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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Apr 08 2019 12:00pm
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 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.

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


 Here's the latest Modern events with at least 200 players, ordered chronologically. Find the archetypes below.

 March was an extremely busy month for Modern, with 12 major tournaments, five of which around or over the one thousand players in attendance. The freshly rebranded MagicFest hosted three different and large Modern events in Bilbao, including the Grand Prix (the side events were named after Barcelona, for some reason).

 March 2: Grand Prix Los Angeles 2019
 Players: 1569
 Winner: Michael Bernat with Izzet Phoenix
 Top 8: Izzet Phoenix, Hardened Modular, Dredge, Hardened Modular, Death's Shadow, Dredge, Izzet Phoenix, Valakut

 March 3: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Syracuse
 Players: 238
 Winner: Dominic Harvey with Lanternless
 Top 8: Lanternless, Amulet Titan, Ad Nauseam, Tokens, Death's Shadow, Humans, Jeskai Control, UrzaTron

 March 15: Modern MCQ at MagicFest Bilbao
 Players: N/A
 Winner: Roald Smet with UrzaTron
 Top 8: UrzaTron, Dredge, Hardened Modular, Izzet Phoenix, Izzet Phoenix, Izzet Phoenix, UrzaTron, Valakut

 March 16: Grand Prix Bilbao 2019
 Players: 1614
 Winner: Guillaume Matignon with Izzet Phoenix
 Top 8: Izzet Phoenix, Lanternless, Dredge, Izzet Phoenix, Death's Shadow, Dredge, Dredge, Valakut

 March 16: Grand Prix Tampa Bay 2019
 Players: 988
 Winner: Roshen Eapen with Death's Shadow
 Top 8: Death's Shadow, Izzet Phoenix, Bogle, Izzet Phoenix, Izzet Phoenix, Izzet Phoenix, Lantern Control, UrzaTron

 March 16: StarCityGames Modern Open: Philadelphia
 Players: 941
 Winner: Austin Collins with Izzet Phoenix
 Top 8: Izzet Phoenix, The Rock, Amulet Titan, Dredge, Amulet Titan, Hollow One, Izzet Phoenix, UrzaTron

 March 17: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Philadelphia
 Players: 321
 Winner: Alexander Vu with Death's Shadow
 Top 8: Death's Shadow, Dredge, Burn, Valakut, Affinity, Humans, Izzet Phoenix, Jeskai Control

 March 17: Modern MCQ at MagicFest Bilbao
 Players: 377
 Winner: Álvaro Fernández Torres with Hardened Modular
 Top 4: Hardened Modular, Death's Shadow, Izzet Phoenix, UW Control

 March 18: MTGO Modern MCQ
 Players: 281
 Winner: dredge4six with UrzaTron
 Top 8: UrzaTron, UrzaTron, Izzet Phoenix, Humans, UW Control, Amulet Titan, Spirit Aggro, Phoenix Deck Wins

 March 23: StarCityGames Team Open: Cincinnati (team of three playing each a different format)
 Players: 318
 Winner: Joseph Ambrosio with UrzaTron (teammates: Chris Minor playing Legacy, Freddie Crespo Jr. playing Standard)
 Top 8: UrzaTron, Izzet Phoenix, Lanternless, Amulet Titan, Amulet Titan, Dredge, Hatebears, UrzaTron

Pictured: Minor on the left, Ambrosio at the center, Cresp on the right.

 March 24: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Cincinnati
 Players: 239
 Winner: Paul Muller with Izzet Phoenix
 Top 8: Izzet Phoenix, Izzet Phoenix, Burn, UW Control, Hardened Modular, Hatebears, Hatebears, Spirit Aggro

 March 31: Grand Prix Calgary 2019
 Players: 956
 Winner: Attila Fur with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, Death's Shadow, Humans, Izzet Phoenix, Blue Moon, Dredge, The Rock, UW Control


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, BogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), BridgevineBurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow, DredgeEldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, Elves, Gifts ControlGrixis Control, Hardened ModularHatebears, Hollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro, Izzet PhoenixIzzet PyromancerJeskai MiraclesJundJunk, KCI (banned), Lantern Control, LanternlessLiving EndMadcap Gruul, Mardu Pyromancer, Martyr LifeMerfolk, Nahiri Control, Naya BurnPhoenix Deck WinsPonza, Pyro PrisonRDW, Saheeli EvolutionSelesnya Value, Skred Red, Spirit AggroStorm, Tezzerator, The RockTwinless ExarchUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Vannifar PodWalks.

 Update: Bird is still very much the word in Modern. Arclight Phoenix (which is not a Bird, but it's nicknamed that way) has taken over the meta in ways that begin to feel a little scary. Out of the twelve major events held in March, Izzet Phoenix saw a total of Twenty-One Top 8 finishes (including one Phoenix Deck Wins variant), four of which were fist places, and is now the only deck in the meta with double digit meta percentage. They even made a D&D miniature of the fiery bird, based on the original card art by Sławomir Maniak.

 Considering Dredge has also flown towards major relevance on the Phoenix's wings (i.e. taking advantage of the Phoenix's enemies falling back), we can hope War of the Spark and/or Modern Horizons will contain something that will shake up the graveyards. After all, graveyard strategies are historically very frail strategies that require little in the way of meta change to be disrupted. Alternatively, a ban of Faithless Looting might be the answer DCI will take to the current proliferation. The next announcement will be in May 20, after the March 11 one didn't change anything anywhere, as expected.

 Just to remain current with all things Arclight, here's the two Izzet Phoenix lists that won a Grand Prix in March, in Los Angeles and Bilbao respectively.


 The two lists differ in five nonland maindeck cards: -2 Pteramander, -1 Gut Shot, -1 Lightning Axe, -1 Chart a Course, +2 Pyromancer Ascension, +1 Surgical Extraction, +1 Echoing Truth, +1 Izzet Charm. Sideboard: -1 Abrade, -2 Surgical Extraction, -1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance, -1 Rending Volley, -1 Shattering Spree, +1 Ceremonious Rejection, +1 Flame Slash, +1 Hurkyl's Recall, +1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, +1 Ravenous Trap, +1 Shatterstorm.


 It's interesting to note how Roshen Eapen piloted his Death's Shadow deck to first place in Grand Prix Tampa Bay, where Izzet Phoenix had an unprecedented four Top 8 placements, by always taking the draw against them, to starve them of cards. Grand Prix Calgary, instead, saw Attila Fur triumph with a homebrewed Valakut-like concoction incorporating Through the Breach. Is this the dawn of a Titan Breach archetype?


 Another new archetype timidly surfacing or resurfacing: Tokens. Only two lists placed in Top 8 during the past two months, strictly in Orzhov colors. I guess the Selesnya cards currently in Standard don't measure up to Modern calibre, not even March of the Multitudes, outpaced by the simpler Secure the Wastes.


 Last revised: January 21, 2019 (banned: Krark-Clan Ironworks)
 Next announcement: May 20, 2019

 Total banned cards: 34

 By Color: 

  • White: 2
  • Blue: 6
  • Black: 2 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Red: 5
  • Green: 7 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Colorless: 13
  • Multicolored: 1 (of which 1 Golgari)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 6
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Planeswalker: 0
  • 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: 11 (of which 9 from Mirrodin, 1 from Darksteel, 1 from Fifth Dawn)
  • 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: 0
  • Zendikar block: 4 (of which 1 from Zendikar, 2 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
  • Three-and-One Sets: 0

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


Excellent review of recent by olaw at Mon, 04/08/2019 - 16:46
olaw's picture

Excellent review of recent developments in the Moden format!

Thanks! by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/12/2019 - 05:57
Kumagoro42's picture