"It reminds me of that old joke — you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, 'hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken.' Then the doc says, 'why don't you turn him in?' Then the guy says, 'I would but I need the eggs.'"
-Woody Allen, Annie Hall
After a lot of waffling and another broken Pro Tour, WotC finally took Modern events off the Pro Tour for good. To be clear: Modern is incredibly fun to watch. It's swingy, and sometimes people bring wacky stuff to the table, like the deck that won last weekend's Grand Prix, and all of a sudden you're seeing the stuff that made you fall in love with Magic in the first place win thousands of dollars.
Played in a Standard Champs Qualifier for some reason instead of more modern testing and remembered that Magic is actually pretty fun.— Sam Pardee (@Smdster) November 3, 2016
The problem is that what makes Modern such a spectator-friendly format is what makes it so hostile to players trying to make a living playing Magic. It's understandable that players looking to apply their edge in playskill don't like a format where their deck can just die to an opponent aggressively mulliganing to Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, Blood Moon, Choke, or some other such hoser from Magic's past. Sure, it's part of what you sign up for by playing Modern, but there's no denying that losing like that still sucks. When it's your livelihood, it feels even worse. Putting in a bunch of time practicing all the matchups only to find that the format really only tests how aggressively you're willing to mulligan, thus taking away a lot of in-game decisions, can be disheartening.
I'd say my average record was 3-2 except that doesn't tell the full story. Nearly every record was 3-2 with every deck. Hard to do better.— Brian Braun-Duin (@BraunDuinIt) October 31, 2016
Do I think Modern should exist? Heck yes.
Is it a fun format to practice? Guh. Uh... fun is subjective. One man's trash is another man's treasure. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.
All I'll say is that I have an RPTQ to practice for and I have no clue what I'm going to play. I'm probably going to do something fun. The mono-green Stompy deck reminds me a lot of the first Magic deck I ever built; maybe I'll run that. Tron's always good for a laugh. Lantern Control seems like it could be sweet.
Let's get into this week's Top 10.
Ooooooh, Panharmonicon! I've been trying to break Panharmonicon for months. I think I've finally got it.
Alright so you've got Panharmonicon
Then you run out Eternal Witness
You get back TWO copies of Tranquil Thicket (hell yeah, baby)
Cycle those bad boys right away, we're going off here
OH SNAP, we just triggered our Astral Slide. Let's target the Eternal Witness with that bad boy
Eternal Witness comes back, now we get back Tranquil Thicket AND Mindslaver
Did I mention we have like 16 lands in play? We totally do.
Next turn, we're activating that Mindslaver and getting it AND Tranquil Thicket back with Astral Slide + Eternal Witness
We broke it.
Void Shatter and Glimmer of Genius finally fell off the top 10, probably because Pro Tour Kaladesh was, like, a billion tournaments ago, and since then, blue-based control hasn't really stuck in Standard.
It was only a matter of time till Angel of Invention slipped in sales, but that doesn't stop this W/B Tokens deck from being totally sweet:
Yeah, I know I skipped #9. Trust me, I'll get to it.
The other day I got to play against a Bomat Courier deck with a Thraben Inspector deck. It felt great. I hope everyone gets to experience it — not only did Thraben Inspector completely blank Bomat Courier by virtue of being a 1/2 against a 1/1, but it came with a clue, turning on Toolcraft Exemplar and Pia Nalaar. On top of that, it gave me a little mana sink. Like I said, it felt great.
LOOK AT THIS DECK.
This thing rules. If it were me, I would've dropped red in order to have a more conservative manabase, but you know what? BEING CONSERVATIVE IS FOR THE WEAK. GIMMIE A 3-3-3-3-4 MANABASE EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. I'M NOT PLAYING THIS GAME TO WIN, I'M PLAYING THIS GAME TO FEEL ALIVE, BABY
Blossoming Defense is a good card. It's a better Ranger's Guile. It's good. My question is - what keeps this card selling? It's far from a given in any green creature deck, so what's keeping people coming back for Blossoming Defense? Modern Infect could definitely keep moving the needle; if you've got any ideas on this, I'd love to hear them in the comments.
The decklist isn't up anywhere yet, but Chris VanMeter was playing a spicy Eldrazi brew at last weekend's Legacy Open, sporting Tendo Ice Bridge's big brother: Aether Hub. Looked sweet to me. We'll try to have that decklist as soon as it's available.
You probably noticed that I skipped around a bit. That's thanks to this deck right here:
When people talk about the reasons they like Magic, they talk about decks like this. Sure, running headlong into a game one Blood Moon isn't the most fun thing in the world, but if you've got the Blood Moon, then it's great!
Coldsnap effectively pushed me out of Magic. Scrying Sheets was the coolest card ever, but they were also $20 a pop. So were Ohran Vipers. As a 16-year old kid with no job, this meant that I didn't get to really play green anymore. So Skred Red doesn't really get my gears going, but I can see why so many people got excited about it. Koth of the Hammer, Scrying Sheets, Skred, Chandra, Torch of Defiance — you don't see these in Modern every day.
Lots of Modern events have ended with a tidy narrative suggesting that the format sucks. Grand Prix Dallas ended with Koth emblems and Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Raise your hand if you thought Chandra, Torch of Defiance's first premier-level Top 8 was going to be a Modern tournament!
Sometimes you get eggs.