If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple weeks then let me fill you in on a little something…. WIZARDS OF THE COAST HAS LOST THEIR MINDS. A month and a bit after WotC denounced Modern as a format, they produce the greatest money machine of all time. Modern Masters 2017 is the culmination of all the great stuff that us modern players want in our lives. It’s a magical Christmas set. This set will be opened like crazy, so if you are on the bubble about throwing together a modern list, it’s the best time to do so.
But why should you, random player, build an eternal format deck? Because it’s eternal. The great thing about modern is that the cards never rotate, so you can take your time in putting the deck together. I had been working on my original B/W Eldrazi list for about a year, and I’m still looking to optimize it. But there in lies the beauty of modern, I can take my time. In a rotating format like standard it seems like a rush to break the format, and get all the best cards, and then build the best deck while you can before it rotates.
Another great thing about Modern is the diversity. I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t stand playing against the same decks over and over again. The deck diversity in modern is so good, people often complain about it. As an example, if we look at the last three Star City Games Standard Opens, there are three decks that exist; Saheeli/Cat Combo, Mardu Vehicles, and a combination of G/B Aggro decks. These three decks act as a sort of rock paper scissors at times, where in Vehicles beats Saheeli, Saheeli beats G/B and G/B beats Vehicles. Sure this isn’t 100% of the time but these are the better match ups. Not only does this make somewhat boring Magic to play, but it also makes for boring Magic to watch. The casters they get for these televised events are pretty good, but there are only so many ways they can narrate a vehicles mirror before it gets absolutely dry. I would not like to turn your attention to the last three SCG Modern Opens. Out of all three Top 8’s, there were five copies of Death’s Shadow, four copies of Grixis Control, three copies of Bant Eldrazi, and the rest were all one ofs. Not only does deck diversity make for great playing, but it also makes for great spectating.
Modern is currently in the best state it ever has been, and it’s never too late to DELVE into the awesomeness.
Where to Start?
Ok, have I convinced you? Good, let’s begin. The format of modern is a big place, and you have to remember that looking for the best deck is not necessarily the way to go, as with modern there is no definitive “best deck”. If I could be honest, the best thing to do is find a list that looks interesting, and then use some sort of online simulator to test your games out, like untap.in. Doing this can prevent the dreaded “oh I finally put a deck together, played it, and I don’t like it” scenario.
This is where the diversity of modern shines, it has something for everyone. Enjoying blitzing your opponent with hastey one drops and then finishing them with burn? Play Boros Burn. Enjoy lowering your life total to play a one drop creature that has eight power and eight toughness? Death’s Shadow is your list. Do you enjoy monotonously sitting around, slowly killing your opponent and forcing a draw? Looks like you’re going to want to play Lantern Control. Want to have no friends? You’ll probably enjoy 8-Rack. Modern is a format in which any play style can be competitive and fun as well! Well, except maybe 8-rack…
Let’s Get Started!
So now you’re all set, you’ve picked your deck, where are you going to play? Well if you live in the Simcoe County area, Jack’s on Queen holds Modern and Standard based Friday Night Magic. They are also holding Modern formatted Grand Prix Trials throughout the upcoming months for Grand Prix Montreal and Grand Prix Vegas. Check out their Facebook for details.
In addition to these, Face to Face Games hosts huge competitive rules enforcement level events called Face to Face Opens! These large events are held at Seneca College in Toronto and usually host around 160-200 players. The next one is approaching awfully quickly, as it is March 18th. If you are available to attend this event I highly suggest you do so. I’m proud to say that the Head Judge for the event is a very good friend of mine, and also my judge dad, Jason Malott. Jason’s love for the game runs deep, and he was my inspiration for pursuing the life of a Magic judge. I unfortunately am slated to work that day, but I will be with him in spirit!
Drafting the Beast
Modern Masters 2017 is releasing March 17, and a majority of stores are holding drafts for the event. I have a few tips for drafting this monster of a set.
Step 1; Don’t go in blind
When the first Modern Masters set came out in 2013 I had only ever played standard, so I was completely green to the concept of ‘modern’. So I sat down at my LGS and proceeded to draft my first packs of Modern Masters. It was a pretty chill event, just a couple pals chilling playing draft. So here’s me, flipping through the cards of my first pack, I had a game plan in mind but I didn’t know what any of the cards in the set were. I get to the uncommons and see this four drop 4/4 flier by the name of Tower Gargoyle, and if there is anything I know about drafting, flying is good. I take a peak at the rare and it’s some two drop green creature. It has some text that give it +1/+1 for each card type in the graveyard so I though ‘that’s pretty meh in draft, I can’t build around that’. So just as I was about to pass the pack and my buddy stops me, “Dude…what are you doing?”. “Uh, taking the best card in the pack?” I replied, shocked at his interjection. “You’re going to take the green card, put it in a sleeve, and sell it.” At this point I’m supremely lost. He put his hand on my shoulder, leans in and whispers “That’s a Tarmogoyf, and it is currently priced at $200.” Guys I nearly lost my mind. I never could have imagined that this little piece of paper was a crisp $200 bill. Needless to say my luck to this day has been pretty shook. But if you are going to go draft MM17, please take a look at some of the ‘chase cards’ from the set, because if you pass a Liliana of the Veil, you will never forgive yourself.
Mythics of note;
Rares of note; as well as the fetch lands…
Step 2; Know your archetypes
Every set has certain archetypes that belong to the respective colours, Modern Masters 2017 is no different. According to an article published by Magic R&D Developer Adam Prosak, there are five archetypes in MM17.
White-Blue Blink – This colour combination focuses on enter the battlefield effects and blinking the creatures to abuse these abilities.
Blue-Black Instant Control – This dual colour combination utilizes instant speed removal and counter spells to alter the battlefield.
Black-Red Unearth – Unearth is an ability that allows cards to return from the graveyard with haste for a turn.
Red-Green Wheenie Tokens – This combination wants to create a bunch of small goblin/saproling tokens and go wide, swinging past even numerous blockers.
Green-White Populate – Populate is an ability from Return to Ravnica in which you can create a token that is a copy of another token creature you control.
It is important to know these archetypes when going into a draft scenario to have the knowledge of how the colour combinations are supposed to be played. There are also some three coloured cards in the set, so one can mix and match archetypes to their choosing.
Step 3; Drafting for winning VS Drafting for value
The age old debate comes up. You’re on your last pack, your deck is coming together quite nicely, and you’re super deep in a Green-White token list. Your last pack has ‘meh’ commons, ‘meh’ uncommons, a Snapcaster Mage and a foil Craterhoof Behemoth. Now you know that the Hoofey is going to be awesome in your draft deck, however after the draft it’s just going to sit in your binder and not amount to much, SCG has it at $30. But that Snapcaster, a prime modern staple in any blue deck, besides merfolk. You could start a bidding war over the Snapcaster, SCG has it at $40. So what do you do? Take the Hoofey and hope to do well, or take the Snapcaster and know that it will sell. Truth be told, it’s entirely up to you.
This incident happened quite a while ago at Grand Prix Vegas. Pascal Maynard was in the Top 8 at Grand Prix Vegas, where the draft was Modern Masters 2015. He was pretty deep into a Red/White list when he opened his pack two and stopped dead. There was a copy of Burst Lightning which would have been great for his list, but something shiney caught his eye, a foil Tarmogoyf. What he did next garnered him so backlash, he took the Goyf. This event sparked a huge social media storm known to most Magic players as Goyfgate. The backlash from his fellow Pro-Players was that of anger and disgust. Some saying he “ruined the spirit of the game” by drafting for value rather than winning. But in a statement issued by Maynard, he did indeed ‘win’. He put the foil Top 8 stamped Tarmogoyf up on E-Bay for auction and vowed to donate half of the money to Gamers Helping Gamers. Let’s just say the world was behind him as the card finally ended up selling for $15,000 USD.
So yea, that’s it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed the read and that some of my insight into the modern format brought you closer to building your own list.
Until next time, stay salty my friends.