Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week I’m going to talk about how I did at GP Vegas and what I think of how the tournament went. I’m also going to look at the state of the metagame after one of the biggest Modern events of the year.
What a week it was. I’m still a little exhausted and haven’t quite caught up on my sleep. So, first things first: let’s take a look at what I decided to play for the tournament:
Originally, this wasn’t the list I was going to play, until I was convinced otherwise by a fellow Blue Steel player. I was actually working behind the Magic Stronghold booth on Thursday when a customer came up and asked me for Blue Steel foils, since he was looking to make his deck shiny. Since I planned on playing it in the main event, and here was a fellow Blue Steel enthusiast, I asked to see his list and asked him what he thought about the deck. It turns out he has been on the deck for a while, and we traded deck ideas and what we each had tested. The big thing that I took away from him was that Myr Superion and Siren Stormtamer were necessary for the deck to succeed. He made some pretty good arguments, and fortunately exactly one vendor in the hall had the Superions. After testing a bit later that night and crushing some Hollow One, I realized he was absolutely on point with Myr Superion, as most decks have very few answers to it pre-board. I was less impressed with the Siren Stormtamers, but decided to run a two-of nonetheless. The main-board Thorn of Amethyst was something I was testing and I figured it would get me a lot of free wins against Jeskai Control.
Dean – Eldrazi Tron
Dean is actually a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for a while, which kind of sucked for both of us as it is not very likely you get paired up against. It was nice to catch up, but we got down to business once the round started. Game one I had a the nut draw and he scooped after I cast two Myr Superions on turn 2. Game two is a bit fuzzy but the gist was that he played a turn three Smasher and had two more Smashers to back it up. Game three he has another early Smasher but my Myr Superion stalls him until I follow it up with a Wurmcoil Engine and then a Walking Ballista X=5 the following turn, and he scoops it up.
Colin – Humans
Round 2 I played Colin who was on Humans. Game 1 was fairly even, though I was able to successfully race him as he never drew a Thalia’s Lieutenant and was just attacking with a large exalted Champion of the Parish. Game 2 was interesting, as he played 4 Reflector Mages against me (2 were Phantasmal Images), but the game ended when I drew a Walking Ballista and was able to pop his images and then loop it several turns with Academy Ruins.
Colin – Humans
This is where things got a little funky. There was a 2 and a half hour break in between round 2 and round 3 while they figured out their tournament software issues. Though it shouldn’t have, it definitely got me out of the tournament mindset and I was a little unfocused when the round finally started. I was against Colin on Humans, and kept some risky hands and got punished both times when I didn’t draw my third land either time. It’s what Humans does, but feels bad to lose an otherwise good matchup.
Zack – Jesaki Control
Round 4 I played against Zack, who was on Jeskai Control. Game one I kept a very strong hand on the play, resolved a turn two Thorn of Amethyst and quickly overwhelmed him with threats. Game two, he had a removal spell for every creature I played and after he resolved Teferi into my empty board and hand, I scooped them up. Game three, I was on the play again and resolved a turn three Wurmcoil Engine for which he had no answer.
Scott – Valakut
Surprisingly, winning the previous round put me pretty high up in the standings because of all the 2-0s that had dropped in the huge gap between rounds 2 and 3. I ended up playing Scott who was on Valakut. Full disclosure, I was completely unprepared for this matchup. I really should have had Witchbane Orb or something in my side for it. Regardless, game one I am on the play and he is able to cast an Anger of the Gods on curve through my Thorn thanks to Sakura-Tribe Elder, into a Primeval Titan to seal up the game. Game two I have a significant board advantage, but he is able to get enough lands to just cast Scapeshift and win.
? – Jesaki Control
My opponent was on Jeskai Control, and clearly on tilt walking into our match. For whatever reason I didn’t write down his name, but game one I was on the play and I was able to resolve two Lodestone Golems, which prompted a scoop. Game two he simply scooped to a turn two Thorn of Amethyst after he tapped out for Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, and dropped. A bit preemptive, but it seemed like he wasn’t having a good day.
Cel… – Mono Red
My opponent Cel (who had a longer name but that’s how I abbreviated it in my notes) was on a super spicy Mono Red Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper deck. However, my opponent was playing slow. Like dead slow. I should have called a judge considerably sooner than I did, because as soon as it looked like he was winning game one, he slowed his play down considerably. I did eventually call a judge over and have him watch the match, but there were only 15 minutes left on the clock. I ended up scooping game one even though I think I could have won eventually, but it wouldn’t have been in 15 minutes. With the judge now sitting there the speed by which my opponent played increased considerably. I quickly beat him in game two. Game three time is called and I am 1 point short of killing him on turn 5 while I sit at a comfortable 17 life. My opponent chose to not concede to me so the game was a draw. Though my opponent acted scummy, I blame this draw mostly on myself for not calling a judge earlier.
Lance – Jesaki Control
I’m out of contention for day two at this point and have a very refreshingly friendly, but competitive match against against Lance. Lance was the third Jeskai Control deck that I faced and game one I again had a turn-two Thorn of Amethyst with creature backup. He was unable to keep up and I attacked him for lethal a couple turns later. Game two was far closer as I resolved a turn-three Lodestone Golem into a turn-four Wurmcoil Engine. I however had a strong suspicion that my opponent had Settle the Wreckage when they passed with 5 mana up to cast it through my Lodestone. Fortunately I drew a Mausoleum Wanderer and I countered the Settle when they cast it.
I feel that for the most part my deck performed very well, though I think it’s time to just cut the Smuggler’s Copters entirely. Phyrexian Metamorph is a card that I really wanted to test for this deck, and preliminary goldfishing suggests that it is probably better than Copter. The other change that I would make is to move The Immortal Sun to the sideboard and replace it with another Wurmcoil main. The card is very good against Tron, but most of the time I drew it, I just wanted it to be Wurmcoil Engine. Despite the fact that Siren Stormtamer is interaction, I feel that Artificer’s Assistant is just better. It allows you to filter your draws so well. Ultimately, I feel that the deck is very close to being tier 1, but is missing that little push to get it there. I think it needs another two-mana threat in the style of Myr Superion to really perform. It’s possible we want a third Thorn in there somewhere, but they are quite dead against the creature matchups like Humans. So, I think that for now I’ll keep this deck on the backburner until I either think of some better card choices or WoTC prints some. If you think of any, let me know in the comments! A final note about Modern is that despite how good Humans is right now, the format feels like it’s in a good place, and the top decks don’t feel quite as unbeatable as they first appeared to be.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. It’s a little disappointing not making day two for Vegas two years in a row, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns and didn’t play Hollow One. I feel like I learned a lot about Blue Steel and the Meta. I still think that despite my results it was a good choice for the tournament, but my sideboard was a little weak and could have been better prepared. Next week we’re going to switch gears a bit and talk about some of those dank M19 spoilers.