Welcome back to Delving with Devin! As you may have heard, Fusion Gaming is hosting a no ban list modern tournament on July 25th. This is very exciting for me, as I love to play magic that can potentially be very degenerate, with lots of possibilities. This article is going to be a primer for the format, letting you know what you can expect. Lets get right to it!
What are the major differences between No banned list modern and regular modern?
Well the easy answer is there are a lot more degenerate combos available. The format is considerably faster, and if you aren’t interacting on the first and second turn of the game, you can expect to get run over. It can be argued that the power level in no ban list modern is higher then in legacy, as many of the cards that are on the banned list are also banned in legacy. There is also no Force of Will to help keep the degenerate decks in check, instead the format leans on cards such as Thoughtseize, Mental Misstep, and fast clocks to keep combo in check. Another major difference is with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time legal, you can expect a lot less Gurmag Anglers and Tasigurs, making Fatal Push hit the vast vast majority of creatures that will be seeing play in this format. Fatal Push is basically being upgraded to Swords to Plowshares. Another major difference is Mental Misstep will be running around in most decks, making playing one drops either something that you want to over load on, to make it so there’s just too many targets so your spells will get through, or run minimal to no one drops to make opposing Missteps dead draws.
Affinity is a big player in this format, as it basically has access to everything it could ever want, Artifact Lands, Mox Opal, Skullclamps to refule, etc etc. Ensure you have sufficient artifact hate in your sideboard that doesn’t cost one mana, as you want your artifact hate to double up as answers to Chalice of the Void on one, as a lot of decks will try to lock out lists using Chalice. Some good options are Abrupt Decay, Ancient Grudge, and Hurkyl’s Recall. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to your graveyard hate, is you might want to put away the Surgical Extractions, Grafdiggers Cages, and Nihil Spellbombs and bring out the Tormods Crypts to help dodge Missteps. The last thing you want is your critical sideboard card being snagged by a Misstep against dredge.
What hasn’t changed between regular Modern and no banned list Modern?
The format is relatively un-explored, and this is a great thing for any brewer. What this means, is you can most likely take any relatively competitive Modern legal deck, and upgrade some of the cards that are banned and put up a reasonable fight. Arguably one of the best decks in no banned list modern is Affinity, which is basically regular affinity with a few upgrades. There are other decks that you can just tune up to compete. Delver of Secrets finally has access to Ponder and Preordain, as well as Treasure Cruise to take it undoubtably into the first tier of lists. Eldrazi Tron can be upgraded with the Eye of Ugin, and with access to Mental Misstep can stave off early Delver of Secrets and hand disruption like Thoughtseize, while also being a fairly resilient deck against opposing Missteps.
Death and taxes, the deck that has taken down the last few GP’s for regular modern can easily be upgraded with a Stoneforge Mystic package seen in the legacy version.
Now that we have the major differences laid out, here are a few lists to give you an idea of what you might run into at the event! (or for you to play yourself.)
Affinity is trying to do the same thing in no ban list Modern as it does in regular Modern, however it pacts a much bigger punch. Cranial Platings often pump for much more with the inclusion of artifact lands, Arcbound Ravagers have more fodder to sacrifice due to the Artifact Lands, Mox Opals are turned on more consistently due to the artifact lands, and they have a much better mid-late game due to the card drawing power of Skullclamp. Not bad, not bad. some would argue that Affinity is the best deck in the format.
If putting artifacts into play isn’t your cup of tea, you could always go bigger with Hypergenesis putting Emrakuls into play. This deck plays out similarly to living end in regular modern, except for a few minor differences. First of all this deck doesn’t rely on the graveyard, which is huge in post sideboard games where certain cards can cripple Living End, the other major difference is instead of putting 4/4’s and 5/5’s into play, your putting much more powerful cards into play, that are almost certain to end the game if you get to un-tap with them in play.
Infect took a hit with losing Probe in regular Modern, but in no banned list Modern it doesn’t only get Probe, but it gets free +9 power pump spells. not to shabby. Playing against this deck no doubt would increase anyones stress levels as you cant really expect to live long if they get to un-tap with a threat in play. Fatal Push does go a long way to shoring up this matchup though.
Dredge is still a thing in no banned list Modern, except of course it has all the forbidden fruit that you don’t see in regular Modern. Cards such as Chrome Mox, Golgari Grave-Troll, and Dread Return to help speed things along. Lets not forget access to 4 Mental Missteps post board to help protect against Surgical Extractions, Nihil Spellbombs, and Grafdiggers Cages if need be.
If you want to play fair magic, it is possible. with Jund you get all the old friends back together for their highschool reunion. Bloodbraid Elf, Deathrite Shaman, and turn 2 Liliana of the Veils still pack a punch even in no banned list Modern. You also get access to the Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows combo.
All of these lists can of course be tuned to meet your play style and better against what you expect the meta to be, but this was only meant to give you a taste of what to expect. What list are you planning on running or thinking that you will run into at the event? Post in the comments below, and we will see you there!