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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jul 02 2015 11:00am
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Modern Festival qualifiers are over.  I wish that they went on longer, but that's mainly because I did not qualify for the main event.  I tried really hard though, which is why I have seven promo Eternal Witnesses on my account.  The best I did was 2-2 in any of the events.  After qualifying for the PTQ with Grixis Twin, I should have stuck with that, but I became a bit gun-shy in regards to the deck.  I ran it back in the PTQ and went 2-5.  It was not the best of times for me. 

Enough about my playing failures.  I did after all qualify for the PTQ and for the MOCS, both while playing Modern exclusively (kinda had to for the PTQ though!)  What I want to talk about today are some of the cooler 5-0 and 4-1 decks that I found while scouring results, while looking for any kind of clue to the MTGO Modern metagame.  

These Modern Festival events normally had more than 100 players in them.  I know I played in at least one that had 200.  These events were large, and the field for each one was hard to pin down.  Living End may have been good in one event, and then a dog in the next, and honestly this brought back great memories of Magic events at conventions.  I can remember going to Origins and at the beginning of the weekend one deck was dominant and then the field would shift around the previous performances.  It made for some exciting times for sure! 

The usual suspects were all there.  Splinter Twin, Affinity, Grixis, Burn and Tarmogoyf decks were all fairly represented during the Modern Festival Qualifiers.


Do you remember when this deck was supposed to kill Modern?  I do!  People started to play it, and I recall one of my friends doing well with it in a Starcitygames.com event a few times, but it never really caught on.  Then Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time got banned because well, great cards will tend to do that (I'm looking at you Birthing Pod.), and then this deck just fell right off. 

It's still a really potent strategy in Modern.  If you get to untap with a resolved Ascendancy in play chances are pretty good that you're going to cycle through your deck, make a giant dork of a creature, and win with it. 

I love how versatile that Glittering Wish board is.  You have removal, and split cards (one of which lets you win without an attack step).  Meddling Mage (You have to use the Planeshift version right?) and Determined protect the combo.  You also have a way to find the needed enchantment, and ways to draw cards to keep you from fizzling. 

This deck would be perfect for those that play the Ascendancy deck in Standard.  It's easy enough to port over, so come on, play some Modern with us! 

The Modern Solution

This deck is not going to go down to Burn without a fight!  There 10 main deck dorks that the burn does not torch, and six of those guys have protection from red.  There is a really nice package of burn spells here as well.  Crackling Doom is underrated removal in the Modern format, and the card gives you an out to a lot of things that are hard to deal with preboard.  Tasigur, Angler, Titans, opposing Geists, and Boggles (which is on the rise on MTGO, thanks to good matchups with Grixis and Burn.) are all headed their doom.  Add in two damage and you have a pretty special removal spell.  Bloodsoaked Champion is pretty weird here, and I'd almost replace it with Grim Lavamancers, but something about it worked right? 

The sideboard to me looks to be generic answers to popular decks. I'd like to see more artifact removal for Affinity, but outside of that, the board looks fine. 

Waste Not

This is based on Travis Woo's latest brew, and it's pretty slick.  It's a storm deck, as you can see with the cheap rituals and Grapeshot, but can rip the opponent's hand apart and get great value from Waste NotBurning Inquiry alone gives you three triggers on Waste Not.  From there hopefully you are snowballing into more discard to get more triggers and either killing the opponent with the Grapeshot, or setting up an insane attack step with a ton of zombies.  Dream Salvage is really outstanding in this deck, as your opponent is constantly discarding, be it with the targeted discard or Reforge the Soul.  Salvage is going to let you draw a lot of cards, but in my experience, those cards are almost always mostly lands.  

I've played the deck six times, and have won one match with it, so these links should help everyone out! 

Travis will be able to explain it better than my paragraph blurb, so here is his article on the deck. 

If you would like to see the deck in action, you're in luck, Travis recorded some videos for ChannelFireball here.


This deck popped up in the top eight of Grand Prix Omaha back in January (Thanks to Carl Wilt for pointing that out to me on Facebook!), with a top eight finish in the hands of Scott Lipp.  I remember playing something like this in Standard a long time ago.  Our two drop then was Lotus Cobra, and if I recall correctly our dream to Summoning Trap was Emrakul then as well. 

I guess the more things change the more they stay the same?

If our Summoning Trap failed our backup plan then was Valakut, and it's the same backup plan here with the inclusion of Scapeshift.  Dropping a bunch of Mountains into play with a Valakut is a tried and true way to win a match! 

Remember when Valakut was banned?  It seems kinda silly now that we have a Modern format where 4/5s for one seem to be all over the place right? 

Tezzeret Control

Top control sprang into prominence during Grand Prix Charlotte.  This version seems to be the natural progression of the deck.  My personal experience is similar to the Waste Not deck.  I'm not entirely sure how the deck won without Tezzeret, and now with the Planeswalker in the deck you can take all those mill artifacts, animate them one at a time and start going to the face for five a turn. 

Tezzerets ultimate in the late game is sick.  You're bound to have a ton of artifacts in play if everything goes according to plan.  Ensnaring Bridge keeps you from getting run over, and Bottled Cloister helps you if you're trying to get into a bridge lock.  You have a ton of discard to deal with any potential threats, and I really like this build more than the one that was brought up in the Grand Prix.  It looks like a solid, but quirky control list. 

This is a deck that I will for sure be trying out soon.  Maybe even in the MOCS? 

The Aristocrats

Tom Martell brought this deck into the Standard forefront with a win at Pro Tour Gatecrash.  This is almost the same deck now as it was back then, with the exception of a few upgrades.  Dark Confidant is an outstanding addition here, as is Promise of Bunrei.  Both cards give you advantages in different ways, with the Confidant fueling your hand, and the Promise bringing more tokens out to play.  Inquisition shines here as well. 

If you're just now coming back to MTGO after a two year break, this may be the best place for you start off in Modern.  This deck also has Crackling Doom, which is quickly becoming one of my more favorite cards in the format, and plays very similarly to the Aristocrats of the past. 

Boros Control

We have ourselves another Ensnaring Bridge deck, but this time instead of mill, we're looking at a token based prison deck.  Creature based decks are going to have a hard time breaking through with all the hate that this deck packs for them.  Blood Moon can crush the greedy non basic heavy decks like Tron and Amulet, and Damping Matrix can do real work against Twin.  Maindeck Leyline of Sanctity helps the deck out against Burn and Jund (no discard!) and Chalice of the Void works overtime against the cheap spells of Grixis, be it control or Delve. 

You have a few Planeswalkers to grind out the game, but outside of those, you have Assemble the Legion to power out wins. 

If you like Workshops or Dragon Stompy, this may be the Modern deck for you! 

Special Bonus PTQ List

While I was PTQing this past weekend with Grixis Tron, this was my first round opponent.  I got game one fairly easily and actually thought my opponent was on a different weaker Gifts Ungiven deck.  Game two I made a critical misplay on turn two in regards to what land to fetch and could never actually cast my black spells in hand.  Game three is where things got out of hand. 

My hand was ripped apart after a Gifts that showed my Raven's Crime and Life from the Loam.  I tried my best to stay in the game, but with Crime making me discard non instant or flash cards, I was operating in a huge hole. 

I should have conceded, but my opponent was running out of time, and I was really salty.  I wanted them to beat me, and with no threats in play then dangit, I still had a chance! 

The game went on a few more turns, and a fetchland was cracked.  Or maybe a Gifts was cast. 

All I remember is that suddenly my opponent had a way to win.  Panglacial Wurm came forth from the deck, and after a couple of attack steps I was sent to the loser's bracket. My opponent was on their way to the top eight.  

I hope you liked this look at some of the lesser known, cooler lists of Modern.  With the MOCS and Festival Championship coming up this weekend, and the past three weekends worth of Modern Grand Prixes, the format sure has gotten a lot of attention!  I hope that you can see that you don't need Tarmogoyf, Liliana or Splinter Twin to be successful, and just pick up a few games of the format. 

It really is great fun!

Thanks for stopping by! 


2 Wear/Tear missing from the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:40
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

2 Wear/Tear missing from the Aristocrats sideboard.

Dangit by JXClaytor at Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:56
JXClaytor's picture

I knew the other lists were missing split cards, and I manually added those, and just completely missed the aristocrats board. Just floated right on by it this morning.

There a lot of sweet lists. by olaw at Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:35
olaw's picture

There a lot of sweet lists here. As someone who is always looking out for interesting new Modern decks this is a nice collection.

I'm really excited about the by JXClaytor at Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:56
JXClaytor's picture

I'm really excited about the Tezzeret list, I'm testing it tonight and tomorrow for the MOCS and will probably fall back to twin or tron, but bridge feels so good against the metagame right now.