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Last week I tried to dissect the results of the highly competitive Magic Online Mythic Championship Qualifier in the Modern format where Faithless LootingFaithless Looting showed a lot of dominance and I hinted at a few suggestions on how the metagame would react. Luckily enough we can meassure that reaction fairly closely as there was held yet another MCQ the next weekend! Here is the top 32 breakdown:

  • 5 Green Tron
  • 3 Whir Prison
  • 2 Affinity
  • 2 Colorless Eldrazi (one Tron-fueled)
  • 2 Blue/White Control
  • 2 Burn
  • 2 Hollow One
  • 1 Jeskai Ascendancy
  • 1 Dredge
  • 1 Blue Moon
  • 1 Amulet Titan
  • 1 Humans
  • 1 Hardened Scales
  • 1 Bogles
  • 1 Grixis Death’s Shadow
  • 1 Zooicide Zoo
  • 1 Ad Nauseam
  • 1 Mono Red Phoenix
  • 1 Izzet Phoenix
  • 1 Bant Spirits
  • 1 Living End

Keeping Track of the Culprit

How did Faithless Looting perform?

Faithless Looting from Commander Anthology 2

Faithless Looting from Commander Anthology 2

There is a lot to digest from this data, but I find the diversity super positive opposed to last week. Then, Dredge ran the tables with nine(!) copies in the top 32. I even claimed that if Faithless LootingFaithless Looting would continue with those massive results, Wizards might have to step in. After all, it’s already on their radar as one of the most powerful things you can do in Modern. As it turns out, there were “only” 25 copies of Faithless LootingFaithless Looting in this top 32, distributed among six dedicated Looting decks and one Grixis Shadow with a singleton copy. That makes it the sixth most played card – something I find totally healthy. For the record, the most played card in the winner’s metagame was Ancient StirringsAncient Stirrings across a bunch of different decks from Amulet to Whir Prison to Green Tron. Personally, I have no problem with Ancient StirringsAncient Stirrings on top. I’m ok with it as a consistency card that lets you keep more hands and execute your game plan more often rather than a tool to finish the game on the first few turns. I think BrainstormBrainstorm in Legacy is a fair comparison and perfectly fine for the same reasons.

Ancient Stirrings from Masters 25

Ancient Stirrings from Masters 25

My prediction last time was that decks would implement more graveyard hate as a reaction to the strong Faithless LootingFaithless Looting decks. This time around, the most succesful deck on the day was Green Tron with three or four copies of Relic of ProgenitusRelic of Progenitus in the main deck. I had expected Blue-White Control to start running Rest in PeaceRest in Peace in the main deck for the same effect. But Tron is a deck that’s in the market to cycle through their deck anyways, so they can easily run Relics in the starting 60. With that taken into account, it makes a lot of sense that players turned to Tron as an option as well.

Modern is Full of Powerful Hosers

Linear strategies are met with equally strong hate cards

Leyline of the Void from Guildpact

Leyline of the Void from Guildpact

With the precedent established by Dredge a few weeks ago, the metagame has properly reacted and made it substantially more difficult for graveyard-centric decks to succeed and put up big numbers. If players don’t want to lose to Faithless LootingFaithless Looting decks, they have the tools to secure a positive matchup. The same can be said for Burn, which gets countered by incremental life gain like Lightning HelixLightning Helix and Collective BrutalityCollective Brutality. You can even go further and totally cripple the Burn deck with sideboard cards like Dragon’s ClawDragon’s Claw and Timely ReinforcementsTimely Reinforcements. In the same way, artifact-based decks will lose to Stony SilenceStony Silence and Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge. Speaking of artifact-based decks…

Oldschool Affinity

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Arcbound Ravager from Modern Masters

Arcbound Ravager from Modern Masters

Affinity by Diceshake - 1st place @ Modern MCQ

Creatures (23)
Arcbound Ravager
Master of Etherium
Memnite
Ornithopter
Signal Pest
Steel Overseer
Vault Skirge

Spells (20)
Galvanic Blast
Cranial Plating
Mox Opal
Springleaf Drum
Welding Jar
Experimental Frenzy
Lands (17)
Blinkmoth Nexus
Darksteel Citadel
Glimmervoid
Inkmoth Nexus
Island
Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Experimental Frenzy
Ancient Grudge
Damping Sphere
Dispatch
Etched Champion
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Grafdigger’s Cage
Relic of Progenitus
Spell Pierce

BUY DECK
Magic Online user Diceshake managed to take down this massive +300 players event without dropping a match. And their deck of choice was… Affinity Anno 2016? The game plan remains the same as it has been historically. Cranial PlatingCranial Plating and Arcbound RavagerArcbound Ravager let you beat spot removal and make every creature in the deck relevant while an unchecked Steel OverseerSteel Overseer still wins the game if you get to untap with it. Sure, there is a new “colored spell of choice” in Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy, which lets you keep the engine running once you’ve dumped your starting hand. But the overall strategy and strengths remain the same as ever. So why is Affinity suddenly a good deck again?

Affinity as the Perfect Meta Call

Retaking the Mox Opal reigns from Ironworks

Mox Opal from Modern Masters 2015

Mox Opal from Modern Masters 2015

Ironworks was recently banned and Hardened Scales has been on a decline, so the need to run cards like Stony SilenceStony Silence and Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge is at an all time low. Furthermore, Grixis, Mardu and Jund decks with multiple copies of Kolaghan’s CommandKolaghan’s Command are rarely played by others than Corey Burkhart and Reid Duke these days. So I really appreciate the exploitation used to take down this event. That’s just plain good metagaming! I expect a lot of players to dust off their Cranial PlatingCranial Platings in the near future, which is also why I would expect more Stony SilenceStony Silence and Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudges to see play and Affinity to take a back seat again as a result. The cycle continues!

Stony Silence from Innistrad

Stony Silence from Innistrad

To end the article here is my checklist for the next few weeks of Modern gaming:

  • Don’t scoop up your cards to graveyard hate. Dredge cards stay in the binder.
  • Don’t lose to Cranial PlatingCranial Plating and Ensnaring BridgeEnsnaring Bridge. Run artifact removal that interacts favorably with Welding JarWelding Jar.
  • Don’t be an underdog vs. turn three Karn LiberatedKarn Liberated. Black-Green Midrange doesn’t cut it right now.

Thanks a lot for reading! I really enjoy analyzing these tournament results. That’s something I do on a daily basis to keep up with multiple formats and stay sharp regarding deckbuilding, meta tendencies and sideboard tweaking for my specific next tournament.

If you want to make good habits outside of the game to have a better understanding of these things, I offer affordable coaching sessions where we figure out together exactly how you would want to improve. I’ve worked with some players so far and have had great feedback, so don’t hold back if it sounds interesting to you. You can reach me via private message on Twitter or keep an eye on the Snapcardster Patreon which will soon give you access to choaching sessions as well.

 

 

This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Andreas Petersen

Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.