Considering this week has been all mixed up for me - a Vintage video on Monday? A spoiler on Tuesday?! - I decided I would just play some Modern videos for today. I hope you guys don't mind, but I doubt you will, considering the Standard format is on the verge of rotation anyway, so any new tech is few and far between, not to mention fairly irrelevant.
Today's deck isn't the typical deck I would often write about. No, today's is actually...good. Okay, perhaps I should be more specific. Today's deck is one that we know is good as opposed to our normal fare, which is under-the-radar and often very young in its little deck life cycle. I guess what I'm getting at is that we often discuss rogue brews here on Modern Monday, and today we're going over something a little more established.
This list was mostly borrowed from a list Adam Barnello used to win a PTQ, which he probably borrowed from someone else. That's just how these things go usually. I don't have much experience with Splinter Twin specifically, but I do have a good amount of experience with waiting and building up a hand of defenses, and striking when the time is right, so I figured I could do that at least. Let's see if it worked out for me!
Splinter Twin vs. American Twin
Splinter Twin vs. UR Tron
Splinter Twin vs. Possibility Storm
Splinter Twin vs. Krark-Clan Combo
Okay, this deck was ridiculous. Just when we thought we were going to lose, we won! This deck is insanely resilient, and forcing them to "have it" is really what you have to do sometimes. As you can see, it ends up working out more than you might think. This was a great lesson for me, as I'm often a very conservative player and I rarely just "go for it," but Splinter Twin kind of forces you go to for it, allowing me to see just how many times "going for it" can actually work out. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of times my opponents didn't "have it."
One card I absolutely loved in the deck was Dispel. That card is a favorite of mine in Standard as well. When we're casting our spells primarily during our opponent's end step and during our own turn, I can't think of a card I want backing me up more than a one mana hard counter. The one card I was willing to cut for it was Gitaxian Probe. Basically, looking at their hand and seeing whether or not I could go off seemed less appealing to me than just going off, and being able to counter their counter if they had a counter. Got me?
Adam's list initially had one Cryptic Command, one Dispel, and two Gitaxian Probe in the maindeck. I wanted a second Cryptic Command in there from the get-go, because it's my favorite card ever and super powerful, so we shaved one Gitaxian Probe before getting started. After playing all the games I did with the deck, I decided I also wanted a second Dispel, so out came the second Gitaxian Probe. I never drew the card in any of the six matches I played with it last night, and I didn't really miss it. I did, however, recall plenty of times where I could have gone off much sooner if I had one additional Dispel to back me up. The difference is between the two cards, to me anyway, is "seeing what our opponent is doing," and "not caring."
Twisted Image was the tech of Owen Turtenwald, if I remember correctly. It was an innovation that took care of several different things, including being able to take down Restoration Angels and Deceiver Exarchs with a Lightning Bolt, and killing a Spellskite on the spot. All of these are problematic cards, while the former can win the game against us, the latter can prevent us from winning the game by stealing our Splinter Twin. The fact that it cantrips means it's never actually dead and can always dig us into another card. Another subtle trick is to use it on your Deceiver Exarch when the coast is clear, to get in three more points of damage, or to save your Pestermite from one point of damage from an Electrolyze. The card is incredibly versatile and unlike Gitaxian Probe, the uses are far too proactive for me to want to cut.
The sideboard was fine for me. Adam initially had a third Keranos, God of Storms in the sideboard, which I simply exchanged for a second Combust. I knew it would help out in the mirror match, along with things like Swan Song and being uncounterable is huge. I never got a chance to utilize the Keranos, God of Storms, so I'm not entirely sure where in the control matchup he shines, but I can't imagine wanted three. He's legendary and costs five mana. I just assume he grinds out our opponent with bolts and card advantage, which seems just fine considering how aggressive the deck is already capable of being without utilizing the combo.
Some lists opt to run a Desolate Lighthouse. I like this card a ton, but my problem with it is two-fold: 1) I hate having a second colorless land when we have UUU and RRR cards in the deck, and I much prefer the lone Cascade Bluffs for this reason, and 2) we have so many more productive things to do on each of our turns than looting for four mana that I never really felt like I wanted a loot effect at any point. In fact I was even tempted to cut the Tectonic Edge in order to make sure I always had access to all the colored mana I could ever want, but if only one of our lands produces colorless mana, it's virtually impossible for us to really get screwed. Virtually.
Well, that's about it. I'm pretty sure the deck and its pedigree speak for itself and I hope you guys didn't mind me showing off a more "mainstream" deck. The games were a blast and I hope the wins out of nowhere made up for it. Thanks for reading, have a safe holiday, and I'll catch you on Monday! Possible with some more Modern.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV