This past weekend I was in Charlotte for the Modern Open. I was testing a fair amount last week and found that, of all the decks, I didn't like much of them. Jeskai was the deck that I enjoyed playing most, so I went with that. I ended up sporting a new card in Ixalan this weekend, as I think it's pretty good in Modern as well as Standard.
Here is the list I played!
I also did a Deck Tech on it.
I think Search for Azcanta does have a home in Modern, but I'm not sure if Jeskai is that home. The card is very good and can be used quite well in a lot of strategies. Perhaps it is better in a Jeskai shell that can dig for Nahiri, the Harbinger and help prevent drawing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, a fate that I have been privy to many a time. I think the likely hope is something in the Temur space with a Scapeshift win condition. Maybe something like this:
Being able to dig for Scapeshift is a really nice piece of technology with Search for Azcanta. This deck might want something like some cheap cantrips like Opt or Serum Visions to help fill the graveyard for Search for Azcanta. Search is a bit awkward with a lot of two-mana ramp, but landing Search on Turn 3 as fine as well. However, if you were looking for something without Search for Azcanta, then look no further!
As I said, the Modern Open didn't go too well for me, and I was very much against the card Search for Azcanta in Jeskai for Sunday. I really wanted to play Jeskai Control with Nahiri and see if it could still hold up, and I'm pretty happy to say that I think it can. Here is the list that I played to a Top 8 finish in the Modern Classic on Sunday!
Spreading Seas is extremely important for blue control decks in today's Modern. You have a pretty bad Tron matchup and this helps significantly. It also allows you to win games against random decks that have poor mana. It's also quite good against any creature-lands because it shuts them off, allowing you to accrue more card advantage over your opponent. I don't think you can play a blue control deck in this format and not play Spreading Seas.
Going forward, I would make a few changes to the deck. Here is the updated list that I would play in #SCGCIN if I were going.
The 24th land is a nod to the fact that you really want to hit your land drops and be able to attack with Celestial Colonnade. The third Lightning Helix is so that you can more reliably burn your opponent out if Nahiri, the Harbinger isn't working out. I also shaved a Nahiri, the Harbinger because it is a four-mana card and often I find I'm winning games with Celestial Colonnade anyway.
If you would like to know how I sideboard against a few of the popular decks, here is a quick guide.
Grixis Death's Shadow
U/R Gifts Storm
I would certainly be playing this deck in #SCGCIN if I were going, despite the rest of Team MetaGameGurus.com telling me that it is a bad idea. They just don't know to win with the deck like I do.
All of this talking about Modern has really got me thinking about how to make the format better.
Modern is likely the most popular format in Magic at the moment. I personally think Standard is more fun, but a large majority of Magic players prefer Modern to any other format. I think Modern is a fine format with lots of viable decks, but there are a few cards that stand out to me as just frustrating and really just not fun to play against.
I promise you: if either player is playing one of these cards, someone isn't having an enjoyable experience. All of these cards just put tremendous pressures on the format and require you to play around them. Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, and Ensnaring Bridge are all good at one thing: preventing your opponent from playing Magic. But isn't that what we come to tournaments for? To play Magic and interact with our opponents? I think Modern would be much more fun without those cards in existence.
Urza's Tower was also on my list because Tron is just a silly deck in my opinion. Either you get your Tron on Turn 3 or 4, slam Karn and win; or you lose miserably because your deck didn't operate. Tron plays similarly to the cards mentioned above because, when someone achieves it, 90% of the time they are going to beat you and their opponent isn't going to have fun.
So here is my proposal for the next Modern Banned List update:
Eighth Edition and Ninth Edition are no longer Modern-legal sets.
Street Wraith is banned.
So let's go over the implications of what cards would be banned and what decks would be affected by this change.
Let's start with the "white-bordered" cards.
This is primarily used to hate on Tron and Scapeshift decks, as well as pretty much any deck that gets caught by surprise. The only deck this eliminates from Modern is Blue Moon type strategies, which arguably wouldn't have to exist without decks like Tron running amok.
Without Tron in the format, there would no longer be any Tron decks. This is a huge archetype and one that doesn't promote fun games of Magic in my opinion. Eldrazi Tron will revert back to Bant Eldrazi and people who want to play their Eldrazi still can. Sylvan Scrying and Expedition Map will likely stop seeing play and people don't have to be miserable all the time.
If you can't tell, I really don't like Tron. I don't think anyone does, to be honest.
I'm sorry, Lantern Control. I really enjoyed your presence and playing against you. I'm going to miss you dearly. — No one ever
Seriously, though, I played Lantern Control in an Open. I appreciate the deck, but even I admit it is a horrible play experience for your opponent. When I play against it online, I sometimes just concede because I don't want to waste the next hour of my life. This also affects Burn sideboards, but it really isn't that big of a deal. This card can go easily.
This is a slight knock to U/R Gifts Storm and I think it's totally appropriate. Opt was just printed, so maybe that card will see more play in the deck. I think Sleight of Hand is not too powerful, but a nice nerf to a deck that otherwise wouldn't be hurt at all to these changes. Some versions of Death's Shadow even play a copy or two.
That's really it for the "white-bordered" cards that play a huge role in Modern. The other cards that was on my Modern Banned List is Street Wraith.
This card is one of three cards in Modern that, for me, break the "rules" of Modern. Those three cards are Mox Opal, Simian Spirit Guide, and Street Wraith. I think eventually all three cards will be banned in Modern, but the reason I only had Street Wraith on my list is relatively simple…
It's the only one of the three cards in a dominant archetype. Without Street Wraith, I think Death's Shadow will still exist. Street Wraith is too good in that strategy because it's free life loss, free discard, and a virtual 56-card deck. Other decks that would be affected are Living End and Hollowed One decks, and I'm also fine with that.
Mox Opal and Simian Spirit Guide are just too good at accelerating in a format that doesn't really call for that kind of power. I don't think they are needed to be banned now, but I also wouldn't argue against it.