The SCG Tour® powers into the second half of Season One this weekend with a trip back to Milwaukee for a Modern Open. It's been a couple years since the SCG Tour® hit the Wisconsin Center, but when it did in 2016, Caleb Durward took down the event with his unique build of Bant Spirits. Durward will be back in attendance this weekend...can he defend his title?
Modern is starting to settle into a groove after a month of play with the now-legal Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf. While both cards are seeing play, with Bloodbraid Elf being the bigger player in the current metagame, decks without either are continuing to do well. Five-Color Humans, B/R Hollow One, and U/R Gifts Storm have put up strong results over the past few events, with the first two decks performing the best at the MOCS last weekend. On the SCG Tour®, Storm has consisted of two of the Top 4 decks in the Modern Open in Dallas, as well as the Team Open in Cincinnati.
Many expected Humans to suffer after the unbannings, with Jund and Jeskai benefiting the most from the two powerful cards, but both decks raising their curve has allowed the quick, linear decks to thrive. Infect even made a big run at the Dallas Open, with Jon DeBruin citing the shift to Bloodbraid Elf and other more expensive cards allowing him to get under the deck that often crushed the strategy reliant on 1/1 creatures. Of course, the format is still incredibly diverse as well. A glance at the Modern Classic Top 8 in Cincinnati showed eight different archetypes with natural players like Affinity, Grixis Death's Shadow, and Jeskai Control, but also decks like Elves, Amulet Titan, and G/W Hexproof doing well. We also can't forget that the Dallas Open was taken down by G/R Land Destruction.
Players to Watch
Durward put Bant Spirits on the map by winning the Modern Open in Milwaukee in 2016 and recently revisited the deck with a runner-up finish at the Team Open in Philadelphia alongside Brennan DeCandio and Tannon Grace. Durward has 13 Open Top 8s, with four wins scattered across Midwest locations. The popular steamer is known to brew in all formats, but will he stick with Spirits this weekend or switch it up?
The Storm token himself, Scherer continues to lead the way for Storm in Modern on the SCG Tour®. After his Top 4 finish at #SCGDFW, Scherer was the best performing Storm pilot in the MOCS last weekend. Of the 13 players on Storm, Scherer was top finisher with a record of 6-2. Scherer also is coming off a tenth-place finish at the Team Open in Cincinnati with Becky Adlman and Paul Muller, where Scherer took up Storming in the Legacy seat.
Stevens hasn't had the strongest year, but absolutely crushed the Modern tournaments in 2017. After a few rough events, including a quick exit from the Dallas Open with U/W Control, Stevens found his comfort zone with G/W Company at the Cincinnati Team Open, where his squad with Kevin Jones and Harlan Firer finished in the Top 16. Stevens said he is feeling better about the format now and will be prepared for the weekend.
The King and I Thai is celebrating its 30th year in business and is often called the best Thai restaurant on the SCG Tour® by our travel staff. I'm excited to try it for the first time this weekend after missing it on my other trips there but have been on a Thai kick as of late and am ready to give it a go. Everyone I talk to recommends the Drunk Man Noodles (Pud Kee Mao), so go with that if you can handle the spice. I'm partial to duck, so will be dialing up the Crispy Duck or Duck with Pineapple Curry.
This is a great place that's often open late enough for those wrapping up a long day at the tournament to grab a brat and a beer. With a wide variety of sausages and awesome burgers, the Milwaukee Brat House is a comfort food destination. I like to get the Johnny Utah or the Milwaukee Dog. Don't forget to order some Authentic Wisconsin Cheese Curds!
Blue's Egg is the best breakfast and brunch spot on the SCG Tour®. Full stop. When I hear Milwaukee is on the schedule each year, I already start planning my breakfast at Blue's. The ten-minute drive from the Wisconsin Center is worth it, but prepared to wait as the place is always packed. There is no bad option at Blue's, but I recommend the Berry Smothered French Toast or the Chicken Chorizo Omelet.
The combination of authentic Southern barbecue and a great bar within walking distance of the tournament venue? Sounds great to me! Doc's Commerce Smokehouse has an awesome menu, offering plenty of barbecue options, including the Notorious P.I.G. I'm always down for barbecue and a multi-platter meal, so this looks like a solid choice.
Live coverage of #SCGMKE starts at 10:30 a.m. CT/11:30 ET on Twitch.tv/SCGTour with Round 1. I'll be joined this weekend with Cedric Phillips and Patrick Sullivan calling all the action. Day 2 begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, starting with Round 10 of the Swiss.