This coming weekend will bring the long awaited return of the Modern Pro Tour. I, for one, don’t love Modern as a format, but Pro Tours in general are great, and I hope to see some sweet matches this weekend! To begin with, I’m gonna say that I don’t think the Pros will break the format, but I do think that the metagame at the Pro Tour will be much more defined than the one we see right now in Opens and Grand Prix. In this article, I’ll go over what I think we’re gonna see at the Pro Tour.

The Winners

For the past few months, Modern has been a wide open format, with decks of each and every archetype succeeding in big tournaments. Whatever your playstyle, Modern has a great deck for you to play. Between aggro, control, midrange, combo, and prison decks, as well as combinations of all of those, there has been no shortage of diversity in the field. At the Pro Tour, I expect proactive decks to shine.

Affinity, by Joshua Spicer at SCG Open – 16th

Creatures (26)
1 Hope of Ghirapur
3 Vault Skirge
4 Steel Overseer
4 Signal Pest
4 Ornithopter
2 Memnite
2 Master of Etherium
2 Etched Champion
4 Arcbound Ravager
Non-Creature Spells (17)
1 Welding Jar
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Mox Opal
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Cranial Plating

Lands (17)
4 Spire of Industry
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Mountain
4 Darksteel Citadel

Sideboard (15)
2 Thoughtseize
2 Spell Pierce
2 Dispatch
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Rest in Peace
2 Ghirapur Aether Grid
1 Blood Moon
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Etched Champion

Affinity is at the front of my list of decks that will do well at the Pro Tour. To begin, Affinity has historically been great in Modern, and the strategy has not gotten any worse with the passing of time. Affinity is a deck that is explosive, has a great sideboard, and can beat most Modern decks game one, a formula which is sure to spell success at the Pro Tour.

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The last Modern Pro Tour had two Affinity decks in the Top 8, and I predict that there will be at least one in this upcoming Pro Tour, and even more spread across the Top 16.

Apart from specific decks, I think that there are a few cards which will make a huge impact on the Pro Tour. The card that will define the Pro Tour, in my opinion, is Blood Moon.

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Blood Moon has been punishing greedy manabases since Modern’s inception, and I think this weekend it will do particularly well, especially because it is played in a huge variety of decks. Here are some Blood Moon decks I could easily see doing well:

  • RG Ponza
  • Blue Moon
  • Mardu Midrange
  • Madcap Moon
  • UR Breach
  • RW Prison

These decks all play Blood Moon in the mainboard, and I think that at least one will put a copy into the Top 8. With that being said, I think UR Breach is the one most likely to make it.

UR Breach, by Andy Cooman at Dutch Season 3 Open – 1st

Creatures (7)
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Non-Creature Spells (30)
3 Blood Moon
3 Through the Breach
2 Cryptic Command
4 Remand
2 Roast
2 Spell Pierce
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Serum Visions
1 Izzet Charm
3 Opt
2 Electrolyze

Lands (23)
1 Mountain
1 Stomping Ground
7 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Sulfur Falls
2 Desolate Lighthouse

Sideboard (15)
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Counterflux
2 Batterskull
3 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Negate
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Ancient Grudge

While this list is slightly outdated, and the sideboard likely needs some changes, I think something similar to this has a huge chance of doing well in Bilbao. UR Breach blends the disruption of Blue Moon with an extremely strong combo finish, and I think that people will leave themselves exposed by playing decks that get crushed by Blood Moon, and can’t answer a turn 5 Breach. I fully expect to see this deck excel in Bilbao.

The Losers

Overall, I think that any deck has the potential to do well, but I do think that a vast majority of the decks listed below will have bad weekends.

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Instead of starting with a deck, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Control, as an archetype, will have a bad weekend in Spain. The archetype’s success is pretty confusing to me, as Control decks are usually good when they can attack a couple of decks. With the metagame wide open, its extremely hard to pinpoint the strategies you need to beat. For this reason, I think Control will struggle at the Pro Tour.

Jeskai Control, by Matthew Brown at SCG Open – 7th

Creatures (4)
4 Snapcaster Mage
Non-Creature Spells (32)
1 Ajani Vengeant
4 Cryptic Command
2 Electrolyze
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Lightning Helix
3 Logic Knot
1 Negate
4 Path to Exile
1 Secure the Wastes
1 Spell Snare
1 Sphinx’s Revelation
2 Search for Azcanta
4 Serum Visions
2 Supreme Verdict

Lands (24)
3 Island
1 Plains
1 Arid Mesa
3 Celestial Colonnade
4 Flooded Strand
2 Glacial Fortress
2 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Scalding Tarn
1 Spirebluff Canal
2 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
Sideboard (15)
1 Negate
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Detention Sphere
2 Runed Halo
2 Celestial Purge
2 Dispel
1 Wear / Tear
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

I think this deck simply does not have the tools to make a big impact at the Pro Tour. In a field of extremely skilled players, most of who will know their deck very well, only a few will take the risk of playing a Control deck. I predict that this deck will not put a single copy in the Top 8, and I would be surprised to see more than a single copy in the Top 16.

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The second deck I think will have a terrible weekend isn’t a single one, but Company Decks in general. I think the card Collected Company is insane, but many of the decks playing it are embarrassing without it. I expect to see no companies collected in the Top 8.

Unchanged

There are a few decks which I suspect will put up decent results, to no one’s surprise. Here are the decks I expect to see scattered across the Top 8 and Top 16:

  • Green Tron
  • Grixis Death’s Shadow
  • Whir Lantern
  • Storm

While I think people will be gunning for Storm, I think the deck is good enough to just slip a copy into the Top 8 due to its raw power. Lantern Control is a popular choice among pros right now, and I fully expect to see someone clinch a Top 8 spot with it. Tron and Death’s Shadow are mainstays of the format, and I’d be very surprised to not see them in the Top 8.

I hope everyone enjoyed and is as excited for the Pro Tour as I am! My next big tournament is in the distant future in April, but is a Modern Grand Prix. I’m looking to see if anything changes in the format this weekend, and possibly with the ban announcement coming afterwards. Lets hope we can shake it up a little!

See you next week

Riccardo Monico

Pumped for new Standard? Check out Jonah Gaynor’s article on the innovative decks that came out of SCG Dallas, and the implications they have for the metagame going forward.

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