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Magic Market Index for Sept 22, 2017
 
The Limited Archetypes of Ixalan
 
Treasure Cruisin' with Monored Burn
  • posted a message on UW Control
    The issue against Control is only against Jeskai or Blue Moon. When we're facing Grixis, Esper or whatever, they have very few ways to end up the game, thanks to our incounterable removals and exile clauses. They usually end-up without a real way to win the game, and Gideon's emblem really shines in the mill game-into-the-game. Heavy Burn-spells Control are difficult to face, though, because unless we are able to completely shut down their red sources they can just slowroll the damage to our face, and they're also able to deal with our planeswalkers. Not that they are impossible match-ups, but it's really not nice to face them.

    Merfolks is been pretty decent for me, expecially since I moved to the fourth Verdict maindeck. Having 4 sweepers plus a ton of spot removals (postboard come in Condemn and Blessed Alliance) plus Seas to shut down their Mutavault (seriously, this card is good even against monoblue Grin ) usually means we're on a good spot. It's difficult for them to attack our manabase consistently, and Cryptic Command also helps bouncing EOT a Glacial Fortress or a basic Plains to reset the board in our main phase.

    Ghost Quarter is better than Tectonic Edge only against Affinity and Infect. The first is already a decent/good match-up, the second is nowhere in the current Modern. Tectonic Edge is better in 90% of other scenarios.

    CoCo is problematic when they're on the Vizier/Dryad plan, because we don't have that many istant answers to the combo (compared to URx and UBx versions of the deck), while we're pretty good at grinding against the Kiki-Chord variant and the 4-C Saheeli one. Anyway, the MU is usually between 45-55 and 55-45 depending on the builds of both archetypes.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Post board can be tough, but 3 little gids should basically ensure a victory g1 so we have to lose both post-board games. How do you feel about Obstructionist: counter Lotus Bloom activation? Could buy us a couple turns to beat face with Gid/Snap?


    The number doesn't matter, because they will kill it right after resolving Ad Nauseam and casting Laboratory Maniac with multiple Pact of Negation in their hand. If we don't have multiple targets, such as Runed Halo, the only utility of Gideon's emblem here is to take time, letting them wasting an additional turn before winning (most of the time), so that you can beat them with the walker.

    The first game against Ad Nauseam is utterly terrible. We're something about 30-70, and we can only win if we clog up our hand with the right half of library. Postboard is much more manageable.

    Obstructionist is a 3cc spell that sometimes can be used as a counterspell, sometimes is pratically dead (being a 3/1 body without ability is often irrelevant for the purpose of this deck). It's much better to play cheap interaction like Dispel and Negate, or just going with the Vendilion CLique route, which is by far the best creature you can play post-side against AN.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Gideon's emblem is good against Ad Nauseam only if you also play Runed Halo in your sideboard (I do). Else, they can just bounce the planeswalker before comboing. Having two targets makes it much more difficult for the Nauseam player. But also consider that they often play Laboratory Maniac. Still, it's very consistent for the beatdown plan.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    IMHO, they use Relic just because it cantrips. It's *another* cantrip in a build already full of them (Visions, Seas, Walls, Cryptics) that complements well the "dig-into-the-library" plan. I don't like the choice, simply because RIP is a necessary evil against Dredge. But, if Dredge isn't in the metagame anymore, then Relics are probably better.

    I did 3-2 in yesterday's tournament, missing the top8 for the first time after seven events. Played my usual list (25 lands, 4 Cryptics, 4 Verdicts, 2 Jace AOT, 3 little Gideon) but this time I went with 3 Walls maindeck instead of the usual two. I'm liking having more cantrips, it really helps digging for key pieces. I'm actually on 4 SV, 4 Seas, 3 Walls and 2 Farmland, and the deck's been incredbly smooth. I also added another Runed Halo in the sideboard (going to three) in spite of the second Celestial Purge. I had a bit of bad luck in the pairings, but, well, you can't always reach the top. Won against Mardu Burn (2-0), Cheerios (2-1) and UB Faeries (2-0). Lost against Goblins (0-2. I cannot describe how much I hate playing against this deck!) and Skred Red (1-2).


    Now, I just wanted to point out two things.


    First, little Gideon has been amazing for me in the current metagame. I didn't like it at first, because when it was printed Decay was still a thing and go-wide strategies such as Elves and CoCo were prevalent. Nowdays, with Valakut, Eldra-Tron, Burn and Shadow at the top, Gideon is just insane. It's also very good in the mirror, thanks to the emblem which prevents you from decking, and it has multiple functions: being able to race against combo and killing Lilianas against Shadow really is something, other than providing the "usual" damage prevention and insurance against burn spells. So, I decided to up the count to three, even though I always liked the single Jura to complement them. Elspeth is still a necessary evil in the sideboard, though, because Thrun isn't manageable otherwise.

    Second, given what I wrote above, I'm wondering if the two Vendilion (or Queller/Geist, if you prefer them) slots are actually better being real counterspells. If I already have three lil Gid in the maindeck, I have a very decent race against combo of the sort. But then, it's very important to answers cleanly the opponent's Primeval Titan, Ad Nauseam and such. Maybe an additional Negate (the fourth?) and a single Disdainful Stroke (or even a Disallow?) may be better in those slots. Dunno.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I see ZERO actual upsides in having Telling Time or Anticipate in spite of Serum Visions. People asking for more cantrips in the deck, just sleeve some Visions.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I felt nostalgic, after being for a while on UW :p

    Played succesfully my Esper Gear list at local tournament, only swiss, ending 4-2 and finishing on third place. I didn't really had much time to spend on deckbuilding this time, so I just updated my latest build. Enjoyed it a lot, even if the metagame isn't exactly the best for Esper, right now.









    Won against Titanshift (2-1), Temur Scapeshift (2-1), Bant Eldrazi (2-0) and Blue Steel (2-0). Lost against 8-Whack (0-2) and Mardu Tokens (1-2). The deck felt decent enough, unless we face very aggressive strategies (8-Whack, Burn and Herbalist Zoo). Mardu wasn't that bad, expecially thanks to Jace from the board, but sometimes they just chains discard spells into Liliana into Lingering Souls into Nahiri, and we can't really do much. Other than that, I also had some games against Eldrazi Tron, and utterly crushed it (4-0 without sideboarding). The deck is pretty much shaped against big-mana strategy and for the Cotrol mirror, which is more and more common lately due to the resurgence in UW and Jeskai, plus it's obviously good against the usual Midrange. It's worse against pure aggro, though, because the lack of Sphinx's - which generally provides the life gain we need to stabilize the game.

    I'd like to have a second Blessed Alliance maindeck or the fourth Verdict, but the slots are really nowhere. To sum it up, the strategy is the usual: it plays a lot like a Moon-less Blue Moon, with Spreading Seas in spite of it and the engine Snappy-Gearhulk-Cryptic which gain a lot from the Esper Charm presence. You'll use the discard mode a lot more, here, with the benefit of being aggressive enough against Combo decks thanks to the 5/6 bodies and the additional Snapcasters. Academy Ruins really helps a lot in recycling Gearhulk and postboard Explosives.

    I might try this again.

    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Spreading Seas has only been my MVP in *any* of the latest match-ups. I mean, like... since six months ago, playing against any sort of strategy. Soorani is well-know for its stubborness about card's power-level, as it stated that Gideon of the Trials is actually a bad card in Modern. I wouldn't really listen at him.

    Speaking of charms, I feel like Azorius Charm isn't half bad, but the only slot it could really take is that of Think Twice probably.


    Played it in Esper Draw-Go. Always been the less impactful card in the 75.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Question: is a small black splash for Esper Charm doable or is the manabase with its four colourless TecEdges/GQ's too fragile? Or is the less painfull manabase itself too important?


    Esper Charm requires UWB in the casting cost, so each single colorless land is an awful draw when you're playing it. More than that, we don't even have the space to play a full set of Charms. Slots are pretty much the usual, and splashing only for a pair of copies seems ridiculous.

    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    Again with Price of Progress talk? Guys, it's just too powerful in Modern. Players already shock themselves a lot throughout the game. Back to Basics could be a nice alternative to Blood Moon in Ux red-less Control/Aggro-Control, but it's probably too powerful - again.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on UW Control
    There is one catch to Tec Edge vs. GQ that I'm surprised nobody has mentioned yet -- the mana required to activate Tec Edge. I've often found this to be problematic for activating it and being able to hold up countermagic or cast a Verdict or whatever in the same turn. This in addition to being able to use GQ when Tron or Affinity doesn't have 4 lands and the ability to destroy your own non-basics against Blood Moon to search for basic lands or trade Islands for non-Islands against Choke, I find there to be serious reason to play GQ over Tec Edge. I personally play a 2/2 split because Tec Edge is just super good when it's good (and plays better with Seas), but I honestly think GQ is a necessary evil. I'd actually be more easily convinced to play more GQs than to play more Tec Edges, but I'm too greedy not to slot in a couple of Tec Edges.


    The fact is, usually we *don't* want to sacrifice any land unless we already have three or four of them on the battlefield. That means, we're at the stage where Tectonic Edge is better than GQuarter anyway. Now, playing Ghost Quarter obviously have some merits, and I'm not deying them (I'll also add the ability to take the only basic land of a color when you're short on Spreading Seas). But TEdge provides a lot more, IMHO: a) it's incredibly useful in keeping alive our Mana Leaks b) it's much better against any deck with basics wich isn't Infect, because against things like Affinity you don't want to use it anyway before reaching the fourth land to play Verdict. Same about Burn, where you'll take a non-basic from their battlefield, and if you already saw one/two Spreading Seas it's actually game over c) activating them gives us mana parity, which is extra important in long games against the mirror or Midrange.

    I really prefer having the full set of Tectonic Edges, whenever I play 4 Spreading Seas in the maindeck. They are very complementary.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Edge is too slow against G(x) Tron since you have to wait for them to have four lands in play. They only need three lands to play something like Karn, Liberated. Better to ghost quarter them early and prevent them from getting tron online. They only really need to resolve one of their big planeswalkers for us to be in trouble.


    We play 4 Spreading Seas and 4-5 cc2 counters between Mana Leak, Negate, Logic Knot. Plus Detention Sphere. Seriously, I never considered straight Tron a very good match-up, but early planeswalkers were never an issue.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Thanks for clarifying this, I found the explanation very helpful. Not to go to far with this corner case, but I think another consideration is that now they have a mountain in hand so you are giving up 6 total points of life if you can't shut down the valakut immediately. Much appreciated!


    If they have another Mountain in their hand, 99% they would also have played it *before* casting Scapeshift Wink


    I've been thinking about cutting my maindecked second copy of Jace AOT and maybe running a 4th cyptic or something else. The amount of times where I feel safe casting Jace before turn 7 or 8 are extremely low. I think having a reactive answer that also provides card advantage may just be better. Has anyone considered putting Jace in the sideboard for slower matches or ones where his +1 is relevant? Such as abzan with souls, affinity, tokens, etc.


    Given that the fourth Cryptic Command is an untouchable slot, if you ask me. Jace AOT is too useful in a lot of situations: you mentioned Abzan Midrange, Affinity and Tokens. I'll add any Control mirror, UBx Faeries, Abzan Shadow, Wx weenie such as Eldrazi&Taxes, Ux Copycat and much more. When it's important, it's often crucial. Also because if one of the few spells which create a continuos card advantage in the game. Some players don't like Sphinx: well, I'll say that, if I ever had to choose between cutting the second Jace AoT or the first Rev, I would eliminate the second before. Lingering Souls and Bitterblossom are really a pain for this deck, so I don't see how we can think about having less Jaces in the maindeck. In the sideboard, it would be a wasted slot.

    That's my two cents, of course.


    I'm running one D-Sphere & one Blessed Alliance mainboard


    I also tried, in the past, to shave on Detention Sphere maindeck. It's not worth it. They are SO versatile, and never really dead against any archetype.



    @Bloody_Wabbit - That meta-guide post is absolute gold! I will buy you dinner if we ever meet in person. -Cheers!


    Thanks, man. Next week I'll update it with lower Tiers, I just need some time.


    I'm assuming that they will activate the map on your EOT to search for the last tron piece. My usual strategy is to kill the tower if it is in play since I assume they will hit tron at some point in the game and containing their mana to the minimum amount is helpful for mana leak and logic knot.


    They usually "bluff", putting the first Tron land into play. Never hit that land, they'll probably have multiples in hand.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Guys, what about md Ghostly Prison? Solves a lot of problems, especially against dredge game 1 and other creature decks.


    What kind of problems? We usually go into the late-game, so the opponent will have the lands to pay for it. We play Path to Exile. Prison will take the place of any other killing spells. Seriously, I don't see a single benefit in adding GP to the maindeck.


    Depending on the texture of the specific game it could be worthwhile to counter the scapeshift, but I think in most instances you will want to bounce/kill the enabling mountains - it means a lot less mountains in the deck. However, if taking the 3 damage will kill your Gideon, or put you in bolt range or in range of Sakura beats, its worth considering countering the scapeshift.


    If I have a Spreading Seas in hand or a Tectonic Edge, I'll always take the bounce-draw line of action. But it's a really corner scenario anyway, because most of the time the opponent will fire off Scapeshift only when having 8+ lands on the field.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Glad you guys appreciated it. When I have more time, I'll complete it with the match-ups against lower tiers.

    A side note, Affinity usually have some number of Ghirapur Aether Grid in the sideboard, which is a great card against us


    You're right, I thought about it but than I also forgot. Too much work at one time, ahah. I will edit it as soon as possible.


    I took this idea (which I'm sure has been done before) of Geist of Saint Traft + Elspeth, Knight-Errant and ran with it. I threw together a quick brew which is basically the same shell as this deck, and I'm wondering if this would be the right place to post it or somewhere else? I'm trying to decide if it's correct to go 4x geist and 4x elspeth to maximize chances of this combo even though you can obviously only have 1 of each on the battlefield at a time. Sorry for my kind of scatterbrained post, any responses to any of these 3 "questions" would be great!


    I don't think it's worth it. You're going to play a Midrange deck, and it will be a worse midrange than any BGx. Or, to be more cynical, a high-curve Grixis Shadow. I like the idea of playing multiple planeswalkers, but in this case you'll probably better just relying on Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in spite of Jura, and possibly a single Elspeth, Knight Errant without any "pseudo-combo" in the deck. Still, it's probably more correct to maximize on Gideon of the Trials, because they really provide all we want from a walker (low cost, beatdown, disruption, solution to opposing walkers). Pithing Needle effects aren't too common in Modern, so I'll just stick with those.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    So... in the last few pages, it was repeatedly asked for an evaluation of the most common MUs. I elaborated some of them, and I'll give you my take:



    Affinity.

    Good cards in the match-up: any removal spell & sweepers, such as Path to Exile and Supreme Verdict. Condemn and Blessed Alliance are also nice to have. Wall of Omens, though, isn't very relevant because most of their creatures have some sort of evasion. Spell Snare, underplayed, is very good here. Detention Sphere is obviously good in taking care of Cranial Plating and other threats (also, bypassing their regeneration rocks). Jace, Architect of Thought’s +1 is extra strong if they haven’t a Plating on the board. Spreading Seas can take care of their manlands without consuming our spot-removals.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Stony Silence is the usual killer. Disenchant also have its merits, destroying Plating and taking care of pretty much everything at a cheap cost, like Blood Moon. Runed Halo is very good, calling their manlands or Etched Champion. It can also be cast on Galvanic Blast when we’re low on life. Vendilion Clique is decent, because is an istant removal on their evasive threats and can race the opponent pretty fast. Additional sweepers are welcomed.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is overcosted for what he provides, here. Crucible of Words is sometimes fine, recurring Ghost Quarter and Celestial Colonnade shotted by Galvanic Blast, but it’s a side-out in case you play it maindeck. Ancestral Vision and Think Twice are usually too slow. Negate doesn’t do much, while Mana Leak on the play is still good to have. Cryptic Command is decent when they don’t have Blood Moon, utterly terrible if they have it. Wall of Omens, as stated before, doesn’t block many of their creatures. GIdeon of the Trials is sometimes good, but it can only takes care of a single threat while dying to Galvanic Blast.

    Strategy: They are on a very fast archetype, which usually means you have to cast Supreme Verdict on curve (turn four) on the play to survive, while on the draw it’s usually too slow unless you slow them down before with Path, Snap -> Path or Detention Sphere. Mana Leak also helps in these scenarios. Our best line is playing Spreading Seas on their manland on turn two, killing something between turn one and three (or cast Serum Visions to scry) until we hit a Verdict to reset the board. Although it’s generally a good/decent match-up, keep attention to their post-side Blood Moons, which can win the match-up istantly if we don’t fetch accordingly.



    Grixis Shadow.

    Good cards in the match-up: again, removals and sweepers are our best draws. Wall of Omens, although it seems too undersized, still helps in dealing with Snapcaster beats, and can chumpblock for a turn a big Shadow, while cantripping into an actual removal spell. Gideon of the Trials is bonkers, here, because they usually lean on a single fatty, and the white planeswalker helps in letting them overcommitting on the board to make value from our Supreme Verdict. Detention Sphere also answers their best card against us: Liliana (both OTV and TLH).

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Elspeth is slow and it goes under Denial easily, but it’s also a threat that they can’t really deal with. Runed Halo & Celestial Purge are both extremely good, because they usually have few threats at time, and Purge helps us in both killing their creatures and preventing a Liliana taking down the match. Rest in Peace is another staple, because their deck is mostly composed by cards which interact with the graveyard (see: Snapcaster Mage, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Gurmag Angler, Kolaghan’s Command, Liliana, the Last Hope). Vendilion Clique can race them pretty easily.

    Bad cards in the match-up: we have little to none useless cards. Counterspells are the worse, because they are a black deck (discards) and they run Stubborn Denial, so our Cryptic Command aren’t at their best. Mana Leak and Negate, anyway, are the first cut.

    Strategy: Attacking their mana-base with Seas + Quarter/Edge is fine, but in the early game you should focus more on cantripping and scrying. Keeping the actual cards on top of your deck is better than having them in hand, because of their discard spells. Try to force your opponent on countering something with a ferocius Stubborn Denial, killing their threats in response to profit. They sometimes run a little white splash for Lingering Souls and Ranger of Eos, so beware! We can cut them off white mana easily, because they play only one - or in corner cases two - white sources. Try to keep a land-heavy hand, and the match-up should be good enough.

    Variations: In case you’re facing Jund/Abzan Shadow instead of Grixis, remember that the match-up is even easier for us. They pratically have more discard maindeck, but they can’t make use of Stubborn Denial and Snapcaster Mage into Kolaghan’s Command, which are their best bet against us. Rest in Peace is even more powerful, because they actually are very threat-light. Gideon of the Trial is a little worse, though, because they usually run one or two copies of Abrupt Decay.



    UR Storm.


    Good cards in the match-up: counterspells will be your best friend. Negate and Mana Leak, expecially, because Cryptic Command could be too slow to cast, and – post side – they usually tend to side Blood Moon against us. Path to Exile is good, because their engine (Baral and Electromancer) really helps a lot throughout the combo. Supreme Verdict is surprisingly nice, because it answers both their engines and Goblin tokens (from Empty the Warrens). Jace also helps against the Goblins, still providing us the needed CA. Detention Sphere has a similar role to Supreme Verdict, but it’s cheaper, and it answers Moon in most cases. Gideon is more of a clock than an insurance, but still helps against Grapeshot.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Vendilion Clique is bonkers, no doubt about this. Clock + istant speed disruption which bypass their Dispel and Swan Song, plus it’s incredibly powerful against Stom cards and Past in Flames. Geist of Saint Traft is a decent clock, but it’s risky to tap-out for playing it, and it gets stonewalled by their Electromancers. Rest in Peace is obviously powerful against Gifts Ungiven and Past in Flames. Celestial Purge helps against both Electromancer and Blood Moon. Dispel and additional Negate are good, so it is Runed Halo on Grapeshot. Spell Queller can be a decent compromise between “race” and “counterspells”, but it goes under our own Verdict.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Cryptic Command against one mana Remand isn’t very appealing. For the same reason, Snapcaster isn’t that good either, and it also conflicts with our Rest in Peace. Wall of Omens cantrips, but it does very little, because we want their creatures dead and not only stonewalled. Gideon Jura is very slow, although it presents a decent clock and can helps gaining a turn against a Goblin horde. Condemn and Blessed Alliance are pretty much useless. Spreading Seas does very little, unless we’re able to screw off completely their red mana (corner scenario, but it happens).

    Strategy: playing draw-go as much as you can. Never tap-out completely in your turn. If they play a Gifts Ungiven in your EOT, you’re plenty of counterspells but mana available to play a single one… let their Gifts resolving. Path their Baral/Electromancer as soon as you can, as they can profit very quickly from them. If you need to make landrops, Cryptic bounce their lands is fine. Try to race the opponent with an early planeswalker or a well-timed Vendilion Clique, and don’t waste your Verdict/Spheres unless you’ll die. Always keep in mind that they can Grapeshot-Remand their Grapeshot during the combo, so be prepared to counter the Remand.

    Variants: beware of the white splash! Sometimes Jeskai lists pop up, and that usually means that Supreme Verdict effects are even more important, because they tend to run Monastery Mentor in the sideboard. They also presents Wear//Tear and such, but we gain points in the absence of Blood Moon in their 75.




    GRx Titanshift.


    Good cards in the match-up: counterspells are extra-good. Cryptic Command actually shrines, because it’s hard counter on everything and can bounce their lands when we need to. Mana Leak and Negate also are extremely important. The first hits Primeval Titan until the late game, and it lets us countering the green creature on the draw, when the opponent saw two mana-accelerants in the first turns. Negate always answer Scapeshift, and it also hits Summoner’s Pact. Snapcaster Mage is obviously amazing, expecially postside when they cut Lightning Bolt and you can Cryptic-bounce for a while. They still have some Relic of Progenitus, though. Wall of Omens is actually decent, because it blocks a lot of their 1/1 creatures and still cantrips into counterspell. Detention Sphere is also not bad, because it answers both Prismatic Omen and their back-up threats, like Chandra and Courser of Kruphix. Gideon of the Trials is also fine, expecially plussing him on Valakut. Some goes for Spreading Seas and Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge. Celestial Colonnade it’s how you usually close the game. Sphinx’s Revelation is very good if you aren’t under pressure, because both the life and additional cards it provides.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Geist of Saint Traft is very good here. It doesn’t usually get stonewalled, and when it’s not, you’re winning the game pretty quickly on its back. Costing three mana also means – often – not risking to lose tapping out in your turn. Vendilion Clique it’s obviously incredible, because it strips the opponent’s Titan/Scapeshift from their hand, and it still provide an evasive race, though it can be hit by Valakut. Additional counterspells are good. Runed Halo wins the game on the spot (calling the land), if you can keep their Reclamation Sage from destroying it. Same goes for Ghost Quarter or Tectonic Edge + Surgical Extraction on Valakut. Crucible of Word salso shines, because of Tectonic Edge’s impact in the match-up.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Path to Exile is very bad here, but it still has a purpose in removing Titan when its ability is on the stack. Giving them free lands is always tough, though. Supreme Verdict is much better post-sideboard, when they could bring in things like Pia and Kiran Nalaar or Huntmaster of the Fells. I don’t like cutting all of them, keeping a pair in. Condemn obviously isn’t good, while Blessed Alliance can actually answers Thrun, the Last Troll or Stormbreath Dragon. Bring it in only if you know they play them, though. Gideon is very slow, although resistant and a quick clock.

    Strategy: try to set-up your next draws in the first turns, between Spreading Seas, Serum Visions and more cantrips. If they play Valakut from their hands, it’s fine to Seas it. If they are on multiple green sources, though, you can also choose to use your mana-disruption spells and lands on their red mana, depending on the situation. Remember a trick: if they cast Scapeshift with 7 lands, you can actually keep Cryptic in your hand, let their Scapeshift resolving, then - when the trigger of the land is on the stack, bounce one of their Mountain. You lose only three life, and the opponent wasted a lot of red sources. Also, you can do the same with a Tectonic Edge on the play. Play always tight, and beware that they can topdeck very well in the late game.

    Variants: although I find the GR version pretty favourable – or at least a decent match-up - the GRb can be very hard at times, because Collective Brutality isn’t half bad against us, and Fatal Push is actually miles better than Bolt at killing our Colonnades. They sometimes also play Grave Titan, so don’t cut all of your Supreme Verdict. Another issue it’s when they run the Breach-Titan version. In the last events wasn’t much on the radars, but it’s actually difficult for us to handle a EOT Breach into a main phase Titan. A well-played Vendilion Clique could rapidly turn the corner, though.




    Eldrazi Tron.


    Good cards in the match-up: pretty much anything we have in the maindeck. Path to Exile and Serum Visions are the worse cards only because their Chalices, but we have some answers against them (namely Detention Sphere and Cryptic Command, plus we can just counter it). Mana Leak isn’t exactly appealing, but in the early game it’s important to fight their TKSeer. Negate is normally sandbagged into our hand until we meet an All is Dust – key card against us. Gideon (both versions) are really good against their creatures, expecially if we have a Wall of Omens on the field to lessen the impact of Reality Smasher. Chaining Cryptic Command and Snapcaster Mage is how we usually get ahead. Supreme Verdict it’s often a lone 1x1, but we’re fine with that. Spreading Seas are insane.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: we don’t have a lot to cut, but many players (I, too) like to shave some Serum Visions because of Chalice. Additional removals are fine – expecially when they aren’t cc1, like Blessed Alliance or sweepers. If you run Runed Halo, you can actually cut Leak in game two, because they play a similar role. Stony Silence also is appealing to some players. I don’t like running it, though, because they don’t really have too many targets (usually Maps, a pair of Relics and some Walking Ballista). Elspeth from the board is an optimal choice. Vendilion Clique also isn’t bad when you have little time to close the game.

    Bad cards in the match-up: uhm. None, really? I suppose counterspells are bad when they get a Cavern of Souls online, but we have too many land-destruction effects to avoid the issue. This doesn’t mean that the match-up is a walk in the park, though, because of their consistency. It’s just that we don’t really have bad cards against EldraTron.

    Strategy: in the early turns, try to cast as many Serum Visions as you can, because they can become dead later in the game (because of Chalice). Spreading Seas a Tron land or a Temple is fine, if they are leaning on a fast hand and you don’t have answers in your hand. Most of the time, though, I find myself wanting to use land destruction on their Sea Gate Wreckage, Cavern of Souls and tapped Ghost Quarters. Try to not overextend too much, or else you can be punished by All is Dust. Playing Draw-Go is often the better strategy, so don’t tap-out on turn four to cast Verdict or Jace, unless you know they don’t have any action or you were able to mana screw the opponent the turn before. Cryptic Command should be reserved for the most dangerous threats. Beware of Surgical Extraction post-side, if they didn’t cast Chalice on one. Using Path on Matter Reshaper is often a good idea, so it is discarding a fetchland to exile a Smasher if you only have one counterspell available in your hand.





    Gx Tron.


    Good cards in the match-up: counterspells and mana-denial spells and lands. Spreading Seas is very good in the early game to slow down their mana development, but it can be blow out by Oblivion Stone, so don’t rely on them too much and try to don’t play all of them at the same time. Nature’s Claim post-side also hits them. Tectonic Edge is extremely good if you can survive turn three with a counterspell in your hand, while Ghost Quarter is better if you don’t have Leak/Negate/Seas in your opening, but it still puts you down a land, so don’t overuse them. Cryptic Command is your best spell in the mid-late game. Path to Exile is also very good, because it takes care of Wurmcoil Engine and Wordbreaker, while also answering Ulamog if they can cast it. Detention Sphere is a catch-all which usually goes on resolved planeswalkers – such as Karn and Ulamog.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: additional counterspells are good. Ceremonious Rejection certainly helps, so does Negate and Disdainful Stroke. Vendilion Clique is the usual inclusion. Geist of Saint Traft helps against their Karn and it races pretty well. Stony Silence hits a lot of their manarocks other than Map and Relics, so it’s an obvious add-on. Crucible of Words can close the game very quickly, but they usually have some answers in form of Oblivion Stone and Nature’s Claim, other than Relics.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Big Gideon isn’t very appealing because it’s so slow, while the little one is at least a decent clock. Supreme Verdict is often completely dead. Wall of Omens cantrips, but it doesn’t do much other. Removals other than Path to Exile leaves the maindeck in game two and three.

    Strategy: the usual Draw-Go plan. They can blow out your Spreading Seas from nowhere thanks to their Nature’s Claim, so they can eliminate them all in one-go with Oblivion Stone, so you have to consider their draws before taking action. It’s usually preferable to Cryptic-bounce a Colonnade in response to Ulamog, instead of letting him resolving and then waste a Path. Snap-Cryptic is very strong, as usual.

    Variants: the black splash adds a lot of threats against our deck. Collective Brutality and Fatal Push are better than Pyroclasm and stuff.




    Junk Midrange.



    Good cards in the match-up: they are all fine. In particular, card advantage spells are our bread and butter here. Cryptic Command is insanely powerful because it provides CA, it bounces Liliana when it becomes too threatening, and it does a good job against Lingering Souls when they cast the other half, countering it and bouncing a previously made token. Sphinx’s Revelation and Ancestral Vision are obviously insane. Path to Exile seems risky, because it’s – indeed – a 2x1 for the opponent, but if he’s on Dark Confidant they are crucial in our strategy. Snapcaster Mage has the usual impact against any BGx. Supreme Verdict is much more powerful than against the old Jund decklists, because it’s a clean answer to Lingering Souls’ tokens. Jace AOT it’s probably your best spell, because it’s both CA engine and provides a help against tokens. Detention Sphere hits Liliana and tokens, although is weak to Decay. Spreading Seas is huge, both on manlands and hitting their black mana. Beware of Decay EOT, though. They can quickly turn the corner, this way.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Celestial Purge is the absolute best. It answers Lily and Dark Confidant, plus it has a lot of other targets (like Grim Flayer). Crucible of Words is very decent, because it helps a lot our late game – they are huge on Fulminator Mage post-board. Secure the Wastes is another good spell, but it really is underplayed. Elspeth is obviously good, and Wrath of God – another underplayed card – answers Thrun. The last two are the only real answers we have againt it, also given that Blessed Alliance it’s utterly terrible against a field of tokens.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Gideon of the Trials it’s probably the less impactful card we have. It dies to Decay and Path, and it’s pratically meant to give us time against a quick beatdown. It can answer a Lily on the field when the opponent is tapped out, though. Wall of Omens also doesn’t do much, even if it still stays because it cantrips and gives you time against Tarmo and Flayer. Blessed Alliance, as previously said, is utterly terrible. Mana Leak isn’t very appealing against BGx strategies, while Negate it’s always fine to have, expecially post-side when the opponent have Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which is a huge threat if unanswered.

    Strategy: the mana denial is real, here. Spreading Seas + Tectonic Edge on their manlands and black lands are always welcomed, expecially when we don’t have a counter for the follow-up Lily, or if they discarded it. Dark Confidant is the public enemy number one, but we have a lot of spells which kills it. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is another extremely powerful spell, and we should take care of it immediately if we can. Thrun, the Last Troll it’s a *huge* problem, if they have it, but at the moment isn’t really overplayed. Remember that Lingering Souls can be answered by a lot of our spells, such as Verdict, Jace or big Gideon, so don’t panic as soon as you see one of them resolving.





    Naya/Boros Burn.


    Good cards in the match-up: all the counterspells are good. Cryptic Command it’s also decent, although its mana cost, expecially because we can attack their mana-base so that the opponent can’t really sandbag spells most of the time. Mana Leak and Negate are very good – the first answers Eidolon, the second is always hard counter. Spell Snare is astonishing. Path to Exile and Wall of Omens – cheap interaction – is crucial. Gideon of the Trials is how we usually win: it’s emblem is life-saver, and its plus can help against a resolved Eidolon. Blessed Alliance and Condemn are also very good, expecially combined with Snapcaster Mage. Spreading Seas and Tectonic Edge also really helps in cutting their non-red mana sources, or even keeping him off the second red to cast Eidolon.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: all the cheap interaction. Celestial Purge, Blessed Alliance, Condemn, Timely Reinforcement. Runed Halo is probably the best single card against Eidolon. Vendilion Clique also helps a lot, in both racing them and stripping their Scullcrack-effect before firing off a huge Revelation or Blessed Alliance. Dispel and Negate obviously come in.

    Bad cards in the match-up: all the non-cheap interaction. Supreme Verdict comes out, even though sometimes it can be helpful in dealing with Eidolon or multiple threats. Detention Sphere for the same issue. Jace, AOT also doesn’t shine, because it’s so slow, so they are cards like Think Twice. Big Gideon is decent because is a fast clock, it doesn’t go under Eidolon and helps against topdecked creatures… but, again, it’s so slow. Ancestral Vision is utterly terrible, here.

    Strategy: there are so many lines against Burn. Even though it’s a pretty linear deck, I like playing against it because of this reason. If they keep a mono-Mountain hand plus a lot of little creatures, Spreading Seas plus a Wall it’s actually game over pretty fast. If they have a lot of spells and lands, try to scry throughout your library in search of counterspells, and don’t waste your mana-denial: cutting the opponent’s white mana is usually extremely powerful, because it won’t be able to play Boros Charm and Lightning Helix. Using Path on a first-turn Swiftspear isn’t the best, while if they are on the play and they started with a Guide you have to answer it as soon as possible. Keep your Gideon safe until the very end, when you can cast it and immediately put the Emblem into play. Be careful with counterspells: Leak becomes dead in the mid-late, so fire it off before Negate. Cryptic consumes a lot of mana, so try to find the opportunity to cast it… but remember that they also play Eidolon. Blessed Alliance is completely fine casted EOT for life. If they have Atarka’s or Scullcrak, just untap and slam Snapcaster + flashback of Alliance. Very interactive match-up, in the end.

    Variants: if they are on the Nacatl plan, we are usually better positioned, because of our lots of killing spells. Mardu is pretty much the same of Naya, with Bump in the Night in spite of Boros Charm, but beware of Anathemancer in their sideboard! They can hit us really hard if you don’t expect the card.





    GWx Collected Company.


    Good cards in the match-up: spot removals and mass removals are the best. Path to Exile is very versatile, as it can remove both combo pieces at istant speed (like Vizier of Remedies or Devoted Druid) and it exile threats such as Kitchen Finks and Voice of Resurgence. Chaining Supreme Verdicts is how we usually win the game. Snapcaster Mage is also useful to recycle Verdicts. Mana Leak is very strong in the early game, while in the mid-late isn’t extremely appealing. Still, they play Collected Company and Chord of Calling, so it often has a target in each step of the game. Negate also shines when facing those two cards. Cryptic is very expensive, but can also dispose of annoying threats like Selfless Spirit EOT to play a sweeper in our main phase. Detention Sphere is another answer to their combo creatures, but beware of Qasali Pridemage. Wall of Omens can gain several turns, blocking Finks or Vizier. Spreading Seas isn’t at its best, but it still shut down Gavony Township, Horizon Canopy and such.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: additional sweepers, of course, are welcomed. Elspeth is usually a strong finisher, if we can prevent their combo. Dispel answers cleanly Chord and Company, so it’s a strict upgrade to Negate. Grafdigger Cage and Rest in Peace conflicts with our Snapcasters, but they usually are a plus. You will bring in RIP any time you see – other than Witness – also the Finks combo and/or Voice of Resurgence.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Gideons aren’t very appealing. They tend to have a lot of threats in the board, and Gavony Township can quickly make them escalate. Jace AOT is fine because it’s still a CA engine, but you have to play it at the right time. Blessed Alliance is very poor due to the quantity of creatures they usually have on the field.

    Strategy: cantrips into cantrips into Path into Supreme Verdict. Try to have a Negate/Dispel/Leak back-up for their Chord on Selfless Spirit, or Path it EOT before sweeping the board. Or just draw into another Supreme Verdict. Bluffing is actually useful in this match-up, because leaving two untapped blue mana usually prevents the opponent from firing off their only Company. If they have them in multiples, though, it won’t work.

    Variants: CoCo is such a obnoxious deck. They can play GW with Ghost Quarter into Renegade Rallier, Vizier + Druid, Knightfall with Spell Queller and OHK combo with Reliquary. If you see blue sources, *always* assume they have some Queller in the maindeck, plus Unified Will in the sideboard. If they are on the land-destruction plan, then Crucible have some merits. If they have red sources, it usually means they run a Kessig-Wolf Run, but don’t be surprised if a Magus of the Moon pop-up from nowhere!




    Living End.



    Good cards in the match-up: sweepers and counterspells. In the early game, Mana Leak and Negate are necessary to keep their Fulminators and Living End at bay. In the middle game, when they start casting their threats, Cryptic Command and Path to Exile become very good. Supreme Verdict is our “no!” right after a cascading Living End. Wall of Omens is decent, because it chumps their threats and, if the opponent resolves one of its namesake’s card, it will net us a new draw. Basic lands are the best, because of their mana denial. Detention Sphere also exiles, like Path, and can be very useful in case the opponent have Blood Moon in his sideboard. They also play Beast Within, though, so play it only when it’s safe to do so.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Rest in Peace obviously win the match-up alone, if let unanswered by the opponent. Additional sweepers are also welcomed. Surgical Extraction is only decent, here, namely to extract their Fulminator Mage or Living End copies. Negate is useful, so it is Dispel: it doesn’t have a lot of targets, but it fights well Ricochet Trap and Beast Within. Celestial Purge is decent, because it answers their hardcasted threats and also gets rid of an eventual Blood Moon. Spell Queller is very decent here, contrary to Geist. Vendilion’s also good, even though it isn’t at it’s best.

    Bad cards in the match-up: Snapcaster Mage isn’t very good, because they have several Faerie Macabre, and you’ll often be tight on mana to answer their threats. Grafdigger Cage doesn’t work against Living End, because they get to exile the graveyard before putting their creatures into play. Don’t bring it in! Jace, AoT isn’t very appealing too. Spreading Seas only cantrips most of the time, so if you really need slots you can also cut some of them.

    Strategy: again, playing draw-go is the answer. Fetching basics in the early game is preferable, because they will blow out anything with their Fulminator Mage. When casting something in our turn, like Wall of Omens or a planeswalker, always keep three mana open – even if you have a two mana counterspell in hand. They can blow one of your lands EOT with a well-timed Beast Withing, then cast a Cascade spell in their turns. Always play around Blood Moon – although it hurts them too, and they won’t usually have it in their sideboard.





    Dredge.


    Good cards in the match-up: heh. Maindeck, there are so many dead cards – or, at least, pseudo-dead. Path to Exile is one of the best, because it exiles their creatures (preferred target: Amalgam). Detention Sphere is slower, and post-board they have some amount of Nature’s Claim or/and Abrupt Decay, but it exiles multiple threats at once. Wall of Omens is decent, because it cantips into more answers AND blocks pretty much anything which isn’t Narcoameba or Imp. Jace, AoT is very slow in the first game, while post-board – when we add Rest in Peace and more strong options, it takes care of Imps, Narcoamebas and Thugs, which is often very important. Counterspell doesn’t do much, but can still counter a huge Conflagrate flashback. Cryptic Command cantips into one additional turn. Serum Visions is crucial post-side, to find Rest in Peace as soon as possible.

    Good cards in the match-up, post-board: Rest in Peace is THE Dredge solution. It’s without a doubt the strongest option we can play to shore the match-up. Surgical Extraction is sometimes very good too, expecially when combined with Snapcaster Mage, taking care of Bloodgast and Narcoameba in one-go (and then, they can’t really reanimate Bloodghasts). But we’re low on Snapcasters, so it’s a fringe solution. Runed Halo’s very strong in calling Amalgam or Bloodghast, but also Conflagrate if you’re low on life. Elspeth can block their army forever, if it’s not too late. Condemn is at least decent, as a fifth Path. Celestial Purge also exiles the major threats, and it’s nice to have.

    Bad cards in the match-up: maindeck, all the sweepers, while they turn much better in game two and three thanks to Rest in Peace. Gideons aren’t the best, because they usually have more than one threat on the board, and they still play Conflagrate to dispose of the planeswalker. Spot removals which doesn’t exile, like Blessed Alliance, are just bad. Mana Leak and Negate, as previously said, aren’t our best options. Spreading Seas usually stays in because it cantrips and *can* screw them off green mana, but most of the time are pretty useless.

    Strategy: game one, just concede as soon as you see dredge cards. I’m not joking, just concede, unless you have something like Elspeth or Secure the Wastes maindeck which can turn the corner if you chain Verdicts into Cryptics. Time is an issue. Game two and three, you should aim for a hand full of cantrips or, simply, one with Rest in Peace in it. Slam RIP immediately, even if they could destroy it, because the risk is too high – and sometimes Dredge plays Thoughtseize. Jace AoT and Supreme Verdict become insane when you have a RIP online, and pratically win the game alone. If you don’t have RIP, or the first copy got destroyed, use your cantrips aggressively, holding Path/Halo/Condem/Purge/Sphere to gain some time. It’s a very linear match-up: you have RIP + disruption, you win. You have anything but RIP, you lose. Beware of Conflagrate when you’re low on life.





    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
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