R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Sep 05 2019 12:00pm

So you clicked on my article wondering who I am? 

Well, let's go and get the introductions done.


My name is Rob Koster, I'm a 31-year-old Magic the Gathering player from the Netherlands. The main format I play is Modern, although I've spent a year making videos teaching people how to draft before this. While I don't have any GP top 8's, I have been very active in the Modern format since it's inception. I started playing with the release of Time Spiral. Which made my collection line-up very naturally with the Modern format. I've always been a very competitive person, so when I realized that there are Magic tournaments where you can compete with the best players I jumped straight in and never left.


Oh, before I forget to mention it: My online username on MTGO and Arena is NuclearRabbit. If you ever get paired against me don't be scared, just say hello. I don't bite. And if you search for my results, you will see that most of them are with Blue based durdledecks like Blue Moon and Grixis Kiki-Jiki. I just love my Snapcaster Mage and my Lightning Bolt. But I'm fully willing to sleeve up something else from time to time. By now, I have played most of the decks in the format through at least a few league's just to see what was up and to find out what I think about the deck myself.


Now, to get into the meat of this. I mostly play Modern and have to admit that recently I had begun to get fed up with the format. The moment someone goes: "Faithless Looting, discard blabla." My mind just tended to disengage like it does when I'm doing chores around the house. Someone resolving Faithless Looting is about as exciting to me as doing the dishes, vacuuming or flossing the cat. Just get it over with and be done with it.


I was already very excited about the Banned and Restricted announcement they did recently. I could jump back into getting locked out by Dredge and Phoenix, instead of by Hogaak. Which at least is manageable in its own way.


Imagine my surprise when I saw the Banned and Restricted List update.

For those of you who don't know yet:


After confirming that I wasn't looking at a hoax, I started processing what I had just read. Not only had Wizards of the Coast kicked out Hogaak. (As they should have, the format was miserable the last few months.) They also booted Faithless Looting straight out. I cannot adequately describe in words how happy this makes me. I woke up in the middle of the night, and my first thought was: "We're safe now, Looting is finally gone." It felt like a dictator had been pushed out of a long-held stranglehold control that dominated everything. I literally cheered when I read it.


If that were the only thing they did, it would have been a fantastic announcement that is very likely to slow down Modern a bit. Which it has been needing for a quite a while. Dear lord was the format fast. After playing Modern for a few years exclusively, I recently got back into Standard and was surprised every time I made a mistake and didn't just die as a result of it. I hadn't even realized the format had gotten that brutal until I played something else for a bit.


But it wasn't only that, they also unbanned Stoneforge Mystic from the eternal pit that she had been thrown into for crimes she committed in Standard. Which should have happened a long time ago, but I'm glad they did it.


So where does this leave us?


Well, as they said in Aladdin, it leaves us flying on a carpet singing about a Whole New World.


Deciding I would just go in and check for myself what was going on earlier today, I noticed some changes.


For starters:

There are a lot of people playing Stoneforge Mystic. I only had one opponent not playing Stoneforge Mystic. (They were on Tron. More on that later.)


So yeah, that's where the online format is now. It'll die down, but I can't blame people for wanting to play with their new toys in their new playground. (For those of you wondering. I was playing Blue Moon myself, because Abrade seems really good right around now.)


These decks felt quite a bit slower than what we are used to in the format and even though I'm skeptical about people not being able to race, for now with everyone only wanting to play with the new toy has severely faired up Modern.


That does come with a whole new look at the metagame though. So I'll walk through what I expect to happen on MTGO.


1: People play a lot of bad Stoneforge Mystic decks.

2: People that like taking lunch money sleeve up good old Karn Liberated. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about Urzatron.)

3: People start racing again.

4: Neoform still does broken things.


So, the winners in our new world seem to me:

  • Stoneforge Mystic decks.

  • The color White in general. They needed a bone thrown at them for years, after being just friends with Sideboard benefits.

  • Urzatron.  Karn wants his lunch.  A format full of fair decks is quite the feast!


And the losers of our new world:

  • Mardu Pyromancer. (I'm sorry my friend, you are the only one of the Looting decks that will be missed. You were a ton of fun to have around!)

    • Dredge. (I know you'll be back, you always do. But you really don't have to come back if you don't want to.)

    • Grishoalbrand.

    • Hogaak decks. (Good riddance, please throw yourself in the paper shredder on the way out!)

    • Affinity. (People don't need to run 2 million pieces of Graveyard hate anymore. Want to take a guess at what is going to have a major comeback into the format?)


So now your just sitting at your screen, wondering what you should do with all this information. So I'll explain the options you have at your disposal.


Join them. You can (and should!) sleeve up some Stoneforge Mystics with all their cutlery. The card is a ton of fun, and if you are the first one to bring a successful Cawblade deck to Modern, you will get a statue honoring your success along with the statues of Roman emperors in every museum around the world.


The other way to look at this whole new world is through the eyes of everyone's favorite lucky-number-7. Karn Liberated is still a hungry little robot Planeswalker thing. (I don't know what he is exactly, I don't follow the lore, reading is for nerds after all. Text on cards? Just ignore it and turn them sideways!) The third land drops still look like something that should be in exile to him. And you know who doesn't care about Stoneforge Mystic or Batterskull at all? Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, both of them just look at all the people having fun with a little glee of intent in their eyes that can only be described as hungry. Hungry for those 5-0s and League Trophies.


Something else that looks very hungry right now is that pile that has been doing strangely well despite how it looks. The weird mana base, enough fun-offs to build its own fun-palace. Yes, I am talking about the Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck. Think about it. This deck is slow, durdles around like it's 1999 and draws a boatload of cards big enough to fill up the Titanic.


I would post a decklist, but the deck is usually just a rainbow mana base, Niv-Mizzet Reborn and the player's trade binder. Seriously, these lists can play anything their heart desires. You want to play Kolaghan's Command? No problem! You want to throw in an (Ashiok, Dream Render) so you can stare and shout "NO!" at them as you roll up a newspaper and pluck them one on the nose with it as they pick up their deck to start resolving their Squire. Can you think of something more miserable than me? Go for it! This deck doesn't care! I think you can actually just turn your binder upside-down and sleeve up while picking them off the floor.

To get back to the point a bit though, I think the superdurdly 5 color, all-value, all-the-time deck will have a good time in Stoneforge Mystic Modern. I'm not going to sit here claiming that it'll be the best deck in the format. Although that would be a wonderful format, for sure! But I am saying that the slow durdly deck got a lot better with the format looking like it's going to slow down quite a bit.


You can also just play Burn or Neoform, nothing happened to them. Batterskull could pose to be a bit of a problem for Burn though. Just add some Skullcracks.


So do you think WotC made the right decision this time around? Should they have kept Stoneforge Mystic in its eternal exile on the Banlist? Should Looting have stayed around? Do you think that Ancient Stirrings or Mox Opal should have gone as well? Please let me know in the comments.