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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 03 2018 12:00pm
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 Hello and welcome back to the State of Modern, our monthly rendez-vous with all things Modern, including big tournament reports, the decklists and prices for the archetypes that are currently the most successful in the meta, and an up-to-date ban list. If you never tried your hand at Modern, this is the right place to know everything you need to know in order to begin; and if you're already into it, it can still be a good way to make sure you know everything that's happening in the format. And by the way, if you seek a nice free online tournament, I run Modern Times every Thursday at 7:00 PM UTC.

 The series archive is here.
 Let's start a new ride!


 THE BIG EVENTS

 Here's the latest Modern events with more than 200 players, ordered chronologically.

 April 1st: MTGO Modern MOCS
 Players: 184
 Winner: Patxi with Humans
 Top 8: Humans, Eldrazi Aggro, Humans, Humans, Living End, Hollow One, Hollow One, Hollow One

 April 8: StarCityGames Modern Open: Milwaukee
 Players: 1062
 Winner: Vincenzo Balistreri with Eldrazi Aggro
 Top 8: Eldrazi Aggro, Burn, Affinity, UWr Control, EldraTron, Humans, Valakut Control, Twinless Exarch

 April 15: Grand Prix Sydney 2018: Team Modern Unified
 Players: 1050
 Winner: Jessica Estephan with Hollow One, Ryan Lewis-Jonns with Humans, Lachlan Saunders with UrzaTron
 Top 4: Hollow One/Humans/UrzaTron, Affinity/UrzaTron/Grixis Control, Dredge/Humans/Valakut, Blue Moon/Humans/Living End

Pictured: Lewis-Jonns on the left, Estephan at the center, Saunders on the right.

 April 15: Grand Prix Hartford 2018
 Players: 1819
 Winner: Matt Nass with KCI
 Top 8: KCI, Bloomless Titan, Bogle, Burn, Affinity, Bogle, Elves, Hollow One

 April 29: StarCityGames Team Constructed Open: Atlanta (Team of three playing each a different format)
 Players: 879
 Winner: Brian Basoco with Humans (teammates: Rudy Briksza playing Standard, Jonathan Job playing Legacy)
 Top 8: Humans, Bant Collected, Humans, Affinity, Storm, Humans, Affinity, Humans

Pictured: Briksza on the left, Job at the center, Basoco on the right.


 THE MODERN META

 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, BogleBlue MoonBloomless TitanBurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow, DredgeEldrazi Aggro, EldraTron, Elves, Grixis ControlHatebears, Hollow One, Instant ReanimatorHumans, Infect, JundJunk (aka The Rock), KCILantern Control, Madcap GruulMerfolk, Nahiri Control, PonzaRDWStorm, Twinless ExarchUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control.

 Update: The era of Death's Shadow's dominance seems to have come to an end. The archetype has been plummeting in the last month, most likely because the Death's Shadow players jumping on the Jund bandwagon after the return of Bloodbraid Elf. Out of the two potentially groundbreaking unbans from the February 12 revision (speaking of which: predictably, no changes in the April 16 announcement), it's the hasty Elf that made the more detectable impact with her signature BRG list, while Big Jace seems content to just help established control archetypes and little more.

 The month's winner is a different aggro build, though: Humans, which strengthens its new place as meta leader, achieved in March, amounting now to 8% of the top finishers in the meta. Its grip becomes even stronger the higher we look: out of the 44 top-8 decks from April's major events, 11 are Humans, a whopping 25%, including three first places. Tellingly, only one of the top 4 teams from Grand Prix Sydney didn't include a Human list (and it was an event with Unified construction rules, otherwise we might have seen even more of them). Humans is just a very straightforward, very explosive fast aggro archetype, easy to play, hard to stop due to the sheer density of threats. It stayed mostly the same lately, exploiting all five colors of mana thanks to the Ancient Ziggurat/Cavern of Souls/Unclaimed Territory manabase. Latest tech to show up: a singleton Kessig Malcontents as a finishing blow and a playset of Phantasmal Image to copy it on occasion.

 

 Here's a couple decks that carved a niche for themselves in the current meta.

 

 Price (online): $276.25

 Colors: Jund (BRG)

 How does it work: The main combo build within the family of Jund-colored decks, some kind of list centered around Living End has been always around. Its main characteristic is having a very simple, barely interactive battle plan where a number of creatures are cycled into the graveyard hoping to draw into a cascade spell as soon as possible: any of those will surefire enable the casting of the namesake sorcery without relying to suspend and at instant speed, since no other card in the deck costs less than 3. Simian Spirit Guide is there to speed up the proceedings, while Beast Within is the catchall removal (if everything goes according to plan, you're going to kill that Beast with Living End, anyway). The cousin list that uses Hypergenesis instead has never been legal in Modern, because Hypergenesis is to Living End as Eureka is to Living Death, and 3-mana, instant Eureka is bound to generate larger, faster, scarier threats. Indeed, the quality of any Living End build is directly proportional to the quality of the cyclers (or other creatures able to self-dump into the graveyard) it has available. Some of those are evergreen, like 0-cost Street Wraith and utility players Fulminator Mage and Faerie Macabre. Amonkhet contributed with two cyclers, Archfiend of Ifnir and Horror of the Broken Lands, that keep wanting for you to cycle or discard cards, thus feeding on the rest of the deck around them. Therefore we can say this version of Living End is the best one Modern has seen yet.

 Results: Not exactly a tier-1 deck, Living End has grown up to a solid tier-2 position as of late, and it's currently the second most successful combo deck in the Modern meta after Storm.

 

 Price (online): $611.28

 Colors: Colorless with minor blue presence, and a red splash exclusively for sideboarded alternative wincon Ghirapur Aether Grid

 How does it work: Tezzerator is a minor archetype in Modern that descends from Extended decks using Tezzeret the Seeker to conjure any kind of hate artifacts to potentially lock the opponent out of the game, then win via Tezzeret's ultimate or some kind of artifact combo. The deck has since taken many forms, including a Dimir version with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. It can be a very entertaining deck to pilot, but very skill intensive, because you have to know what piece of your gigantic puzzle box is the right one to solve your current predicament. Kaladesh has brought a new key element in Whir of Invention, which is basically Chord of Calling for artifacts (while Artificer's Intuition can be seen as a nerfed version of Survival of the Fittest). Among other commonly played cards: Trinket Mage, Thirst for Knowledge, Vedalken Shackles, Phyrexian Metamorph, Batterskull, the Sword of the Meek/Thopter Foundry combo.

 Results: It's on the outskirts of the meta, but unpredictable and beloved by its loyal fan base. You gotta love a deck that plays Bottled Cloister.


 THE MODERN BAN LIST

 Last revised: February 12, 2018 (unbanned: Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Bloodbraid Elf)
 Next announcement: July 2, 2018

 Total banned cards: 33

 By Color: 

  • White: 2
  • Blue: 6
  • Black: 2 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Red: 5
  • Green: 7 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Colorless: 12
  • Multicolored: 1 (of which 1 Golgari)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 5
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Planeswalker: 0
  • Instant: 7
  • Sorcery: 9

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, and 1 from Magic 2011)
  • Mirrodin block: 10 (of which 9 from Mirrodin, 1 from Darksteel)
  • Kamigawa block: 4 (of which 2 from Champions of Kamigawa, 2 from Betrayers of Kamigawa)
  • Ravnica block: 1 (from Ravnica)
  • Ice Age block: 2 (both from Coldsnap)
  • Time Spiral block: 2 (both from Time Spiral)
  • Lorwyn block: 1 (from Lorwyn)
  • Alara block: 0
  • Zendikar block: 4 (of which 1 from Zendikar, 2 from Worldwake, 1 from Rise of the Eldrazi)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 4 (of which 1 from Mirrodin Besieged, 3 from New Phyrexia)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • Return to Ravnica block: 1 (from Return to Ravnica)
  • Theros block: 0
  • Khans of Tarkir block: 2 (both from Khans of Tarkir)
  • Battle for Zendikar block: 0
  • Shadows over Innistrad block: 0
  • Kaladesh block: 0
  • Amonkhet block: 0
  • Ixalan block: 0
  • Three-and-One Sets: 0

 See you next month, when we'll keep exploring the Modern meta. In the meantime, don't be ancient, play Modern!