Welcome everyone to my recap of our semifinal match vs. The Stream Team in the Team Modern Super League. Today I want to give you a sneak peak into the process before match day followed by my take on the actual games that took place. Let me know if this is an interesting idea moving forward.

The deck diversity of Modern

As most have figured out by now, we quickly decided to try and win the league with 25 unique Modern decks, and we have a couple of key motivations for that. First and most importantly, we feel blessed to be competing against the toughest opposition on a stage like this, so with this privilege comes responsibility. We feel like showcasing everything from absolute tier 1 (like Hogaak recently) down to tier 2 roleplayer (Bant Spirits) has a lot of merit. While this is a tournament that we would do a lot to win, it’s also entertainment on Twitch and YouTube for the thousands of fans watching religiously each week.

This is not a knock on teams bringing their trusty decks and doing well with them; I’m just explaining our way of showing appreciation to the organizers and fans. And to be honest anything can win in Modern on any given day, so we don’t feel like we are giving up a lot of percentages in our quest for deck diversity. Second of all, playing new decks keeps our minds fresh because we have to adapt to new playstyles, decklists, matchups and sideboarding strategy on a weekly basis. We all have our individual strenghts and preferences when it comes to deck choice, but this way we get to level up as players while having fun at the same time. Win-Win!

Selecting Modern decks for TMSL

Thomas did excellent field work learning that our opponents, Magic Pro League member Jessica Estephan, cube and Commander afficionado April King and popular streamer MTGNerdGirl, have some tendencies when it comes to decks brought to the Team Modern Super League table. He said he expected Boros Burn, Izzet Phoenix, Tron, Hogaak and an unknown deck to be submitted from their side, so we definitely had that in mind.

Bant Spirits

Drogskol Captain from Dark Ascension

Drogskol Captain from Dark Ascension

The popularity of this deck took a huge hit once Krark-Clan IronworksKrark-Clan Ironworks got banned in Modern, and these days the tribal deck of choice is Humans. I thought it would be a great deck to bring to the table as it offers a fast clock and complex decisions for the opponent thanks to Spell QuellerSpell Queller and Collected CompanyCollected Company in particular. With some nice additions from Modern Horizons in Unsettled MarinerUnsettled Mariner, Waterlogged GroveWaterlogged Grove, Collector OupheCollector Ouphe and Force of NegationForce of Negation combined with Thomas’ ability to pilot Aether VialAether Vial-powered creature decks, I liked our chances. After finding a relatively new list to work from and a bunch of tweaking, we arrived at our list. Note that we prepared hard against Tron and Burn in the sideboard.

Creatures (28)
Supreme Phantom
Mausoleum Wanderer
Unsettled Mariner
Drogskol Captain
Spell Queller
Deputy of Detention
Noble Hierarch
Phantasmal Image
Selfless Spirit

Spells (11)
Collected Company
Path to Exile
Aether Vial
Lands (21)
Plains
Razorverge Thicket
Seachrome Coast
Botanical Sanctum
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Moorland Haunt
Horizon Canopy
Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Windswept Heath
Temple Garden
Island
Forest
Waterlogged Grove

Sideboard (15)
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Collector Ouphe
Damping Sphere
Unified Will
Rest in Peace
Force of Negation
Kor Firewalker
Leyline of the Void

Gifts Storm

Past in Flames

Past in Flames

Michael got inspired by ChannelFireball‘s sweet Twiddle Storm deck from the previous week and wanted to revisit a deck he spent the majority of 2018 playing in Modern. We blindly trusted Michael to come up with a competitive list for 2019’s state of the format, so this wasn’t much of a team effort. Thanks to the omnipresence of Hogaak, graveyard hate had to be all over the place which forced Michael to look for a reliable route to victory without access to the graveyard in sideboarded games.

Creatures (8)
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Goblin Electromancer

Spells (35)
Desperate Ritual
Gifts Ungiven
Grapeshot
Manamorphose
Opt
Peer Through Depths
Pyretic Ritual
Remand
Repeal
Serum Visions
Sleight of Hand
Past in Flames
Lands (17)
Fiery Islet
Island
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Mountain
Spirebluff Canal
Steam Vents
Shivan Reef

Sideboard (15)
Abrade
Echoing Truth
Empty the Warrens
Pieces of the Puzzle
Spell Pierce
Lightning Bolt
Rebuild
Aria of Flame

Esper Control

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria from Dominaria

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria from Dominaria

Thomas is worldclass player when piloting a deck that wants to play long games. The longer the games go, the more turns does his opponent have to make a misstep which he will punish promptly. He had his eyes on an interesting Esper Control deck piloted by Guillame Wafo-Tapa at the Mythic Championship, and I really liked what the black splash offered. We ended up playing a full playset of Kaya’s GuileKaya’s Guile to cement a great Izzet Phoenix and Burn matchup while some nice roleplayers like Plague EngineerPlague Engineer and discard spells would eliminate different weaknesses in sideboarded games. Field of RuinField of Ruin and Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction grant a fine chance against Tron. We didn’t put the Stream Team on Control at all, so we cut all small planeswalkers and added spot removal instead which ended up costing us percentages because they actually brought Blue-White Control.

Creatures (4)
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (31)
Cryptic Command
Surgical Extraction
Esper Charm
Force of Negation
Kaya's Guile
Logic Knot
Opt
Path to Exile
Fatal Push
Mana Leak
Detention Sphere
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Lands (25)
Field of Ruin
Celestial Colonnade
Drowned Catacomb
Flooded Strand
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Polluted Delta
Marsh Flats
Plains
Swamp
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Celestial Purge
Ceremonious Rejection
Stony Silence
Duress
Force of Negation
Thoughtseize
Surgical Extraction
Wrath of God
Plague Engineer
Vendilion Clique
Kor Firewalker

Hogaak Dredge

Creeping Chill from Guilds of Ravnica

Creeping Chill from Guilds of Ravnica

We had already played Hogaak when Bridge from BelowBridge from Below was legal, so playing regular Hogaak with VengevineVengevine and Carrion FeederCarrion Feeder was out of the question. I had scoured the web for interesting decks from the Mythic Championship and learned that this Dredge variant with Hogaak, Arisen NecropolisHogaak, Arisen Necropolis thrown in did well and wanted to give it a go. I needed to goldfish some games to learn the play patterns that allowed for turn two Hogaak, but in the end it plays out a lot like regular Dredge. Game one lets you race thanks to the Creeping ChillsCreeping Chills while ConflagrateConflagrate will end the game in combination with Life from the LoamLife from the Loam. In this version you have to change the mana from only red fetchlands because Dryad ArborDryad Arbor is huge for convoking out Hogaak early on. That means you will take a little more damage than with the old version, but with Creeping ChillCreeping Chill and an 8/8 in play, things are gonna be alright.

Creatures (23)
Bloodghast
Golgari Thug
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
Narcomoeba
Prized Amalgam
Stitcher's Supplier
Stinkweed Imp

Spells (18)
Cathartic Reunion
Conflagrate
Creeping Chill
Faithless Looting
Life from the Loam
Lands (19)
Blood Crypt
Mana Confluence
Copperline Gorge
Dryad Arbor
Gemstone Mine
Mountain
Stomping Ground
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills
Blackcleave Cliffs

Sideboard (15)
Thoughtseize
Leyline of the Void
Lightning Axe
Nature's Claim
Ghost Quarter

Cheerios

Retract from Darksteel

Retract from Darksteel

We needed to find an additional deck for Michael to play that would be good against the lineup we expected from the Stream Team, and I suggested Cheerios. Being inspired by Butakov‘s article on the deck, we tweaked a few cards and built a relevant sideboard. Cheerios is a combodeck that can end the game as early as turn two and wins on turn three pretty consistently which we thought would be great in anticipated racing matchups like Tron, Izzet Phoenix and Burn. Burrenton Forge-TenderBurrenton Forge-Tender solves a lot of problems for the deck after sideboard, so thank you Butakov for that one. I saw a lot of players were using Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor as a secondary win condition, but I didn’t like it because of the low land count in the deck. Believe me, being a Vintage lover, I would love to cast more of the restricted Monk if I was convinced it was good enough.

Creatures (8)
Sram, Senior Edificer
Puresteel Paladin

Spells (37)
Repeal
Retract
Grapeshot
Noxious Revival
Hurkyl's Recall
Mox Opal
Cathar's Shield
Kite Shield
Paradise Mantle
Spidersilk Net
Bone Saw
Accorder's Shield
Lands (15)
Plains
Hallowed Fountain
Seachrome Coast
Sacred Foundry
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Arid Mesa
Marsh Flats

Sideboard (15)
Leyline of Sanctity
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Silence
Path to Exile
Fragmentize

 

I hope you enjoyed reading some details about our process leading into these matches. Here is the YouTube video in case you missed the awesome games, so check to see how these games played out in the games themselves and also get yourself ready for the finals tonight.

These are the timestamps where you can see our decks in action:

Gifts Storm – 00:15:30 min

Bant Spirits – 00:36:00 min

Hogaak Dredge – 01:00:00 min

Cheerios – 01:35:00 min

Esper Control – 01:54:45 min

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.