This past weekend was the Magic World Championship, which I spent my weekend watching. Last week I made some predictions, so let's see how I did!
Prediction #1: Gerry Thompson, Owen Turtenwald, or Seth Manfield will take it down!
Sadly, I got this one wrong. That being said, who can be unhappy about William "Huey" Jensen winning The World Championship? He is a world-class player and a gentleman, truly someone deserving of such a title. Congratulations to Huey! Very well deserved.
Prediction #2: At least one member of Peach Garden Oath is in the Top 4.
William "Huey" Jensen is a member of the Peach Garden Oath, however, and that makes me right on this one! It's an easy prediction to make, since he, Owen Turtenwald, and Reid Duke are such great players and they help each other be the best they can be.
Prediction #3: At least two new decks will emerge (tribal decks are new decks in this prediction).
I also got this one correct. There were two new decks for this weekend, Grixis Control by Shota Yasooka and Treasure Red by Donald Smith. Shota Yasooka is a master who makes decks the day before a tournament and does well; I don't advise copying his list at all. Donald Smith had a similar idea to me and I think there could be something there; however, he did not do that well in the tournament.
Prediction #4: Hostage Taker will be the most-played nonland card in the tournament.
Walk the plank, Pete.
Sadly, I was wrong on this one as well. Perhaps Hostage Taker is on the decline, or perhaps the World Championship metagame was predicted in such a way that makes the card not good for the tournament. I think Hostage Taker will play a huge role at both Nationals this weekend and the Pro Tour in November.
Prediction #5: Deathgorge Scavenger will be in the finals.
I am surprised this card wasn't in Huey's sideboard. The PGO opted for going over the top with Torrential Gearhulks to combo with their maindeck Commit // Memory. I legitimately feel like they missed this card and that it will be in more sideboards going forward. I could even see some maindeck copies being correct in various decks.
Two out of five is pretty bad on my predictions for this past weekend and I am definitely a bit disappointed in myself.
With #SCGCHAR this weekend, my focus has shifted from Standard to Modern. I haven't been to a Magic tournament in about a month now and it feels pretty weird. I'm also pretty hungry for a tournament win. I've cashed two out of three Grand Prix that I have played in, but I am looking for something more. I want a trophy and #SCGCHAR is my current target.
Modern is in a really diverse place and many people are a big fan of it. I'm not a big fan of it right now, but that's not because I dislike the format; it's because I don't have a deck that I like. I played Grixis Death's Shadow in SCG Indianapolis and didn't make Day 2. That's not to say that the deck is bad, but it's not really my style. Modern is a format where you need to find a deck that you like that is also good, and you lock it in.
Some of you may remember that, before I left for Wizards of the Coast, I really enjoyed Modern. I won an SCG Open with Jeskai Control and had another Top 8 as well. Things have changed since Nahiri, the Harbinger was good, however. With Grixis Death's Shadow and Eldrazi Tron being so prevalent, it's difficult for that deck to do well.
So what should I play this weekend? I'm not really sure, if I'm being honest. I think the answer (for me) is in one of four decks. The first deck is a deck that I have done well in the past with. It's simple and to the point: Jund! None of this Death's Shadow nonsense, either, as I really don't enjoy playing Jund Death's Shadow.
- 4 Dark Confidant
- 1 Huntmaster of the Fells
- 2 Kitchen Finks
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
I'm a pretty big fan of regular old Jund right now. I am not sure if this is better than Abzan because of Lingering Souls being so dominant against so many of the front-running decks. I think Liliana of the Veil is one of the best cards in Modern right now and I think that this is one of the strongest decks that plays her.
I've seen a list that went 5-0 in two separate Leagues online that plays maindeck Blood Moon that is pretty intriguing to me. Perhaps that is the way to build the deck going forward, as Blood Moon can end games out of nowhere. I was doing pretty well with this deck online, but one deck that kept giving me trouble is a deck that has really risen in popularity: U/R Gifts Storm.
Discard is not really good against U/R Gifts Storm. All of their cards are super-redundant and so consistent that a timely targeted discard spell isn't even going to do that much against the deck. It's actually very disheartening as you look at their hand and you see multiple copies of the same card and you realize you're dead on the following turn.
Let's take a look at a Gifts Storm list:
I like Opt quite a bit in this deck and I think this list looks really solid. Gifts Storm is one of the top-tier strategies in Modern currently. As I said previously, the strategies that exist to beat it are on the decline and the deck is super-consistent. Grixis Death's Shadow is a pretty bad matchup for this deck, but it has been seeing less play over time. There is a reasonable chance that I end up playing this at #SCGCHAR. The biggest issue I have is I don't know if I can get the reps with the deck in time. That comes along with proper sideboarding technique, as I definitely feel I would be a bit lost.
Another possibility for this upcoming weekend if I want to play Islands is Jeskai Midrange. Harlan Firer took down SCG Indianapolis with a deck that is pretty much Jeskai Control minus Nahiri, the Harbinger.
Playing these types of decks is always something that I enjoy, so if I can't get the necessary reps in with U/R Gifts Storm, then I may very easily fall back on this. It has the ability to both control the game and be the aggressor with Snapcaster Mage plus Lightning Bolt. These types of decks are very versatile and really allow you to outplay your opponent, which is also a huge plus.
One card this deck isn't playing that I am super-interested in is Vendilion Clique. That card both provides a nice clock and a really nice piece of interaction.
I've seen another deck pop up that went 5-0 in two separate Leagues and looks pretty spicy:
This deck looks quite interesting and I certainly want to try it out. It looks like it plays like a burn deck, but also has a lot of discard to help interact in the early-game. The discard also hurts sideboard cards like Rest in Peace which could be very powerful against a deck like this. I'm definitely going to play this deck a bit before the tournament and see what it is all about.
The final deck that I would like to talk about that I am considering for this upcoming weekend will surprise no one. It's quite good, but it's nothing exciting and there is really no play to it. It's everyone's favorite deck… Eldrazi Tron.
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 2 Endbringer
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
- 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
This deck has been a boogeyman of the format for a while now and I'm fairly unhappy about it. This deck's best draws are going to beat any deck in the format. Many decks can't beat a Chalice of the Void on one or two; some decks like Living End can't beat it on zero. This deck definitely does unfair things and that is always a good reason to play a deck in a format as powerful as Modern.
By no means is Modern in a bad spot right now, but the popular decks are kind of annoying. Death's Shadow, Eldrazi Tron, and U/R Gifts Storm attack from fairly different angles and it's hard to prepare for all of them. At any given Modern tournament, you are going to play against many different decks. No two tournaments will be nearly the same, barring some unreal luck. Oftentimes, I feel like you have to choose a good deck that you like and get some lucky pairings throughout a tournament.
What are you playing this weekend at #SCGCHAR? If you can't make it, what would you play? What do you think I should play? I'm open to suggestions, as I'm not super-happy with any of my options thus far. Let me know in the comments!