Modern is sort of the kid brother to the other non-rotating formats. You don’t even want to acknowledge that he’s there a lot of the time, but Mom and Dad seem to give him a lot more attention than they do to you these days. He can’t do everything the older kids can do, and you have to hold his hand and walk real slow across the street to get anywhere. The format has a lot of frustrating handicaps to it. You can barely get through two turns without self-inflicting several points of damage, which definitely comes as quite a “shock” when you’re trying to re-acclimate yourself to the format.
I don’t really care for any of the established decks in the format. When I’ve wanted to play competitively, I typically opted for Jund back in the days before the Bloodbraid Elf ban, and have played Zoo variants for much of the format’s existence whether or not that archetype was any good. If you have a plan to deal with a few of the format’s boogeymen, you can actually play a wide variety of decks. I’ve touched on the format a few times in the past, trying out a few rogue decks that I found interesting to experiment with. But I hadn’t spent much time before now trying to actually brew a deck for the format.
My intention was to take the things I’d learned from building Hatebears decks in Vintage and apply them to Modern. Most of the creatures in those decks are Modern-legal, so the card pool is there.
The problem is that you are attacking such a wide variety of strategies. In Vintage, there are only a few broad categories of decks to attack: Workshops, Dredge, Blue Control, and “lots of cheap spells” decks ranging from Storm to Delver. In Modern, you need a plan for Birthing Pod, Tron, Burn, Affinity, Splinter Twin, Scapeshift, Bogles, a variety of Rock decks, and more. And all those decks attack in different ways. In Vintage, you also have much better mana-denial plans to supplement your attack.
I knew I would want green, white, and black for the best assortment of hatebears, plus Dark Confidant and Thoughtseize. From there, my original build used blue for Trinket Mage in the board plus a trinket package. The thinking there was that there are a number of solid trinkets that shut down opposing Modern decks fairly well. Grafdigger’s Cage and Pithing Needle are both solid, and Chalice of the Void is pretty good against combo decks like Living End or the new Jeskai Ascendancy deck. But I found the deck was very weak to Tron as configured, so I opted instead to splash red for Avalanche Riders. Uncounterable land destruction off the back of Cavern of Souls seemed good against a lot of decks, actually. Modern’s notoriously greedy mana bases are always worth attacking.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a solid card against many modern decks, and forcing her through off a Cavern of Souls can be a nice tempo play if they were leaving up Remand. Electrolyze is going to be good against this deck, but at least it’s not quite as good at 4 mana.
In Vintage, outside of the Shops matchup, you rarely have to worry about large creatures other than the occasional Tarmogoyf. In Modern there can be a bit more combat, so I beefed up the lineup with a set of Knight of the Reliquary and a couple copies of the new card Anafenza, the Foremost. KotR has gotten much better now that Deathrite Shaman isn’t gobbling up all your discarded fetchlands every turn.
With such a high creature count, I thought Mayor of Avabruck was worth a try as he’d be worth quite a bit of power on the board. They have to respect it enough to spend removal on him at the worst, hopefully clearing the way for the larger beatsticks to remain on the table.
Here’s the list I’ll be playing in today’s videos:
4-Color Humans by RexDart
After playing with this deck for a few days in the 2-mans, I feel that you need to have a much more focused metagame in mind to be successful with a deck like this in the Modern format. The smaller-stakes queues are just too wide open. You are planning to be the beatdown with this deck, but if your opponent isn’t disrupted by your creatures, then you really are just attacking with Grizzly Bears. In a metagame that was mostly combo and blue tempo decks, I think you could tune this list to be very successful. But in a metagame with a substantial number of “fair decks”, you are just a suboptimal aggro deck. I was expecting to see a lot more combo than I did, especially given all the hype surrounding the Jeskai Ascendency deck, but that just isn’t the field I would end up facing.
Check out the match videos below, and let me know what you think in the comments. Are there any creatures you would consider running that I didn’t include here?