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The Modern Bible (Part 5 of 8) by Nick Rennard

Infect (Naemen 4-0 Modern Daily Event 8-16-2013):

Manabase (20):

  • 4x Verdant Catacombs
  • 4x Misty Rainforest
  • 4x Forest
  • 4x Inkmoth Nexus
  • 2x Pendelhaven
  • 2x Breeding Pool

 

Mainboard (40):

  • 4x Blighted Agent
  • 4x Glistener Elf
  • 4x Ichorclaw Myr
  • 4x Noble Hierarch
  • 4x Vines of Vastwood
  • 4x Rancor
  • 4x Groundswell
  • 4x Might of Old Krosa
  • 4x Mutagenic Growth
  • 2x Apostle’s Blessing
  • 1x Ranger’s Guile
  • 1x Giant Growth

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 3x Spellskite
  • 3x Dismember
  • 3x Spell Pierce
  • 2x Simic Charm
  • 2x Nature’s Claim
  • 2x Creeping Corrosion

Infect is a bad deck nowadays. With the increasing popularity of UWR, this deck is quickly falling off the map of Modern. Pretty much every removal spell in Modern is good against their threats, and I’ve never found it to be too difficult to stabilize against them. That being said, this is a deck that will definitely test whether or not you are playing enough spot removal. If you can’t remove their threats, then they are going to kill you very quickly. The only reason this deck still puts up results occasionally is because of how fast it can win a game assuming the opponent doesn’t interact with you (that’s a huge assumption to make in Modern). This deck mulligans poorly, it doesn’t have a lot of resilience or reach, and it loses HARD to a turn 2 Spellskite from the sideboard (or, God forbid, the mainboard). I consider Infect to be a strictly Tier 2 deck in Modern. If you are still wanting to play this deck, then I recommend you consider playing Phyrexian Crusader. I feel that he is one of the few cards that is actually self-protected against many of the removal spells in the Modern metagame.

Goryo’s Vengeance (my list):

Manabase (21):

  • 4x Darkslick Shores
  • 4x Blackcleave Cliffs
  • 1x Watery Grave
  • 1x Blood Crypt
  • 1x Steam Vents
  • 1x Mountain
  • 1x Boseiju, Who Shelters All
  • 4x Gemstone Mine

 

Mainboard (39):

  • 4x Faithless Looting
  • 3x Thoughtseize
  • 4x Pentad Prism
  • 4x Goryo’s Vengeance
  • 4x Izzet Charm
  • 4x Simian Spirit Guide
  • 4x Through the Breach
  • 4x Fury of the Horde
  • 4x Griselbrand
  • 4x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 1x Boseiju, Who Shelters All
  • 2x Defense Grid
  • 1x Duress
  • 2x Echoing Truth
  • 4x Leyline of Sanctity
  • 2x Pyroclasm
  • 1x Spellskite
  • 2x Torpor Orb

This deck is, undoubtedly, the fastest deck in Modern. I am always looking for ways to improve this deck, but it’s hard to improve this deck’s consistency without losing some of its speed (and vice versa). Let’s talk about its strengths and weaknesses.

This deck has remained one my personal favorite decks in Modern because of how unbelievably well it curves out. Turn 2 and 3 wins are not that uncommon. I even had a turn 1 win on the play the other day where I used Simian Spirit Guide to Faithless Looting my Griselbrand into the graveyard and then played my land and used another Simian Spirit Guide to Goryo’s Vengeance it into play and swing for 21 with Fury of the Horde. I also like that this deck utilizes Izzet Charm better than any other deck in Modern. Izzet Charm is one of the most versatile removal spells in Modern, but the fact that this deck uses the looting aspect of Izzet Charm to set up a game-ending combo (rather than just using the looting to pitch useless cards like UWR) makes it one of the most powerful wielders of Izzet Charm. Another strength about this deck is that it’s a reanimation deck that’s not completely dead to graveyard hate. Through the Breach allows you to play your Griselbrands and Emrakuls regardless of how many Rest in Peace or Grafdigger’s Cage they try to sideboard in against you. This deck’s threats are diverse enough from each other that it can be hard for your opponent to have enough hate against all of them. For example, if you’re afraid of Path to Exile, then you can just put Emrakul into play. If they have a Scavenging Ooze on the battlefield, then you can use Through the Breach to push your threats into play. This is a high variance deck that is extremely fun to win with when it’s working as intended.

Unfortunately, this deck is a glass cannon that can be broken easily. Any kind of hand disruption (Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtsieze), or countermagic (Spell Snare, Mana Leak) will easily prevent the deck from doing what it is intended to do. There’s also a lot of cards that naturally hate on the graveyard like Deathrite Shaman, Scavenging Ooze, and Relic of Progenitus (maindecked in Tron). These cards come out early and will shut down any kind of Goryo’s Vengeance reanimation. Path to Exile and other similar spot removal spells are great against this deck because it prevents Griselbrand from winning the game the turn they come into play. It can also be difficult for this deck to mulligan because it needs most of its cards to set up the combo, and you’re already losing card advantage every time you cast Faithless Looting or use Izzet Charm for the looting effect.

Overall, I really enjoy playing this deck, but it can be frustrating and demoralizing when you draw poorly or your opponents play early interaction against you.

RG Aggro (Crazycow 4-2 Modern MOCS 8-11-2013):

Manabase (18):

  • 4x Stomping Ground
  • 4x Copperline Gorge
  • 2x Arid Mesa
  • 2x Misty Rainforest
  • 2x Scalding Tarn
  • 2x Verdant Catacombs
  • 1x Forest
  • 1x Mountain

 

Mainboard (42):

  • 4x Experiment One
  • 4x Goblin Guide
  • 4x Kird Ape
  • 4x Vexing Devil
  • 4x Burning-Tree Emissary
  • 4x Flinthoof Boar
  • 4x Tarmogoyf
  • 4x Ghor-Clan Rampager
  • 4x Lightning Bolt
  • 2x Seal of Fire
  • 2x Dismember
  • 2x Tarfire

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 3x Blood Moon
  • 3x Pillar of Flame
  • 3x Vines of Vastwood
  • 2x Combust
  • 2x Tormod’s Crypt
  • 2x Smash to Smithereens

RG Aggro is a deck that I’ve always had quite a bit of respect for. You’d think that this deck simply loses to decks like UWR that run a bunch of Lightning Helix, but this deck is actually quite resilient. It’s also difficult for opponents to put blockers in front of your threats due to the high amount of removal and the Ghor-Clan Rampagers as a nice combat trick. The Ghor-Clan Rampagers also allow you to punish opponents who let you declare attackers and then try to Lightning Bolt or Lightning Helix your creature. One of my favorite details about this deck is the presence of Tarfire and Seal of Fire. There are few decks in Modern that are consistently capable of creating 6/7 Tarmogoyfs, but this deck is definitely one of them.

Experiment One gets out of control quickly, especially in combination with Tarmogoyf, Vexing Devil, and the Burning-Tree Emissaries. In my opinion, Experiment One is very comparable to Wild Nacatl. They’re about the same in power level, but the only drawbacks to Experiment One is it’s easier to kill right when it comes into play (being a 1/1), it can be a little worse off the top of your deck, and it also forces you to construct your deck a little differently than you might like to since you need other creatures with high power/toughness to evolve him. The advantage of Experiment One is that he regenerates through removal spells, and he is also capable of becoming much, much bigger than Wild Nacatl. Overall, they are very similar cards in terms of power.

As I’ve stated before, I don’t think that aggro decks are as well-positioned as the combo and midrange decks of Modern. However, I consider this to be a good deck, and I would never criticize someone for bringing a list similar to this to a competitive tournament. This deck has some great match-ups, and it’s extremely aggressive and resilient.

This deck also utilizes Blood Moon very well in the sideboard. I’m not sure how I feel about the Tormod’s Crypt in this specific list, as I think that Scavenging Ooze would be a better way to hate on graveyards. Scavenging Ooze will do damage to your opponents, can be cast off of a Burning-Tree Emissary, and also takes advantage of any other creatures dying to removal.

RDW (Marcelo bacana 5-1 Modern MOCS 8-11-2013):

Manabase (20):

  • 4x Arid Mesa
  • 4x Blackcleave Cliffs
  • 4x Scalding Tarn
  • 2x Blood Crypt
  • 2x Sacred Foundry
  • 2x Mountain
  • 1x Marsh Flats
  • 1x Stomping Ground

 

Mainboard (40):

  • 4x Vexing Devil
  • 4x Goblin Guide
  • 3x Deathrite Shaman
  • 2x Grim Lavamancer
  • 4x Bump in the Night
  • 4x Lava Spike
  • 4x Lightning Bolt
  • 4x Lightning Helix
  • 4x Rift Bolt
  • 3x Skullcrack
  • 2x Searing Blaze
  • 1x Shard Volley
  • 1x Pillar of Flame

 

Sideboard (15):

  • 3x Rakdos Charm
  • 2x Hide/Seek
  • 2x Volcanic Fallout
  • 2x Searing Blaze
  • 1x Slagstorm
  • 1x Skullcrack
  • 1x Spellskite
  • 1x Torpor Orb
  • 1x Grafdigger’s Cage
  • 1x Wear/Tear

RDW is the deck that does the best job of punishing players for using fetch lands to fetch for shock lands to cast Thoughtseizes on turn 1. Many players in Modern get extremely aggressive with their manabases by playing high numbers of fetch lands and shock lands. Modern is a format where the average player will generally (and theoretically) start at a life total much lower than 20. RDW is a deck that will inevitably bring any player to 0 life, given enough draw steps.

RDW isn’t a bad aggro deck, but I definitely consider it to be Tier 1.5. My biggest problem with the deck is that RDW’s biggest enemies are all played as 4-ofs in the Tier 1 decks of Modern. Tier 1 decks such as Birthing Pod, UWR, Tron, and Jund all feature blowout cards against RDW such as Deathrite Shaman, Kitchen Finks, Scavenging Ooze, Lightning Helix, and even turn 3 Wurmcoil Engine. This deck is also extremely weak to players who bring in Leyline of Sanctity. If you want to play a competitive aggro deck, then I recommend Affinity. Those decks are slightly faster and more consistent than RDW. One sideboard card that I don’t see in this list specifically is Rain of Gore. Rain of Gore is the best card that this deck can side in against any of the above mentioned life gain cards (I couldn’t even imagine how good it would be against Soul Sisters). It is one of the few cards that has ever really screwed me over when playing against RDW in a tournament (I’ve never actually played with RDW, only against it… many, many times).

See you guys Thursday with my next article covering more Modern decks!

 

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