Modern Gift Storm post Hogaak and Looting Ban

LIST

Modern Gifts Storm 9-11-19

BANNINGS

It has been a while since my last update and in that time multiple bannings have occurred. First was Bridge from Below which made the meta even more based around the graveyard so we just had to lean even harder into the same strategies we were already employing for maindeck hate of that kind.  Next though were Hogaak and Looting (along with the Stoneforge Mystic unban) so now the format has become much more fair and non-graveyard driven. While Hogaak was a decent matchup, Phoenix leaving as well means we no longer need to fear maindeck Surgical Extraction. Also, we now can just be a more streamlined machine game 1 (similar to how we were post BBE/Jace unban). There is a downside though, and that is the Stoneforge unbanning which many fair and control decks will play, does blank our smaller Empty the Warrens lines. Overall I think that the meta is settling to a point centered mainly around Urza decks, Tron/Valakut decks, Thoughtseize decks, Noble Hierarch decks, and Burn.

CHANGES

Given this magnitude of a shake up the format has been through, surprisingly the maindeck changes are extremely minimal. The only change in the maindeck is taking out the Empty the Warrens for a Sleight of Hand. Now that there is no maindeck Surgical Extraction and Stoneforge with making smaller Empty the Warrens much worse, we no longer need it and are reverting back to the old “well oiled machine” approach of just being as efficient and powerful as possible game 1. Also the format having slowed down is still not that slow and that is why there are still 8 bears in the list. Plus drawing ~2 is great against a lot of opponents game 1 currently (even when not a race)  and the single Peer Through Depths synergies well with them too.

The real surprise though is the sideboard which is exactly the same. This of course wasn’t the case over these months and testing but this is when I landed on my favorite configuration. There have been a lot of changes though on our roles in matchups and what we need to bring in post board though.

Aslo since it has been a while I will give a basic rundown of each of the sideboard cards reasons to be boarded in would be (vaguely in general) so then in addition to a refresher they can also be used to help guide in side boarding for matchups not listed below.

Pieces of the Puzzle: This if for when the graveyard is not safe at all and we can’t just brute force with Gifts.

Empty the Warrens: This is when we want an alternate win condition, typically in slower matchups. It is now much worse though in many matchups, which is why I have only 2.

Aria of Flame: This is mainly for matchups where they just can’t deal with it at all or it has lots of upsides (Eldrazi Tron and GDS).
But due to the decline in Empty being reliable we do board in a single copy in many other matchups, typically slower ones.

Lighting Bolt: This comes in whenever we need to kill creatures, Planeswalkers, or even just sometimes Lava Spike. Given the new Planeswalker focus of many slower decks post board though these come in sometimes over abrade.

Abrade: This is our creature and artifact slot that does most of the duty of covering Damping Sphere for us when we see it.

Dismember: This is for creatures when our life total isn’t too relevant early.

Echoing Truth: This is our catchall answer that comes in anytime there’s a non creature permanant we need to take care of. It goes well with repeal and dismember or rebuild at times to have “gifts piles” postboard to answer a hate piece.

Rebuild: This is our new Shatterstorm and its been much better than Hurkyl’s by not being hit by chalice for 2 and cycling if unneeded.

 

MATCHUPS

Burn

Hate: Eidolon of the Great Revel, Rest in Peace

In: 3 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade 2 Empty the Warrens

Out: 3 Opt, 2 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal

Game 1: This is a pure race. We mostly have to hope they don’t have Eidolon (especially on the draw). Otherwise we can utilize excess bears to soak up damage or try to hope they stumble a little bit and we can set up a window to go off.

Postboard: This is still mainly a race but our removal now gives us a chance against an Eidolon draw. When looking at an opening hand one should have a way to deal with an Eidolon or way to win quickly to keep. We also now gain another angle in Empty the Warrens. While they now have Rest in Peace to board in I usually just ignore it as the matchup is still quite unfavorable. We also will want to make sure to note when we need to abandon removal spells to kill an early creature, and just die to an Eidolon, if that is our hands best route to victory (this is usually turns 3+ or if we are evaluating winning with empty over a couple turns).

Dredge

Hate: Leyline of the Void

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Game 1: This here is a pure race as they only have one way to interact with us in the form of Conflagrate. I just always try to jam as fast as possible in this matchup and for slightly slower draws that we get remand is still quite effective here.

Postboard: They will possibly now have Leyline of the Void so this is why we have the Pieces and Empty package coming in. Note her though that due to Creeping Chill we need our Empty Lines to be quite large much of the time (usually presenting lethal the following turn). They also now have more removal in Lighting Axe so our bears aren’t always safe. Note: if they get to “go off in game 2 and there is a 3rd to be played we get to see if there is any grave yard hate in their list. If there is none we can put the gifts and Past in Flames Back over 2 Pieces of the Puzzle and and an Empty the Warrens

Titanshift

Hate: Damping Sphere, Relic of Progenitus, Veil of Summer

In: 1 Rebuild, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 1 Gifts Ungiven

Game 1: This is a race where we are heavily favored as we are a turn faster on average. Here the key is to not expose a bear if we don’t have an extra and just set up a remand then untap win scenario or gifts then untap win scenario.

Postboard: Now they have access to hate artifacts and Veil of Summer so we have to just respect that by having 3 bounce spells to have a Gifts Package to untap and win and also to respect Veil we have some Pieces of the Puzzle. These are also useful for racing which we still might have to do as they are priced into keeping just speed based hands in the matchup. A key new thing to note though is to make sure to keep exact count of lands for remand as 7 is now way more dangerous due to Veil protecting their payoffs now.

Tron

Hate: Relic of Progenitus, Veil of Summer

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal

Game 1: They don’t usually run maindeck hate anymore but here this is just a race where we jam a turn 2 bear and hope most of the time. They do now have some “hate” in that Karn, the Great Creator is in their deck which can get tormods Crypt (pre tron assembled) or Trinisphere (post tron assembled). this is similar to them casting normal Karn against us just a bit more effective.

Postboard: Now they have some Interaction in removal for our creatures and possibly a Relic of Progenitus or Grafdigger’s cage. Thus the plan is still the same we just now are better equipped to deal with graveyard hate and are just a bit faster overall.

Eldrazi Tron

Hate: Chalice of the Void, Leyline of the Void, Ravenous Trap, Warping Wail

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Rebuild, (play 2 Aria of Flame)

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, (play 1 Baral, 1 Goblin Electromancer)

Game 1: Here this is a race similar to normal tron only now they have lock pieces and hand disruption. We are favored as they are less efficient at assembling tron on turn 3 but the games are usually a huge blow out either way. Here we just want to jam bears on turn 2 and hope to get under Chalice, Remand it, or get lucky and naturally draw Repeal. Note: they also have Karn the Great Creator so those lines from above apply here as well.

Postboard: Now they have graveyard hate in either Leyline or Ravenous Trap and possible Warping Wail. Thus the plan is the same as before where we jam a bear and hope our draw lines up well. We do also here want to lean less on Empty if possible though as they do have more outs than before in Karn (due to wishing for Ensnaring Bridge). Also here I board in the Aria of Flames on the Play as they line up well against E Tron’s limited answer and just casting it on turn 3 is ok a lot more due to their on average slower mana production. I don’t like it on the draw though as its too slow on turn 3 and we just will need to race to hope to keep up.

Jund

Hate: Discard, Scavenging Ooze, Damping Sphere, Nihil Spellbomb

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember

Out: 4 Goblin Electomancer, 2 Remand, 2 Baral, 2 Gifts Ungiven

Game 1: This game is usually a bit grindy as our main goal is to cast gifts and untap to win usually using a bear as a lighting rod (cast multiple rituals in response to removal) or just a completely bearless line. Sometimes we are presented an early windows though for us to just go off, based on their draw, but this isn’t usually the case. While they do have a lot of discard we aren’t too afraid of it since we are on the go long inevitability plan of just flashing back a Past in Flames and going off. Their best card (and one we want to always kill with Grapeshot if possible) is Scavenging Ooze, preboard as its their only graveyard interaction. Also another common thing to come up is timing a bearless line to line up right before a Liliana of the Veil ultimate.

Postboard: Now things get a bit more complicated in that they do also have some direct hate for us now in either Spellbomb and/or Damping Sphere. Unlike before modern horizons we need to be more fearful of relying on Empty the Warrens as they have Plague Engineer which is an upgraded Maelstrom Pulse in that it perpetually stops future waves when on board. Other than this though we are still just tyring to grind and 1 for 1 the opponent until we can pull ahead and “go off” or just go at them in waves (such as small Empty’s then followed up by a small Grapeshot). We board out a lot of our creatures here as we dont expect them to live often and we don’t want to put too many in our graveyard (form Pieces or playing them into removal) to accidentally let mid game Oozes grow beyond Bolt/Abrade. Lastly, one thing to also note is some builds are bringing in Ashiok, Dream Render so we should also be a bit weary there as it stops Gifts and Past in Flames.

Grixis Death’s Shadow

Hate: Discard, Counters, Nihil Spellbomb, Surgical Extraction

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Lightning Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Aria of Flame,                      1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember

Out: 4 Goblin Electromancer, 3 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Remand, 1 Baral, 1 Repeal, 1 Past in                      Flames

Game 1: Here we keep most ok 7s as we know we will have discard cast at us and we just try to figure out what they might have from what is discarded if possible. We are heavily unfavored here as they have discard, counters, creature removal, and a fast clock. Our best plans usually have us hoping they tap out to give us a window or hoping they have a slower draw and we can grind a bit against them. Also a lot of the time we want to leverage drawing multiple bears by just casting them here as they don’t have that much removal and if one sticks we can then usually beat 1 Stubborn Denial at least.

Postboard: Here they will board in more discard, graveyard hate, removal so they do also slow down a bit. We board out most of our creatures as they won’t live much and we can then be more focused on lower resource lines while blanking draws from the opponent. We also board in all out win conditions as Bolt serves the purpose of being lethal sometimes, kills early Death’s Shadows (which are the scariest draws from them for us), and kills Plague Engineer. Plague Engineer does blank Empty but we still need to bring it in as a decent shot in this bad matchup. We also receive a huge upgrade in Aria of Flame which helps us diversify as well.

UW Control

Hate: Counters, Surgical Extraction, Rest in Peace

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Lighting Bolt, 1 Aria of Flame

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperaste Ritual, 1 Opt,           1 Past in Flames

Game 1: This is no longer a battle of waiting for them to tap low or go off early as they now have a decent clock in Stoneforge and they commonly have Force of Negation to stop us form exploiting their tapping low as well. To combat this I lean heavily into just jamming bears until I can’t as they only have Path usually so rampant growth is still great. Plus I do make then have the Force a fair amount early if they tap low as it doesnt look to get better going longer (they have a clock and I can’t beat much interaction anyway).

Postboard: Now they typically bring in more counter spells and more specifically more Force of Negation so we do need to respect it more often. Also they do bring in a Surgical and possibly Rest in Peace. Now I will typically try to still go with the jam bears approach and see what they are up to. Lighting Bolt comes in here over Abrade (even though they have Stoneforge) since it can hit Planeswalkers which they lean on a lot now for advantage while also being able to change the clock on an empty or Grapeshot line. We try to kill their walkers more aggressively in the mid game and lean on grinding up through their counters to a Past in Flames (why we leave in 2). Note though that if they do board in multiple Rest in Peace we switch up to keeping a Gifts in over the 2nd Past in Flames and instead of this heavy grinding plan we lean a bit harder on empty.

Mirror

Hate: Remand

In: 3 Lightning Bolt, 1 Dismember

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Repeal

Game 1: This is a race pure and simple. Remand can be nice but this is all about who can stick a bear and then go off. Being on the play is heavily favored and when you are on the draw its usually correct to just slam a bear on turn 2 (even if they did as well) to just hope.

Postboard: Here we just board in removal as without a bear we are generally much slower but the 0-1 mana removal lets us break serve or break up a combo and this makes our remands even better. We still follow the same protocol as preboard but now we expect the game to go a turn or 2 longer and we want our opening plan with what we keep to either be a quick win or coherent and reasonably fast with removal.

Amulet Titan

Hate: Bojuka Bog, Counters

In: 2 Abrade, 2 Lightning Bolt

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Game 1: This is a combo matchup so it is basically a race. Here the only real interaction is Bojuka Bog, Engineered Explosives and a Pact of Negation, otherwise we just goldfish.

Postboard: Now they have a couple counter spells and some removal in Path and/or Abrade usually. We now have some tools to stop their creature ramp but we are still racing and I try to go with the plan of jam a bear and go from that point still. Some builds are running Karn the Great Creator again so the graveyard will be offline more due to them only needing 4 mana to cast and get Crypt. Also against such builds we don’t have as much ability to go long as Karn locks us out on the spot after a certain point.

Devotid Druid

Hate: have access to any 3 cmc or lower hate bears but mainly Scavenging Ooze, Eidolon of Rhetoric, and Shalai are what will be the big ones that will pop up.

In: 3 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual

Game 1: Here we are in a pure race scenario again as they can also combo on turn 3. We also don’t have much in the way of interaction so we just try to goldfish as fast as possible. One thing to note though is now with Eladamri’s Call most builds don’t run Chord of Calling anymore so if they didn’t have a druid on their turn we can safely assume we can pass the turn back without dying.

Postboard: Now things get a bit tougher as they board in hate bears that they can tutor for but we do now gain a sizable assortment of removal spells. We now assume a slightly more controlling roll of killing any problem hate creature such as Ooze, Eidolon, and Giver of Runes (as she protects any creature after her) as well as parts of their combo (Druid or Vizir). We do ignore their mana creatures otherwise typically (unless in a “mow the lawn” with grapeshot on all their stuff line) as they don’t do much to hurt us and we are basically just racing still. It is also important to note Shalai is a problem when going for slightly longer games so we need to be weary of holding onto/extra copies of Gifts.

Humans

Hate: Thalia, Meddling Mage, Freebooter, Gaddok Teeg, Damping Sphere, Kambal

In: 3 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual

Game 1: Here this is a race where we are just trying to always have a bear on turn 2 and just hope that they don’t have enough disruptive creatures to stop us. This is due to a similar reason as with Druid in that we just don’t have enough interaction to try and compete on being “the control”. Here an exception is if we do have to “mow the lawn” and essentially plague wind them to buy time. This is a bit more effective here though as they don’t have a combo to just win right back at us. Also another helpful thing to remember is that we can essentially “blank” Thalia by having two bears in play.

Postboard: Now we have our removal spells so we assume a controlling roll. We still are all about getting a bear into play on turn 2 as this is the best way to combat Thalia and their minimal amount of removal spells but now we can have removal for any creature that is actually stopping us from going off or significantly reduces their clock. One thing they do have though after board that is different is Damping Sphere, so then we should prioritize saving abrades when possible. Also, note to be sure to have Meddling Mage in mind when cantripping/Giftsing as to hedge when possible to not get blown out there as well.

Whirza

Hate: Grafdigger’s Cage, Nihil spellbomb, Damping Sphere, Discard

In; 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Aria of Flame, 1 Lighting Bolt, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Rebuild

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Sleight           of Hand

Game 1: We are the faster deck and we they have little removal so we can jam our bears early. We do need to be aware of their hate artifacts (listed above) and Whir of Invention. We try to just go off here as usual (prioritizing Grapeshot Remand lines as they have main deck hate) but we must always be aware of them having whir mana up as they can just grab Sphere in response to something effectively silencing us. Sometimes we must play into this though as they are a combo deck too so we have to check our odds or trying vs going longer are. Note here that remand is also extremely important as they only can usually cast 1 bigger spell a turn.

Postboard: Now they gain lots more removal for our creatures and some discard but not much else. We have diversified our win conditions though and removed much of our graveyard reliance. Now we try to grind a bit with them and just destroy the problem artifact and untap to win. Prioritze Baral over Electromancer due to Spellbomb and Brutality. Also, important to note that if you see Teferi and Path in their build you should not board in Aria and keep in an Electromancer.

 

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Modern Storm with Modern Horizons

LIST

Modern Storm 6-14-19

CHANGES

With the release of Modern Horizons modern has undergone a lot of changes since my last update. Big mana decks with Karn have dropped off quite a bit while Humans and UW have risen drastically. Plus The new Hogaak deck has proven itself format warping as well. Due to this I have added an Empty the warrens back into the main over the third remand. Empty is great against this field, gives more payoffs to hit when doing the “need to go off in some way turn 3 or die” sequence, and also freeing up a sideboard slot. This is why I gave it the nod over Unsubstantiate. The only other change in the main deck is the one Fiery Islet over a Shivan Reef. While the card draw is nice it doesn’t come up too often and the damage over Reef comes up more, so just having access to the 1 has felt right.

In the sideboard there are only 3 changes. The Wipe Away has become a Rebuild since Wipe is a bit clunky,  new Teferi appearing in multiple decks now makes it even less appealing, and now with Hogaak making lots of graveyard hate needed in the format prison/chalice decks are much better and by having cycling gives us another name still for gifts if we only expect artifact hate from an opponent. Another change is the addition of Aria of Flame over the Empty the Warrens slot and Negate. This is mainly here to serve where Pyromancer Ascension has in the past only now we get to exploit those deck’s current heavy graveyard hate reliance. One thing to note about Aria though is that we want to send it out last when they have 4+ answers in their deck as the life gain does hurt the empty plan more in this order. The final change is trading out the Grapeshot for a dismember. This is mainly due to not feeling the extra Grapeshot is really needed against Phoenix or control anymore, especially with Aria helping out there, plus having another named instant speed removal spell that’s commonly “free” against humans and other creature combo is better.

OTHER MH1 CARDS

Fact or Fiction: I tested FoF in most of my leagues this week and it has definitely over performed but just due to the current speed and mass amounts of graveyard hate I have preferred Pieces of the Puzzle. If the meta slows down though I’m definitely much more interested in putting this back in.

Flusterstorm: I really liked Flusterstorm but again here the problem mainly came down to it only being good against a smaller section of where we normally want counters. Such as now countering Walkers is important against UW. The many loot synergy with Baral was promising though and here a meta shift would make this an easy include.

Shenanigans: I haven’t gotten to testing with Shenanigans yet as the main times I’ve wanted extra artifact removal in addition to Abrade I’ve wanted a “reset the board” card due mainly to Chalice and welding jars, over reusable single removal. This does have a lot of nice synergy with Gifts so its not out of the question for the future just currently I don’t see where it would be much better than Rebuild.

MATCHUPS

Below I will outline the Hate Cards, Sideboarding, and general game plans for the most popular matchups currently and any matchups that have stayed the same will be the same as was presented in the last blog post,

Izzet Phoenix

Hate: Surgical, Ravenous Trap, Dispel, Spell Pierce

In: 2 Aria of Flame, 1 Empty the Warrens, 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here their main plan is to execute which ever of their plans that gives them the fastest start against us is while holding up minimal reaction for that window turn. This is commonly either a bolt or or Surgical so we should be playing a reactive game until this point where we try to set up either a huge turn to be able to brute force through a surgical (usually via gifts with enough floating we can then flashback PiF right after before priority is given to the opponent) or to have a nice Grapeshot + Remand kill. I would like to note here though that the remands should be valued quite highly and not just used for tempo as they are vert good for combo turns by not just remanding Grapeshot for the kill but to also protect our bears since they commonly tap low as mentioned on said window turn. Another thing I would also like to note in the matchup currently is that the main decking of Surgical is no longer almost guaranteed. There is not a large portion the has replaced them with Gut Shot in response to the rise of Humans and reduction in graveyard decks. Thus if you see Gut Shot before going off you have a high likelyhood that there is no main deck graveyard hate.

Postboard: Here not much changes on their side except they have more copies of graveyard hate cards (Surgical and Ravenous Trap)  and they gain a few 1 mana counterspells. For us meanwhile we gain a more resilient main engine in Pieces over gifts and now that we have Empty we can produce another angle of attack only it just requires making sure there is no Thing in the Ice to stop it in time. Due to the removal of Flame Slash I leave in the repeal now to still have 2 answers to Thing but also this helps us against their Ascension draws as well which are becoming more common due to their lower number of graveyard hate cards and trying to “flip the script” on our current plan of the responsive role in the matchup. Note here though that we are still “the control” so that there is no clear plan A to force before we even start playing postboard, it is still quite dependent on the direction the opponent takes most of the time. Also now we have the angle of attack from Aria of Flame. Here the plan is to just jam it whenever we can get it to resolve and just then cast spells as they have no way other than Echoing Truth to deal with it and they are usually too slow to beat turn 3 Aria untap cast 7+ spells.

Tron

Hate: Relic of Progenitus, Surgical Extraction, Thought-Knot Seer, Graf-Diggers Cage

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand

Preboard: Here usually it is just a big race where we will slam a bear on turn 2 almost any chance we can (with few exceptions) and we just try to combo off on turn 3. Note that this will entail a lot of “hope you don’t have the Karn/natural Tron” type plays that we just have to jam into. While usually the traditional scenario above is how we play this matchup out new Karn has changed it a bit, as casting him with tron on turn 3-4 is similar to how it would play out with old Karn only now the path to winning is a significantly lower percent due to prison elements being very hard for us to beat game one, especially when we only really have one turn to answer it before the Lattice combo comes online. So this doesn’t change our play much since it still is the same basically the same effect as when they cast a planeswalker before but does significantly affect our ability to remand it with 8+ mana on their side due to them being able to “wish” for Tormod’s Crypt.  Beware that the opponent does also have many Relics main that can come down any turn so it is still important to always keep the Remand + Grapeshot line in mind when sculpting and casting Remands.

Postboard: With New Karn, they have severely limited boarding options so it will typically be limited to about 2-3 cards in the form of Thought-Knot Seer and/or Surgical Extraction, as opposed to the previous 4-5 pieces at least. They also now typically have basically no removal so our bears are even safer but our main plan is still the same as before, we just lean a little harder on Remand + Grapeshot.

Azorious Control

Hate: Counterspells, Surgical Extraction, Rest in Peace, Damping Sphere, Relic of Progentinus, Teferi, Time Raveler, Force of Negation

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Aria of Flame

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 2 Goblin Electromancer

Preboard: Here our main plan is to make land drops and not fall behind there as we usually have inevitability in the matchup. Also we are almost always looking to jam a bear early as they have little removal outside of Path to Exile (which also ramps us and plays into our make land drops strategy). We are here just looking for the right window which the opponent will most of the time have to give us (usually by tapping low for a Jace/ Old Teferi) and then just capitalize on our mana advantage to kill them. Here we also sometimes will cast Gifts end of their turn to also produce a counter fight we intend to lose to produce the same effect. While our traditional strategy above is the plan we’d really like to still happen with the addition of new Teferi they can hamper our try to tap them down its gifts, remand plans, and our usual ritual a few times in response to removal that we lean on later for bears. To combat this we should still be jamming bears early but also but them playing these walkers they give us more opportunities that they will tap lower themselves (similar to Jace and Old Teferi) so we should be looking out for these as well. Note that they also play Narset, Parter of Veils which while cary doesn’t actually interact with us much outside our cantrips (Serum Visions and Manamorphose in particular as opt can be cast on their turn and Sleight doesn’t technically draw a card), as combing off we don’t actually need to draw cards. Also to note some versions are running Force of Negation main deck now so we do have to also consider that when they give us windows by tapping down and sometimes will just have to play hoping they don’t have it.

Postboard: Here we have Empty as another angle of attack against them that isn’t commonly use for a go big and hope it wins line but instead as small waves of attacks (ie empty for 4-6 goblins) that force the opponent into sub games they need to solve with expensive answers such as Supreme Verdict or Detention Sphere. Thus then forcing a window for us to then go off with grapeshot. Also important to note is that these mini waves while probably not lethal by the time they are handled do make the double grapeshot/grapeshot+remand lines much easier to accomplish as the opponent will likely be at 13 or less life. Again here while the above is still what we want to do we should currently put a higher priority on mini Empty lines as with more planes walkers and additional permanent based hate, such as Damping Sphere and Rest in Peace, as well as removal of terminus they are even more ill equipped to deal with the waves. Also note that here they are stronger against our grapeshot remand lines due to Teferi so we should also be willing to “cycle” them for tempo a bit more often than in the past. Here the above still holds and we also gain the addition of Aria to serve as pseudo Empty 4-5. Since UW has lots of bounce and answers to it in Teferi, Sphere, Celestial Purge, and Cryptic Command we also will try to make Aria the last “wave” as the answers to it and Empty overlap a bit so we can try to draw those answers out first.

Dredge

Hate: Leyline of the Void, Damping Sphere

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here it is a pure race where we really just hope they don’t have the crazy present 8+ power on turn 2 draw or to play around Conflagrate. Other than that though they have no instant speed interaction so we just hope to either stick a turn 2 bear or turn 3 bear plus remand to buy time/combo off.

Postboard: Here they now gain meaningful interaction for bears in Lightning Axe while also making our graveyard very unreliable due to Leyline. Thus we do switch over to Pieces and Empty here. One thing to note though is that due to Creeping Chill Empty the Warrens have to be for large quantities here a lot (12+ Goblins) most of the time to clock the opponent in time.

Humans

Hate: Hate bears, Damping Sphere, Grafdigger’s Cage, Leyline of the Void, Ravenous Trap

In: 3 Lighting Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 1 Peer Through Depths

Preboard: Here it is all about how interactive the opponents draw is and whether or not we can jam a bear on turn 2. Besides Grapeshot we have no good interaction main deck to go against them so we typically just try to execute our combo or mow down their whole board with Grapeshot. We are a bit weak to them with this build game 1 due no Unsubstantiate. So if you have any opportunity to use a remand for any value its almost always correct to take it. We do also have Empty now as another “out” so it’ll take 3 to lock us now instead of 2.

Postboard: Now we board in a lot of removal so we take on the control role and just try to kill everything interactive as well as keep their clock in check. By siding out the rituals we make sure we are less likely to flood out with nothing to do as we are trying to extend the game. We are still all about jamming bears on turn 2 as it gives us our best weapon vs Thalia and maximizes our ability to dig for removal if needed. Note here that they now commonly bring in lots of artifact based hate so the abrades are extra valuable. Also this generally slows them down as they have a less consistent deck and thus we still can maintain the plan of answer creatures then just deal with sphere later. Note here that while humans hasn’t really changed strategically much after War of the Spark for us we should expect our first bear to be answered much more often due to the uptick in number of Dismember being run in their Sideboard, as well as Deputy of Detentions. Also now another thing we must consider is the presence of either Leyline of the Void or Ravenoous Trap. This is why we keep in the copy of empty and also when going off we can use techniques from forcing them to play it and then rebuilding the graveyard or playing just a ritual then Past in Flames to not trigger the trap condition. While this seems quite scary they are still a critical mass deck and every hate card they draw does slow them down on average (think similar to burn when they draw rest in peace).

Grixis Death’s Shadow

Hate: Discard, Stubborn Denial, Surgical Extraction, Nihil Spellbomb

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember, 2 Aria of Flame

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Remand, 1 Repeal, 2 Goblin Electromaner

Preboard: Here they will be attacking us on many axis starting on turn 1 so we will have to hope to survive a while. The biggest part of the matchup preboard is determined by their draw and how fast they get out a 4+ power threat to turn on Stubborn Denial. One thing to note here though is due to their life total being <11 much of the time we can piece together lots of low resource and/or bearless kills against.

Postboard: Here they now mostly just gain graveyard interaction but we gain Empty as just 4-6 goblins is commonly enough to threaten death to them quite quickly. Also Pieces is a bigger upgrade to Gifts then usual are we not only dodge graveyard hate but we dodge non ferocious Stubborn Denials easier and Disdainful Stroke. Again here the most common way we will lose is due to a threat by turn 3 from them with backup. We also now gain a huge tool in Aria of Flame as the life gain works against their shadows (which are also the worst starts for us). With all of their life loss we will commonly only need to cast 5-6 spells after to win the game. This is where Aria truly shines. Note though that here we are leaving in a lot of the bears unlike in many previous board strategies, this is due to them boarding down to 4 removal commonly, them being unable to counter bears with their current choices in counter magic, ease with which sticking one lets us “mini” go off from heavy discard starts from the opponent, and the chip damage from attacking not being irrelevant.

Amulit Titan

Hate: Bojuka Bog, Negate, Pact of Negation, Karn, the Great Creator

In: 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Repeal

Preboard: This is a pure race where they do have main deck interaction with one way being Bojuka bog, but without a Tribe Scout it is only sorcery speed so can still be played around, and now the addition of Karn which can easily fetch a Tormod’s Crypt to hold off our graveyard a turn then they Lattice us out . Basically this plays out similar to a faster Tron matchup from our perspective, only now its much closer than before new Karn. So the whole game should center around landing a turn 2 bear, but one small difference from this to the tron matchup when considering whether to jam or hold up remand it is here much more often we hold up remand if they have the ability to cast a titan or Karn (with replaying it) the next turn with amulet in play. Also would like to note that now if they assemble 10 mana it is basically game over with just a Karn, while before most threatening Titan turns would need an Amulet in the first 4-5 turns.

Postboard: Now they gain ways to interact with our bears in Path to Exile but we are still on the racing plan. Also some builds might not run white anymore but will still have removal in either the form of Dismember or Assassin’s Trophy.  We also gain ways to kill or bounce scout and Azuza so if we can do that and we are getting pathed (or dismembered) we have hopefully slowed them down enough to then be on the same speed as us thus giving us and edge due to Remand. Also even though we are still racing we must give consideration to any untapped blue and if they have 5+ mana with 2 or more of it being blue due to Negate and Pact. Also note that we have boarded in the Negate as we are still very afraid of Karn. This is the matchup most affected by the new addition of Karn though as they not only can lock us but still have their normal game plan to race us, epscially when we are on the draw.

Hardened Scales

Hate: Grafdigger’s Cage, Damping Sphere, Surgical Extraction

In: 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Rebuild, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Aria of Flame

Out: 2 Remand, 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Empty the Warrens

Preboard: Here they have no real way to interact with us outside of Walking Ballista so we are on the jam bears and hope to not die on turn 3 plan a lot. Also since their deck is slower than normal affinity and has a lot of 2 drops sometimes it is correct to hold up remand instead since they are typically quite bad in the faster matchups we can still find a way to time walk them more often that we’d expect

Postboard: Now instead of fearing basically nothing we are expecting to always see a fair amount of hate so we turtle up a bit and side out some rituals to function similarly to hoe we do against humans post board. The major difference being that they have welding jar so bounce goes up in value. Here is also where Rebuild Shines as we have basically an instant speed shatterstorm that can also cycle if needed. We also here gain Aria as they do slow themselves down a lot to play a lot of permanent and graveyard hate (with basically no enchantment answers against us) so we can just play Aria and win through the hate quite often.

Burn

Hate: Eidolon of the Great Revel, Rest in Peace

In: 2 Empty the Warrens, 3 Lighting Bolt, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal, 1 Peer through Depths

Preboard: Here the strategy is mostly to hope for no Eidolon or have the answer to it ready all while in a racing scenario. Barring that though we will just want to set up a fast kill and if we have drawn multiple bears to hope they don’t have searing blaze and to use them as “healing salves” to extend the game as burn has a harder time dealing 23+ damage

Postboard: Now we again gain the extra plan of Empty and a quick one for 10 + goblins is usually enough. We are weaker to their pure burn based draws now but are much stronger against Eidolon or Rest in Peace due to Empty. We are also more able to handle the Eidolon draws similar to game 1 due to the extra removal, but this matchup is still quite unfavorable to we just have to hope these small edges can get us there.

Hogaak Bridgevine

Hate: Leyline of the Void, Lightning Axe, Discard

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here it is a pure race. We are just trying to goldfish as they have no interaction against us and we have a slightly faster goldfish than they do. Their main way to beat us is with their Alter of Dementia draws to mill us out.

Postboard: Now it gets a bit trickier as they have Leyline of the Void but Empty the Warrens isn’t that great due to them getting lots of creatures quickly. While that is true outside of multiple bridges or alter in play we can empty for 12+ early to get in a swing or 2 that can kill them due to them having to deal 3-4 to themselves most games. and all their non bridge creatures can’t really block well. Also this means that the medium Empty + Grapeshot (or even better Grapeshot + Remand) combo offs are also quite effective to set up a lethal position for the following turn. We board in abrade over a remand since we don’t really want 2 of either and their main way to win post board is for us failing to overcome a leyline or them alter combing us.

Monored Phoenix

Hate: Surgical Extraction, Tormod’s Crypt, Ravenous Trap

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 3 Lighting Bolt, 2 Aria of Flame

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Repeal, 1 Peer Through Depths, 2 Remand

Preboard: Here this is just a pure race. This is similar to burn on they are faster and have to tappet much more often. Most times we just try to goldfish on turn 3-4 when they usually will tap low. Also since we have so many bears using our extras of them as “healing salves” is still effective.

Postboard: Now they usually only have graveyard hate in addition to their burn but no answers to Empty usually. Thus here the game plan is simply to try and combo on turn 3 where also letting Empty for 10+ being good enough. Their deck is very reliant on their prowess creatures connecting so lightning bolts here are also highly valuable and we should kill any of those creatures as soon as possible. We also gain Aria of Flame as another win condition we can jam early, since they have no answers for it.

Devoted Druid Combo

Hate: Scavenging Ooze, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Rest in Peace, hate bears

In: 3 Lighting Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 2 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens

Preboard: here we are just racing them by jamming a bear as early as possible and then either combing off or setting up a big Grapeshot to kill the opponents board or remand plus win the turn after. Note here that when thinking about holding up remand on turn 2  it is usually correct to play a bear over it as if they will have 4 mana available they can just cast and recast the vizier to combo off or if they don’t have druid we are safe for a turn anyway.

Postboard: Now pasteboard they will have silver bullet hatebears (usually Eidolon of Rhetoric) and graveyard hate. The game plan here is similar to humans only here their creatures aren’t usually disruptive and many of them do nothing quickly on their own (such as Vizier or Birds) so our removal is even more effective. The main difference from game 1 here is just us commonly needing to have enough different named removal/bounce spells to answer Eidolon and then go off.

Eldrazi Tron

Hate: Chalice of the Void, Karn the Great Creator, Thought-Knot Seer, Leyline of the Void

In: 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Rebuild, 2 Aria of Flame, 1 Dismember, 3 Pieces of the Puzzle
Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Sleight of Hand, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Peer Through Depths
Preboard: Here we are just hoping to beat the opponent to 4 mana as they have a critical mass of 4 drops which hurt us a lot in Chalice, Karn, and TKS. The match here plays out very similarly to how it does against normal Tron in that they are trying to cast Karn as quickly as possible, only they also have Chalice. Here though the critical turn is 4 most often so we get more time than against normal Tron on average since they are much worse at assembling it by turn 3, but they will more often have us locked out on that turn if we can’t win before or remand to buy time.
Postboard:  Here they commonly gain some more graveyard hate and currently it is most often Leyline of the Void. Thus we just ship it over to the Pieces and Empty plan as they have only gained graveyard interaction so we just again have to mostly hope to go off by Turn 4. Another thing we have here though is Aria of Flame as they have almost no ways to remove it (note it his planes walkers so can also solve Karn issues). and we can try and grind out a kill with it, when playing it on turns 2-3, that also has the benefit of letting us jam through chalice.

Modern Storm post War of the Spark

LIST

Modern Storm 5-24-19

CHANGES

Since my last update War of the Spark has become legal in modern and has shaped things quite a bit for a single standard set release. With it we now have a massive influx of big mana decks (Tron continuing its rise as well as Amulet and Valakut) which is in large part a response to all of these decks now getting to add in, at the low cost of some main deck and sideboard slots, a prison package with Karn, the Great Creator. This has also led to huge reemergence of Humans in the meta and the now more heavily planeswalker based UW Control. This has also led to a waning in the popularity of Phoenix and Dredge to currently just role players and a small reduction in main deck graveyard hate.

To respond to this I have made a few changes to the main deck and sideboard but overall the main leanings of my list from the last update are the same. The only change to the main deck is the addition of the 4th Electromancer over the 2nd Peer Through Depths. This its mainly a response to the meta shifting to have a higher percentage of matchups where we are looking to jam a bear on turn 2 every game against limited removal (big mana, humans, UW for example) and with drawing multiple bears to “power through” is much more appealing. The second Peer was still great but here we just need to be able to have a reducer in play to combo off more often and early.

The other changes in the Sideboard are also minor. The larger of the two is the removal of Shatterstorm. This was mostly in part due to the drop off of Whir Prison and decline in Hardened Scales, where the card truly shined over other options. With the new Karn everywhere at the moment though, and replacing all the other “prison” strategies, I have landed on running a Negate in this slot as it still answers Karn in those big mana matchups while also being something for the control matchup, which has also been on the rise and is much tougher now due to their inclusion of new Teferi and Narset. The final change to the board was also just the change of the Flame Slash to the 3rd Lightning Bolt. This was mainly due to a reduction in Phoenix decks and not really having any other matchups that are popular currently where we need the extra damage. (note: we still have a gifts package to answer Eidolon of Rhetoric from creature decks with in the 3 bounce spells.)

MATCHUPS

Below I will outline the Hate Cards, Sideboarding, and general game plans for the most popular matchups currently and any matchups that have stayed the same will be the same as was presented in the last blog post,

Izzet Phoenix

Hate: Surgical, Ravenous Trap, Dispel, Spell Pierce

In: 1 Grapeshot, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Negate, 2 Empty the Warrens, 3 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Sleight of Hand, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here their main plan is to execute which ever of their plans that gives them the fastest start against us is while holding up minimal reaction for that window turn. This is commonly either a bolt or or Surgical so we should be playing a reactive game until this point where we try to set up either a huge turn to be able to brute force through a surgical (usually via gifts with enough floating we can then flashback PiF right after before priority is given to the opponent) or to have a nice Grapeshot + Remand kill. I would like to note here though that the remands should be valued quite highly and not just used for tempo as they are vert good for combo turns by not just remanding Grapeshot for the kill but to also protect our bears since they commonly tap low as mentioned on said window turn. Another thing I would also like to note in the matchup currently is that the main decking of Surgical is no longer almost guaranteed. There is not a large portion the has replaced them with Gut Shot in response to the rise of Humans and reduction in graveyard decks. Thus if you see Gut Shot before going off you have a high likelyhood that there is no main deck graveyard hate.

Postboard: Here not much changes on their side except they have more copies of graveyard hate cards (Surgical and Ravenous Trap)  and they gain a few 1 mana counterspells. For us meanwhile we gain a more resilient main engine in Pieces over gifts and now that we have Empty we can produce another angle of attack only it just requires making sure there is no Thing in the Ice to stop it in time. Due to the removal of Flame Slash I leave in the repeal now to still have 2 answers to Thing but also this helps us against their Ascension draws as well which are becoming more common due to their lower number of graveyard hate cards and trying to “flip the script” on our current plan of the responsive role in the matchup. Note here though that we are still “the control” so that there is no clear plan A to force before we even start playing postboard, it is still quite dependent on the direction the opponent takes most of the time.

Tron

Hate: Relic of Progenitus, Surgical Extraction, Karn, the Great Creator, Thought-Knot Seer

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Negate

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand

Preboard: Here usually it is just a big race where we will slam a bear on turn 2 almost any chance we can (with few exceptions) and we just try to combo off on turn 3. Note that this will entail a lot of “hope you don’t have the Karn/natural Tron” type plays that we just have to jam into. While usually the traditional scenario above is how we play this matchup out new Karn has changed it a bit, as casting him with tron on turn 3-4 is similar to how it would play out with old Karn only now the path to winning is a significantly lower percent due to prison elements being very hard for us to beat game one, especially when we only really have one turn to answer it before the Lattice combo comes online. So this doesn’t change our play much since it still is the same basically the same effect as when they cast a planeswalker before but does significantly affect our ability to remand it with 8+ mana on their side due to them being able to “wish” for Tormod’s Crypt.  Beware that the opponent does also have many Relics main that can come down any turn so it is still important to always keep the Remand + Grapeshot line in mind when sculpting and casting Remands.

Postboard: With New Karn, they have severely limited boarding options so it will typically be limited to about 2-3 cards in the form of Thought-Knot Seer and/or Surgical Extraction, as opposed to the previous 4-5 pieces at least. They also now typically have basically no removal so our bears are even safer but our main plan is still the same as before, we just lean a little harder on Remand + Grapeshot.

Azorious Control

Hate: Counterspells, Surgical Extraction, Rest in Peace, Damping Sphere, Relic of Progentinus, Teferi, Time Raveler

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Negate

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Repeal

Preboard: Here our main plan is to make land drops and not fall behind there as we have inevitability in the matchup. Also we are almost always looking to jam a bear early as they have little removal outside of Path to Exile (which also ramps us and plays into our make land drops strategy). We are here just looking for the right window which the opponent will most of the time have to give us (usually by tapping low for a Jace/ Old Teferi) and then just capitalize on our mana advantage to kill them. Here we also sometimes will cast Gifts end of their turn to also produce a counter fight we intend to lose to produce the same effect. While our traditional strategy above is the plan we’d really like to still happen with the addition of new Teferi they can hamper our try to tap them down its gifts, remand plans, and our usual ritual a few times in response to removal that we lean on later for bears. To combat this we should still be jamming bears early but also but them playing these walkers they give us more opportunities that they will tap lower themselves (similar to Jace and Old Teferi) so we should be looking out for these as well. Note that they also play Narset, Parter of Veils which while cary doesn’t actually interact with us much outside our cantrips (Serum Visions and Manamorphose in particular as opt can be cast on their turn and Sleight doesn’t technically draw a card), as combing off we don’t actually need to draw cards.

Postboard: Here we have Empty as another angle of attack against them that isn’t commonly use for a go big and hope it wins line but instead as small waves of attacks (ie empty for 4-6 goblins) that force the opponent into sub games they need to solve with expensive answers such as Supreme Verdict or Detention Sphere. Thus then forcing a window for us to then go off with grapeshot. Also important to note is that these mini waves while probably not lethal by the time they are handled do make the double grapeshot/grapeshot+remand lines much easier to accomplish as the opponent will likely be at 13 or less life. Again here while the above is still what we want to do we should currently put a higher priority on mini Empty lines as with more planes walkers and additional permanent based hate, such as Damping Sphere and Rest in Peace, as well as removal of terminus they are even more ill equipped to deal with the waves. Also note that here they are stronger against our grapeshot remand lines due to Teferi so we should also be willing to “cycle” them for tempo a bit more often than in the past.

Dredge

Hate: Leyline of the Void, Damping Sphere

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here it is a pure race where we really just hope they don’t have the crazy present 8+ power on turn 2 draw or to play around Conflagrate. Other than that though they have no instant speed interaction so we just hope to either stick a turn 2 bear or turn 3 bear plus remand to buy time/combo off.

Postboard: Here they now gain meaningful interaction for bears in Lightning Axe while also making our graveyard very unreliable due to Leyline. Thus we do switch over to Pieces and Empty here. One thing to note though is that due to Creeping Chill Empty the Warrens have to be for large quantities here a lot (12+ Goblins) most of the time to clock the opponent in time.

Humans

Hate: Hate bears, Damping Sphere, Grafdigger’s Cage

In: 3 Lighting Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual

Preboard: Here it is all about how interactive the opponents draw is and whether or not we can jam a bear on turn 2. Besides Grapeshot we have no good interaction main deck to go against them so we typically just try to execute our combo or mow down their whole board with Grapeshot. We are a bit weak to them with this build game 1 due to the many remands, no Unsubstantiate and no empty. So if you have any opportunity to use a remand for any value its almost always correct to take it.

Postboard: Now we board in a lot of removal so we take on the control role and just try to kill everything interactive as well as keep their clock in check. By siding out the rituals we make sure we are less likely to flood out with nothing to do as we are trying to extend the game. We are still all about jamming bears on turn 2 as it gives us our best weapon vs Thalia and maximizes our ability to dig for removal if needed. Note here that they now commonly bring in lots of artifact based hate so the abrades are extra valuable. Also this generally slows them down as they have a less consistent deck and thus we still can maintain the plan of answer creatures then just deal with sphere later. Note here that while humans hasn’t really changed strategically much after War of the Spark for us we should expect our first bear to be answered much more often due to the uptick in number of Dismember being run in their Sideboard, as well as Deputy of Detentions.

Grixis Death’s Shadow

Hate: Discard, Stubborn Denial, Surgical Extraction, Nihil Spellbomb

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Grapeshot

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Remand, 1 Repeal

Preboard: Here they will be attacking us on many axis starting on turn 1 so we will have to hope to survive a while. The biggest part of the matchup preboard is determined by their draw and how fast they get out a 4+ power threat to turn on Stubborn Denial. One thing to note here though is due to their life total being <11 much of the time we can piece together lots of low resource and/or bearless kills against.

Postboard: Here they now mostly just gain graveyard interaction but we gain Empty as just 4-6 goblins is commonly enough to threaten death to them quite quickly. Also Pieces is a bigger upgrade to Gifts then usual are we not only dodge graveyard hate but we dodge non ferocious Stubborn Denials easier and Disdainful Stroke. Again here the most common way we will lose is due to a threat by turn 3 from them with backup. Note though that here we are leaving in the bears unlike in many previous board strategies, this is due to them boarding down to 4 removal commonly, them being unable to counter bears with their current choices in counter magic, ease with which sticking one lets us “mini” go off from heavy discard starts from the opponent, and the chip damage from attacking not being irrelevant.

Golgari Rock

Hate: Discard, Scavenging Ooze, Surgical Extraction, Nihil Spellbomb, Grafdigger’s Cage

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven,  4 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Remand, 1 Sleight of Hand

Preboard: Here we will have a medium amount of graveyard hate to fight though game 1 in the form of Ooze but also have to always be aware of Nihil Spellbomb as it is seeing lots of play in the main deck. We typically here are just looking for windows to go off as the opponent is just trying to 1 for 1 us into the ground until a Goyf or Ooze kills us. The main plan is to tyr and set up a time we can EOT Gifts withe no graveyard hate on board and then just win the next turn as they don’t have any non on board ways to graveyard interact in the main typically. Also to note though is that being willing to use a grapeshot to kill early creatures is totally fine as even though it will likely get exiled it wont be surgicalled so we still have a way to win and the ooze/bob early will usually invalidate most of what we do later.

Postboard: Now the matchup gets a bit better for us as we now have Empty to either create a subgame to solve (6-8 goblins) or just make a big one and hoe they don’t have the answer. This is a better strategy here than against Control due to them not having cantrips to dig for or incidentally see along the way during the game. They do now have surgical but unless my hand is quite well set up to use it soon I would still expose Grapeshot early to kill a Bob or Ooze. We do minimize this need though by boarding in Bolt and Abrade. Also note that since we are more Empty heavy and their usual answer is Pulse holding back a bolt or abrade on combo turn instead of getting more goblins is correct a fair amount of the time.

Amulit Titan

Hate: Bojuka Bog, Negate, Pact of Negation, Karn, the Great Creator

In: 1 Negate, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Peer Through Depths, 1 Repeal

Preboard: This is a pure race where they do have main deck interaction with one way being Bojuka bog, but without a Tribe Scout it is only sorcery speed so can still be played around, and now the addition of Karn which can easily fetch a Tormod’s Crypt to hold off our graveyard a turn then they Lattice us out . Basically this plays out similar to a faster Tron matchup from our perspective, only now its much closer than before new Karn. So the whole game should center around landing a turn 2 bear, but one small difference from this to the tron matchup when considering whether to jam or hold up remand it is here much more often we hold up remand if they have the ability to cast a titan or Karn (with replaying it) the next turn with amulet in play. Also would like to note that now if they assemble 10 mana it is basically game over with just a Karn, while before most threatening Titan turns would need an Amulet in the first 4-5 turns.

Postboard: Now they gain ways to interact with our bears in Path to Exile but we are still on the racing plan. Also some builds might not run white anymore but will still have removal in either the form of Dismember or Assassin’s Trophy.  We also gain ways to kill or bounce scout and Azuza so if we can do that and we are getting pathed (or dismembered) we have hopefully slowed them down enough to then be on the same speed as us thus giving us and edge due to Remand. Also even though we are still racing we must give consideration to any untapped blue and if they have 5+ mana with 2 or more of it being blue due to Negate and Pact. Also note that we have boarded in the Negate as we are still very afraid of Karn. This is the matchup most affected by the new addition of Karn though as they not only can lock us but still have their normal game plan to race us, epscially when we are on the draw.

Hardened Scales

Hate: Grafdigger’s Cage, Damping Sphere, Surgical Extraction

In: 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away, 2 Lightning Bolt

Out: 3 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 1 Goblin Electromancer

Preboard: Here they have no real way to interact with us outside of Walking Ballista so we are on the jam bears and hope to not die on turn 3 plan a lot. Also since their deck is slower than normal affinity and has a lot of 2 drops sometimes it is correct to hold up remand instead since they are typically quite bad in the faster matchups we can still find a way to time walk them more often that we’d expect

Postboard: Now instead of fearing basically nothing we are expecting to always see a fair amount of hate so we turtle up a bit and side out some rituals to function similarly to hoe we do against humans post board. The major difference being that they have welding jar so bounce goes up in value but we no longer have  a”reset” button in Shatterstorm so we have to be a bit more careful.

Burn

Hate: Eidolon of the Great Revel, Rest in Peace

In: 3 Empty the Warrens, 3 Lighting Bolt, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 1 Sleight of Hand, 3 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal, 1 Peer through Depths

Preboard: Here the strategy is mostly to hope for no Eidolon or have the answer to it ready all while in a racing scenario. Barring that though we will just want to set up a fast kill and if we have drawn multiple bears to hope they don’t have searing blaze and to use them as “healing salves” to extend the game as burn has a harder time dealing 23+ damage

Postboard: Now we again gain the extra plan of Empty and a quick one for 10 + goblins is usually enough. We are weaker to their pure burn based draws now but are much stronger against Eidolon or Rest in Peace due to Empty. We are also more able to handle the Eidolon draws similar to game 1 due to the extra removal, but this matchup is still quite unfavorable to we just have to hope these small edges can get us there.

Modern Storm in the Age of Main Deck Surgical Extraction

LIST

Modern Storm 4-26-19

CHANGES

Its been a while since my last update here on modern storm and in that time the dominance of Phoenix and Dredge has waned a bit and now they share their “tier 1” status with Tron, Humans, UW Control, and GDS. Of course many other decks have risen in stock as well but here what we can gather is that modern has adapted to the threats of Dredge and Phoenix, similar to how it handled the breakout of GDS 2 years ago. Granted here it means there is now an emphasis on main deck and lots of sideboard graveyard hate which modern hasn’t really seen before.

As for how it has affected storm we now are much more focused on the Remand + Grapeshot line over our traditional combo sequence. In my previous update I had leaned towards multiple Unsubstantiates and no remands to combat the speed of the format head on but here now we are trying to rely more in an instant speed reactionary setup plan before comboing (by using Peer and Remands). The remands also are more useful when going off as well since we can cycle them on our own spell or even turn it into a sort of Chart a Course with Baral out. The main matchups where this gives us a leg up are against Tron, UW Control, The Rock, Phoenix, and Dredge. Against Phoenix and Dredge this may seem a bit weird due to Unsub being great at bouncing Thing in the Ice but Phoenix isn’t on average as fast as well think (such as attack for 6-9 on turn 2) and also requires casting 2 cmc spells to really get that velocity which are great to remand. Plus they usually have a “big attack/go off” turn where they tap low or out with just Surgical or Bolt to interfere with us.

This leads me to the other changes in our main deck first of which is the inclusion of Peer through Depths. I initially started testing with main deck Pieces of the Puzzle to help combat the massive increase in main deck graveyard hate and didn’t feel bad about it but was still not completely satisfied with the consistency especially when we didn’t have a bear in play and the constant choices of to leave up mana or cast pieces during our turn. I know that in the past I have championed running “any card” selection spells such as Shimmer of Possibility and Strategic Planning but here since we are focusing so much on the ability of instant speed to respond to our opponents plan and us usually needing a very specific instant or sorcery during going off (usually in the face of graveyard hate) so the possibility of missing is worth it. Also we get the benefit of being able to use our bears as “lightning rods” even better by having more ways to “combo off” a bit more in response to a removal spell on the bear.

Last is the removal of Empty the Warrens from the main deck. This was not as much of a remove for the sake of not being good in the main deck anymore as a choice of having to cut something for the rest of the current configuration. In it we want to have 7 bears in addition to the cantrips, remands, and Peers so the only real place i could find to keep it was in the same slot as Repeal. I sided with keeping the Repeal as it gives us a more cohesive instant speed plan and gives us a nice out to main deck permanent hate that stops Grapeshot. This does of course come at a small price to our GDS, UW Control, and GB Rock matchups though preboard.

In the sideboard there hasn’t been as much of a shakeup but there are a few new changes. The first and most minor change is the 3rd Empty over the 4th Pieces as without the Empty main I still want to have 3 copies and with the Peers we can function pretty well with only 3 Pieces in fast heavy graveyard hate matchups. Next is the removal of counter magic which has been replaced by a 3rd Grapeshot and the return of Echoing Truth. I have been unimpressed with the counters out of the board for against matchups such as Phoenix and have been happy relying on Remand to just buy time if needed and have wanted to be able to strengthen the “Remand + Grapeshot” lines more there. Also with the resurgence in humans and other creature based aggro having another “lawen mower” is very helpful. The Echoing Truth is also a nod to including no Unsubstantiates as now we have a clean answer to board in there as well that can function as a cmc independent catchall for when Repeal fails. The last change is the removal of Dismember for Flame Slash. This is mostly due to the life payment out of dismember being problematic against Phoenix and Burn but still wanting a card there that will also function against those plus humans.

MATCHUPS

Izzet Phoenix

Hate: Surgical, Ravenous Trap, Dispel, Spell Pierce

In: 1 Grapeshot, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash, 2 Empty the Warrens, 3 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Goblin Electromancer

Preboard: Here their main plan is to execute which ever of their plans that gives them the fastest start against us is while holding up minimal reaction for that window turn. This is commonly either a bolt or or Surgical so we should be playing a reactive game until this point where we try to set up either a huge turn to be able to brute force through a surgical (usually via gifts with enough floating we can then flashback PiF right after before priority is given to the opponent) or to have a nice Grapeshot + Remand kill. I would like to note here though that the remands should be valued quite highly and not just used for tempo as they are vert good for combo turns by not just remanding Grapeshot for the kill but to also protect our bears since they commonly tap low as mentioned on said window turn.

Postboard: Here not much changes on their side except they have more copies of graveyard hate cards (Surgical and Ravenous Trap)  and they gain a few 1 mana counterspells. For us meanwhile we gain a more resilient main engine in Pieces over gifts and now that we have Empty we can produce another angle of attack only it just requires making sure there is no Thing in the Ice to stop it in time. Note here though that we are still “the control” so that there is no clear plan A to force before we even start playing postboard, it is still quite dependent on the direction the opponent takes most of the time.

Tron

Hate: Relic of Progenitus, Surgical Extraction, Grafdigger’s Cage, Thought-Knot Seer

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Grapeshot

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Preboard: Here it is just a big race where we will slam a bear on turn 2 almost any chance we can (with few exceptions) and we just try to combo off on turn 3. Note that this will entail a lot of “hope you don’t have the Karn/natural Tron” type plays that we just have to jam into. Beware that the opponent does also have many Relics main that can come down any turn so it is still important to always keep the Remand + Grapeshot line in mind when sculpting and casting Remands.

Postboard: Here the opponent will gain a lot more graveyard hate so then we are more reliant on the remand + grapeshot lines. They also have more removal for our bears but we are still on the slam a bear on turn 2 unless there’s a good reason plan. We board up on the grapeshot here since they also bring in TKS so we are better insulated on the build up for grapeshot + remand lines too.

Azorious Control

Hate: Counterspells, Surgical Extraction, Rest in Peace, Damping Sphere, Relic of Progentinus

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Grapeshot

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Repeal

Preboard: Here our main plan is to make land drops and not fall behind there as we have inevitability in the matchup. Also we are almost always looking to jam a bear early as they have little removal outside of Path to Exile (which also ramps us and plays into our make land drops strategy). We are here just looking for the right window which the opponent will most of the time have to give us (usually by tapping low for a Jace/Teferi) and then just capitalize on our mana advantage to kill them. Here we also sometimes will cast Gifts end of their turn to also produce a counter fight we intend to lose to produce the same effect.

Postboard: Here we have Empty as another angle of attack against them that isn’t commonly use for a go big and hope it wins line but instead as small waves of attacks (ie empty for 4-6 goblins) that force the opponent into sub games they need to solve with expensive answers such as Supreme Verdict or Detention Sphere. Thus then forcing a window for us to then go off with grapeshot. Also important to note is that these mini waves while probably not lethal by the time they are handled do make the double grapeshot/grapeshot+remand lines much easier to accomplish as the opponent will likely be at 13 or less life.

Dredge

Hate: Leyline of the Void, Damping Sphere

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Remand

Preboard: Here it is a pure race where we really just hope they don’t have the crazy present 8+ power on turn 2 draw or to play around Conflagrate. Other than that though they have no instant speed interaction so we just hope to either stick a turn 2 bear or turn 3 bear plus remand to buy time/combo off.

Postboard: Here they now gain meaningful interaction for bears in Lightning Axe while also making our graveyard very unreliable due to Leyline. Thus we do switch over to Pieces and Empty here. One thing to note though is that due to Creeping Chill Empty the Warrens have to be for large quantities here a lot (12+ Goblins) most of the time to clock the opponent in time.

Humans

Hate: Hate bears, Damping Sphere, Grafdigger’s Cage

In: 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual

Preboard: Here it is all about how interactive the opponents draw is and whether or not we can jam a bear on turn 2. Besides Grapeshot we have no good interaction main deck to go against them so we typically just try to execute our combo or mow down their whole board with Grapeshot. We are a bit weak to them with this build game 1 due to the many remands, no Unsubstantiate and no empty. So if you have any opportunity to use a remand for any value its almost always correct to take it.

Postboard: Now we board in a lot of removal so we take on the control role and just try to kill everything interactive as well as keep their clock in check. By siding out the rituals we make sure we are less likely to flood out with nothing to do as we are trying to extend the game. We are still all about jamming bears on turn 2 as it gives us our best weapon vs Thalia and maximizes our ability to dig for removal if needed. Note here that they now commonly bring in lots of artifact based hate so the abrades are extra valuable. Also this generally slows them down as they have a less consistent deck and thus we still can maintain the plan of answer creatures then just deal with sphere later.

Grixis Death’s Shadow

Hate: Discard, Stubborn Denial, Surgical Extraction, Nihil Spellbomb

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Grapeshot

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Remand, 1 Repeal

Preboard: Here they will be attacking us on many axis starting on turn 1 so we will have to hope to survive a while. The biggest part of the matchup preboard is determined by their draw and how fast they get out a 4+ power threat to turn on Stubborn Denial. One thing to note here though is due to their life total being <11 much of the time we can piece together lots of low resource and/or bearless kills against.

Postboard: Here they now mostly just gain graveyard interaction but we gain Empty as just 4-6 goblins is commonly enough to threaten death to them quite quickly. Also Pieces is a bigger upgrade to Gifts then usual are we not only dodge graveyard hate but we dodge non ferocious Stubborn Denials easier and Disdainful Stroke. Again here the most common way we will lose is due to a threat by turn 3 from them with backup. Note though that here we are leaving in the bears unlike in many previous board strategies, this is due to them boarding down to 4 removal commonly, them being unable to counter bears with their current choices in counter magic, ease with which sticking one lets us “mini” go off from heavy discard starts from the opponent, and the chip damage from attacking not being irrelevant.

Golgari Rock

Hate: Discard, Scavenging Ooze, Surgical Extraction, Nihil Spellbomb, Grafdigger’s Cage

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 Empty the Warrens, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Remand, 1 Sleight of Hand

Preboard: Here we will have a medium amount of graveyard hate to fight though game 1 in the form of Ooze but also have to always be aware of Nihil Spellbomb as it is seeing lots of play in the main deck. We typically here are just looking for windows to go off as the opponent is just trying to 1 for 1 us into the ground until a Goyf or Ooze kills us. The main plan is to tyr and set up a time we can EOT Gifts withe no graveyard hate on board and then just win the next turn as they don’t have any non on board ways to graveyard interact in the main typically. Also to note though is that being willing to use a grapeshot to kill early creatures is totally fine as even though it will likely get exiled it wont be surgicalled so we still have a way to win and the ooze/bob early will usually invalidate most of what we do later.

Postboard: Now the matchup gets a bit better for us as we now have Empty to either create a subgame to solve (6-8 goblins) or just make a big one and hoe they don’t have the answer. This is a better strategy here than against Control due to them not having cantrips to dig for or incidentally see along the way during the game. They do now have surgical but unless my hand is quite well set up to use it soon I would still expose Grapeshot early to kill a Bob or Ooze. We do minimize this need though by boarding in Bolt and Abrade. Also note that since we are more Empty heavy and their usual answer is Pulse holding back a bolt or abrade on combo turn instead of getting more goblins is correct a fair amount of the time.

Amulit Titan

Hate: Bojuka Bog, Negate, Pact of Negation

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Peer Through Depths, 1 Repeal

Preboard: This is a pure race where they do have main deck interaction with Bojuka bog but without a Tribe Scout it is only sorcery speed so can still be played around. Basically this plays out similar to a faster Tron matchup from our perspective. So the whole game should center around landing a turn 2 bear, but one small difference from this to the tron matchup when considering whether to jam or hold up remand it is here much more often we hold up remand if they have the ability to cast a titan the next turn with amulet in play.

Postboard: Now they gain ways to interact with our bears in Path to Exile but we are still on the racing plan. We also gain ways to Kill scout and Azuza so if we can do that and we are getting pathed we have hopefully slowed them down enough to then be on the same speed as us thus giving us and edge due to Remand. Also even though we are still racing we must give consideration to any untapped blue and if they have 5+ mana with 2 or more of it being blue due to Negate and Pact.

Hardened Scales

Hate: Grafdigger’s Cage, Damping Sphere, Surgical Extraction

In: 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Shatterstorm

Out: 3 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Pyretic Ritual, 1 Desperate Ritual

Preboard: Here they have no real way to interact with us outside of Walking Ballista so we are on the jam bears and hope to not die on turn 3 plan a lot. Also since their deck is slower than normal affinity and has a lot of 2 drops sometimes it is correct to hold up remand instead since they are typically quite bad in the faster matchups we can still find a way to time walk them more often that we’d expect

Postboard: Now instead of fearing basically nothing we are expecting to always see a fair amount of hate so we turtle up a bit and side out some rituals to function similarly to hoe we do against humans post board. The major difference being that they have welding jar so bounce goes up in value and that we have a “game over” button in Shatterstorm

Burn

Hate: Eidolon of the Great Revel, Rest in Peace

In: 3 Empty the Warrens, 2 Lighting Bolt, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 1 Sleight of Hand, 3 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal, 1 Peer through Depths

Preboard: Here the strategy is mostly to hope for no Eidolon or have the answer to it ready all while in a racing scenario. Barring that though we will just want to set up a fast kill and if we have drawn multiple bears to hope they don’t have searing blaze and to use them as “healing salves” to extend the game as burn has a harder time dealing 23+ damage

Postboard: Now we again gain the extra plan of Empty and a quick one for 10 + goblins is usually enough. We are weaker to their pure burn based draws now but are much stronger against Eidolon or Rest in Peace due to Empty. We are also more able to handle the Eidolon draws similar to game 1 due to the extra removal, but this matchup is still quite unfavorable to we just have to hope these small edges can get us there.

Modern Storm for SCG Regionals

LIST

Modern Storm 3-8-19

CHANGES

Compared to my previous post the maindeck has not changed much even with the banning of KCI and the current dominance of Arclight Phoenix and Dredge. The only differences are the reintroduction of the 7th “bear” in Goblin Electromancer and adding the 2nd Unsubstantiate. In doing so I have completely removed Remand from the deck to make space.

The inclusion of the 7th bear is mainly due to the meta now significantly picking up in speed and the now normal encountering of maindeck graveyard hate which makes having a bear in play all the more important to try and combo off. Important to note that the mainboard hate is a lot of the times Surgical Extraction (mostly from Phoenix decks) so we cant even rely on tapped out opponents to signal the coast is clear.

These factors also lead to the inclusion of the second unsubstantiate as now the top decks all have critical creatures to bounce (Phoenix, Humans, Spirits, Scales, Shadow) but with all the additional graveyard hate we still want to be able to execute a “Grapeshot + Remand + Grapeshot” line, especially with the added emphasis on the Pieces of the Puzzle plan postboard (as discussed below).

In the Sideboard there have been quite a few changes. First off is the going back to a full set of Pieces of the Puzzle as with the very large amount of graveyard hate, especially postboard, we now need to completely get rid of the main Gifts Ungiven plan a lot. To make space I decided to cut the Echoing Truth. This was due to lots of hate switching to being stack based as well as with the 4th pieces also letting us ignore RiP/Leyline more easily.

The next change is the Shatterstorm over the 2nd Abrade. Here we are giving up some creature interaction to have an actual haymaker against the Prison decks as well as against Scales. While this does give us one less card to board in aginst decks such as Humans, which is on the rise, we have the 2nd Unsubstantiate to help keep the numbers the same.

The final change to the board is the dispel over negate. While Dispel is definitely much more narrow it helps us fight the faster decks (such as Phoenix) on the stack easier while still being good against control (unlike Pierce). Dispel also costing one here is huge in that it is much easier to hold up when we don’t have a bear in play or want to play it out and expose it just yet, while also letting us further develop.

MATCHUPS

Izzet Phoenix

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Dispel

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand, 3 Goblin Electromancer

Humans

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Gifts Ungiven

Burn

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Dispel, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal

Grixis Death’s Shadow

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Dismember, 1 Dispel, 1 Spell Pierce

Out:  4 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Dredge

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Sleight of Hand

4C Whir Prison

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Shatterstorm, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Empty the Warrens

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Past in Flames

Hollow One

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Abrade, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Goblin Electromancer 1 Repeal

Infect

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Dispel

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal, 1 Empty the Warrens

Titan Shift

In: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Abrade

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand

Affinity

In: 1 Abrade, 1 Shatterstorm, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Dismember

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand

Storm

In: 1 Lighting Bolt, 1 Dismember, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Dispel

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Living End

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Sleight of Hand

Bogles

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Abrade, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Sleight of Hand

Tron

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Ponza

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Abrade, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens

Bant Spirits

In: 1 Dismember, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Abrade, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Empty the Warrens

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Sleight of Hand

Jund

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer,  1 Unsubstantiate, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

UW Control

In:  4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Dispel,  1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Pyretic Ritual

Jeskai Control

In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Dispel, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

Scales Affinity

In: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Abrade, 1 Shatterstorm, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Dismember, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames

Amulet Titan

In: 1 Wipe Away, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Abrade, 1 Spell Pierce, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Repeal, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames

Blue Moon

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Dispel, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance

Counters Company

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal, 1 Empty the Warrens

 

Modern Storm for SCG Columbus

LIST

modern storm 1-4-19

CHANGES

In the main deck Ive made a single change in that the third Electromancer has been cut to put the second Remand back in. This is mainly due to the slowing down of the format by the resurgence of Shadow and control deck and decline of Spirits and Humans. Getting flooded on bears is a way to lose many of the slower matchups so going back down to 6 has been great. Also, the addition of the Remand over a piece of creature interaction was chosen due to its flexibility against slower matchups and strength against KCI.

In the Sideboard there is also a single change in that the Gigadrowse has been cut for a Negate.  The Gigadrowse hasn’t been bad but it has only been performing in the control matchups and I would like something less narrow. I used to bring the Gigadrowse against Spirits but have been leaning more on Empty the Warrens.  This lead to Negate since I wanted a counter spell for combo, Prison in addition to Spell Pierce while also giving something to bring in against control. Plus this gives us some percentage points against big mana decks too.

MATCHUPS

Humans

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Empty the Warrens

Burn

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal

Hollow One

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Infect

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Empty the Warrens

Bridgevine

In:  3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 gifts Ungiven, 2 Remand, 1 Past in Flames

Titan Shift

In: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Echoing Truth.

Out: 2 Sleight of Hand

Affinity

In: 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Dismember

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand

KCI

In: 2 Abrade, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Negate

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Dredge

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand

Storm

In: 1 Lighting Bolt, 1 Dismember, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Negate

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Living End

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Negate

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Sleight of Hand

BOGLES

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Remand, 1 Sleight of Hand

Tron

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Ponza

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Remand

UR Wizards

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle,  2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Remand, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Bant Spirits

In: 1 Dismember, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Empty the Warrens

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand

Jund

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 2 Remand, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

Mardu

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 4 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames

Grixis Death’s Shadow

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember, 1 Negate, 1 Spell Pierce

Out:  4 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Remand, 1 Repeal

UW Control

In:  3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Negate,  1 Wipe Away

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Pyretic Ritual

Jeskai Control

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Negate, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

HARDENED SCALES AFFINITY

In: 1 Wipe Away, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Dismember, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames

Amulet Titan

In: 1 Wipe Away, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Repeal, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames

Blue Moon

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Negate,

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance

Izzet Phoenix

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand, 2 Remand, 1 Goblin Electromancer

Counters Company

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal, 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Remand

Dimir Mill

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Negate

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Remand, 1 Serum Visions

Modern Storm for SCG Baltimore

LIST

Modern Storm 11-28-18

CHANGES

In the maindeck things have stayed almost the same as in my previous update. The only difference is putting Repeal back into the deck over a Remand. The reasoning for this is the continued meta shift to fast and non interactive matchups where the Remand effect isn’t always good. Also the amount of maindeck graveyard hate is still on the rise and this gives us another piece of creature interaction and the ability to have 3 bounce spells postboard for gifts packages.

In the Sideboard there has been somewhat of a large change as the Ignite Memories has been replaced with a Gigadrowse, a lightning bolt with a Flame Slash, and a Pieces of the Puzzle with a Spell Pierce. While initially a hedge against Surgical, and very fun to cast, Ignite Memories wasn’t consistently good enough. Without Ignite I would still want to have a card for blue based control that could also overlap with spirits, thus I came back to Gigadrowse. As for the Flame Slash, Bolt going to the face is less of a concern in this fast meta and 4 damage is critical against spirits. Plus the different name is a nice bonus against humans. The removal of a Pieces of the Puzzle was mainly due to not feeling the need for it again due to the strength of Empty the Warrens in the meta and the want for a piece of spell based interaction. I am running a Spell Pierce in this slot due to only costing 1 mana so it can still be live in the draws where we miss on a turn 2 bear when racing combo and cantrip, while also being about the same as Negate when a Bear is out due to the speed of such matchups. This could easily change to Negate if the format slows down though due to not needing to have the counter up as early as possible.

MATCHUPS

Humans

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Repeal

Burn

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 3 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand, 1 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Repeal

Hollow One

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Repeal

Infect

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Goblin Electromancer

Bridgevine

In:  3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 3 gifts Ungiven, 1 Remand, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Titan Shift

In: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Abrade

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Sleight of Hand

Affinity

In: 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Dismember

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand

KCI

In: 2 Abrade, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Dredge

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand

Storm

In: 2 Lighting Bolt, 1 Dismember, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 1 Empty the Warrens, 2 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Living End

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Sleight of Hand

BOGLES

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Remand, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Past in Flames

Tron

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal

Ponza

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Flame Slash

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Remand

UR Wizards

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle,  2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Remand, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal

Bant Spirits

In: 1 Dismember, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Gigadrowse

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Remand, 3 Sleight of Hand

Jund

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Abrade

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Remand, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

Mardu

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Abrade

Out: 3 Gifts ungiven, 2 Baral, Chief of Compliance, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames

Grixis Death’s Shadow

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Lighting Bolt, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Dismember, 1 Spell Pierce

Out:  4 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Remand, 1 Repeal

UW Control

In:  3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Gigadrowse, 1 Spell Pierce,  1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Pyretic Ritual

Jeskai Control

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Gigadrowse, 1 Spell Pierce, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Baral,Chief of Compliance, 1 Past in Flames

HARDENED SCALES AFFINITY

In: 1 Wipe Away, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Dismember, 2 Pieces of the Puzzle

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand, 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Past in Flames

Amulet Titan

In: 1 Wipe Away, 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Echoing Truth

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Repeal

Blue Moon

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Ignite Memories

Out: 3 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 3 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Baral, Chief of Compliance

Izzet Phoenix

In: 3 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 Spell Pierce

Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Repeal, 1 Sleight of Hand, 1 Remand

Counters Company

In: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Abrade, 1 Dismember, 1 Flame Slash, 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Wipe Away

Out: 4 Sleight of Hand, 1 Repeal, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Remand