I've been playing a lot of Modern this year on the SCG Tour®. The format continues to be popular and neither Brennan DeCandio nor Tannon Grace particularly enjoys the format, so I take it up during Team Constructed events as well.
You might think that would give me an advantage for individual Modern events, as we have coming up this weekend in Louisville. While I certainly think my understanding of important matchups and sideboarding is advanced from experience, when it comes to deck choice, I'm still left in a sea of uncertainty.
I've played a lot of different decks over the last six months, and none of them have really stood out from the rest. I 3-2 an inordinate number of Magic Online Leagues I play, so no matter what deck I think is well-positioned, I seem to win at about the same rate.
When left in a situation where I have several seemingly equivalent choices, I focus mainly on metagame positioning as a tie-breaker. Normally metagame considerations in Modern are low on my priority list, but when it comes down to it, it's still meaningful, especially when you favor proactive, linear decks like I do.
I'm going to show the first step in this process today, sharing what i know about the Modern decks with which I'm most experienced and their position in the current Modern metagame.
I'm starting with the easiest of the bunch. With the rise of Hollow One as a simultaneously more explosive and more resilient graveyard deck that gets to play a real sideboard, I don't see Dredge as a viable option in Modern anymore.
The deck was already losing standing, as it's somewhat underpowered. You rarely win Game 1 before Turn 4 or 5, which isn't difficult for many Modern decks to race, and decks like Humans can actually match you on the battlefield with bigger creatures, especially Mantis Rider, which contains Narcomoeba and Bloodghast while applying pressure in the air.
The rise of Hollow One has also brought more graveyard hate into the metagame, which means losing Game 1 is close to a death sentence. We had a good run there for a while, and I'm happy that Faithless Looting is now getting the respect it deserves, but I'm not turning to Stinkweed Imp and friends anytime soon.
Humans was my choice after realizing Dredge was no longer good enough, and after a wonderful first weekend with the deck in Philadelphia, I thought I had found my next pet deck. However, the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf looked to bring lots of reactive and removal-heavy decks into prominence, unpleasant for a deck with 37 creatures and very little card advantage.
Snapcaster Mage / Lightning Bolt decks are the hardest matchups for Humans on paper, and I didn't much like the Lightning Bolt / Tarmogoyf matchup much either. I preemptively moved away from Humans in favor of Blue Moon. However, it turns out that I, like many others, vastly overestimated the impact the unbannings would make.