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By: BlastodermMan, Carl E Wilt
Jun 25 2015 11:00am
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As we make our way through this world, and grow and mature, we find that we make a lot of decisions based on the risk versus the reward. These things, obviously, have a wide range of implications. 

Do I buy that house with the payment I can barely afford, and hope that at no time in the next 20 or so years I become unemployed, have an unanticipated medical expense, or an expensive car repair? 

Do I enjoy taco numbers 5 through 8, and hope I can just double-down on my Tums later tonight rather than stay up with my acid reflux? 

Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. The same can be said of picking a deck for any tournament, whether FNM, a PPTQ or IQ, or just an event for the Modern Festival on MTGO. Do you take the safe choice that is tried, true, and tested, something like Jund, Junk, UWR Geist, Burn, Delver, Twin or Tron, or do you throw caution to the wind and play a Glass Cannon deck and see what happens?

For those not familiar with the term, Glass Cannon is a popular term in gaming (particularly in online gaming) which refers to a character class, person, weapon, or vehicle that has a high offensive output, and very little in the way of defensive ability, durability, or life. In a Magic context, think of it as powerful, but very fragile, decks. For the sake of argument, I allow that every deck has weaknesses and matches that it will lose to. In Modern, there is no such thing as a singular "Best Deck" nor even an almost unbeatable deck. Given that, there are still a lot of very powerful decks that just get destroyed in certain metagames due to their lack of adaptability and flexibility. They do one thing, and one thing only. If the opponent can get past those, it's clear sailing. Today, I wanted to cover a few of these that have been seen at the handful of most recent premier events.  

The decks I plan on touching on will only have a lone appearance in any of the "Top Deck" listings from all the events, and while some of them may be well-known or have had previous success, they are not typically popular choices, or even good choices in a hostile environment. Let's get started: 


Suicide Zoo
GP: Copenhagen Top 16 by Fabrizio Anteri
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Kird Ape
4 Death's Shadow
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Street Wraith
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Thoughtseize
4 Become Immense
3 Temur Battle Rage
3 Mutagenic Growth
2 Vines of Vastwood
4 Mishra's Bauble
4 Gitaxian Probe
24 cards
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Windswept Heath
1 Stomping Ground
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Temple Garden
16 cards

Death's Shadow


 This first deck had a very good showing at GP: Copenhagen this past weekend. Yes, I tossed it together online, and played several matches in the TPR with it. And, I have to admit, this was a blast to shuffle up, and it was not uncommon to win by turn 4 regularly, even with some opponent interaction. That being said, it has some miserable match ups, which are attempted to be handled in the sideboard. Even the player acknowledged that this deck is really weak to both Burn and Affinity. Obviously, those two decks are pillars in the format, and if you are playing online, or at a local event, you can probably rest assured that you will run into, at a minimum, two almost auto-losses. Or at least you will lose the first game a high percentage of the time, and will really need your sideboard cards to make an appearance if you have hopes of getting the next two games. None of this takes into account that you have virtually no way at all of beating a turn 2 Blood Moon from your opponent. Yes, you have a handful of cards you can cast, like Kird Ape and Monastery Swiftspear, and Phyrexian mana spells to pump, but you end up so far off your game, that actually winning will be next to impossible. 

Conclusion: I would play this in an 8-man. I would even play this at an FNM, since the results there don't really matter. Not sure I'm brave enough to run this at a major event, or to hope I run hot and avoid the horrible matches. 


SCG PIQ Top 8 by Austin Bates
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle
12 cards

Other Spells
2 Unflinching Courage
4 Ethereal Armor
2 Spirit Mantle
4 Spider Umbra
4 Hyena Umbra
4 Daybreak Coronet
2 Keen Sense
2 Suppression Field
4 Rancor
28 cards
4 Razorverge Thicket
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
2 Plains
1 Forest
20 cards

Slippery Bogle



 Pretty sure everyone has seen the Hexproof deck...AKA Bogles. This deck took the Modern format by storm a few years ago after posting impressive online results, and I was quite honestly shocked to find it only made a lone appearance across multiple large events. This deck is the very definition of a glass cannon. It can have simply amazing results and crush anyone unprepared. As with many decks of this type, if someone is prepared, you can't win consistently. Between hand disruption, sacrifice effects, and global enchantment removal, anyone sleeving this up can have a difficult time, and while still around, it seems to have fallen out of favor recently. I thought, if anything, it would rise in popularity given that it is relatively inexpensive to build and one of the key cards, Daybreak Coronet, was just reprinted in Modern Masters 2. Guess I was wrong on that. Leyline of Sanctity helps the cause, and a case could be made that maybe those could be moved main in place of Suppression Field and a fetch land. The number of overall lands in the deck has increased slightly over time, possibly for the sake of consistency, but given an environment where there is such hostility towards the deck, I would at least want to test it. Making that switch also provides the opportunity to have Leyline of the Void in the sideboard if there continues to be an uprising of graveyard-based strategies. 

Conclusion: Lots of people are ignoring this deck right now, and I don't think it would be a horrible choice to try and spike an event with it. Understand, taking it to any event also means accepting that you could be dead by the start of round three. But, with the Modern Festival starting this week, there is little doubt that you could qualify for the final event just by running hot once with this.


Soul Sisters
Columbus Modern Open Top 24 by Tom Ross
4 Ajani's Pridemate
4 Archangel of Thune
1 Auriok Champion
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
25 cards

Other Spells
1 Honor of the Pure
2 Brave the Elements
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
11 cards
16 Plains
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Windbrisk Heights
24 cards

Auriok Champion


Given the week over week performance of this deck, this is easily lumped into the glass cannon field. Tom Ross was in the Top 24 with this at the SCG Modern open in Columbus, only to follow up outside the Top 1900 at GP: Charlotte with a very similar deck the following week. I mention this not to disparage the pilot in any way, but rather to illustrate the point, and results that can be seen playing a deck in this category. I've played various versions of Soul Sisters throughout the years. It's usually not a deck I like to play against, nor is it a deck that I really love. It seems to get colded too often for my liking, even if it can randomly spike an event. Last year, near the end of the final real-PTQ Modern season, my wife played a RW version of Soul Sisters. For those interested, here is that list:



I will say, playing the RW version on MTGO is simply miserable. While it is awesome that, unlike in paper, you NEVER miss a trigger, that is also a drawback because, well, there are SOOOO many triggers. While the deck is fun, I can't promise victories and glory with it. 

Conclusion: If there is one deck I've covered today that I won't play in an actual event, any version of Soul Sisters qualifies. Perhaps I am tainted because I find it can be miserable to play against, so I, in turn play it badly when I test to help justify my disdain for it. While I'm sure some person will read this and chastise me for my thoughts, while regaling me of tales about that time they ran hot, missed the bad match ups, and spiked an event, all I can really say in replay is, "Congrats." For me, this is not a deck I think I can spike anything with, but again, your results may vary.

This article does not provide an exhaustive list of all decks that fall into this category. Obviously, there are more. And there is nothing wrong with bringing one to an event and hoping to get there. I know I have before, and I'm sure I will again. These decks can be fun, even if they can also be frustrating. I know that sometime during the next two weeks of the Modern Festival, I'll be playing something like one of these decks in at least a handful of events. 

Because, hey...sometimes you just need to ignore the risk and just focus on the reward. 

Carl Wilt


Glass Cannons! by MichelleWong at Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:32
MichelleWong's picture

I love a good glass cannon deck. I don't need any convincing to sleeve up glass cannon decks! :)

There is something capriciously fun about saying to an opponent: "Hey Tier 1 Opponent! You got an answer to THIS?!" and then you proceed to throw everything in his face and ask him to deal with the mess! :)

For example, it was a golden moment when Josh Utter Leyton (Jund) was defeated by Duke Reid (Bogles) in the semi-finals of the Magic World Championship.