Manaleak.com Birmingham SCG IQ Top 8 Modern Decklists & Metagame Breakdown Jan 8th 2017!

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Manaleak Birmingham SCG IQ Top 8 Modern Decklists & Metagame Breakdown Winners Top4

Manaleak.com Birmingham SCG IQ Top 8 Modern Decklists & Metagame Breakdown Jan 8th 2017!

It was one hell of a day. 107 Players showed up to take part in our first (hopefully of many) StarCityGames Invitational Qualifier! The format was Modern and as expected, a total of 43 DIFFERENT deck types showed up to try and claim the title! It was Niklas Ek and his Dredge deck that took the top spot after a total of 10 matches but with 8 different decks in the Top 8 and so many decks being played, it’s clear that Modern is as diverse as ever.

But first things first, we are happy to announce that our next SCQ IQ is now available and you can find all the details here: SCG Modern IQ April – Win a flight to America with Manaleak.com Birmingham!

As always, if you are planning on attending then please kindly click on “Going”. This will help us plan our space and freebies for the event, and make the day as comfortable for you as possible. Please also kindly preregister as soon as you can. You can do this via our preregistration page here: SCG Modern IQ April – Win a flight to America!

The Modern Metagame

43 decks? Well, here is our metagame breakdown for you to see for yourselves!

10 Infect
6 Naya Burn
5 Lantern Control
5 G/W Tron
4 Affinity
4 Dredge
4 Jeskai Nahiri
4 Grixis Delver
4 Ad Nauseam
3 Jeskai Delver
3 R/G Tron
3 B/W Tokens
3 Grixis Control
3 Merfolk
3 Abzan CoCo
3 Kiki Chord
3 Elves
3 Jund Midrange
3 U/W Control
2 Bogles
2 Jeskai Midrange
2 Death’s Shadow Combo
2 Mono-Blue Tron
2 Izzet Blitz
2 Eldrazi ‘n’ Taxes
2 Abzan Midrange
1 Jund Burn
1 Temur Blood Moon
1 Temur Delirium
1 Naya Zoo
1 Esper Control
1 Jeskai Prowess
1 Jeskai Ascendancy Combo
1 8-Whack
1 W/R Prison
1 Boros Blitz
1 Nahiri Chord
1 Bant Eldrazi
1 G/W Enchantress
1 Bant Spirits
1 Abzan Prison
1 Esper Death ‘n’ Taxes
1 Quest for the Holy Relic

The top of our list is not too surprising for anyone that follows Modern. Infect is arguably the strongest and most consistent deck in the format, so just over 9% of the metagame share should be expected by this point. The big surprise perhaps is the recent upswing of Tron decks. With a total of 10 Tron decks across 3 variants AND 2 spots in our Top 8, the deck seems to be increasing in popularity recently, as new tech emerges from recent sets. Planar Bridge, one of the newest mythic rare artifacts coming from Aether Revolt, stands to make a big impact in the deck too, offering Tron a much more powerful way to close out a game, something which it has been struggling to do since it lost Eye of Ugin almost a year ago.

The other surprising addition to the top of the list is Lantern Control! The innovative deck designed by American player Zak Elsik hit Modern around 18 months ago and has been annoying players at all sorts of tournaments since then. The deck uses Lantern of Insight to always see the top card of the opponent’s library and then uses artifacts such as Ghoulcaller’s Bell and Codex Shredder to get rid of cards that it doesn’t want to play against. This soft lock allows the deck to control what cards both players are drawing and use this advantage to grind out a win. Although it didn’t make the top 8 on this occasion, 2 copies of the deck did make their way into Top 16, including a 10th place finish from David Inglis, who managed a record of 5-1-1, missing out on Top 8 on tiebreakers alone.

Manaleak Birmingham SCG IQ Top 8 Modern Decklists & Metagame Breakdown Jan 8th 2017 David Inglis

The Top 8

1st Place – Niklas Ek, Dredge

Creatures: (25)
Bloodghast
Golgari Grave-Troll
Insolent Neonate
Narcomoeba
Prized Amalgam
Scourge Devil
Stinkweed Imp

Spells: (15)
Cathartic Reunion
Conflagrate
Darkblast
Faithless Looting
Life from the Loam
Lands: (20)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Copperline Gorge
Dakmor Salvage
Mountain
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Bojuka Bog
Collective Brutality
Darkblast
Gnaw to the Bone
Lightning Axe
Nature’s Claim
Thoughtseize
Vengeful Pharaoh

So here’s the winning list. Ever since Insolent Neonate and Prized Amalgam were printed in Shadows over Innistrad, players have been trying out all sorts of different versions of “Dredge,” a classic decktype from Legacy and Vintage that frequented many an Extended event back in the days before Modern. Unfortunately, with the deck’s most crucial component, Dread Return, banned ever since Modern started, Dredge has never really had its moment in the Modern spotlight. Now that the deck has access to Cathartic Reunion too, the deck is a Modern mainstay and short of major banlist update, the deck is here to stay!

The deck looks to win by filling its graveyard as quickly as possible, and does so by abusing the Dredge mechanic from original Ravnica. By combining draw spells with Dredge cards in your graveyard, you can put half of your deck into the graveyard as early as turn 2. Why do this? Bloodghast, Narcomoeba and Prized Amalgam is why. 12 creatures that can enter the battlefield from the graveyard without any need to even spend mana. A single copy of Scourge Devil then helps to beef up these creatures and win the game a little faster. The deck is fast and consistent and something that you really ought to be prepared for at your next Modern event!

2nd Place – Alexander Swan, Affinity

Creatures: (28)
Arcbound Ravager
Etched Champion
Master of Etherium
Memnite
Ornithopter
Steel Overseer
Signal Pest
Vault Skirge

Spells: (16)
Cranial Plating
Galvanic Blast
Mox Opal
Springleaf Drum
Lands: (16)
Blinkmoth Nexus
Darksteel Citadel
Glimmervoid
Inkmoth Nexus
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Ancient Grudge
Dismember
Etched Champion
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Grafdigger’s Cage
Rest in Peace
Spell Pierce
Spellskite
Thoughtseize
Whipflare

We’ve seen Affinity in many different forms over the years and it is still one of the most powerful decks in the game. Affinity is your incredibly typical artifact creature aggro deck. Cheap artifacts to flood the board and make cards such as Cranial Plating, Arcbound Ravager and Master of Etherium as powerful as they can possibly be. The deck may even be receiving a nice upgrade from Aether Revolt in the form of a rather innocuous Legendary Thoper. 1-drop Legend Hope of Ghirapur may very well find a home in the deck as an additional way to help the deck disrupt combo decks and give itself enough time to finish the game against those decks.

Top 4 – Rob Catton, U/W Control

Creatures: (10)
Kitchen Finks
Restoration Angel
Snapcaster Mage
Wall of Omens

Planeswalkers: (1)
Gideon Jura

Spells: (23)
Ancestral Vision
Blessed Alliance
Cryptic Command
Detention Sphere
Mana Leak
Negate
Path to Exile
Runed Halo
Spell Snare
Sphinx’s Revelation
Supreme Verdict
Lands: (26)
Celestial Colonnade
Flooded Strand
Ghost Quarter
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mystic Gate
Plains
Tectonic Edge

Sideboard: (15)
Blessed Alliance
Crucible of Worlds
Dismember
Dispel
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Ghostly Prison
Negate
Runed Halo
Stony Silence
Surgical Extraction
Vendilion Clique

You don’t see very much of U/W Control these days in Modern… that is unless you’re in an event with Rob Catton. Rob has stuck to his guns and perfected his control list over many events, most notably winning the whole thing when he brought the deck to the Modern Championships at our Eternal weekend less than 2 months ago! U/W Control is one of the oldest archetypes in the game, combining blue’s counterspells and draw spells with white removal spells. U/W variants are a traditional favourite of many of the top Magic players in the UK and Rob is clearly doing his part to keep the tradition alive and kicking!

Top 4 – Dylan Smith, Abzan CoCo

Creatures: (29)
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
Anafenza, the Foremost
Birds of Paradise
Courser of Kruphix
Eternal Witness
Fiend Hunter
Kitchen Finks
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Noble Hierarch
Scavenging Ooze
Spellskite
Tireless Tracker
Viscera Seer
Wall of Roots

Spells: (8)
Chord of Calling
Collected Company
Lands: (23)
Forest
Gavony Township
Godless Shrine
Marsh Flats
Overgrown Tomb
Plains
Razorverge Thicket
Swamp
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Fulminator Mage
Kataki, War’s Wage
Orzhov Pontiff
Qasali Pridemage
Slaughter Pact
Surgical Extraction
Tireless Tracker
Voice of Resurgence

As we come up to the 2nd anniversary of Birthing Pod being banned in Modern, the deck that made it necessary for the card to be banned in the first place is still around! Collected Company has replaced the powerful artifact and although the deck is now a shadow of its former self, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. The deck still tries to assemble the combo of Kitchen Finks + Melira, Sylvok Outcast/Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit + Viscera Seer to gain infinite life, but does so primarily through using Chord of Calling and Collected Company to put the pieces together.

Top 8 – Mattia Stefani, R/G Tron

Creatures: (10)
Platinum Angel
Spellskite
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
World Breaker
Wurmcoil Engine

Planeswalkers: (5)
Karn Liberated
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells: (27)
Ancient Stirrings
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Expedition Map
Kozilek’s Return
Lightning Bolt
Oblivion Stone
Relic of Progenitus
Sylvan Scrying
Lands: (19)
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Grove of the Burnwillows
Karplusan Forest
Sanctum of Ugin
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower

Sideboard: (15)
Dismember
Kozilek’s Return
Life from the Loam
Nature’s Claim
Pyroclasm
Relic of Progenitus
Sudden Shock
Thragtusk
Vandalblast
Warping Wail

The first of our Urzatron decks is the more classic R/G version, utilising red mana for access to Kozilek’s Return and Lightning Bolt. The deck is largely the same as it always has been. You assemble the combination of Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant and Urza’s Tower which, when combined, produce 7 total mana from just 3 lands. If you can get all 3 in play by turn 3, you can even cast Karn Liberated that early, giving you a massive early game advantage. Otherwise, the deck uses its tons of colourless mana to cast massive Planeswalkers and Eldrazi spells.

Top 8 – Craig Jones, W/G Tron

Creatures: (7)
Spellskite
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
World Breaker
Wurmcoil Engine

Planeswalkers: (6)
Karn Liberated
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells: (28)
Ancient Stirrings
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Expedition Map
Oblivion Stone
Path to Exile
Relic of Progenitus
Sylvan Scrying
Lands: (19)
Brushland
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Razorverge Thicket
Sanctum of Ugin
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower

Sideboard: (15)
Blessed Alliance
Ghost Quarter
Grim Poppet
Nature’s Claim
Rest in Peace
Thragtusk
Warping Wail

Craig Jones is known for being one of only a handful of British Magic players to have a Pro Tour top 8 to his name. Although nowadays he can mostly be found doing coverage of European GPs for Wizards of the Coast, he can stil play with the best of them, as this Top 8 performance shows. His white tron list takes the same green tron shell that we all know and love/despise and adds white for some more powerful removal spells in Path to Exile and Blessed Alliance and more powerful sideboard options, like Rest in Peace. This may be the latest evolution of Tron, but it’s probably not done there. The release of Fatal Push in Aether Revolt gives a very strong argument in favour of running black, meaning we may yet see a new version of this deck in the coming weeks.

Top 8 – Johannes Mohr, Ad Nauseam

Creatures: (5)
Laboratory Maniac
Simian Spirit Guide

Spells: (35)
Ad Nauseam
Angel’s Grace
Lightning Storm
Lotus Bloom
Pact of Negation
Pentad Prism
Phyrexian Unlife
Serum Visions
Sleight of Hand
Spoils of the Vault
Lands: (20)
Darkslick Shores
Gemstone Mine
Island
Plains
Seachrome Coast
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Enlightenment

Sideboard: (15)
Boseiju, who Shelters All
Hurkyl’s Recall
Leyline of Sanctity
Patrician’s Scorn
Pollen Lullaby
Slaughter Pact
Spellskite
Thoughtseize

Johannes was the only Birmingham local to make the Top 8. Running the tried and tested Ad Nauseam combo deck. The deck functions by simply resolving the card Ad Nauseam and drawing every card in the deck. Doing so would normally result in losing the game due to losing life for each of those cards, but combining it with Angel’s Grace or Phyrexian Unlife will keep you alive just long enough to cast a Lightning Storm and discard all of your lands to win the game in one shot.

Top 8 – Gareth Woodhead, Nahiri Chord

Creatures: (23)
Birds of Paradise
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Eternal Witness
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Qasali Pridemage
Restoration Angel
Scavenging Ooze
Selfless Spirit
Spellskite
Voice of Resurgence
Wall of Roots

Planeswalkers: (4)
Nahiri, the Harbinger

Spells: (12)
Chord of Calling
Lightning Bolt
Path to Exile
Lands: (22)
Arid Mesa
Fire-Lit Thicket
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Blessed Alliance
Blood Moon
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Eidolon of Rhetoric
Engineered Explosives
Kataki, War’s Wage
Reclamation Sage
Stony Silence
Surgical Extraction
Thragtusk

Maybe I haven’t been following Modern particularly closely, but this is a big surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of deck before. Nahiri, the Harbinger looks like a perfect fit for this type of strategy. Not only can it win most games through card advantage and ending on a hasty Emrakul, the Aeons Torn but it can even use Nahiri to search up a combo piece to win the game immediately. Beyond that, the deck is boasting plenty of removal and disruption for various decks in the format and multiple ways of winning the game. It simply looks great and not at all surprising that it made the Top 8!

Manaleak.com Birmingham Modern SCG IQ Winner Niklas Ek, January 2017

What now?

We are happy to announce that our next SCQ IQ is now available and you can find all the details here: SCG Modern IQ April – Win a flight to America with Manaleak.com Birmingham!

What to do next

We really hope that you can attend our next SCG IQ event, and if you are planning on attending (thank you!) then please kindly click on “Going”. This will help us plan our space and freebies for the event, and make the day as comfortable for you as possible. Please also kindly preregister as soon as you can. You can do this via our preregistration page here: SCG Modern IQ April – Win a flight to America!

See you on the battlefield!

Manaleak.com Birmingham SCG IQ Top 8 Modern Decklists & Metagame Breakdown Jan 8th 2017!
It was one hell of a day. 107 Players showed up to take part in our first (hopefully of many) StarCityGames Invitational Qualifier! The format was Modern and as expected, a total of 43 DIFFERENT deck types showed up to try and claim the title!

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