Hello everyone! It’s another week, and the banlist changes keep on coming! This time, we get the return of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor to Modern. While many people heavily dislike the change, I for one am totally fine with them, and am excited for what is to come in Modern!

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That’s all I’ll say about the bans themselves here, check back later this week for an article by Jonah Gaynor in which he outlines his thoughts on the banlist changes.

You may love them, or you may hate them, but the indisputable fact is that these unbannings will bring change to the Modern metagame. Bloodbraid Elf and Jace are two incredibly powerful cards, and will revitalize old archetypes as well as create new ones. Today, I want to go over some new decks that I think have potential to do well, and also check out how some of the current leaders are affected.

To start with, lets check out my Spirit Jund list from this article.

Spirit Jund by Riccardo Monico

Creatures (12)
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze
Tarmogoyf
Bloodbraid Elf

Non-Creature Spells (24)
Abrupt Decay
Fatal Push
Inquisition of Kozilek
Kolaghan’s Command
Liliana of the Veil
Maelstrom Pulse
Lightning Bolt
Terminate
Thoughtseize
Lingering Souls

Lands (24)
Forest
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Godless Shrine
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Temple Garden
Blooming Marsh

Sideboard (15)
Rule of Law
Stony Silence
Anger of the Gods
Bontu’s Last Reckoning
Thrun, the Last Troll
Grafdigger’s Cage
Ancient Grudge
Abrupt Decay
1 Surgical Extraction
Olivia Voldaren
2 Crumble to Dust
Scavenging Ooze

I designed this deck a couple of months ago when discussing the impact a Bloodbraid unban would have, and I think it’s a fantastic place to start for now.

The unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor raises the bar for the decks in the format. Decks will either have to kill control opponents before they can take over the game with the powerful planeswalker, or be able to answer it efficiently. The cards in this deck take full advantage of a Jace-filled metagame.

To start with, our array of threats is fantastic against Jace. Lightning Bolt by itself forces our blue opponent to plus instead of Brainstorm the turn they play Jace, and when they do, a hasty Bloodbraid Elf can take care of him in no time. Lingering Souls is also a fantastic answer to Jace, as his only protective ability can kill one out of four tokens. Raging Ravine takes out Jace in a couple of hits as well, which makes our deck incredibly resilient to the blue menace.

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Dark Confidant will help us stay ahead of our opponent when it comes to cards in hand, which will allow us to deploy threats as often as we like. To change this list, I’d like to lower the number of Liliana of the Veil, and up the number of Maelstrom Pulse. If Jund picks up steam, our secret weapon Lingering Souls will give us a huge advantage in a mirror full of 1-for-1 removal and very few sweepers.

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The next list I want to look at is a super sweet (and janky!) Value Town/Tempo/Pile deck that I designed, which tries to use scry effects to set up cascade and other top-of-the deck abilities.

Temur Pile by Riccardo Monico

Creatures (18)
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Abbot of Keral Keep
2 Courser of Kruphix
3 Tireless Tracker
1 Jadelight Ranger
1 Mul Daya Channelers
4 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Vizier of the Menagerie

Non-Creature Spells (19)
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Domri Rade
1 Search for Azcanta
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Serum Visions
1 Reason // Believe
4 Lightning Bolt

Lands (23)
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Wooded Foothills
2 Breeding Pool
3 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
3 Island
2 Forest
1 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Search for Azcanta
3 Cryptic Command
2 Island
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Spring Cleaning
2 Mana Leak

This deck started off as a JaceBBE hybrid that my friend built, but quickly grew into a late-night gatherer search as I aimed to find cards that would reward us for manipulating the top of our library. In that search, I came up with this masterpiece. Or pile, depending on your dictionary.

Now, this deck is clearly not perfect, but I do think it’s a start. Jace‘s Brainstorm ability is always good, but this deck aims to get even more out of the walker’s 0 ability. Domri Rade and Jadelight Ranger can draw you cards, Abbot of Keral Keep can let you cast them, and Courser of Kruphix can help you pad your life total while playing lands from the top of your deck. If you have a Tireless Tracker out, it’s even more value. Mul Daya Channelers is a not-so-great card that I really want to try out, as it can either fix our mana or beat our opponents down, depending on what we Scry/Jace to the top. The synergy with Bloodbraid Elf is clear, and casting a powerful threat as well as maybe a free Ancestral Vision to keep the gas pumping is fantastic in this deck.

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In the sideboard I included a sort of transformative plan with the Cryptic Commands and the Mana Leaks, as well as a couple of Islands to help us hit the right colors on time. Other than that, I threw in some powerful hate cards and a Spring Cleaning for Bogles, which I expect to see quite a bit of in the future.

Overall, I think we have an array of powerful threats, incredible staying power, and the ability to have some pretty busted draws, which makes this a deck I really want to test out in the near future. Let me know if I missed any sweet interactions with the top of the deck!

The final deck I have for you today is a take on Pyromancer, but this time with Jace.

Grixis Pyromancer by Riccardo Monico

Creatures (10)
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Young Pyromancer
2 Thing in the Ice

Non-Creature Spells (27)
4 Serum Visions
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Fatal Push
3 Thoughtseize
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Telling Time
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Temporal Mastery
1 Bonfire of the Damned

Lands (23)
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Polluted Delta
2 Bloodstained Mire
3 Steam Vents
2 Watery Grave
1 Blood Crypt
2 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Island
2 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Mana Leak
2 Cryptic Command
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Collective Brutality
2 Shattering Spree
1 Island

I got the idea for this deck from Pascal Vieren’s Top 8 list from Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, but it quickly evolved from there. Adding black gives us the chance to play hand disruption and Kolaghan’s Command, both of which pair really nicely with our Pyromancers. We also get access to Fatal Push, one of the best removal spells in the format, and the copy of Collective Brutality in the board, which could very likely be upped to a couple, or even some in the main.

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Other than that, we have potent threats and some ways to set up explosive turns. Telling Time and Jace, the Mind Sculptor can help us set up a game-winning Temporal Mastery, which will allow us to hit our opponent twice when their shields are down, or a backbreaking Bonfire of the Damned against a deck like Humans.

The sideboard once again has some more traditional control elements, as I believe the post-board midrange and control matchups will get much grindier, and having protection for our Pyromancers outside of just Kolaghan’s Command is be essential. The hate cards are there for archetypes we struggle with, and we can bring in the Shattering Spree alongside the third K-Command to deal with Pithing Needle on our Jace.

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This deck certainly isn’t perfect, but I’m gonna be testing in for now, and we’ll see how it goes. I’m certainly excited to Jace into Time Walk, as I’m sure any reasonable player would be as well.

That’s all for this week, and I hope everyone enjoyed. If nothing else, I hope this article gave you some sweet ideas to build your own brews, and if there’s anything you think I could add to these decks, let me know!

See you all next week,

Riccardo Monico

Glad Lantern Control didn’t get banned out this week? See Jonah Gaynor’s take on why the dreaded deck should remain in the format, and how he thinks Wizards should move in regards to bannings going forward.

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