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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Feb 04 2020 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Rogues' Gallery!

The first month of 2020 brought to talk about in terms of Modern with a Modern GP in Austin.

On 13 January, we saw a major shake up of the Modern format with the bannings of Oko, Thief of Crowns, Mox Opal and Mycosynth Lattice.  I am happy with the choice of bans - Oko was a must but Mox Opal has proved more controversial for some.  Lattice was certainly the most surprising but takes away the win condition of Karn, the Great Creator tutor for and cast Lattice - which clearly was not an intended interaction when WOTC designed the card.

I feel the main people bemoaning Mox Opal's banning are clinging on to the days when Affinity was a good deck in the format and not when it was an unfair part of the engine to Eggs, KCI and then the Urza decks.  While Opal has been around for a long-time in the format the Urza deck is certainly not its first offence in terms of accelerating broken strategies in Modern and I feel Urza will be a lot easier to deal with without Opal around.  If that proves to be wrong and Urza still ends up getting a ban then so be it but I think it is about time Opal just wasn't a card in the format.

PRE-BAN DECKS

Naya Stoneblade


ihavethefire brought this really exciting brew to the Modern Champs and took 13th Place.  The deck falls is reminiscent of Selesnya Value at the early part of 2018, however, it splashes red for Wrenn and Six and has a Stoneforge Mystic package that wasn't available back then.

There are also some interesting card choices.  Elspeth, Knight-Errant is a planeswalker I haven't seen in decks for years, though the ability to give a creature flying to punch through defenses is definitely not the worst.  Questing Beast also wasn't a creature that I ever really expected to make its way to Modern but having a hasty creature to attack planeswalkers is certainly relevant in the current Modern format.

You can check out ihavethefire's twitch channel here.

Slivers


We all love to root for the underdog and creature-based aggro decks certainly fell into that category in the previous Modern metagame.  I am hopeful aggro decks will become more successful in the post-Oko/Opal world.  From a post on Reddit I managed to find JustBurn420's Youtube video of the event if you want to see the deck in action.

Mono-Green Devotion


Christopher Gooch brought an exciting Mono-Green Devotion brew to the SCG Modern Open in Knoxville.  The deck uses Leyline of Abundance to generate huge mana with its mana producers and then swarms the board with Genesis Hydra or uses a Karn, the Great Creator package to tutor up finishers.  Mycosynth Lattice is no longer an option but the rest of the deck remains intact following the bans so it could be a deck worthy of attention.

Temur Ponza


I suppose I will finish on the last Oko deck I should ever have to post.  Though it does run Oko, Andrew Wolbers has to be given huge credit for making the Top 8 of the GP with this incredible brew.  Oko aside this was an innovative attack on the metagame and with Titan decks potentially being the future of the format it looks like Blood Moon could be a very good card moving forward.

POST-BAN DECKS

Heliod Combo


There has been a lot of talk about the combo potential of Heliod, Sun-Crowned when combined with Walking Ballista and Spike Feeder and Arongomu wasted no time making it happen in Modern.  Is this the next great evolution of the Devoted Druid/Vizier of Remedies combo decks?  I guess we'll have to see.

Emrakul Breach


This is a deck that really caught my attention.  There have been a variety of UR Control decks with various win conditions since Splinter Twin got banned in the format.  Emrakul Breach has been around for some time but the update the deck got from Theros Beyond Death was the unassuming Omen of the Sea.  Omen gives a lot of additional scrying and can also operate entirely at instant speed to allow you to keep open countermagic and other interaction.

The player behind the deck is Jacob Cumiskey.  If you want to see more of the deck in action or see how Jacob is getting on developing the deck you can follow him on Twitter here, subscribe to his Youtube channel or catch his twitch channel here.

CONCLUSIONS

It feels like it has been a big month for Modern with a lot of new developments.  We had a major event, three significant bannings to freshen up the format and the arrival of Theros Beyond Death.  There is tons more I could have put into this article but I imagine this will spill into the February article.  Modern feels reborn in a very good way and I look forward to seeing how the new metagame shapes out. 

I hope you enjoyed this showcase of some of the latest tech in Modern.  See you next month!

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)