Let’s talk about Modern – A breakdown of the current Modern metagame by Fabrizio Anteri

Let’s talk about Modern – A breakdown of the current Modern metagame by Fabrizio Anteri

Hey there!

With a couple of exceptions during the year, I haven’t play Modern since GP Prague some 9 months ago or so. No more Grand Prix with the format in Europe, no Pro Tours and once I locked Gold Level, no more Modern season for PTQs for me.

But now with Grand Prix Madrid this weekend, Grand Prix Milan next month and finally the next Pro Tour in Washington, all in Modern format, is the right time to clean the dusk of my Tron deck… wait a second, let’s first check how the metagame is looking like before that:

UR Delver 14.81%

Cruise Burn 8.15%

Affinity 7.55%

Melira Pod 7.25%

Scapeshift 6.65%

Bogles 4.83%

Splinter Twin 3.63%

And with that we have more than haft the metagame being played right now in Magic Online according to this website. Some notes: the decks don’t represent the whole metagame being played, but the decks that achieve a 3-1 or 4-0 record in the Modern daily events. The information also comes from the biggest daily event of the day, and not all of them, since that’s what Wizards publishes in their Magic Online website. Also, I had to mix some numbers together because they have different names for the same deck.

In any case, I don’t want you to put much attention on the %, but in the decks as per se. The metagame of Modern has changed a lot the last few months, specially with the release of Khans. Treasure Cruise[card] and [card]Dig Through Time haven’t only find decks where to be played, but have basically put back on map decks that were almost non-existent before.

With an almost completely lack of Jund-Junk decks and very few numbers of Melira or Kiki Pod around, RG Tron has fallen as a very bad option for the upcoming events; basically the only decks around are the ones Tron always preferred to avoid. I have played Tron since the very first Modern season and barely tried other decks, so it was kind of hard for me to accept that it will stay inside it’s deckbox and inside the drawer this time. It was even harder  to think that I needed to start from zero in a format that rewards players for knowing the ins and outs of their decks and each of it’s matchups.

Dig Through Time banner

So today I would like to share the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained from trying out new and different decks in the new Modern metagame. (English isn’t my first language, so please bear with me) For many of you it will be information you already had or probably known better and deeper than me, but for others, that have always stayed in the same boat all this time as me, I trust it will be of use.

I’ve been playing actively the daily events and 8man for the last two weeks or so and I have realized how the metagame have evolved in these few days. At first the dominance of UR Delver and Burn was absolute. People started playing ridiculous decks that can only beat those two and as a consequence others played more consistent decks to beat all these hate brews.

From my experience Burn has a good match against Delver. Both decks play few creatures (12-14) and have a lot of answers to kill the opponents ones, both decks rely on Treasure Cruise to refill their hand, but the difference comes from the little advantage Burn get’s with every 1×1 in the form of 2 damage for kill an Eidolon, or 3 damage from Searing Blaze or Searing Blood when killing a creature. Sideboard games will depend on the number of Kor Firewalker or Dragon’s Claw drew by each player. Delver will dig better of it’s Claws, but Burn will have possible answers for the artifact, but there is not much Delver can do if a Kor Firewalker from the Burn player resolves.

Kor Firewalker banner

Then we have the blue combo decks: Scapeshift and Splinter Twin. Both these decks have a very clean plan and will pushing all these people trying to use specific hate cards against the red decks. I am liking a lot these decks right now; playing cards like Thoughtseize or Courterflux are very bad ideas with this fast metagame, so that opens a window for these decks to do their thing. Both decks will have problems with the fastest hands of Burn and Delver, but the matches are normally close, interesting and full of interaction.

I haven’t play any of the “aggresive combo” decks (affinity – Bogles), but I’ve seem them enough in action. These decks are somehow a combination between dealing quick damage as the red decks and “going off” as a combo decks. There are hands from these decks that you can’t stop, but there are specific hate cards that will be a headache for them: Stony Silence, Shatterstorm, Back to Nature, Spellskite

Deciding whether or not to play these decks or to dedicate enough sideboard against them is always tricky, because it will depend on your expectation of each other: You don’t want to play these decks if you know people are going to be prepare for them and you don’t want to don’t be prepare against them if you know people are going to be playing them.

Spellskite banner

The last deck we have in high numbers is Melira Pod. I would love to talk about it and explain why it’s so good and why there are still so many people playing it, but the truth is that I have no idea. I have never liked this deck, I have never play this deck and I don’t think this deck is good. That’s probably because I’ve always played Tron in Modern and Melira Pod was for sure it’s best match up.

I don’t intent to offend anybody, I know the deck got incredible good results since almost Modern started and I respect every single decision of playing this deck, there is even more credit to them than the credit I should have for playing Tron all this time. The truth is that this deck is still around and whatever you decide to play in Modern, you need to know how this deck works and how to stop this deck from working (killing it’s mana guys and keeping the Pod offline is normally the best and most common strategy against it).

The biggest upside this deck has surely got from the new metagame is the globalization of Pyroclasm as the most common red sweeper instead of Anger of the Gods.


Decks out of the list

Celestial Colonnade banner

I think the most important deck to mention out of this list is Jeskai Ascendancy combo: The deck is really hard to play online because it consumes your clock really quickly, somehow like Elves in Legacy. Don’t let it’s absence Online fool you, the deck is proved to be good and will be present at the upcoming paper events. Rumors say it has a bad match against Delver and I don’t really know that because I still haven’t seem the deck in action. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of playing against a deck I am not familiar with, so I just kind of hope to don’t play against any this weekend, regardless what I decide to play.

UWR Control: I think it’s going to be hard to have a good prediction of metagame when it’s somehow new and still evolving. You don’t really want to play UWR if you don’t have a good idea of what people are going to be playing, but there will always be courageous players sleeving up  their Celestial Colonnades and Lightning Helix. Be sure to play around their answers and expect the worst hate coming from their sideboard.

Soul Sisters: On paper this deck looks like a kids deck to me, but it’s actually really powerful. Life gain is not only very good when everyone seems to be playing red, but counting on Lightning Bolts and Forked Bolts as removals when you are facing a one mana 6/6 flier and lifelink guy is not where you want to be.

White also provides a lot of good hate cards in the sideboard: A turn two Stony Silence, Suspension Field or Rest in Peace is many times all it takes to win a game or a match. I haven’t play the deck and I don’t know if it’s consistent enough, but I would dare saying that this could be a really good option for the Grand Prix.

Stony Silence banner

There are some other decks around that I wouldn’t include in the section “Keep that for your kitchen table“, but I don’t think are going to be good enough; Mostly because they still need a lot of work, improvement and evolution to become more competitive. But at the same time, I don’t want to demotivate anybody from keep working in their brewing and make them happen.

Modern is a very open format and you could be playing basically anything, it takes a lot of time to work on decklists and get enough experience playing against every deck around, but once you get there, you could be the deck builder of the next Tier 1 deck in Modern.

As a bonus, a deck I saw around, worked a bit on the list and had a lot of fun playing with. I wanted to make some space and splash Treasure Cruise in there, but I thought the mana base was probably going to be too painful for it.

Fabrio Modern Cruise Deck Banner

I hope you enjoy the reading and learned something more about the new metagame of Modern. I can’t wait to be playing the Grand Prix in Madrid, see you there!

Community Question: In your opinion, what are the top 3 best decks in Modern right now?

Treasure Cruise question banner

Fabrizio Anteri

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