- Modern is a very diverse format
If there is one thing to note from watching coverage of the Starcitygames.com Open in Syracuse this weekend, it is that Modern is an extremely diverse format. Although this event contained a large number of Jund decks (9 making day two and 5 in the top 16), Syracuse proved that this format is still very diverse. The same top 16 was also comprised of a few copies of Dredge, U/W Control, G/W Hatebears, Temur Control, R/G Breach, and Mono-Blue Tron just to name a few of the decks. The next 16 decks also contained some spicy lists like R/G Ponza and U/R Prison. I encourage you all to take a look at the lists published, found here – there are some very cool ones in there.
- Dredge is the real deal
For the past few weeks and months (to be honest, ever since Golgari Grave-Troll was unbanned in Modern), people have been trying to figure out what the optimal Dredge list is, and if it is even viable in Modern. The answer is yes. We learned a few things about Dredge this weekend that indicates it is destined to see great success in this format. Firstly, the deck can have incredibly explosive starts, churning out incredible amounts of power by turn two or three. Secondly, the deck can also survive in the late game by grinding out matches thanks to Life from the Loam and Bridge from Below. Basically, similar to in Legacy, Modern Dredge operates on a different axis from everything else in the format and because of that it has taken the format by storm. Also, for those who didn’t see the match, Tom Ross won with Dredge through a turn-one Leyline of the Void! You have to see that one.
- Jund will always be good
I touched on this earlier, but Jund yet again put up very impressive results in Syracuse this weekend. The deck clearly has game against the majority of decks in the format, as it placed 5 copies in the top 16 and 3 copies in the top 8. Now this is not to say that the matchup versus Tron is not still terrible for example, because it is. This might indicate however that the number of Tron decks in the format is lower than it has been in the past. Regardless, Jund showed this weekend (as if anyone had any doubts) that it is still a great deck to play in Modern – if you play tight and sequence well you can definitely do well with the deck.
- R/G Ponza??
We saw this deck on camera this weekend against Dredge and to be perfectly honest, the matchup was pretty impressive for Ponza. Although it only finished 23rd, and this is the first time its popped up in a long time, the deck definitely has some tools to punish decks in the format. Firstly, the Ponza list we saw on camera played four copies of Blood Moon in the main deck. I personally think this is one of the most criminally underplayed cards in Modern. I used to shape my Ad Nauseam deck around the possibility of Blood Moon, but I soon realized that it just isn’t a relevant card in Modern right now, and I have no clue why. Secondly, the list we saw on Camera has a great post-board matchup versus Dredge as it has access to Anger of the Gods, Grafidgger’s Cage and other good tools. If Dredge continues to be on the rise, Ponza might start to see more copies pick up. Thirdly, its creature suite is very well positioned in this Modern format. How many decks in Modern are ready to deal with a resolved Inferno Titan? Not many. This list’s unique suite of creatures allows it to attack from multiple angles, and it makes it more difficult for an opponent to answer every threat cleanly. Now don’t get me wrong, the deck still seems weak to a lot of the field and it’s early game in some cases may just not be enough to be effective, but the deck looked pretty sweet on camera and I would be surprised if we saw more Day 2 finishes from the deck moving forward.
- What we didn’t see
While we saw a good representation from some of the top decks in the format i.e. Infect, Affinity, Jeskai Control, Eldrazi variants etc., we did not see a deck that might raise some eyebrows. In the top 32 there were no copies of Zoo (traditional or Death’s Shadow). This is a deck that has been championed by some of the most accomplished Magic players in the world, and that presumably has good game against a lot of the field, but 0 copies made it into the top 32 of this event. I’m not sure if this is indicative of a particular trend, or if the deck just was not well positioned in the field this weekend, but regardless the lack of Zoo in the top 32 was surprising to me.
Ultimately this weekend was a lot of fun to watch – Modern always brings some excitement to the table and this weekend definitely did not disappoint. Looking towards the future, it will be interesting to see if Dredge really does become a mainstay in Modern, and right now it is looking as if it will!
Until next time.
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