Scars of Mirrodin Block Constructed – The Metagame, by Grant Hislop

Scars of Mirrodin Block Constructed – The Metagame, by Grant Hislop

Quick intro, for those of you who don’t know me (probably most people). I’m Grant Hislop, a Scottish player, based in Edinburgh. I’ve been playing (vaguely) competitively for about 18 months now, tho before that I’ve played casually on and off since Revised edition. I’m 27 years handsome, have many tattoos of mustaches, and own many leather-bound books.

I live in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a beautiful city, with wonderful bars. It’s obviously a University town, so every year we get a fresh influx of magic players. Sadly, we have nowhere to play barring pubs. We have one store, who I won’t mention, that stocks Magic, tho they’re not interested in running any regular tournaments, or pricing sensibly, so I don’t bother wasting time there.

Essentially, due to this complacence, I find myself needing to venture into the digital world to get my Magical fix. Not fancying shelling out £300 for a set of digital Jace TMSs to go with my paper copies, I’d decided to start my constructed MODO adventures with the release of Scars of Mirrodin, having previously only used it as a draft utility.

Single set block is a pretty inexpensive way to start playing constructed. Essentially, the idea is to acquire most of the card-pool as you go, especially as there’s only really like 4 decks that are actually Tier 1-1.5, and several of them overlap. Given that playing constructed is the easiest way to go infinite on MODO, this seems like a good way to start, esp while building up a collection that’s going to be relevant for Standard (std) next year.

Also, advantages over Magic Workstation (MWS) include the ability to play with opponents capable of using multi-syllabic words, and whose knuckles aren’t constantly scraped from dragging along the ground. I appreciate the free nature of Workstation, and it’s fine when you’re playing with a friend, but the general abyss of the standard mouth-breathers that populate the app makes MODO a clear winner.

I’ve been playing for a couple of months now, am up a few 100 packs (the Gold queues made this much easier), and since I’m generous, I’ll share what I know. I’ll give an overview of each of the Tier 1 archetypes, and I’ll show a decklist so you can get an idea of what you’d be playing against. Piece of piss.

Big Red:-

This is probably the most prevalent archetype online, due primarily, I think due to the ability to make T3 Koth of the Hammer. It’s not terrible without Koth, tho there’s few decks that can handle him on T3.

It’s a pretty standard ramp(ish) deck, in that it tries to accelerate into big threats as quickly as possible. Some variants play Mimic Vat, some play Liquimetal Coating to help Kuldotha Phoenixes and get extra value out of Scrapmelters and Hoard-Smelter Dragons.

There’s a lot of room to customize in this archetype, so you’ll seldom be 100% sure of exactly what they’re playing, but a fairly typical example of the deck would be:-

25 Mountain

2 Hoard Smelter Dragon
4 Iron Myr
4 Kuldotha Phoenix
2 Myr Battlesphere
4 Oxidda Scrapmelter
3 Palladium Myr
2 Precursor Golem
4 Spikeshot Elder

4 Galvanic Blast
4 Koth of the Hammer
1 Strata Scythe
1 Sword of Body and Mind


3 Arc Trail
2 Liquimetal Coating
3 Mimic Vat
1 Precursor Golem
3 Shatter
1 Sword of Body and Mind
2 Wurmcoil Engine

UW Venser Control:-

This is the other big deck online; you’ll face this a lot.

This deck uses Venser and Glimmerpoint Stag in tandem to re-buy your 187 perms, or in the case of Stag, your opponents. Obv interaction #81979, if you Venser your Stag, you can remove an opponents permanent for all of their next turn, resulting in good times.

This deck gets to run the Cancel of the format, tho personally, I’m not overly impressed by this. There’s so few spells that need countered that this is actually relevant against. Off the top of my head, Genesis Wave is the only one. Countering Planeswalkers etc is fine, tho they come down too early for a Cancel to actually be good against them…

They do get to run the Wrath effect, Sunblast Angel too, which has the advantages of:-

a) 5 toughness putting it out of reach of Grasp of Darkness and Galvanic Blast
b) actually being your finisher
c) being filthy in combination with Venser. That’s a Bingo.
d) not being an artifact

This guy, I like.

Sample decklist time:-

11 Island
12 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast

4 Glimmerpoint Stag
2 Sunblast Angel
3 Trinket Mage

4 Contagion Clasp
3 Elspeth Tirel
4 Origin Spellbomb
2 Revoke Existence
4 Stoic Rebuttal
2 Tumble Magnet
3 Venser, the Sojourner
2 Volition Reins


4 Arrest
4 Halt Order
2 Myr Battlesphere
2 Revoke Existence
1 Sublast Angel
2 Volition Reins

Architect Blue:-

It’s pretty common, and utilizes Grand Architect to power out big Artifact guys. It’s fairly similar to the Mono Red deck, but doesn’t play Koth obv, but trades that for Blue countermagic and no actual removal.

This deck has a black variant, which I think is better, due purely to Skinrender. This deck isn’t the most resilient, and can often just fart if the opponent has removal for the accelerator, or a decent removal spell for the threat. Mono blue is more common.

21 Island
4 Glimmerpost

4 Argent Sphinx
4 Grand Architect
3 Myr Battlesphere
4 Palladium Myr
4 Precursor Golem
4 Silver Myr
2 Steel Hellkite
4 Wurmcoil Engine

2 Disperse
4 Stoic Rebuttal


4 Contagion Engine
2 Disperse
3 Halt Order
1 Myr Battlesphere
2 Steel Hellkite
3 Volition Reins

BW Venser Control

This deck is similar to the UW control deck. It trades terrible counterspells for removal and Skinrender. It’s obv more of a tap-out style control deck. It’s really good against Red and Architect blue, but is terrible vs UW. I’m not sure if I think the slightly better matches makes up for being dreadful vs UW, as that’s about 30% of the meta.

4 Darkslick Shores
10 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
8 Swamp

2 Carnifex Demon
4 Glimmerpoint Stag
3 Indomitable Archangel
1 Precursor Golem
4 Skinrender
3 Sunblast Angel
2 Trinket Mage

3 Elspeth Tirel
4 Origin Spellbomb
3 Revoke Existence
2 Tumble Magnet
3 Venser, the Sojourner


2 Arrest
3 Contagion Clasp
2 Grasp of Darkness
3 Memoricide
1 Precursor Golem
1 Revoke Existence
1 Sunblast Angel
1 Trinket Mage
1 Tumble Magnet

There are obviously other archetypes, such as Mono-black infect, GW Myr Reservoir, and a few others, but these are by-and-large terrible, so I won’t waste time.

I appreciate this format is about to be completely over-hauled, but hopefully this will give you an idea about where the format is currently, and if it gets you a few extra packs, that has to be good, right? Give it a bash, it’s a really fun format, and if you’re looking for a fairly cheap way to start a MODO collection with value, this is it.


vaughnswift on MODO

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