Chesham Modern PTQ Report: My Junk Is Legendary – Crucible of Words by Cyrus Bales

Crucible of Words – How do you solve a problem like a Mindsculptor? By Cyrus Bales

Chesham Modern PTQ Report: My Junk Is Legendary

At GP Lyon (Modern) I played a Junk Rock deck, and with Modern PTQ season having rolled around, I sleeved it up again with a few tweaks for the PTQ at Chesham. Today I’ll go over the changes I made and give you a run-down of how it played in the tournament.

The List:

doran4 Deathrite Shaman
1 Noble Hierarch
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Gaddock Teeg
4 Loxodon Smiter
3 Doran, The Siege Tower
1 Linvala, Keeper Of Silence
1 Ashling, the Extinguisher
3 Thoughtseize
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Path To ExilePath to Exile
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
4 Verdant Catacomb
4 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Murmuring Bosk
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Godless Shrine
1 Temple Garden
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Treetop Village
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Okina, Temple To The Grandfatherskataki
1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse


1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Thoughtseize
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Torpor Orb
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Stony Silence
4 Fulminator Mage
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Batwing Brume

As you can tell, the list has taken a bit of an overhaul, I finally dropped the Kitchen Finks from the deck which were often very underwhelming. However this life gain was not inconsequential, so to remedy this, I put in Sword of Light and Shadow which is very strong as forcing through damage and winning grinds as well.

The Legendary Lands

okinaThe biggest change is as a result of the legendary lands, Okina, Temple To The Grandfathers and Shizo, Death’s Storehouse. Due to the influx of Lingering Souls in Jund and Black-White Tokens gaining popularity, having a way to push damage past little white men is key, both Shizo and the Sword help to achieve this.

This made me decide to play a few more legends, Linvala, Keeper of Silence is fantastic at shutting down Deathrite Shamans, Olivia Voldaren, Birthing Pod decks and even Splinter Twin, the most surprising thing about her inclusion is that it took so long. Gaddock Teeg is a nod to Scapeshift and the Tron decks, he also stops a Batterskull, Birthing Pod or Chord of Calling from happening, which goes to improve the Pod match up which needed some work.

Ashling, the Extinguisher is a little bit fruity, the theory was that giving her evasion with the land is phenomenal, however I worried that she would just be an expensive 4/4, which was indeed the case.

The Sideboard

Sideboard wise, I prepared for the increased number of Scapeshift and Tron I was expecting by packing the full set of Fulminator Mage. I had a spread of singletons that do similar things in some match ups, but have a bit of flexibility, Kataki, War’s Wage is my favourite anti-affinity tool as he can hit Etched Champion or at least make him redundant, whilst not allowing Welding Jar regeneration, the current trend to play more blue and less removal in affinity makes it a more solid choice.

Finally Batwing Brume is a further card to help improve the Pod/Twin match up whilst also being pretty decent against Black-White Tokens.


It was over 140 players so ended up being an 8 round swiss, so here we go:

ROUND ONE – RUG Scapeshift (2-0)


Game one was in typical Rock fashion, I disrupted his hand, then laid a very efficient clock involving Doran, the Siege Tower and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben slowed his ability to control the board and dig. I saved a Thoughtseize for the turn before he could combo out, and whilst his Remand made me cast it twice, I saw he was relying on the top of his deck whilst facing down lethal, he did not hit the goods.

Game two was a bit of a white wash, I dropped an early Gaddock Teeg, then hit his hand with discard, seeing two Scapeshift and a dig spell. I took the Telling Time and put him into what was pretty much top deck mode, but I had a Teeg in play. Next turn I drop a Fulminator Mage, and by the time the game ends, I Thoughtseize him and see three Scapeshift, whilst my board is Gaddock Teeg, Thalia and 2 Fulminator Mages.


ROUND TWO – Haunted Zoo (0-2)

Geist of Saint TraftGame one is pretty pacey, as can be expected, I mulligan to six then we begin. I have a Tarmogoyf with a Sword of Light and Shadow, and a Thalia, but know he has the Lightning Bolt in hand for her. His clock is a Geist of Saint Traft, for which I can Path to Exile the token. I decide to attack with both guys to force the chump of his Noble Hierarch, knowing I’ll be taking a big hit next turn, but the turn after I can probably stabilize. However his turn involves Bloodbraid Elf into Tribal Flames and blows me out of the game.

Game two was a little less of a contest, I stalled on two mana whilst his curve went as planned, I manage his Goyf, but he drops too many threats and develops his mana at a better rate than me and I can’t keep up with his pressure.


ROUND THREE – Mono Red Goblins (1-2)

Goblin GrenadeGame one involves my opponent making a Goblin Guide and a few creatures who are blanked by my massive midrange guys. I keep his board controlled and attempt to clock him quickly to avoid and crazy burn shenanigans, I finish with 11 life after doing myself a fair bit of damage as my opponent draws a fair few lands.

Game two, we both mulligan to six, he keeps a one lander and drops a turn one Goblin Guide. He follows up with a turn two Aether Vial but not second land, so I Abrupt Decay his Vial and start producing threats as he makes a second Goblin Guide. I don’t get to draw lands from the Guides, but I move into aggro mode, and hit him from 17 down to 6. His second land produces a Krenko’s Command from his hand, whilst I bash him down to 3. I sideboarded in some Batwing Brume and use it to fog his attack for 5 since I have lethal on the swingback, however he drops two Goblin Grenade to hit me for exactsies.

Game three, I mulligan my six land and Doran hand, only to not find any land. This continues till I get to three cards to see my next land. I have to keep Plains, Okina and Tarmogoyf as my opening grip. My opponent’s deck is much kinder, his turns involve turn one Goblin Guide, turn two Teetering Peaks and another Goblin Guide, then Goblin Chieftain which I Path, but he’s hitting me hard and not drawing me lands, so I eventually get down a Smiter only to see his Grenade and Bolt burn me out.


I was now out of contention for the top 8, but I’d paid £20 to play, and I knew my deck was far better than its current record, and testing for GP Bilbao was important. I was pretty sure I could X-1 or X-0 the rest of the tournament, especially being in the “loser’s bracket”.

ROUND FOUR – Haunted Zoo (2-1)

TarmogoyfGame one, my opponent’s hand is less than stellar, and I take away his action with a discard spell, and then proceed to lay big men and attack. His deck barely gets off the ground and he has to use Geist as a chump blocker.

Game two, he gets out an early Geist which is problematic, and he manages to clear the way for it nicely. I try to race, but he removes my blockers to eliminate that possibility and beat me.

Game three, a bit of back and forth, his mulligan to six costs him as I begin to put him on the back foot whilst attacking for six. He throws out a Lightning Helix to slow me down, but he can’t establish board position and only connects once in his combat phase as my bigger men get the job done.


ROUND FIVE – Eggs (2-1)

Faith’s RewardGame one he begins with six cards including a Lotus Bloom. I have a discard heavy draw and pick apart his hand, leaving him with very little to work with. I apply pressure whilst he draws a couple of lands then scoops.

Game two, I get Gaddock Teeg down to stop Reshape and Faith’s Reward and my Nihil Spellbomb forces a weird sequence of plays in my upkeep as my Kataki creates a mental jigsaw for his side of the table. He manages to bounce my Teeg, then attempts to go off in his turn, the first loop being in response to the Kataki triggers. He doesn’t have a lot of artifacts to draw him cards, so knowing the deck quite well, I let him play out a bit as he has a decent chance to fizzle, he just about manages to get there and shows me a Grapeshot for the win.

Game three sees him mull to five, but with the Lotus Bloom. I have disruption to take his Wipe Away and keep my guys on the board. My next discard takes away his artifact instead of his Reshape so I can clock him a turn quicker with Tarmogoyf, which seems to work and seal the deal along with an Abrupt Decay the following turn.


ROUND SIX – Melira Pod (2-0)

Birthing PodGame one, we both keep seven, I take a peek at his hand, and see he’s got a decent one, including a Shriekmaw. I bait out his Shriekmaw with a Tarmogoyf so I can stick my Linvala. IT works as planned and I put the brakes on his plan. I manage to beat down enough that by the time he can remove the Angel, I have lethal for the swingback and he doesn’t have the combo set up.

Game two,  my hand is nuts, I make a turn one Deathrite Shaman and follow it up with two discard spells to take out Birthing Pod and Shriekmaw, my turn three play is Linvala and it seals the deal as he produces a lot of one power men. I have the removal for his Melira if I need it, which doesn’t happen and she goes all the way for me.



Bloodbraid ElfGame one, he’s on the play and takes a look at my hand and removes a Path To Exile. We trade resources a lot, it’s a real grind, but Doran with Fear gets past his Lingering Souls thanks to Shizo and allows me to take the game.

Game two, I mulligan to five, it’s a reasonable five though so we begin. I take a card from his hand, but he has the Deathrite advantage. I squeak out a Linvala as an answer to his Olivia, but his additional cards means he trades his Olivia and Bolt for my Linvala and keeps his Deathrite active, which helps him grind away the game as I never truly recover from the mulligan as my Dark Confidant isn’t allowed to live till my upkeep.

Game three, he has the Deathrite Shaman, but I get Thalia to hold the Sword of Light and Shadow and keep beating down with it, making his racing difficult. He keeps my graveyard down to stop it being card advantage. We spend a very long time trading resources and end up in top deck mode, both of us hit relevant cards and the game grinds on, until my higher threat density manifests in the form of Smiters and Doran, and I can finally make a lethal attack.


ROUND 8 – UW TRON (2-0)

Gifts UngivenGame one, he starts with six cards, and it takes me a while to work out what he’s playing, but Thalia makes things a little tricky for him, and I drop some fat threats. He makes a Wurmcoil Engine but the six lifelink from it is too small to stop the rest of the damage that gets through.

Game two, I have a really sweet play of using Fulminator Mage to hit a tron piece, then exiling his destroyed land to Thoughtseize him.  I aggressively hit my own life total with my manabase, but I sandbag a discard spell for when he hits tron. He’s in top deck mode and has to use a Condescend on my Smiter just to Scry, but he finds nothing and get to swing with some dudes.


At the end of the day I finished 15th and was only one point behind the top 8, but it’s important to bear in mind the easier bracket I was in. All in all though, after my deck deciding to lose to itself round three, I was happy with the performance of the list. I’d be very happy to play this deck again, maybe with a tweak or two of course. Linvala was the all-star of the day and I’m now even sweeter on her than I was before. The legendary lands actually won me a few games so I was definitely right to play those, although Ashling is definitely getting cut.  I had a few people ask me why I didn’t play Eiganjo Castle, the reason is that my one drops are green and black, and preventing damage on Doran isn’t half as attractive as making him bigger or have fear, and the manabase couldn’t support another mono-coloured land.

A lot of people say that Path is no good at the moment, and Jund doesn’t even want to run it when it splashes white, but this deck is a bit different from Jund, with a lower curve, but Path is very good still. Path allows you to deal with the threats that go over the top like Olivia Voldaren and Raging Ravine whilst having strength against the Scapeshift decks now running Primeval Titan, Wurmcoil Engine and creature based combo decks like Twin and Pod are a lot better than they would be without Path.

Stirring Wildwood

Will I play this deck for the GP?

Probably, the deck has everything I want to be doing. Perhaps an additional Treetop Village or Stirring Wildwood could stave off mulligans a little better, but I very rarely felt behind at all with this deck, so expect me to continue writing about this deck in coming weeks and months.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.

Cyrus Bales



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