Last time I had the pleasure of talking about five great Modern decks, and today it’s time for five more that are a bit less popular, but very likely to be represented at Mythic Championship London. The premise is the same; I’ll analyze them through the lens of the current metagame and the London mulligan and give my verdict on their expected performance. As always, let me know if I’m completely wrong and need to do my homework better.
As someone who had great success with Titan Shift at both Grand Prix and Pro Tour level, it’s hard to accept that only its’ less consistent, but more explosive cousin is still left standing in the hostile metagame of 2019. Surviving a Summer Bloom ban and having good matchups against Izzet Phoenix and Dredge are nothing to sneeze at. So, don’t sleep on this monstrosity at the Mythic Championship! Amulets’ enemy number one has always been Blood Moon, but thankfully there aren’t a lot of those around at the moment.
I like the recent innovation of multiple copies of Coalition Relic as a way to ensure you can accelerate reasonably in case you don’t have an Amulet of Vigor in play. It also lets you play sideboard cards like Path to Exile and cast them consistently and allow you to beat a resolved Blood Moon a surprising amount of the time.
While the London mulligan should favor a deck looking for a specific four-of, Amulet Titan needs a lot of resources to work with and quantity can become an issue with a five-card hand. My verdict is a small gain for this deck thanks to the London mulligan.
The challenge of playing Control will always be to get the read on the metagame right and succeed. Because if you don’t, you’ll lose horribly.
Recent versions of the deck started to integrate maindeck graveyard hate in the form of Rest in Peace or Relic of Progenitus. Extra maindeck Tron hate in the shape of Spreading Seas has shown up as well, to add to the 4 Field of Ruin and sometimes 1 Ghost Quarter. I really like the strategy of adding powerful maindeck hosers that are attached to a cantrip, so they are bearable draws in matchups where their hosing powers are irrelevant. There is no consensus sweeper of choice in the community, and both Terminus and split between Supreme Verdict and Settle the Wreckage have their advantages and disadvantages.
The success of Blue-White Control will depend largely on the level of players who pick up the deck and how easy the metagame will be to predict. I think a Control expert could sneak into the top 8 if they have a good performance in the Limited portion of the Mythic Championship.
After I won the Modern Challenge with Rakdos Burn a few months back, enough people picked up the deck that unbeatable sideboard options like Dragon’s Claw and Timely Reinforcements saw the light of day again for a while. As a consequence, Burn vanished from the metagame entirely. I think now would be a reasonable way to bring back the deck if you can integrate a good sideboard plan against Dredge and its’ pesky Creeping Chills.
One thing to keep an eye out for is the presence of Chalice of the Void in the metagame which basically forces Burn to run a full playset of Smash to Smithereens or Destructive Revelry in the sideboard. And even then, Welding Jar can crush your dreams. Burn is the classic “critical mass” deck, so the new mulligan doesn’t help it either. Its’ opponent’s ability to mulligan into Leyline of Sanctity (not widely played, admittedly) could be the nail in the coffin for the hopeful red wizards.
I’ve always been fascinated by decks like Lantern Control and this one because they operate on a completely different axis compared to your typical aggressive or controlling deck. Furthermore, it can be quite difficult to get in good practice against Whir Prison. At least relative to decks like Humans, Tron and Dredge, which most competent players can play at a decent level. Whir Prison will shine in metagames where Chalice of the Void on one and Ensnaring Bridge grant free wins which happens to be the world we live in right now.
Since Whir’s counter measure to artifact removal is hiding behind Welding Jar and Spellskite, the nightmare cards for it are Shatterstorm and Consulate Crackdown. And those cards do start to pop up to combat this deck.
I am confident that the players (I’m looking at you, Sam Black) who sign up to this tournament with Whir Prison will do well on average.
When I played Grand Prix Liverpool last December, I teamed up with Christoffer Larsen who played the deck. I witnessed first-hand a huge range of games with everything from quick and dirty turn three kills with Inkmoth Nexus to long, grindy games won on the back of Animation Module. I think this flexibility tells the story of why the deck is so good quite well.
Another thing that benefits Scales is the banning of Krark-Clan Ironworks which means you are way less likely to face Stony Silence for sideboarded games. Six months ago, Scales players had to blindly sideboard in Nature’s Claim to combat a potential Stony Silence, and now you can focus more on your own game plan and only make minor adjustments.Thing in the Ice out of Izzet Phoenix can be tough to beat, so just a couple of lonesome Dismembers are likely not enough. If players come up with a couple more flexible sideboard slots that incidentally deal with the pesky 0/4, I like Scales‘ chances in London.
That concludes my preview for MC London which I’m eager to watch during the Modern rounds. I would love it if a dark horse emerged or an old fan favorite returned to the top tables in the hands of a renowned player. How will the London mulligan impact deck choice? Will open deck lists change how players tweak their deck and sideboard? Are these changes good or bad for Magic as a whole? So many questions that we will hopefully have the answers for soon.