavault
  • 2x Cavern of Souls

 

Mainboard (41):

  • 4x Cursecatcher
  • 4x Lord of Atlantis
  • 4x Master of the Pearl Trident
  • 4x Silvergil Adept
  • 4x Merrow Reejerey
  • 3x Phantasmal Image
  • 3x Spellskite
  • 4x Aether Vial
  • 4x Remand
  • 3x Spreading Seas
  • 2x Relic of Progenitus
  • 2x Thirst for Knowledge

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 3x Tidebinder Mage
  • 2x Negate
  • 2x Dismember
  • 2x Phyrexian Revoker
  • 2x Steel Sabotage
  • 1x Relic of Progenitus
  • 1x Spreading Seas
  • 1x Grafdigger’s Cage
  • 1x Vendilion Clique

Aether Vial is one of the more powerful cards in this deck, but it needs to be played in the early turns to be most effective. They are pretty bad cards when you draw them late game, and using Thirst for Knowledge to dig for action and get rid of Aether Vials and excess lands is a powerful tool. Spreading Seas is also a great card in this deck. It’s a great way to interact with your opponent without losing any kind of card advantage. Playing turn 1 Aether Vial into turn 2 Spreading Seas is a nice way to interact with your opponent while still setting up a flood of merfolk to hit the board. The island portion of Spreading Seas is also relevant in combat due to the Lords granting your other Merfolk islandwalk. There are plenty of decks that rely on their mana bases, like 4-color Jund decks, UWR, and Tron, and Spreading Seas can be a great piece of interaction with those deck’s manabases.

Overall, I’ve never been a huge fan of Merfolk because it isn’t favored in the match-up against Jund and UWR. Since these are two of the most prominent decks in Modern, I wouldn’t recommend that someone pick up Merfolk to bring to a competitive tournament. The deck is definitely powerful, but it’s less-than-Tier 1. It’s weak to spot removal, and when it doesn’t see Aether Vial in its opening hand, it can have some extremely slow openers.

This deck is running Remand instead of Mana Leak. Mana Leak is generally better than Remand on an overall basis, but I understand that this is a tempo deck that takes better advantage of Remand than most decks do. Still, Mana Leak is probably better than Remand, even in Merfolk. This is a powerful deck, and you should definitely be aware of new merfolk being printed such as Tidebinder Mage (which you can see in the sideboard of this deck). This is one of the decks that’s only a card or two away from becoming a seriously competitive deck in Modern.

Vedalken Shackles deserves more consideration for Merfolk decks. It’s a great card in a lot of match-ups (like Splinter Twin), and Merfolk definitely runs enough islands to take full advantage of it. This list is running Spellskite to protect its creatures, but Kira, Great Glass-Spinner is probably better. Spellskite doesn’t attack, whereas Kira is a 2 power body with evasion and self protection. Most of the matches that I lose to Merfolk are to Kira. I understand the interaction between Thirst for Knowledge and Spellskite, but I don’t think that Spellskite being an artifact would be enough of a reason for me to want to run it over the Kira. This 75 card list is actually a very well-tuned Merfolk list. The sideboard looks good to me, and if you’re looking to get into Merfolk, then I recommend mirroring a list that looks similar to this. Lastly, I really appreciate that Merfolk does a better job than any other deck in Modern of fully utilizing Mutavault. Mutavault is a serious threat once Merfolk decks start to develop a high density of lords on the battlefield.

 

Esper (my list):

Manabase (24):

  • 1x Hallowed Fountain
  • 1x Watery Grave
  • 1x Godless Shrine
  • 1x Overgrown Tomb
  • 4x Creeping Tar Pit
  • 3x Darkslick Shores
  • 1x Seachrome Coast
  • 4x Marsh Flats
  • 2x Verdant Catacombs
  • 2x Misty Rainforest
  • 1x Island
  • 1x Plains
  • 2x Swamp

 

Mainboard (36):

  • 3x Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 2x Thoughtseize
  • 4x Path to Exile
  • 3x Spell Snare
  • 4x Deathrite Shaman
  • 4x Mana Leak
  • 4x Dark Confidant
  • 3x Snapcaster Mage
  • 4x Liliana of the Veil
  • 4x Geist of Saint Traft
  • 1x Elspeth, Knight-Errant

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 1x Batterskull
  • 1x Dispel
  • 1x Illness in the Ranks
  • 1x Relic of Progenitus
  • 1x Spellskite
  • 3x Stony Silence
  • 2x Supreme Verdict
  • 2x Timely Reinforcements
  • 1x Go for the Throat
  • 2x Rest in Peace

 

This deck doesn’t actually see any real play. This is a deck that I’ve been working with and evolving for quite a while now, but neither me nor anyone else has really been able to make Esper fully viable in Modern. I wanted to include this deck with this article because I believe that the idea of this list is eventually going to lead it to become a Tier 1 deck (eventually…). The idea of this deck is to play the two most powerful cards in Modern in the same deck: Liliana of the Veil and Geist of Saint Traft.

All that being said, this is actually a very good deck. It plays good cards, it has a good curve, and it has threats in the manabase in the form of Creeping Tar Pit (you can even play a Tectonic Edge or two if you bump the land count up). If you brought this deck to a tournament, then you would most likely do pretty well with it. Unfortunately, this deck is probably just a worse version of Jund. Jund is a bit more proactive, has better removal spells (Lightning Bolt), and arguably has a slightly better manabase because of the fetch lands. This deck also doesn’t get access to red in the sideboard, which if you read the Jund section in this first article of this series, then it explains why red is so great in the Jund sideboard. I also feel that the printing of Scavenging Ooze made Jund significantly better, and this deck doesn’t have access to Scavenging Ooze. This deck is better than your typical Junk or GB midrange deck, but unfortunately it still isn’t quite as versatile and powerful as Jund. The only reason that you don’t see this deck very often is because it’s extremely expensive, and most people who are worried about money are just going to play some of the lower tier versions of Jund (like GB).

 

Blue Tron (pedrocristiano 3-1 Modern Daily Event 8-13-2013):

Manabase (23):

  • 8x Island
  • 4x Urza’s Power Plant
  • 4x Urza’s Mine
  • 4x Urza’s Tower
  • 1x Tolaria West
  • 1x Tectonic Edge
  • 1x Academy Ruins

 

Mainboard (37):

  • 3x Solemn Simulacrum
  • 3x Treasure Mage
  • 2x Wurmcoil Engine
  • 1x Sundering Titan
  • 1x Snapcaster Mage
  • 1x Platinum Angel
  • 4x Condescend
  • 4x Thirst for Knowledge
  • 4x Expedition Map
  • 4x Remand
  • 3x Talisman of Dominance
  • 2x Mindslaver
  • 2x Repeal
  • 1x Spell Burst
  • 1x Oblivion Stone
  • 1x Cyclonic Rift

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 3x Dismember
  • 3x Spreading Seas
  • 2x Negate
  • 2x Hurkyl’s Recall
  • 2x Relic of Progenitus
  • 1x Oblivion Stone
  • 2x Pithing Needle

U Tron utilizes Thirst for Knowledge and Condescend better than any other deck (both of which are very powerful cards). The Spell Burst lock that you can get your opponents into is also great once you stabilize. Unfortunately, all of these cards are slow, clunky, and vulnerable to fast combo and aggro decks. U Tron is less explosive and WAY less consistent at assembling Tron than RG Tron. If you really want to play Tron, but you can’t afford the Karns and Grove of the Burnwillows, then this deck is a good place to start. It’s not a horrible deck, but it’s pretty slow for Modern.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments or contact me via:

Facebook: Nick Rennard – Oregon State University

MTGO: nrjets99

e-mail: nickrennard@yahoo.com

 

Thanks for reading!

-Nick Rennard