Mythic Championship London is closing in, and it has my attention for a couple of reasons. The constructed format will be Modern, and the London Mulligan will be tested for the event. A lot has been said about the new rule that presents both logistic (time issue resolving mulligans) and format specific (too beneficial for degenerate strategies) challenges. But today I will focus on the top performing Modern decks and how I predict them to do in London.
The firebird in the room
This deck has been the deck to beat for quite some time and always seems to find a way to dodge the hate that is thrown against it and come up with a new game plan. It turns out that packing the blue cantrips for consistency and finding your sideboard cards more reliably and playing threats that demand different answers is a recipe for success.
I expect a lot of established pros to sleeve up the firebirds as a “safe option” and hopefully we will see some fresh tech out of the sideboard.
Dredge and chill
The army of the undead recently dropped a little bit in popularity thanks to the reaction to its dominance in the beginning of the year. Graveyard strategies are super powerful because they usually have a favorable game one and put a lot of pressure on the opponent to find their sideboard hate for two consecutive games. On the other hand, when Dredge is the established “best deck”, all decks will be prepared with everything from main deck Surgical Extraction, Relic of Progenitus and Nihil Spellbomb to hateful sideboard options like Leyline of the Void, Ravenous Trap and Rest in Peace.
Even though it only needs a Faithless Looting, a land and a dredger to be competitive and therefore welcomes the London Mulligan, I think Dredge will underperform due to the immense presence of hate cards across the field.
Humanity vs. Modern metagame
When I played Pro Tour 25th Anniversary last summer, Humans was the most played deck in Modern and went on a hiatus during the winter. Fast forward to April 2019, and it’s back with a vengeance, ready to crush the format once again. Note that the deck doesn’t benefit from the new mulligan rule due to its critical mass nature.
The recent versions have expanded the sideboard reach to include bullets like Chalice of the Void and Damping Sphere, which shore up bad matchups like Phoenix and Tron. These clever innovations put Humans in a prime position to do well at the Mythic Championship.
The simple three-piece puzzle, age 1 and up
Tron is better than ever, thanks to its ability to freeroll graveyard hate into its starting 60 without sacrificing that much. Relic of Progenitus not only crushes various tier one strategies, it also lets the Tron pilot cycle through their deck. That’s something they are in the market for anyway. Turn three Karn Liberated will always be effective against almost anything. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Oblivion Stone keep the board clear of creature armies. Wurmcoil Engine is hard to deal with right now, because fewer decks play Path to Exile. Because Tron “only” needs to put together the Tron puzzle and stick a single threat to win any given game, it benefits from the new mulligan. Don’t let Tron surprise you with huge numbers in London.
Out of the Shadows
I find the timeline of the card Death’s Shadow extremely entertaining. It took long before players found out that the 4C Zoo version with Gitaxian Probe was a thing. Then the Grixis version totally dominated the metagame and players called for bans. Then the deck disappeared and now it’s back in the top of the standings of most Modern tournaments. The strengths are the same as they’ve always been. A heavy disruption suite, very consistently playing out a big threat and Temur Battle Rage to trample over chump blockers. Grixis Shadow is the new “Jund” that gives you game against every deck, with one exception. This one adds nut draws like turn one Thoughtseize and turn two a pair of Death’s Shadows. 4 Fatal Push in your main deck are nothing to sneeze at in a world with Thing in the Ice at the top tables.
That’ll do it for my first five decks. Next time I’ll revisit Burn, Whir Prison, Amulet Bloom, Hardened Scales and Blue-White Control. I’m going analyze their chances at the upcoming Mythic Championship as well. Don’t miss it!