Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 31 2018 1:00pm
Login to post comments

 Hello and welcome back to the State of Modern, our monthly rendez-vous with all things Modern, including big tournament reports, the decklists and prices for the archetypes that are currently the most successful in the meta, and an up-to-date ban list. If you never tried your hand at Modern, this is the right place to know everything you need to know in order to begin; and if you're already into it, it can still be a good way to make sure you know everything that's happening in the format. And by the way, if you seek a nice free online tournament, I run Modern Times every Thursday at 7:00 PM UTC.

 The series archive is here.
 Let's start a new ride!


 Here's the latest Modern events with more than 200 players, ordered chronologically. January started hot!

 January 6: StarCityGames Open: Columbus
 Players: 959
 Winner: Benjamin Nikolich with UWr Control
 Top 8: UWr Control, UWr Control, Death's Shadow, Storm, Humans, Selesnya Value, Snow Red, Twinless Exarch

 January 6: MKM Series: Frankfurt
 Players: 613
 Winner: Andreas Müller with The Rock
 Top 8: The Rock, Creatures Toolbox, Affinity, Creatures Toolbox, Death's Shadow, Hatebears, Humans, UWr Midrange

 January 7: Grand Prix Santa Clara 2018: Team Trios (Team of three playing each a different format)
 Players: 493
 Winner: John Martin with Dredge (teammates: William Ho playing Standard, Jeremy Frye playing Legacy)
 Top 8: Dredge, UW Control, Death's Shadow, Mardu Midrange, Affinity, Affinity, EldraTron, Lantern Control

Pictured: Martin at the center, Ho on the left, Frye on the right.

 January 21: StarCityGames Team Constructed Open: Dallas (Team of three playing each a different format)
 Players: 207
 Winner: Jonathan Rosum with Humans (teammates: Julian John playing Standard, Kevin King playing Legacy)
 Top 8: Humans, Creatures Toolbox, Burn, Death's Shadow, Burn, KCI, UW Control, Valakut

Pictured: Rosum at the center, King on the left, John on the right.

 January 27: StarCityGames Team Constructed Open: Philadelphia (Team of three playing each a differnet format)
 Players: 329
 Winner: Lucas Michaels with Dredge
 Top 8: Dredge, Bant Company, Death's Shadow, Madcap Gruul, Burn, Humans, UrzaTron, UW Control

At the time of writing, Philadephia's coverage was not up yet; this is Michaels from last May's Louisville.


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, Blue MoonBloomless TitanBurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow, DredgeEldrazi Aggro, EldraTron, ElvesHatebears, Humans, Infect, JundJunk (aka The Rock), Lantern Control, Merfolk, RDWStorm, Twinless ExarchUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift).

 Update: The new year started with the emergence of a few archetypes that are either new or hadn't really been in the spotlight in 2017, most notably Humans, which went from 1% of the 2017 meta to its current, whopping 7% (calculated out of the past two months), placing Top 8 in almost all major events and winning the Modern section of SCG: Dallas.

 Death's Shadow is still the deck to beat, and other protagonists from last year are still going strong, namely UrzaTron, Valakut, Collected Chord (now more commonly referred to as Creatures Toolbox, which covers a wider range of Collected Company builds), and especially UW Control, which has quite naturally welcomed Search for Azcanta into its ranks.


 Dredge made a resurgence, scoring first places in two major events in January. And even classic The Rock has come back, as the older, more Control-oriented version of Junk without white.

 Here's a few of the new faces of the current meta.

 Price (online): $377.41 

 Colors: Gruul (RG)

 How does it work: The signature combo involve using Kaladesh's Madcap Experiment to search for Platinum Emperion, thus negating Madcap's downside entirely, while getting onto the battlefield a 8/8 for 4 that protects your life total. There's a few ways to accelerate this process, namely Utopia Sprawl/Arbor Elf, plus a couple Birds of Paradise, but the deck mostly plays as a midrange Blood Moon deck (that's why Utopia Sprawl is there), with threats like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Stormbreath Dragon, Inferno Titan, and Huntmaster of the Fells (although that's partially a nonbo with the Emperion, just like Courser of Kruphix's lifegain is nullified; by hey, you must plan to survive even when the combo didn't materialize). It looks like a fun deck to play, and definitely not unfun to play against.

 Results: It's not really part of the meta yet (although some of its results have been erroneously filed under Gruul Land Loss), but the recent Top 8 at SCG: Philadelphia might indicate things are just heating up for this little Experiment.

 Price (online): $173.09 

 Colors: Gruul (RG)

 How does it work: Hollow One aims to play its eponymous 4/4 beater for free on turn 1. The way it does that is by casting its many cycling and draw/discard spells, especially Burning Inquiry, which single-handedly turns Hollow One's casting cost to 0, extends your starting hand to try and find a Hollow One if you don't have it, and simultaneously messes with the opponent's hand. Of course our deck doesn't care about dumping stuff into the graveyard. In fact, once Hollow One is established, Flamewake Phoenix returns to the battlefield by just paying one red mana, and if in that moment Vengevine is in the graveyard, it'll return, too, for an insanely explosive first turn that includes attacking for 6 already. Other highlights are the delve Monkey Hooting Mandrills, the one-mana discard outlet Insolent Neonate, and the new hotness Dire Fleet Daredevil, to capitalize on the cards the opponent will discard at random due to the Inquiry. It's all a very well-engineered set of interactions.

 Results: Kind of an overnight sensation, Hollow One has already got 2% of the meta to its name. Will it grow from there, or will it fade?

 Price (online): $374.01 

 Colors: Mostly colorless with mini-splashes of each color

 How does it work: Probably the coolest new deck in Modern, KCI (also known as Trawler KCI) takes its name from Johnny favorite Krark-Clan Ironworks, and it's a descendant of Eggs, a combo deck that had died out in Modern following the banning of Second SunriseScrap Trawler has emerged as Sunrise's replacement, allowing for infinite mana when you sacrifice to the Ironworks all your little card-drawing artifacts that cost between 9 and 2 mana to recast: Mishra's Bauble, Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star, Terrarion, Ichor Wellspring, Mind Stone (not all of these work in the same way; for instance, sacrificing the Sphere or the Stone to the Ironworks won't draw you a card). This way, while you build up your mana, you're functionally searching the deck for your finishers, either good old Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, or Hangarback Walker. The Walker fits the deck better than the fellow, more high-profile Construct that sort of overshadowed it, Walking Ballista, because in KCI you can build up to a huge Walker, then immediately sac it to generate a legion of Thopters, and the Trawler will probably even get you the Walker back. The rest of the deck notably include single cards of each color, due to many of the "eggs" (and of course Mox Opal, Glimmervoid and Spire of Industry) producing any color of mana. Maindeck we typically find Ancient Stirrings, to search for any artifact, land or Emkrakul, and Glint-Nest Crane, which can only find artifacts, but provides some degree of protection while the combo is underway.

 Results: It's up-and-coming, had a Top 8 placement in SCG: Dallas, but considering Eggs was very popular, this new, probably less broken iteration is bound to gain some fans, and comes with instant cred.


 Last revised: January 9, 2017 (out: Gitaxian Probe, Golgari Grave-Troll)
 Next announcement: February 12, 2018

 Total banned cards: 35

 By Color: 

  • White: 2
  • Blue: 7
  • Black: 2 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Red: 6 (of which 1 Gruul)
  • Green: 8 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Gruul)
  • Colorless: 12
  • Multicolored: 2 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Gruul)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 4
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 5
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Planeswalker: 1
  • Instant: 7
  • Sorcery: 9

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, and 1 from Magic 2011)
  • Mirrodin block: 10 (of which 9 from Mirrodin, 1 from Darksteel)
  • Kamigawa block: 4 (of which 2 from Champions of Kamigawa, 2 from Betrayers of Kamigawa)
  • Ravnica block: 1 (from Ravnica)
  • Ice Age block: 2 (both from Coldsnap)
  • Time Spiral block: 2 (both from Time Spiral)
  • Lorwyn block: 1 (from Lorwyn)
  • Alara block: 1 (from Alara Reborn)
  • Zendikar block: 5 (of which 1 from Zendikar, 3 from Worldwake, 1 from Rise of the Eldrazi)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 4 (of which 1 from Mirrodin Besieged, 3 from New Phyrexia)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • Return to Ravnica block: 1 (from Return to Ravnica)
  • Theros block: 0
  • Khans of Tarkir block: 2 (both from Khans of Tarkir)
  • Battle for Zendikar block: 0
  • Shadows over Innistrad block: 0
  • Kaladesh block: 0
  • Amonkhet block: 0
  • Ixalan block: 0

 See you next month, when we'll keep exploring the Modern meta. In the meantime, don't be ancient, play Modern!