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By: BlastodermMan, Carl E Wilt
Jun 11 2015 11:00am
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Some people believe everything happens for a reason...whether by the fates, divine intervention, karma, or careful planning. Myself? I'm not that fatalistic nor prone to such thoughts of predestination. Things just happen. You react to them. You make things happen. Things react to you. I'm fairly certain that if there is a supreme being (or beings, or force, or whatever), they care little about if your sports team wins or who wins "Song of the Year" at random awards show. Regardless of whatever amount of time you spend crafting and following a plan in your life, there are circumstances and devices beyond your control that can easily cause everything to be for naught. It's life. "Things" happen, and behaviors change.

This past weekend, the wife and I attended the Modern Open held in Columbus in conjunction with the SCG Invitational. As mentioned last week, the wife played the Mono-Green Aggro deck. *SPOILER ALERT!! She did better than anyone else in our group, in spite of the fact that her first game played with the deck was round one, game one. She finished 4-3, and dropped after taking her 3rd loss in the seventh round. She lost to G/R Tron twice and a Mono-White Death and Taxes type deck, 

I never did get anything new put together in time to play it, so ended up with Green Moon. It was a poor deck choice for the event overall, and I was further punished early as my first round opponent dropped a third turn Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and proceeded to kick my teeth in. To be fair, though, I think I need to take a page out of the Gerry Thompson book of Magic explanations. 

We met up with Gerry post event for a few adult beverages. He was a 1-2-drop from the Modern Open with Jund. When a friend of ours, who went 1-3-drop with a similar Jund deck, lamented that the field was particularly hostile to Jund, and maybe people were metagamed against it based on Gerry's articles and stream, Gerry replied with, "Nope, I don't think that's it. I played bad and got punished."

So, even with my first round going poorly, in the end, I played bad and got punished. I finished 3-4 overall, and dropped once the wife did. One of those "victories" was against the dreaded chair. I could blame luck or pairings, or almost anything else for my losses, but in the end, it was all on me. I made a bad deck choice, and topped it off with bad play. My other losses were to 3-color Burn, Affinity, and Restore Balance. Incorrect sideboarding and weak mulligan decisions were directly responsible for at least two of those losses. 

But, a funny thing happened on my way to the bottom of the standings. Given as this is pretty much Modern PPTQ season (ok...Modern or Sealed), I decided this is the season I should be trying to qualify for the RPTQ. There are a ton of events easily within my driving range so I should be able to attend quite a few, assuming I continue to play badly and don't qualify early. As an added bonus, the wife really did enjoy her time with the Mono-Green Aggro, and wants to travel along and play as well. Few things sound quite a perfect as a summer full of weekends hanging with the wife and slinging spells. Fine...add a few beers in there and discussions of victory and plunder for completeness. 

Going this route is fraught with potholes and issues, though. For starters, I still need something other than Green Moon to play. Perhaps I can start by looking at, and possibly dismissing out of hand, some of the top decks in the format. Let's begin with the Modern Open winner: 



Hard to argue with a winning deck, and quite honestly, it is very good. Jund has a hard time beating it, and many of the aggro decks also have issues with it, which seems to be a good spot to be in overall. One obvious drawback is that jumping onto a deck the week after it wins a 900+ person event, as well as taking down the split-format Invitational that same weekend, seems like a loose play. Of course, needing Karn Liberated and Oblivion Stone on MTGO also is a bit costly at the moment as well. Sure, I may bite the bullet and go for it, to get some testing in and become somewhat competent with the deck, but the old Magic 8-Ball is not giving me a positive sign.

Let's take a look at another deck that did well this past weekend:  


There were multiple copies of Infect in the Top 8 of the Modern Open, and it continues to be a powerful deck. As with any deck, if someone really wants to beat it, especially in Modern, they absolutely can. But, that still doesn't take away from the raw power of the deck. Back when we had Mono-Green Infect in Standard, along with Rancor, for the last couple months of the season until the second Mirrodin Block rotated out, I played the deck quite a bit, and always enjoyed it. If there was a deck I HAD to pick up cold and take to an event, this would be it. I'm not saying I would take it down, but this is a deck I would feel comfortable with right out of the gates. I would need some practice, as I know I would not be able to play it optimally, but at least I have all the cards for it online and can practice until my heart's content. 

One last deck from this weekend is from the Top 4 of the Invitational: 


Merfolk is a deck that I've always considered more of a Green deck than a Blue one. I really like some of the differences that this deck has over other versions I have seen. For starters, running Monastery Siege over the more common Kira, Great Glass-Spinner seems like a strong call in a format with sweepers that can simply wipe away the protection from targeted removal that Kira provides. The addition of Sea's Claim in the board pushing the total "land destruction" spells up to 6 seems important in a format chock full of dual and Tron lands. Given the plethora of Green creature decks, I'm not sure if the Hibernation count should remain at one. I can see swapping the second Unified Will for an additional Green sweeper. This is another deck that I can fairly easily play online, needing to get only 1-2 cards to complete this version of it. 

Of course, while I have options, I also have about 2 weeks until the grind begins. I could easily end up on any of these decks in the end, or, you know, I could just end up on another R/G concoction. Because that color combination/play style is what I am much more comfortable with, and, well, I can probably always be trusted to make a poor decision. Let the testing begin.

Carl Wilt