With this weekends Grand Prix in Dallas being modern, I figured I would revisit the format and talk about a couple of powerful decks that are under the radar right now. The first deck is U/R Thing in the Ice aggro, nicknamed “suicide bloo” for its use of Phyrexian spells and a similar game plan to suicide zoo. This deck has been making quite the splash on MTGO in the last month putting up many 5-0s, which I can attest is no easy feat. The deck is actually the brain-child of a streamer by the name of H0lydiva (twitch.tv/h0lydiva) who has been working on this shell for months now and seems to have finally polished the list to make it a contender.
While this deck isn’t as all in as Suicide Zoo, it can be just as explosive and put up some turn 3-4 kills with the right combination of cards even through interaction and blockers. The deck is capable of playing a longer game as well though, with Bedlam Reveler being able to act as an Ancestral Recall attached to a 3 / 4. Thing in the Ice flipping can also buy you time if you aren’t able to one shot your opponent. Being able to bounce the board early and at instant speed can slow down decks like affinity, infect, and zoo and buy you the turn you needed to find Temur Battle Rage. Decks with more hard removal like Jund or Abzan seem like they could be a tough to beat, but a timely Apostle’s Blessing could be all you need to break serve. Out of the sideboard Blood Moon will also up your chances as these decks run very few basics and often aren’t able to play around it. The extra Bedlam Reveler will also help you grind through removal if the game goes long. Overall I really like the proactive aggressive game plan this deck has, especially since it has the ability to win out of nowhere if an opponent ever taps out. I personally feel like this is the kind of game plan that is necessary in modern at the moment. Be fast and play your own game. This deck checks both of those boxes. The fact this deck isn’t exactly main-stream may also catch some opponents off guard, which could lead to more openings to steal wins. If you’re looking for something new and spicy to try in modern I’d definitely give this deck a shot.
This next deck is for those of you who love having fun, while your opponent has none. It’s been nicknamed “Sun and Moon,” but is basically just a W/R blood Moon control deck. There are 2 versions I’ve seen, the first main decks chalice as extra hate. The second has Boom/Bust flagstone “combo” as well as molten rain to keep opponents even more off balance with their mana. Who doesn’t love stone raining already screwed opponents? Magic is fun, remember.
Sun and Moon // Chalice
Land Destruction Version
Sun and Moon // Destruction
Both of these versions have their pros and cons, but I think I would lean toward the chalice version personally. If you just cant get enough land destruction though flashing back a Boom // Bust with Goblin Dark-Dwellers should quell your cravings. For those of you that weren’t aware, you can flashback the Bust (Armageddon) half with the Dark-Dweller, so as long as the board is at parity, you are ahead with walkers, or even just the 4/4 body, the game is basically over on the spot. The real draw to this archetype is the turn 2, or even a turn 1 blood moon though. Simian Spirit Guide is a pretty stupid card and definitely pushes the boundary as far as modern power level goes. Most decks in modern just are cold to an early blood moon and if they somehow recover, you should be able to land a walker before then and win with that. The other great aspect of this archetype is just the fact it’s white. What I mean by that is that white has by far the best sideboard hate cards. Rest in Peace, Stony Silence, Leyline, wraths, etc. These cards single handedly shut down entire archetypes and should really up your chances post board against most of the field. I wont lie, I haven’t played this archetype much personally, but next time I’m in the mood to lock some people out I know what I’ll be sleeving up.
Now to change pace a little. I just want to briefly touch upon my favorite deck in standard at the moment, Black Green Delirium. After last weekends Grand Prix’s there were a total of 10 copies between the two top 8s and is definitely the deck to beat moving forward. I’ve been messing with a lot of lists, but the one I’ve been having success with most recently is closest to Ben Stark’s, which really maximizes getting delirium early and often.
At first I was a bit skeptical of some of the choices in this particular list. No tracker in the main? No Kalitas? 2 Pilgrim’s Eye? 4 Mindwrack? What is going on here? After giving it a run through MTGO leagues, however, it all clicked. This version is really all in on getting delirium and filling up the yard. When your grapple is reliably getting back fatties, Traverse acting as Demonic Tutor, flayer hitting for 4 and Ishkana coming along with some spider friends the deck really hums. In the mirror I’ve found it often comes down to who has Emrakul first, and this list really maximizes your ability to find her and cast her on the cheap. Our turbo delirium also proves useful in the U/W flash matchup where Ishkana with “kicker” is by far our best weapon to combat them. If you can sneak a Mindwrack in under Spell Queller/Reflector Mage against them it also provides a great body against their flyers and to pressure Gideon. This can buy valuable time to find Ishkana, Gearhulk or Emrakul and turn the corner. The aggressive vehicles decks can be tough to beat game 1, but if you are able to make it to turn 5 with Ishkana that’s usually all she wrote. Post board it gets a lot better as well, with cheaper interaction. With Aetherworks all but gone, I don’t think there are any bad match-ups for this deck and I cant say enough good things about it. The other thing I’m loving about this archetype is the customization potential. Lot of aggro decks running around? Add some Sylvan Advocates and Kalitas’ to the main deck, and sideboard some Flaying Tendrils. Control and the Mirror dominating? Main deck some Transgresses and Tireless Trackers and sideboard some extra planeswalkers. The subtle changes you can make goes on and on, and I don’t think there will ever be a “stock” 75 card list for this archetype. I’m sure I’ll have changed my list by a few cards by the time this article goes live but I think I’m sticking with this shell for the time being. I’d definitely suggest tuning your lists for your expected meta as well. That’s all for me this week, good luck with any upcoming tournaments and I’ll catch you all next time.