Shortly after the Bridge from Below ban, MAC Games hosted our summer 2019 Modern 1K tournament. We saw quite a variety of decks at the event. Out of the 36 players at our event, 19 different deck archetypes were represented.
Our top 8 still showed a bit of variance, but held some shocking results. Our top 8 consisted of:
2 Dredge lists (1 Hogaak, 1 non-Hogaak)
2 Saheeli Copycat
1 Eldrazi Tron
1 Izzet Phoenix
There were notably no U/W Control or Humans lists in our top 8. Those two archtypes combined to create 25% of our field, but none of these decks were able to punch into the top 8. Also notable, is that both dredge lists and both Saheeli lists that were in the competition were able to make top 8.
While most people wouldn’t be surprised to see dredge posting strong conversion rates, Saheeli copycat seems to have proved to be more powerful than most would assume. The power of the new, 3-mana planeswalkers are making themselves known. Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils played key roles in both of these Saheeli combo decks. Both decks were also able to play a wide variety of removal and control spells that the Jeskai color scheme has available. The combination of board control and a quick, game-ending combo makes the deck both resilient and deadly. The addition of stronger removal as well as an inevitable combo seemed to set these Saheeli lists apart from the U/W lists that underperformed.
This new Saheeli Copycat list is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forwad. As decks like Bridge-less Hoogakvine keep dominating the format, Saheeli may quietly hold the key to keeping the meta in check.
Top 8 decklists: https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=22486&f=MO
Magic is changing. It has been changing. Gone are the days of honor and courage at the FNMs that sweep across America. The complicated craft of the battling colors, the endlessly changing metas have been replaced by pathetic pandering to gimmicks and loopholes. Example: Tron. The art of head-to-head, grueling combat has died tragically.
But it can return, through the soulful eyes and adventurous soul of one beautiful animal: Bear Cub.
Flavor text creatures often get snubbed in the world of MTG. Their general lack of abilities and triggers, replaced with meaningful background and intimate detail, makes them a “disadvantage” to most players. But what they fail to see if the one element of magic that often goes overlooked: the mind game.
Intimidation can turn the tide of an entire set. Like poker, the implication of what comes next carries more weight than what’s actually on the table. Upon playing a bear cub, questions immediately pop into an opponent’s mind.
“What possible benefit does this flavor text baby animal bring? Is it bait? Is he planning to stack it with enchantments? Is he just a frustrated furry?”
Meanwhile, the bear cub player is cool and comfortable, preparing their coming moves, and watching their opponent sweat. Aside from exposing their opponent’s weaknesses and the strength of their hand, it brings immense pleasure.
Consider how the following moves will be weighed against the placement of bear cub. He becomes the focal point of the match, context by which all future plays are measured. Every move your opponent makes will be accompanied by this thought:
“How will it affect bear cub?”
That power, the ability to grip your opponent’s mind game so firmly in your palm while dangling a flavorful cub over them like a phantom vegetable, cannot be ignored. Bear Cub can add mental games to nearly any green variant deck.
Mind games have been left behind in the MTG meta. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the help of one lovable, little baby bear, MTG can open itself back up to the passive manipulation of your friends that has long been missed in the meta. Forget your triggers and forget your burn: it’s time to agro this baby animal all the way to victory.
In recent history, Phoenix cards have made a substantial impact on constructed Magic formats. From Rekindling Phoenix being the bane of Standard to Flamewake Phoenix providing a powerful threat to the Modern Hollow One deck, we see the power that recursive and hasty flyers provide to a deck. None of these cards have made as interesting of a splash as a recent addition from Guilds of Ravnica, Arclight Phoenix.
The idea behind playing the card is pretty simple:
Step 1: Use looting/discard/milling effects to get Arclight Phoenix into the graveyard
Step 2: Cast multiple instant or sorceries in a turn that are cheap and/or replace themselves in some way
Step 3: Profit
Arclight Phoenix is a card that benefits from efficient cantrips. This means that the more cards that are available to a deck builder, the easier it is to dig Arclight out of your graveyard. Continuing on this train of thought, you can figure out that going back into older constructed formats such as Modern and Legacy, there are some nutty ways to get a whole bunch of phoenixes onto the battlefield very early.
Another clear path for deck builders is to use other cards that benefit from casting a large amount of instants or sorceries. Prowess creatures such as Monastery Swiftspear, Bedlam Reveler, and Monastery Mentor are clearly cards that would pair well with a Phoenix. Other cards such as Thing in the Ice, Crackling Drake, Kiln Fiend, and Young Pyromancer have strong upsides in decks where you can dump out 2 to 5 instants and sorceries in a single turn. Even Delver of Secrets works well in a Phoenix deck. The specifics on how you build your Phoenix deck is less dependent on the Phoenix itself, but more dependent on the “auxiliary” cards listed above.
Here are some of the most popular Arclight Phoenix builds:
MODERN IZZET PHOENIX
LEGACY GRIXIS PHOENIX
MODERN MONO RED PHOENIX
STANDARD IZZET PHOENIX
As stated before, some of the most important cards in these decks are the cheap cantrips. Some of the most powerful among these are Manamorphose, Serum Visions, Ponder, Preordain, and Opt. There are also loads of powerful looting effect in these decks such as Faithless Looting, Tormenting Voice, and Radical Idea. Arguably the most powerful cards in these decks are the "free spells". Spells like Manamorphose (again), Gut Shot, and Dark Ritual.
With how new Arclight Phoenix still is, there are sure to be new decks constantly being brewed with it at the center. It has already proven to be an powerful force in every format that offers varied deckbuilding options. What are some of the most original Arclight builds that you have seen floating around? Let us know!
Whenever the standard format rotates, players scramble and experiment to find the “next hot deck.” With the rotation of the Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks, these past few months of the standard format have been no exception. Players and professionals have been experimenting with different builds; some of the popular deck archetypes being Golgari Midrange, Izzet/Jeskai Control, Mono-Red Aggro, and variations of White Weenie/Boros Aggro decks. A lesser played, yet incredibly powerful deck that is currently my favorite deck in format still seems to be flying under the radar. That deck is Mono-Blue Djinn.
Although it has seen some competitive play, Mono-Blue Djinn (or Mono-Blue Tempo) has yet to break into the upper-echelons of decks being played in the competitive scene.
As you can see in this graphic from Wizards of the Coast, Mono-Blue Djinn was only represented by 3.1% of the field in the Standard Main Event at Pro-Tour Guilds of Ravnica. If you look at the decks to dominate the field, it is a mixture of removal heavy decks that look to out-value the opponent or aggressive, go-wide decks. Mono-Blue Djinn offers an arsenal that is equipped to deal with the removal that decks are dishing out while still having cards to mitigate the aggression from other archetypes.
Here is the deck list that I am currently playing.
DECK LIST: https://deckstats.net/decks/119993/1142412-mono-blue-djinn/en
The main idea for the deck is to play an evasive threat turn 1 (Mist-Cloaked Herald or Siren Stormtamer) and then start swinging in for damage turn 2 with the card advantage engines of Curious Obsession and Chart a Course. When you are playing this deck, this is largely what you will want to look for in your opening hand. You then have a mixture of utility creatures and counter spells to keep the board and your creatures safe. Ultimately, you try to stick a Tempest Djinn and use the massive power it provides in the air to finish the game.
Siren Stormtamer is an incredibly important part of the deck, serving three roles within it: it serves as an evasive threat to stick a Curious Obsession on, it provides protection for other creatures with its sacrifice clause, and it is a wizard, which makes your Wizard’s Retort cost 1 mana less.
This deck rewards smart play. Knowing when to flash in a Merfolk Trickster or what spells to counter can be bigger tasks than they sound like. One of my favorite strategies with the Trickster is to flash it in against an attacking Crackling Drake, reducing the Drake’s power to 0 and causing it to lose flying for the turn. This allows for an easy double-block to kill off the threatening creature.
The main difference between my deck list and others being played is the inclusion of the 1 Admiral’s Order. I love this card as a 1-of. Most players don’t see it coming and wait to use a kill spell until after you declare an attacker. This allows for you to get them with a 1-mana counter spell. Then, after you’ve played it once against them, your opponent is always worried that the card is sitting in your hand, waiting to throw off their game.
Mono-Blue Djinn’s sideboard offers answers to many different archetypes. Sleep and Diamond mare are great against aggro. Negate and Disdainful Stroke both give you tools to deal with the control matchup. Syncopate and Sentinel totem are great against decks like Golgari that are looking to utilize their graveyard to their advantage.
If I were to change up my list, I would consider adding 1 or 2 copies of sleep to the mainboard. At times, it can be hard to deal with a deck that gets wide very quickly. Many players play less than 4 copies of Chart a Course in their deck, and I don’t agree with this. The deck needs card draw mechanics. You will find that most games you lose it will be due to not having copies Curious Obsession or Chart a Course.
I highly recommend you give this deck a whirl. It is incredibly fun, extremely interactive, and highly competitive all while being incredibly affordable.