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By: BlippyTheSlug, Volker Kirstein
Oct 30 2014 12:00pm
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I've been fiddlefarting too long. Too much focus on me, and not enough focus on Magic, and Modern. While I've been engaging in this overlong, overdrawn pity party, and dancing the woe is me dance, the world has moved on.

I need to play catch up. Screw the stupid stuff, it's time to strip way the bloated pretentiousness.

It's time to get back to my roots.


Terra Incognita

It has been said of Modern: "The most important thing about Modern is [its] diversity. It's by and far the most open format right now, there are huge tracts of land no one has explored. It's the new frontier of competitive Magic.", and "The nice thing about Modern is that the format is very open. There's a lot of room to explore and find decks that can work".

To hammer home this point, here are maps from some recent explorations:


UR Swift Fire Snaps
Roberto De Bortoli, 1st, GPT, Oct 19, 2014 @ Defcon Zero 
4 Taylor Swiftspear
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Young Pyromancer
12 Creatures

Other Spells
1 Dig through Time
1 Electrolyze
1 Flame Slash
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Gut Shot
2 Izzet Charm
1 Mana Leak
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Remand
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Snare
2 Treasure Cruise
2 Twisted Image
3 Vapor Snag
27 cards
1 Flooded Strand
5 Island
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
2 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Steam Vents
18 Lands

Monastery Swiftspear

Khans of Tarkir is impacting Modern in exciting ways! Monastery Swiftspear is quickly becoming the darling of Burn and Delver decks. Everyone and their brother is splashing for Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.

Here we have a perfect example. This appears to be a rather traditional Delver build, with Taylor replacing Delver, and the addition of Cruises and a Dig.

But mainly the four Taylors in place of the Delvers.

This gives the deck a deceptively explosive start:

T1 , Taylor, swing for 1.
T2: , 2nd Taylor, Bolt for 3, (Taylor now a 2/3), swing for 4 more.

8 points on Turn Two, with a board presence.

The deck is flexible enough that it can just as easily go for the slowball start, playing the control game with Young Pyro to slowly swarm out les miserables.

As I mentioned, everyone and their brother is splashing . Here it isn't a splash, it's half the deck. But it's still a good demonstration of why everyone is doing it: Treasure Cruise, and Dig Through Time. Decks like this are gas guzzling motor scooters, and have a tendency to run low on fuel rather quickly. Treaure Cruise lets you refill your tank on the fly, so to speak. Dig through Time not only refills your tank, it lets you refine what fuel you're putting in. At Instant speed.

The (small) drawback to those cards, in this particular build, is that they do have Delve, and can potentially use your Snappy fuel. Hence the high fetch count. It's much easier to Delve away half a dozen lands than agonizing over whether to Delve away a Spell Snare, Mana Leak or Lightning Bolt.  

GB Loam Pox
Christopher Powell, 6th Pl, SCG Premiere IQ Worcester, MA, 10/19/2014 
3 Bloodghast
3 Gravecrawler
6 Creatures

4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Planeswalkers

Other Spells
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Darkblast
1 Ensnaring Bridge
4 Life from the Loam
3 Raven's Crime
4 Smallpox
3 The Rack
3 Waste Not
1 Worm Harvest
24 Other Spells
2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
3 Buried Ruin
1 Forest
2 Ghost Quarter
3 Leechridden Swamp
4 Mutavault
3 Overgrown Tomb
2 Quicksand
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Verdant Catacombs
26 Lands



Here's a poxy little number that showed up at an SCG Premiere IQ.

The game plan here is relatively straightforward, in a convoluted way: ping away with Leechridden Swamp, recursive chumps, and Mutavaults, disrupt your opponents hand and land, make some zombie helpers, keep attackers at bay, make a gazillion Worms. Simple, huh?

It seems counterintuitive and slow, but it's evil, it's nasty, and it's surprisingly effective.

The manabase, in particular, shows some cool tech:




Ravenous Rats is an excellent clay pigeon; disrupting their hand, and drawing early removal. If it sticks, it also pumps the pack. 

Zealous Persecution often acts as a board wipe in the early game, clearing out pesky x/1s at instant speed while often times doubling what I'm throwing. 

Most decks with disruption use Tidehollow Sculler as a form of disruption. I used Castigate over Tidehollow Sculler because I don't want whatever I pluck out to come back to his hand. Ever. 

Trampled Under Foot

Lily's Lingering Soul Kisses by Yours Truly
FNM Oct 24, 2014 @ Tramps
4 Pack Rat   
4 Ravenous Rats 
8 Creatures

4 Liliana of the Veil 
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant 
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
7 Planeswalkers

Other Spells
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lingering Souls
3 Path to Exile
2 Phyrexian Arena
4 Thoughtseize
3 Zealous Persecution
23 Other Spells

3 Bloodstained Mire
4 Godless Shrine 
4 Isolated Chapel
2 Mutavault 
2 Plains
3 Swamp
2 Swarmyard
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 
22 Lands

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

The basic game plan is disrupt and clog/ping until I can get a  rat pack going. 

Elspeth makes for flying rats.  Sorin pumps the pack and gives lifelink.  I don't have to tell you how powerful Lily is.

Sideboard for Oct 17, 2014
2 Black Sun's Zenith Sometimes, a board wipe is indicated.
3 Erase Enchantment hate. 
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant Flying rats!  
2 Relic of Progenitus Generic graveyard hate.
1 Slaughter Pact  Narrow "free" creature removal.
3 Surgical Extraction
3 Torpor Orb  Snappy, Twin, and other ETB hate.
15 cards


Modern FNM, Oct 24 @ Tramps 

Round 1 vs Magnus / UWR Kiki

I pulled stuff out of his hand, and beat him down, but Magnus prevailed. The first game via Kiki/Restoration Angel, the second via Celestial Colonnade beatdown. It wasn't pretty.

-3 Castigate, +2 Surgical Extraction +1 Slaughter Pact

I took out Castigate over Thoughtseize because my life totals were never really an issue in this matchup, and I wanted to keep the "cheaper" spells, just in case.
L 0-2, 0-1 Overall


Round 2 vs Keegan / GRuul Zoo

Not much to say here; Keegan threw down the beats faster than I could deal with them, and we had plenty of time to kill before Round Three.

-3 Thoughtseize, +2 Black Sun's Zenith, +1 Slaughter Pact

W 2-0 / 1-2 Overall 


Round 3 vs John / Robots (Reok's Deck)

John was originally going to run a Splinter Twin deck, but he finagled a Robots deck from Reok. Normally, Robots is a bad matchup for me, but this time was reasonably smooth sailing. John had poor draws, I had answers, and we were soon in the back alley having a ciggy waiting for Round Four.

-3 Thoughtseize, +2 Black Sun's Zenith, +1 Slaughter Pact

W 2-0 / 1-2 Overall 


Round 4 vs Riddles / Ninja Bear Delver

One of us was going to leave 2-2, the other 1-3. :) I'm the one that left 2-2.

-4 Thoughtseize, +2 Black Sun's Zenith, +1 Slaughter Pact, +1 Erase

W 2-1 / 2-2 Overall (9th)



Stony Silence is on its way for the sideboard against Robots. (And (Aether Vial!))

Another thing I'm going to do in this aggro heavy meta is Doom Blade. Surgical Extraction has done me no good whatsoever, and BSZ has helped exactly once. I may keep one BSZ. The aggro decks I'm facing are non-black creatures. The only question is how many in the main, how many in the side.

2 Sorins and an Elspeth felt clunky in play, and in game two against GRuul Zoo, there was a point where I had Lily, Sorin, and Elspeth in my hand, and they ended up literally being used as chumps. This is not good.

I have two weeks of Standard coming up, so I have some time to think about this.


The Twitterverse 

Magic Online

Other MTG/Wotc



Meta Madness

Meta Madness used to be a regular feature here in Overdriven! I eventually got fed up with WotC's continuous poor communications, missing event results, and unusable client, and gave up in disgust.

In those waning months of my meta activity, the Modern community over at MTG Salvation started their own, much wider project. At that time, I was exclusively an online player; my charts dealt only with the online world. The project started by the Sally folks is much wider, encompassing the paper world as well.

Please enjoy the fruits of their labor; I think you'll find it a worthwhile resource. 



Overdrive!, which started on July 4th, 2011, is the original Modern format Player-Run Event! In fact, Overdrive! is even older than Modern, having started out as an event in the Overextended format. Overdrive! is a single elimination event: two men enter, one man leaves. Registration is done via Gatherling. You can find more information at the main event thread here.



Overdrive! #155
Players: 13
Champion: 6argamel / Tarmo Twin
Runner up: ChineseNotebook / Value Pod
Decklists and results from all Overdrive! events can be found here.  

6argamel brought Tarmo Twin to the party, and laid down the beats to Soul Sisters (Kinda), Boros Aggro, UR Pyro Delver, and Value Pod to stand over the wreckage as Overdrive! #155 champion.

ChineseNotebook does love his Pod decks! And why not? They've always done him well. This time he podded away TempoTwin, BR Aggro, and Ghostpants (aka Boggles, Auras, etc), before getting the beats put to him by Tarmo Twin.



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