Joe Fiorini's picture
By: Joe Fiorini, Joseph G Fiorini
Dec 19 2014 1:00pm
Login or register to post comments

Becoming an Expert.


Splinter TwinCryptic CommandBirthing PodLiliana of the Veil

Modern staples you should be familiar with.

     Magic: The Gathering is a skill-intensive game that takes years to master. There are basic card interactions and general game play methods that are applicable to any deck you can pick up. For instance, playing cards in your post-combat main phase instead of your pre-combat main phase, or casting a bait spell to draw out your opponents counterspell so you can resolve a more important card. Beyond this basic, fundamental aspect of "tight play", there lies the more specific, nuanced plays involving particular cards. An example of this in the modern format would be something along the lines of activating two Tectonic Edges at the same time, to bring your opponent from four down to two lands.

     A complete understanding of these specific card interactions found in the top decks in modern tournament magic is critically important to having repeated success in the game. For this reason, picking a good deck, and learning it inside and out can mean the difference between mediocrity and reaching the "next level" of gameplay. When you're playing Scapeshift, can you rattle off the number of Mountains left in your deck at any given point? You can bet that an expert Scapeshift player can always tell you exactly what lands are left in their deck at any one time.     

      What I will be discussing and advocating in this article is the concept of mastering an archetype/deck, and sticking with that deck. Playing a deck that you are completely familiar with and comfortable and confident in playing is the best thing you can be doing to improve your results in modern format events.

     Modern, unlike Standard, doesn't rotate. It isn't possible to stick with the same deck for very long in any standard format. Luckily, a good modern deck today will be a good modern deck a year from now, with very few exceptions. You can think of investing in a top-tier modern deck and mastering it a great investment of your time AND money, as you'll have the deck and skills learned forever. Compare that to how useful being an expert with mono-blue devotion is right now.

     Although Standard does rotate its card pool, you'll notice that in the last standard season, players like Owen Turntenwald stayed on mono-black devotion as long as it was possible to do so (I'm counting the B/W mid-range deck as essentially the same as Black devotion). I feel like that says a lot about the benefits of mastering a deck, instead of jumping around to the new flavor of the week.

     Now, I'd like to discuss some of the advantages to mastering a particular deck.

Knowing your outs, and playing to them.

     Knowing your outs is a great way to end up winning a game. Often times, dare I say most times, knowing your outs is the ONLY way you can win a game. Playing towards an out gives you educated lines of play to perform instead of guessing what the correct play is. For those unfamiliar with this term, a simple example could be drawing a Snapcaster Mage when you have a Lightning Bolt in your hand and your opponent is at six life. Let's say you're in a situation where you need to decide between racing or chump blocking to protect your life total. Your opponent is able to deal more damage per turn than you are, so it's not an easy choice. You'll lose if you don't block, and if you do block, it won't be profitable, and you'll eventually lose your creatures AND the game. Knowing your potential outs is critical in this situation. Maybe you need to work to get them to a low life total and hope you draw into your Snapcaster Mage. If your only out is a Supreme Verdict, then perhaps blocking to preserve your life total is the correct call, even if all you can do is chump block. Becoming extremely proficient with your deck will help you recgonize the correct lines of play every time. Ideally, you'll win every game that's possible to win with the cards you've drawn.

     Magic is a high-variance game, we become skilled players by reducing the variance of our play choices. What I mean by that is, we strive to exterminate the flawed lines of play, to eliminate the leaks.

Understanding match-ups.

     When I started playing Melira-Pod, I read a few articles and primers on the deck. Somewhere, I read something that was said by Luis Scott-Vargas. I don't remember his exact words, but what LSV said on the subject of playing Melira-Pod was that being successful with the deck is about understanding which cards are important in what match-ups, and focusing on those cards. I took that to mean, for instance, in a match against Delver, that Orzhov Pontiff becomes a very important card, as it acts like a Wrath of God in many board states, killing their plethora of x/1's. There is even more to this, though. Knowing the match up goes further, it's important to know your opponents deck as much as possible. Knowing that Delver plays 12 creatures, a little bit of conditional countermagic, and a bunch of burn, helps immensely in knowing which axis to fight on. If you try to fight the way your opponent wants you to, that is a huge disadvantage for you.

Orzhov Pontiff Young Pyromancer

One great way to clear out Young Peezy and his Elemental buddies.

     When I first started playing Modern on Magic: Online, I only knew about the top decks from having read about them. I soon found out that there was a ton of information that was better learned through hands-on experience. Reading about decks, strategy, and other Magic: The Gathering content is a great way to improve your game, but it isn't a substitute for actually playing games. It's important to do the work. When I was playing Tron, I had most of my match-ups down to a science. Tron plays a lot of four-ofs and card search, so playing the same game every time is a feat that's much easier than it is with other decks. If you're playing a deck with several singleton copies of cards, you're going to need the experience with that deck that only comes from grinding games.

     My first exposure to most decks in modern came from playing Mono-Blue Tron. I can remember the learning the hard way just how dangerous Kiki-Pod decks could be. In one particular match, I saw a Birthing Pod and assumed my opponent was on Melira-Pod, because Melira has many more articles written about it. I wasn't really aware of Kiki-Pod at all. 99 Zealous Conscripts tokens later, I became acutely aware of how explosive this deck could be. The hands-on experience left me with respect for the archetype ingrained in my mind.

     Mirror matches can be some of the toughest matches that you will ever face. If you go into an event knowing more than your opponent that's on the same deck, you're much less reliant on the hand that you're dealt. The mirror is perhaps the most important match up to be extremely proficient in, especially if the deck you chose to master accounts for a high percentage of the metagame.

What to do If you get bored?

     Although I am advocating picking the best deck (or the best deck you can afford) and sticking with that deck, It's ok to play other decks to take a break. It's even a good way to understand match-ups from a different perspective. I know that every time I face a Tron deck with my Kiki-Pod deck that I have a ton of extra confidence from having played Tron a lot. Don't worry about getting exposure to other decks. Another way to keep things interesting is to tune your deck a lot, or even build and save alternate versions. I do this all the time, each of my decks has several versions saved on my account. Just look at a deck like splinter twin. That deck has many different versions you can experiment with. From Tarmo-twin to Grixis Twin, and everything in between, there is enough variety to keep you entertained. 

Playing the best deck VS Playing what you know.

     There have been several articles published that recommend that you play whatever is the best deck at any given time, and avoid sticking with your inferior pet deck. There is some merit to this, and as long as you prepare intensively, it's fine. I can't imagine that a lot of players can just jump into playing the hot new deck to beat, and crush everyone in the room without having extensive knowledge of the archetype. 

     One article in particular that I read, that advocated playing the best deck, was based on the idea that U/R Delver was the uncontested best deck, and gave me the impression that the author felt the former best deck, Melira-Pod, was doomed to extinction. I think the recent results in tournaments have shown that Birthing Pod is still a major force to be reckoned with. People have also declared the death of Jund on many occasions, but the G/B/x decks have always had a presence.

     I don't really accept the concept of a "best deck" in modern. At any given time, there are a lot of decks that could win a major modern event. There are certainly decks that are in a better position in the metagame at any given point, but that is always in flux.

     You should allow yourself time to find a deck that suits you, and don't make yourself stick with a deck you hate. If mono-blue tron is what you want to play, be the best at it that you can be. I had people criticize me for playing blue tron, and I can tell you, victory is the sweetest revenge.

Pro Players and Modern Decks

     If you look at results from Grands Prix and Pro Tours, you'll notice that a lot of professional players become associated with a particular modern format deck. Josh McClain, Sam Pardee, and even Luis Scott-Vargas are known to play Melira-Pod. LSV's playing of the Angel-Pod deck was somewhat dismissed at the time, and now that archetype has largely overshadowed the Melira, Sylvok Outcast based lists. It's often said that the power level of tier-one decks in modern is roughly the same, so a sizable advantage can be gained from being highly proficient with a specific deck.

     Another Magic Pro known for his success with a specific archetype is Grand Prix champion and Pro Tour top 8 competitor Patrick Dickmann. I was extremely fortunate in writing this article, because Patrick agreed to answer a few questions for me in a mini-interview.





     1: You're known as a Splinter Twin   player, How did you first decide to play splinter twin decks?

     PD: "I basically stopped playing real life magic for 2 years after Pro Tour Philadelphia in 2012 which was the first modern Pro Tour. I really didn't like Splinter Twin all that much back then but since I reactivated my Magic Online Account and liked Modern better than the other formats at least, I built Splinter Twin first since it was the most affordable deck for me at that time. (No Tarmogoyfs, Fetchlands used to be cheaper) From then on I started working on Twin building it more and more towards my liking until I arrived at the first "Tempo Twin" versions shortly after the release of Snapcaster Mage."

     2: "The tarmo-twin deck you played at Pro Tour: Born of the Gods has ran me over quite a few times on magic online. Do you still like this take on Splinter Twin, or is your list from Grand Prix: Madrid more where you think the deck should be right now?"

     PD: "I like both approaches to be honest. While straight "UR" Twin is a little better at playing towards the combo, I also like the serious punch that Tarmogoyf packs. I've had recent success with both versions so far.

     3: Do you do a lot of playtesting on Magic: Online?

     PD: I used to play a lot of MTGO but after starting to travel for Magic, I started playing much less. I simply can not make myself play that much online after coming home from a 4-5 weeks long Magic trip."

     4: "For a while, I was playing a lot of RG Tron. I usually felt very confident with that deck, but if I suspected my opponent was on Splinter Twin, I knew there was a very good chance that I'd lose. Is there any one modern deck or Archetype that you worry about having to face?"

     PD: "The way I built Twin, it is very resilient and has a fair shot in all matchups. Anyway, I always hope not to be paired against Burn or Boggles. It's not that these matchups are terrible, I simply do not enjoy playing them since there is very little skill involved when playing the matchup as it is all about killing each other as fast as possible."

     5: "How much of a change do you feel Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise   has made to modern combo decks such as Splinter Twin?"

     PD: Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise   definitely made blue the dominant colour in Modern in my opinion. (Dig Through Time) is the perfect fit for my Twin playstyle which is mostly "Draw, Go!". In my shell, Dig enables to set up a situation which I call the "Dig Through Time - Lock", where you start chaining Dig Through Time   always taking either a Snapcaster Mage   or another Dig, and an answer to any relevant threat they may play. Dig Through Time also makes trading 1-for-1 so much better, which is the gameplan in Splinter Twin most of the time anyway."

     6: "Is there any advice you'd give to players trying to improve their game?"

     PD: "I became a much better player once I started grinding a lot of MTGO. The software helped me become a very clean and organized player with a very good understanding of the rules."


     Well, there you have it, folks! Grinding games on Magic online can pay off in a big way! A special thanks goes out to Mr. Patrick Dickmann for spending his time answering my questions!



Time to practice what I preach.

     If you've read any of my last couple articles, you may remember that the deck I've been working on is Kiki-Pod. Here's the list that I played at Overdrive! this past Monday night. 


     This list has been testing well. Although I lost in the first round of Overdrive! to a pair of mulligans (game 3, five cards, one land for 7 turns, only a Wall of Roots as a mana dork in my hand), I won almost every match I played afterwards that night. I specifically remember winning a match against a UWR control deck, and my list felt very solid. I really like having the ability to Chord of Calling for silver bullets when I really need them. There are some games where that one specific card in your deck is the only way you can win the match. I once Chorded for a Glen Elendra Archmage to counter a Wrath of God that was going to kill my Thrun, The Last Troll, in a game against UWR Control. That felt so good...

This was one of my favorite Chord of Calling plays.     


     One new card I acquired was a singleton Tarmogoyf. That card may seem unnecessary, but I've won several games that I'd normally have lost, all from the work done by that Tarmogoyf. The idea behind it is to have a creature that is cheap to play, and survives Lightning Bolt, and Anger of the Gods. Tarmogoyf also blocks other Tarmogoyfs really well.

     On the other hand, there are decks that Domri Rade shines against. Activating his +1 ability to draw extra creatures against decks that try to grind you out, like GBx and UWR decks. Domri Rade seems pretty good against Leonin Arbiter, and other anti-search cards, as the +1 isn't a search or an actual card draw.

     I'm always on the lookout for new tech, and in my daily scouring of internet deck lists, I came across a recent 3-1 from a Daily Event that ran Domri Rade, Courser of Kruphix, and Huntmaster of the Fells!

Huntmaster of the Fells

Teen Wolf Reboot!




     Huntmaster of the Fells is a card that I am unsure of to say the least. It's a fine card, and great in grindy match ups, and it's a card that's seen play in midrange decks before. What value it provides a Birthing Pod-based strategy is harder for me to wrap my head around. It's almost like this deck is geared to be more towards the midrange end of the spectrum, what with Domri Rade and Courser of Kruphix also making an appearance. 

     I suppose if you do pod into Huntmaster of the Fells, and don't play any other cards AND your opponent has no instants to play, you will get a 2/2 wolf token, 2 life, 2 damage to your opponent, and 2 damage to a creature of theirs (hopefully killing it) and a 4/4 trample beat-stick. Seems pretty good actually, the more I think about it. It's not a super-expensive card, so I'll try it and see how it goes. Maybe if one of your copies of Voice of Resurgence is on the board, they aren't going to want to try to stop you from flipping the Huntmaster of the Fells.

     Another odd inclusion in this list is the semi-transformational sideboard plan of infinite life via the Spike Feeder/Archangel of Thune combo. I have both of those cards and could try this out myself, but since the combo in Kiki-Pod is already VERY robust, I can't see wasting sideboard space on a different combo, especially one that doesn't make infinite damage. I wonder how often this combo is brought in, and if Jsterz took out the Kiki Combo to make room game 2 and 3. Another strike against this combo is that I don't believe it's possible to chain into in one big turn the way the combo's involving Deceiver Exarch are. I suppose there is no reason NOT to try it in an open-play practice match. Maybe there is some angle I'm missing...

     One issue I have with Domri Rade builds of Kiki-Pod is this: "Unfair" decks laugh at Domri Rade. Look at the metagame numbers for modern. The five top modern decks on MTGO are U/R Delver, Birthing Pod, Scapeshift, Jeskai Ascendancy, and Junk. Scapeshift has proven to be a difficult deck for me to face. I was pretty good at dealing with Scapeshift when I was playing Abzan pod, as I was packing lots of Thoughtseize and Sin Collector. Kiki-Pod leaves me trying to stop a Scapeshift from resolving with one of my two sideboarded Negates. Jeskai Ascendancy, in it's current Fatestitcher incarnation, has been giving me trouble as well. Against both of those "unfair" combo decks, I need to be able to Chord of Calling for a silver bullet in an emergency. I tried a build for a short period of time that had two Domri Rades as well as two Chord of Calling in the main. The 2/2 split of Domri/Chord brought my creature count down to 29, and I had to shave a few important creatures to make the room, so I shelved that idea for the time being.

     As much as I enjoy tuning a deck, I always need to keep myself in check, and remember not to dillute my decks too much. It's really easy to get carried away with ideas for more one-ofs in a Birthing Pod deck.

     Anyway... I hope you enjoyed this week's article. I have to thank Patrick Dickmann again for being so nice and doing my little interview. Also, I promise not to keep writing about Kiki-Pod so much, there are many other decks out there. I've just been having a blast trying to master the deck, other than one match I played with Tron, it's all I've played for weeks.


Thanks for reading.

Joseph G Fiorini, Jr

Underground Sea

Islandswamp on MTGO

Follow me on Twitter @josephfiorinijr



Stop reading my mind! I've by Procrastination at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:29
Procrastination's picture

Stop reading my mind! I've been planning to ask Patrick to do a Q & A for an article for a while now! Aw, my thunder is officially stolen. :)

I've been enjoying your journey into Modern. Let me know if you want to playtest matches online, I have a lot of different things built now. (Variations of CFB's Jeskai Combo have been my recent Tourney Practice toy.)

I do suggest a more friendly picture; that ones gives me a sense of disapproval for clicking on the article. :)

I am going to change the by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:26
Joe Fiorini's picture

I am going to change the picture asap. I did it last night, and by the morning, I no longer liked it.

i went back to this pic, by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 12/19/2014 - 21:35
Joe Fiorini's picture

That's better

The Archangel of Thune combo by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 12/20/2014 - 22:26
Kumagoro42's picture

The Archangel of Thune combo DOES deal infinite damage. You just need something as unassuming as a Birds of Paradise around, and it's good game. You don't actually want to build the combo in one turn, because you want for the Archangel to be able to attack, being threat number 1. They have a removal? No biggie, they can't stop the infinite counters to happen anyway, and you'll win via Birds. They'll need 2 instant-speed removals at that point (possibly more, you might have more infinitely large creatures, even if most of them won't be evasive). At the very least, you'll be a 100+ life, with a deck that's fully capable of hitting hard even without combo-eing, something that Melira Combo can't do as effectively.
Compared to Kiki combo you have:

- more resilient combo (Kiki is killed by one removal)
- Archangel of Thune provides inevitability on her own
- none of the pieces are that hard to hardcast (compared to Kiki's RRR cost)
- you laugh at Ghostly Prison
- if something goes wrong and you don't seal the deal, you still find yourself ahead most of the times thanks to the lifegain
- in a Pod deck featuring red people expect Kiki first, will side and act accordingly
- combo-eing is super-easy click-wise, takes very little time and you can't wrong-click; once you automatize the effect, it's basically like rapid-clicking on an arcade game, and sometimes the opponent lets you play it out without realizing they're wasting more time than you are (it happened to me a couple times: they didn't automatize the effect and lost precious clock while thinking they were making me lose clock!)

Once you tried Archangel of Thune maindeck, you never go back. In fact, I started using it as a primary battleplan, and lately I'm even building Pod midrange decks with two Archangels and no Kikis at all, and cards like Siege Rhino and Sublime Archangel instead (I always marvel at how little Sublime Archangel is used in Pod builds: they're decks with 30 creatures, you can often find yourself in the position of Podding a Sublime in for an instant-win out of nowhere).

As for the Huntmaster, I dropped it from my Pod lists long ago. I was always underwhelmed by it, it felt like bad durdling. It's a static creature (meaning you don't want to Pod it further, so it stops your chain), nothing it does is impactful enough to devote one precious 4 CMC slot on it, and yet it's so conspicuous it often gets dealt with on sight. Better an Obstinate Baloth in its place, then, while Siege Rhino is in another league entirely.

I tried the Huntmaster and by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 12/21/2014 - 07:32
Joe Fiorini's picture

I tried the Huntmaster and was also unimpressed. Domri Rade is a card I wish I could get behind, but I run into too many combo decks.

My lists don't make black, other than four Birds of Paradise, so I don't put Siege Rhino in my lists. I wish I could, but I want to have the possibility of hard casting it.

Are you running archangel main deck with two kiki jiki and a zealous conscripts as well?

I'm always concerned with running too many five drops, or even four drops. That's the reason I didn't like the four restoration angels in Brian Liu's GP Richmond list. That's another reason I cut Huntmaster, I realized I had too many four drops again.

In my experience, the issues the deck can have (besides mana problems) are not drawing enough early interaction, and drawing too many of your singleton cards that aren't useful at that time.

As I said, it's "two by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 12/21/2014 - 10:58
Kumagoro42's picture

As I said, it's "two Archangels and no Kikis at all" for me lately.
But I'm also known for building Pod decks that aren't combo (you might be interested in my old article about "Pod theory" — now your article made me want to update it!), and in those decks, you want to have a couple powerful 6-drops at least.

The beauty of the Pod archetype(s) is that the possibilities are almost endless, and even when the endgame is common, there's not one agreed-upon list, basically every player comes up with their customized version based mostly on the meta they face at the moment. For instance, in online PREs I never found a real reason to maindeck Linvala (or even bring Linvala at all), while Bogle decks (and previously, infect) are so damn popular I couldn't allow myself to go to battle without a Spellskite maindeck and at least other two in the sideboard.

I agree 4 CMC is a crucial area, and it's overstuffed with options. Using one over the other might just become a matter of personal tastes and style of play. But what you wanna do in the early turns is you wanna build your board, anyway. With up to 8 1-drop accelerators, and up to 12 overall, is easy to have a 3-drop by turn 2, or a 4-drop by turn 3, and that's where you start shining. That's why I'm not a big fan of Voice of Resurgence. Okay, it's been mostly for the inflated price, but it's also a 2-drop that's more for Zoo than Pod, despite the death trigger. It doesn't build your strategy the way Kitchen Finks do: Finks stop two attacks, likely trade, give you 4 life (so basically stop yet another attack), combo with Resto, and provide two jumps to CMC 4. Finks is the secondary engine of the deck, Voice is just cute.

I use Siege Rhino only in Abzan Pod decks (I usually only play 3-color Pod, although splashing for a 4th or even a 5th color is easy enough nowadays. Actually, Pod decks are mostly either Selesnya decks or Golgari decks, the blue and red splashes are minimal, even with Kiki-Jiki costing RRR). Melira Pod always had the advantage of bringing black to the field, which means the support of Thoughtseize, potentially Abrupt Decay. White only offers Path to Exile as support, but that's not very versatile in the meta. Playing white and black together is great creature-wise, though.

I also don't like Domri Rade too much in these builds. The only Pod-worthy planeswalker to me is one singleton Garruk Relentless, which acts like a 5th Pod. But not in combo builds that need all the 4-CMC room they can get.

I suggest you to give a try to Sublime Archangel, you'll be surprised how effective she is. And they won't expect it, which is important. If you time it right, they'll see you with a few mana dorks and a Kitchen Finks, they won't predict the Finks fetching Sublime and letting a BoP swing for 5-6 in the air. And next turn, they either have a way to deal with her, or you might well win the game.

There's a lot of new tech yet to explore in Pod decks. Bloodsoaked Champion lets you build a great Aristocrats type of deck in a Pod shell. Maybe a Human Pod deck with Glory Rise combo at the top. It's a fun family of decks.

Thoughtseize, sin collector, by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 12/21/2014 - 12:11
Joe Fiorini's picture

Thoughtseize, sin collector, and entomber exarch are the only things I really miss when I'm playing kiki pod. Melira Pod was what I built first, and I eventually sold a few cards to build kiki pod as well. I just started having so much fun with kiki pod, I've decided to make that deck my main focus, and try to become a deadly assassin with it.

I did really like facing combo decks with junk colored pod, and doing the whole "rip your hand apart with sin collector, pod into entomber, and maybe blink them with restoration angel".

I bought a Vendilion Clique to try and fill a similar role to sin collector, but i'm not sure about it entirely yet.

I've been playing in Overdrive! for the last few weeks, because it's fun, and I can't ever get time to do daily events (and the modern 8-mans aren't a good value in my opinion). I tend to build my decks for the metagame posted on mtggoldfish, even though the meta at a PRE may differ.

Speaking of PRE's, how cool would it be if someone could run a player-run league? I'm thinking of something kind of like the vintage super league but for modern.

Back when Classic was still by Procrastination at Sun, 12/21/2014 - 15:40
Procrastination's picture

Back when Classic was still around, the folks that do Yawgmoth's Soap Opera and some others did a Classic Quarterly League similar to the VSL. Off the top of my head: you played against one opponent each week for a set amount of time, then best records at the end of the "season" cut to Top 8 for awesome prizes.

It always seemed like a cool idea to me, but I think it would take several people pooling resources to really get it to work the way it did for them. Plus, I'd say talk to them first to get the details of what worked or didn't work well to really get the entire picture.

Ellmaris was running a weekly Modern League event for while earlier this year, I sadly didn't discover it until the last few weeks it was around. It was great for testing ideas because people were going to play out the matches and there was a lot of variety between decks.

I would love an event with a flexible schedule, so I hope WotC finally gets leagues to work 2015.

There was also the 100cs by Paul Leicht at Sun, 12/21/2014 - 16:13
Paul Leicht's picture

There was also the 100cs league and tribal league in 2010.

That's really cool. Having by Joe Fiorini at Mon, 12/22/2014 - 07:14
Joe Fiorini's picture

That's really cool. Having more ways to play competitively besides daily events is important to me.
I hardly ever get to play a daily. 8 man tournaments mean that a round one bad match up means you pay 6 tix to play one game. I played a lot of 2 mans because i usually break even at the worst.

You know I run a Modern event by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 12/22/2014 - 07:51
Kumagoro42's picture

You know I run a Modern event every Thursday at 19:00 GMT, right? :)
It's usually the larger of the two Modern events on Gatherling, probably due to the Euro-friendly time and digital-only prizes.

I looked at that, yes. I by Joe Fiorini at Mon, 12/22/2014 - 19:00
Joe Fiorini's picture

I looked at that, yes. I think I saw that it happens at a time I'm not available to play, otherwise I would.
I'm pretty much only able to play after my son goes to bed or wakes up (that's also the time I've been writing my articles). It's not so bad, but the lack of sleep catches up with me sometimes.

If I'm ever available, I'd love to play in your event.

Maybe I can take a vacation by Joe Fiorini at Tue, 12/23/2014 - 09:11
Joe Fiorini's picture

Maybe I can take a vacation day and play sometime :)

You'd be welcome! :) by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 12/23/2014 - 09:41
Kumagoro42's picture

You'd be welcome! :)

A friendly reminder that by Procrastination at Tue, 12/30/2014 - 22:30
Procrastination's picture

A friendly reminder that according to, Kuma is running Modern Times on New Year's Day! Thanks to the holiday, I wonder if we can make this the largest turn out the event has ever had?

This Rocks by CalmLittleBuddy at Mon, 12/22/2014 - 19:53
CalmLittleBuddy's picture

Great article as always! I play Pod religiously and refused to accept the death of Pod when UR Delver started to dominate. Even with Jeskai combo decks taking the forefront, Pod is still there chugging along putting up results. Your point about playing what you know, as long as it's based on something solid and not transitional is good advice.

People said Scapeshift was dead and a 'Risky Choice' a while back, but it's still there and has gained a following.

Jund isn't going away either. The fact remains that well built decks will not disappear after a few cards seem to make a splash. Players need to know that in any match up of two Modern decks with some solid history behind them, if you draw better than your opponent and make fewer mistakes, you're most likely going to win no matter what the match up is.

The 'Best Deck' is a mirage. I prefer categorizing decks in Tiers. Tier 1 isn't the 'best' decks. It's the most consistent and well tested decks. Tier 2 are tested, but can be fussy or draw dead right from the jump. I see Tier 3 as niche decks that can run off some wins if they get hot. Fringe decks are untested and therefore unknown. They may be good they may be bad.

Anyways, rambling again! Great job as usual!

Thanks for the kind words! I by Joe Fiorini at Tue, 12/23/2014 - 09:09
Joe Fiorini's picture

Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate it a lot.