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. [c]Planar Bridge[/c], 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 [c]Eye of Ugin[/c] 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 [c]Lantern of Insight[/c] to always see the top card of the opponent’s library and then uses artifacts such as [c]Ghoulcaller’s Bell[/c] and [c]Codex Shredder[/c] 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

[d]Creatures:
4 Bloodghast
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Insolent Neonate
4 Narcomoeba
4 Prized Amalgam
1 Scourge Devil
4 Stinkweed Imp

Spells:
4 Cathartic Reunion
3 Conflagrate
1 Darkblast
4 Faithless Looting
3 Life from the Loam

Lands:
1 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Dakmor Salvage
2 Mountain
1 Steam Vents
2 Stomping Ground
2 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard:
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Bojuka Bog
2 Collective Brutality
1 Darkblast
1 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Lightning Axe
4 Nature’s Claim
2 Thoughtseize
1 Vengeful Pharaoh[/d]

So here’s the winning list. Ever since [c]Insolent Neonate[/c] and [c]Prized Amalgam[/c] 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, [c]Dread Return[/c], banned ever since Modern started, Dredge has never really had its moment in the Modern spotlight. Now that the deck has access to [c]Cathartic Reunion[/c] 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? [c]Bloodghast[/c], [c]Narcomoeba[/c] and [c]Prized Amalgam[/c] is why. 12 creatures that can enter the battlefield from the graveyard without any need to even spend mana. A single copy of [c]Scourge Devil[/c] 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

[d]Creatures:
4 Arcbound Ravager
2 Etched Champion
4 Master of Etherium
3 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
3 Steel Overseer
4 Signal Pest
4 Vault Skirge

Spells:
4 Cranial Plating
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum

Lands:
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Mountain

Sideboard:
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Dismember
2 Etched Champion
2 Ghirapur Aether Grid
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Rest in Peace
1 Spell Pierce
2 Spellskite
1 Thoughtseize
2 Whipflare[/d]

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 [c]Cranial Plating[/c], [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] and [c]Master of Etherium[/c] 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 [c]Hope of Ghirapur[/c] 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

[d]Creatures:
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Restoration Angel
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Wall of Omens

Planeswalkers:
1 Gideon Jura

Spells:
2 Ancestral Vision
1 Blessed Alliance
3 Cryptic Command
1 Detention Sphere
3 Mana Leak
1 Negate
4 Path to Exile
1 Runed Halo
2 Spell Snare
2 Sphinx’s Revelation
3 Supreme Verdict

Lands:
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Flooded Strand
4 Ghost Quarter
2 Glacial Fortress
2 Hallowed Fountain
5 Island
1 Mystic Gate
3 Plains
1 Tectonic Edge

Sideboard:
1 Blessed Alliance
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Dismember
1 Dispel
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Negate
1 Runed Halo
2 Stony Silence
4 Surgical Extraction
1 Vendilion Clique[/d]

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

[d]Creatures:
2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Courser of Kruphix
2 Eternal Witness
1 Fiend Hunter
4 Kitchen Finks
2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
3 Noble Hierarch
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Spellskite
2 Tireless Tracker
2 Viscera Seer
3 Wall of Roots

Spells:
4 Chord of Calling
4 Collected Company

Lands:
2 Forest
2 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
2 Marsh Flats
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
2 Razorverge Thicket
1 Swamp
2 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath

Sideboard:
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Fulminator Mage
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Orzhov Pontiff
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Slaughter Pact
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Tireless Tracker
2 Voice of Resurgence[/d]

As we come up to the 2nd anniversary of [c]Birthing Pod[/c] being banned in Modern, the deck that made it necessary for the card to be banned in the first place is still around! [c]Collected Company[/c] 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 [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] + [c]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/c]/[c]Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit[/c] + [c]Viscera Seer[/c] to gain infinite life, but does so primarily through using [c]Chord of Calling[/c] and [c]Collected Company[/c] to put the pieces together.

Top 8 – Mattia Stefani, R/G Tron

[d]Creatures:
1 Platinum Angel
2 Spellskite
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
2 World Breaker
3 Wurmcoil Engine

Planeswalkers:
3 Karn Liberated
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells:
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
2 Kozilek’s Return
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Oblivion Stone
1 Relic of Progenitus
4 Sylvan Scrying

Lands:
1 Forest
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Sanctum of Ugin
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

Sideboard:
1 Dismember
1 Kozilek’s Return
1 Life from the Loam
3 Nature’s Claim
1 Pyroclasm
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Sudden Shock
2 Thragtusk
1 Vandalblast
2 Warping Wail[/d]

The first of our Urzatron decks is the more classic R/G version, utilising red mana for access to [c]Kozilek’s Return[/c] and [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. The deck is largely the same as it always has been. You assemble the combination of [c]Urza’s Mine[/c], [c]Urza’s Power Plant[/c] and [c]Urza’s Tower[/c] 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 [c]Karn Liberated[/c] 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

[d]Creatures:
1 Spellskite
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
2 World Breaker
2 Wurmcoil Engine

Planeswalkers:
4 Karn Liberated
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells:
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
3 Oblivion Stone
3 Path to Exile
2 Relic of Progenitus
4 Sylvan Scrying

Lands:
1 Brushland
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
3 Razorverge Thicket
1 Sanctum of Ugin
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

Sideboard:
3 Blessed Alliance
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Grim Poppet
4 Nature’s Claim
2 Rest in Peace
2 Thragtusk
2 Warping Wail[/d]

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 [c]Path to Exile[/c] and [c]Blessed Alliance[/c] and more powerful sideboard options, like [c]Rest in Peace[/c]. This may be the latest evolution of Tron, but it’s probably not done there. The release of [c]Fatal Push[/c] 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

[d]Creatures:
1 Laboratory Maniac
4 Simian Spirit Guide

Spells:
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel’s Grace
1 Lightning Storm
4 Lotus Bloom
3 Pact of Negation
4 Pentad Prism
4 Phyrexian Unlife
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
3 Spoils of the Vault

Lands:
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Gemstone Mine
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Temple of Deceit
2 Temple of Enlightenment

Sideboard:
1 Boseiju, who Shelters All
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
4 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Patrician’s Scorn
2 Pollen Lullaby
1 Slaughter Pact
2 Spellskite
2 Thoughtseize[/d]

Johannes was the only Birmingham local to make the Top 8. Running the tried and tested [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] combo deck. The deck functions by simply resolving the card [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] 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 [c]Angel’s Grace[/c] or [c]Phyrexian Unlife[/c] will keep you alive just long enough to cast a [c]Lightning Storm[/c] and discard all of your lands to win the game in one shot.

Top 8 – Gareth Woodhead, Nahiri Chord

[d]Creatures:
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Eternal Witness
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Qasali Pridemage
3 Restoration Angel
2 Scavenging Ooze
1 Selfless Spirit
1 Spellskite
3 Voice of Resurgence
3 Wall of Roots

Planeswalkers:
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger

Spells:
4 Chord of Calling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

Lands:
2 Arid Mesa
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
3 Forest
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard:
1 Blessed Alliance
3 Blood Moon
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Reclamation Sage
2 Stony Silence
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Thragtusk[/d]

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. [c]Nahiri, the Harbinger[/c] 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 [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] 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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