How Healthy is Modern??

Arran Sahota | 2nd September 2018

Looking back at the last weekend we saw two major Modern events, GP Prague and SCG Open Baltimore. As I sat down for my weekend binge to watch these events, I couldn’t help but start to look at the Modern Meta as a whole and to see how these events compare to each other, and question how healthy the current meta is. Were we looking at a hearty bowl of breakfast oatmeal? Or everyone’s KFC cheat meal.

A good place to start was looking at both top 8’s list;

Grand Prix Prague 2018

1, Hardened Modular – Lauri Pispa
2, Humans – Théau Mery
3, Bant Spirit – Ondrej Strasky
4, KCI – Claude Schmit
5, Humans – Bernardo Santos
6, Jeskai Control – Javier Dominguwz
7, Bant Spirit – Joakim Haram
8, Infect – Kenneth Pletinckx

Looking at this top 8 there are six fairly different decks, with a cheeky appearance from infect, which is definitely something to be watching out for. Weirdly we saw no U/W control make the cut and Jeskai Control being the only one in the control category. We’re not seeing KCI overpower decks like it has been, maybe it’s not as big as it was before or players are understanding how the combo works and knowing how to stop it. There’s a strong aggro deck presence, with Humans, Bant Spirits and Hardened Modular seeming to dominate the format by ending the game before decks like KCI, Tron or Control can get to the point in which they just win.

This new take on Affinity has taken the win and seems to have a lot more going for it, as it is not like traditional Affinity which is trying to empty it’s hand turn 1 and kind of has more going on. There was also no U/W spirits but instead, we see a Bant Spirit deck which looks to play Collected Company and Aether Vial if you look at Ondrej Strasky he has three Vial’s while Joakim Haram only plays the Collected Company. Yes, Aether Vial is a really good card but maybe it is not worth playing if you already have Company which gets your creatures out. The Human decks were pretty standard, both lists are pretty much the same with little differences, being a very strong deck in the meta right now.

SCG Baltimore, MD

1, Spirit Agro – Steven Borakove
2, Urza Tron – Anneliese Faustino
3, Burn – Quinn Tonole
4, Jeskai Control – Benjamin Nikolich
5, Dredge – Daniel Will
6, UW Control – Ted Felicetti
7, Humans – Tyler Fenstermaker
8, Hollow One – Stephen Nagy

This top 8 is a little more diverse, seeing eight very different decks. Spirits took the victory over Tron in the final (YES BOYS). The spirit deck is just U/W, running the Aether Vials which is the version which does seem stronger as you only play the two colours, which then also lets you play Mutavault. The obvious decks are making their way up to the top with Tron, Humans, Jeskai Control U/W Control, Burn and Hollow One. We weren’t, however, expecting to see an old favourite, Dredge making it’s way up there. Dredge uses the unique mechanic of effectively milling yourself to put creatures into play. It’s great to see Hollow One put its name back into Top 8 deck with a lot of both risk, and luck to get those turn 1 Hollow Ones.

So back to that healthy dose of modern?

There are definitely a lot of different decks to choose from, the format is very open to any deck to make it into the top 8, which is always great to see. The last couple of weeks we have seen Jund make a big step back into the format, Burn is still very strong and a deck which will always be at any event. Storm is also a deck not to forget about, as well as U/W control being a heavy presence.

The last two banning/unbanning days we’ve seen people praying for Stoneforge Mystic to be unbanned which would for sure shake up the format. Or will Ancient Stirring get banned? Perhaps not so much of a consideration now since everyone actually understands how KCI works. Though one deck which wasn’t seen was Bridgevine the new “broken” graveyard deck.

Though I do think modern is a healthy format overall, with a good mix of decks and not just that one deck sitting on top all the time.

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