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By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Dec 12 2019 1:00pm
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So last week I ended my article with something to do. Because I needed a win condition for my deck, and I needed it fast.

I tried out the Improbable Alliance. And it was all right, but it felt like it needed to be built around a lot more than I did, and I didn't have the time to do it.

After that, I tried a league with Thing in the Ice, but just as I expected. It got elked a few times, and Fatal Push also pushed it a bunch. So I was just off it.

This brought me to a few hours before the championship without anything to go on. I had time to play a few more matches before it started. But brewing was off the table at this point.

So I just submitted old faithful, no cards changed. Here it is just for reference:


I jumped in a league with it and swiftly beat Infect and Tron with it. The list still felt very smooth, so while I was skeptical about running the combo again after feeling that it might be a bit to slow at this point. I submitted it, and I made sure that I had something to eat and something to drink nearby and waited for the championship to start.

Round 1: Against Tron
After having just beaten Tron in the League, I was happy to see my opponent going turn 1 Urza's Mine. I feel favored in the matchup because I get to massively disrupt them with counterspells and put on pressure when they don't do anything.

Game 1 it got to a position where my opponent had no cards in hand, I had a Brazen Borrower and a Snapcaster Mage in play while they were at 5. They, of course, promptly drew a Walking Ballista and utterly destroyed me with it.

Game 2 I mulliganed a bunch and never played a third land.

Oh jeez, that is a rough start.

Round 2: Against Burn
So, the burn matchup for this deck can be won if you get a bit lucky and draw a bunch of pressure. I'm just going to keep it short. I didn't, and I got burned out something fierce. Nothing special to see here, just going to move along.

So at this point, I'm considering dropping. Because starting a tournament at 0-2 is game over. But I decided to play along, to see how far I could get.

Spoiler alert: I should have dropped.

Round 3: Against Dredge.
Yeah, this deck doesn't have a Dredge matchup. Being honest, I despise playing against Dredge, and it makes me mentally check out, it doesn't feel like playing a game of Magic to me at all most of the time. Basically, what happens in this match is that game 1 I tap some stuff with Cryptic Command while having Deceiver Exarch on the board and the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in hand. But it just doesn't matter. I never draw the fifth land to go off.

Game 2 I play a bunch of Crackling Drake, but on turn 8, they still have 0 Power. I promptly die a horrible death.

After that, I just dropped. I was off it, and the chance of me winning something was extremely low at this point.

So I just took it easy for an hour and decided that I would finish off the league that I started earlier that day.

Spoiler: I shouldn't have.

The league ended up with me losing to Tron two more times and then to top it off, losing to Burn again.

So yeah, that's Modern for you these days. And being honest here, some of the games were pretty fun. But at this point, I'm just bored to absolute fricking tears by Tronlands and Goblin Guide and Creeping Chill.

I played a total of about 15 matches of Modern, and it made me not want to play Magic. At all. I'm writing this almost ten days later, and I still just haven't felt the urge to play a game. That's probably the longest I've gone without wanting to play Magic in years.

So I started thinking. What was the problem here? I used to love playing Modern, but that's all just gone now. I don't want to touch the format with a ten-foot pole at this point.

The conclusion I came to was straightforward. I can't afford Legacy, so I got into Modern. I enjoyed Modern because of the power level and the fun games. But after a decade, it's just all the same stuff different day to me. Which is fine, when something interests me for a decade, I'm not going to complain about it getting stale. Well, not much, at least.

But the thing that occurred to me was that well; Pioneer has just done everything better than Modern has. The games are fun and exciting, you don't randomly die every time you think you might have a turn. A lot is viable, which is something I don't feel about Modern at all anymore. I think you could sum up the current tier 1 of Modern in about 4 to 5 decks. Which just never was a thing before. If there had been a tier 1, it was barely keeping its head above the tier 1.5 and tier 2 of the format. But that feels like a thing of yesteryear.

For me, though. I'll just be going back to playing Pioneer. There are still a ton of shells I want to try now that they got rid of Field of the Dead and Smuggler's Copter. Copter wasn't a problem for me, because I was jamming Abrade into everything anyway. But Field of the Dead just single-handedly annihilated every deck I ever wanted to play, so I'm delighted it's gone. Good riddance. Because I want to be casting some Nicol Bolas, the Ravager again, at this point, I've seen multiple shells do well, and I want to start figuring out what is going to work for me.

Something else I want to try is the Lotus Field storm decks. I don't know if they are any good, but every once in a while, I enjoy sleeving up storm in every format, and I haven't played it in Pioneer yet.

And Young Pyromancer always looks at me with a fun little twinkle in its eye, and Improbable Alliance might not have worked out for me in Modern. But I can always try again in Pioneer. They both want me to have Opt in my deck too. Yeah, that should work. Now, if only I can find something that resembles Blood Moon.