Welcome back to another edition of The Modern World. This week I will covering Valakut Breach.
Right now it is not in the top of the meta but it did just 5-0 a league on the 7th. If it continues to put up good results you will be seeing more of and should know a bit more about the deck. When you have that info you can decided whether you want to play it or beat it.
This list was recently played by Chris Anderson for the Modern portion of the SCG Invitational.
This list is pretty straight forward and can be very powerful. Just like last week I am going to start with lands (or just land).
This is the one of the main win conditions of the deck. Simply get out Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and your 5 mountains and go to town. The question is how to you power out your lands? Here are those options:
These are the spells that allow you to ramp out your mana. All of them net you an extra land or mana so you get to 5 or 6 as fast as possible. What are you ramping toward?
Getting out a Primeval Titan on turn 5 is great but you can even do it on turn 4 with this deck. Of course Titan is not untouchable and it is against those decks that you will most likely have the hardest time. There is still another way to win with making your land drops and hitting them with Valakut each time you play a mountain. The question is can your opponent kill all of your Titans? With Summoner's Pact you can search up your Titans at any time and keep presenting threats that your opponent must answer.
Chris also opted to play a main deck Obstinate Baloth both to serve as another win condition but also to give him a buffer against the aggressive decks. Since this deck has red it also has access to some of the best removal in Modern.
I won’t bother saying much about bolt. We all know how good it is for spot removal and the last few points of burn. Anger of the Gods on the other hand is the best sweeper in Modern and a must play if you are playing red. It hits all of the zoo decks and really punishes Dredge.
As I mentioned there aren’t really many tricks or fancy plays with this deck but sequencing is still very important. You always want to have enough mountains left in your deck so when you get Valakut out you can go for the kill as quickly as possible. So when you fetch get the right lands. Though as you can tell from the list it is hard to run out of mountains.
The sideboard plays a big role in this deck because there are so many different things you will need to answer. Playing only two colors limits your options but I have seen players splash black for Slaughter Games or splash white for Nahiri, the Harbinger both in the main and board.
Otherwise the board is filled with extra removal and other threats meant to give you an advantage when your opponent is trying to disrupt your plan. What I really like in the board of this list in particular is the copy of Gaea's Revenge. This card is basically unbeatable in the current metagame. Off the top of my head the only card played that kills it is Maelstrom Pulse. Of course I may be completely blanking and there may be more. Please feel free to tell me in the comments. It is a very niche sideboard card but if you are on the other side of it you are not in a good mood.
What do you think of the deck? Are you a fan of casting powerful creatures quickly? If so then you may want to sleeve (load) it up. However what if you are not a fan of this style of deck. There is still the option of the traditional Scapeshift control deck. It can still use Titans or you can go more controlling and lean solely on the powerful sorcery to wreak havoc on your opponent.
There is a traditional Red Green list like the above. This one really puts a huge focus on the ramp aspect of the deck playing cards like Khalni Heart Expedition. You can also change it up a bit. Most times it will add blue so you can gain the assistance of cards like Cryptic Command as well.
However what if you do not like playing this style of deck? In fact you want to make sure that you do not ever lose against it? What can you do to combat the power that this deck has?
Here are a few suggestions.
You want to have a good way to interact with their plan. Valakut Breach has the plan of getting a Titan out and smashing you repeatedly with attacks for 6 and triggers off of Valakut. How do you stop that?
First thing you can do is remove their Titan. What are the best removal spells for the giant? The best two would be Terminate and to a lesser extent Path to Exile. Path is always good but you are giving them a free 3 damage off of Valakut if they already have that set up.
Another option is going after Valakut. Cards like Molten Rain have been in sideboards to deal with Tron but it also can hit a molten pinnacle. Another card that has been gaining popularity is Crumble to Dust. It is a great answer to lands that you otherwise cannot really interact with. So it is not a wasted slot in your deck especially because last time I mentioned how Tron in gaining popularity as well.
You can also just go under them. If you play one of the turn 3 or 4 combo decks or a hyper aggressive deck you can take a Titan Breach player out before they really get to stabilize. Infect works well just be careful because of the Sudden Shocks they can have in their board.
If they are leaning on more of a Scapeshift Package then you want access to counter spells and cards like Slaughter Games. I even saw a red green breach deck that splashed black just to have access to the powerful sideboard card. Otherwise you try to stick with the same plan. Go under them and/or try and stop them from doing their thing.
I already mentioned Infect as being one strong option but another one that I really like is a traditional Jeskai Control type of deck that has access to the Nahiri and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
As we have been finding out Modern is very diverse and each deck you choose to play has to be good against a variety of things. Often times your sideboard is so important. Knowing that you have access to certain hate cards or extra removal or even an alternate win condition.
Next well I am going to take a break from covering some of the popular decks and do a piece on developing a rogue deck or a brew when you know what you need to beat. Modern has a huge card pool and there are so many combinations, cards, and types of decks that don’t see a lot of play.
I have been trying to find unknown or underutilized cards and seeing what can be done with them. Recently I have been working on something and while it is not where it needs to be yet, I feel like it can be a very strong competitor in the Modern metagame. It will take a lot of work and a lot of polishing but it is a fun project and I look forward to sharing the results with you all!
Thank you all once again for your time and until next time!