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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Feb 26 2019 12:00pm
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I have been playing a ton of Modern.  While the Pro Tour Mythic Championship was going on, I decided that I needed to do something with all these decks that I have on my MTGO account.  Modern is in a pretty good place now, after the Krark-Clan Ironworks banning, and I have a lot of completed decks on the client.  Thanks to the crash of last year I was able to buy a ton of cool stuff on the cheap, and while prices are recovering for non-rotating formats, they aren't as high as they used to be.  I'm taking this time to buy in to them after only being able to play Standard on Arena.   I missed Modern most of all, so while I was watching people way better than I will ever be play Magic, I decided to join them. 

From Friday, after I put the finishing touches on State of the Program to Saturday Night, before we got a line of heavy storms in Kentucky, all I did was play Modern.  It.  Was.  Amazing!  Ten leagues may not sound like a lot, especially for someone who used to spend 40 hours a week playing Magic, but over the course of two days it was a lot of Magic.  What I want to do with this article is introduce the ten decks and briefly give my thoughts on them.  I played all kinds of stuff, oh wait, I'm kidding, I stuck with control options and comboish options.  I'm not really sure what to call As Foretold decks.  I think they are control decks with a combo finish, a weird hybrid of sorts.

Let's start off with a look at the deck that did worst for me.  

One of the As Foretold decks in the format, which, with the printing of Electrodominance, has started to see more play in Modern recently.  This one is neat because it allows for a combo finish with Deceiver Exarch and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.  You play the deck a lot like you would if you were playing Grishoalbrand, dumping legendary creatures in to the graveyard, reanimating them with Goryo's Vengeance and going off.  What makes this different though is unlike Grishoalbrand, you have to have an attack step to win.  One of the first matches I played with the deck was in fact against Grishoalbrand, and I was beaten rather soundly, as my opponent was able to kill me in response to me killing them.  It was kind of a bummer actually.  I also lost to Spirits and Humans.  Normally I would play out all 5 matches of a league, especially a friendly one, as the play points are things I need, but this one just crushed my soul with the 0-3, and I hit the drop box to move on from it. 

Mono Red Living End was the next deck that I played and I was impressed by it's raw power. We could easily cast multiple free Hollow Ones early in the game, and if that failed to win, we could just Electrodominace and cast our Living Ends to get huge value from our cycling creatures.  In the five rounds that I played, I was paired against the Grinding Station Semblance Anvil deck that is starting to pop up in the void left by KCI twice.  With a better prepared sideboard, I think I could have been a lot more competitive in those matches, but in reality the games were over on turn 3.  Scrap Trawler, the actual problem card in KCI, got to stick around the format for a little while longer.  One of the highlights of this deck was in my fifth match of the league, where I got to cast all four Hollow Ones on turn 2.  Of course, fundamentally ending the game on turn two is fine, but let's not have Splinter Twin around to mess things up! 


This is a deck I would recommend playing.  It's not an all-in style Living End deck, and uses it as a backup plan instead.  It is quite capable winning on the backs of Flameblade Adept and Hollow One.

Moving on! 

I was drawn to this deck for one reason, and one reason alone. There is a copy of Quicken, one of my favorite spells to be printed, and Sram's Expertise, which I thought played along super well with Living End. It does not! You do not get a board full of cycled creatures and three 1/1s as well.  This deck looked fine, even if I would cut the Quicken from it.  One of the most appealing things about the As Foretold decks to me is you get to load up on free copies of Ancestral Recall with a full playset of Ancestral Vision, and this deck does not run a full set.  With only five ways to cast Living End, I feel like you want as many chances to draw one of them as possible, and Vision would certainly help in that regard.  A drawback to this strategy with this color combination is that we are limited in good creatures that can cheaply cycle.  A quick gatherer search shows that White's best one cost cycling card in Modern is either Cast Out, which doesn't come back off of Living End or Glassdust Hulk which is a small boi when compared to something like Desert CerodonWinged Shepherd also exists, but doesn't seem worth it to me as a 3/3 flier. We're limited to solid, yet not great cyclers.  While Striped Riverwinder is the dang truth, River Serpent works directly against Living End, often times I would cast the sorcery and be unable to attack with the serpent.  Street Wraith probably deserves to be in this deck, just because it gives you another body, and because we can preserve our life total with Settle the Wreckage and Path to Exile.  The sideboard was also poorly equipped to deal with the Modern metagame.  Amulet of Safekeeping?  In this economy?  This deck was cute, but not great, even if it did allow me to 8 for 1 a Dredge opponent.  Settle the Wreckage does play quite well with Living End. 

Thank you, next!

This deck is pure nonsense. I'm glad it exists because Restore Balance is one of those cards that has always existed on the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of Modern, and really, I think it deserves more love.  The purpose of me playing so much Modern was to find a deck to MCQ with last Sunday, and while I passed on that event due to wind issues (I didn't want to sign up, and then lose power, so I decided to not sign up at all), this was one of the decks in the running for me to play, and it's something I am going to continue to test.  The Modern format is poorly equipped to deal with a free spell that can make the opponent discard most of their hand, sacrifice all their creatures, all their lands, and end up with a Greater Gargadon coming into play for you.

The final deck of today's article is an Azorius Control deck

A full set of Ancestral Vision? Another full set of Rest in Peace in the main? This is great!  You're preboarded against some of the decks that control has a tough time dealing with, thanks to nasties coming back from the graveyard and all, and you're not really giving up a ton against the rest of the format with them in the main.  At worst, you have four super easy cards to take out of the main while you're giving yourself a much better game one matchup against stuff like Dredge, Anvil, Arclight Phoenix and Storm.  It seems like a great trade off to me.  Dragonlord Ojutai is such an underplayed threat that can keep the card advantage engines going and is hard to deal with when not attacking.  There were some flaws but this was a pretty good deck for Ancestral Vision. 

This week I showed of a few good homes for free spells in the Modern format.  There are still plenty of decks I didn't showcase that take advantage of As Foretold, Ancestral Vision, Living End and Electrodominance.  The format is still evolving post ban, and a lot of things are playable in Modern.  However, with As Foretold in play, I feel nearly unbeatable most of the time.  It's one of those cards that if I get to untap with it in play I feel incredible with. 

Next time I'm going to go over some more Modern decks, look at some real titans of the format! 



Liking the look of these by olaw at Thu, 02/28/2019 - 14:40
olaw's picture

Liking the look of these decks. I enjoy the Suspend-based combo decks. The Restore Balance deck seems really interesting.

I love the suspend mechanic by JXClaytor at Thu, 02/28/2019 - 22:05
JXClaytor's picture

I love the suspend mechanic so much, and now that we get free copies of Balance, Recall and Living Death to play with, it's just great. Wheel of Fortune is waiting to be busted with As Foretold too, it's just a dang shame Eurekea was banned so long ago.

The balance deck is a ton of fun but I am not sure how great it is. On one hand, the format does not do well with Balance, on the other, if you don't have GG, you have to manage your resources as well as possible to make sure Balance does not hurt you as much as it does the opponent.

Yes, that was my concern by olaw at Wed, 03/06/2019 - 07:09
olaw's picture

Yes, that was my concern about the Restore Balance deck. I saw SaffronOlive play the deck and you are relying on Gargadon pretty heavily to make it less symmetrical. The deck doesn't empty it's hand rapidly so is often discarding down to the opponent's hand-size and number of lands. Also, Gargadon is vulnerable to Path to Exile which is a problem if you go all in on it.

Seems like a cool deck but it does have its problems.