Grand Prix Detroit Survival Guide

I’m excited to have an event right in my own backyard this weekend when the Grand Prix series visits Detroit, Michigan. My friends and I have been hard at work on our Team Modern lists, and I thought that today would be a good time to walk through what I believe to be some of the stronger three deck configurations to keep in mind. Also, at the end I’ll list a quick guide of some great places to consider for dining in Detroit. Most importantly, tons of Modern lists!

Who Would Cross the Bridge of Death Must Answer Me These Questions There, Ere Day 2 of the GP He or She Will See

Modern. Three decks. No overlap on cards between decks other than basic lands. Those are the rules for Team Modern deck construction.

The key to the format is to select three strong decks and to match them with pilots who will play them well. It sounds simple, but there are a ton of decisions to be made before you’ll ever draw your first opening hand.

Obviously, there are certain decks that overlap cards and thus cannot realistically be fielded together, but the key is to make the most of each slot.

Mox Opal and Ancient Stirrings

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen Affinity deck?


Xavier Heron, 1st place at the PPTQ

Also, be sure that you are familiar with the new Hardened Scales version of Affinity that has been tearing things up over the past week:

“If… she… weighs the same as a duck… she’s made of wood?”

Modular Affinity

Lauri Pispa, 1st place at Grand Prix Prague

Mox Opal is a great place to start in a deck full of artifact synergies, which means that it is unlikely to be pulling generic good cards (especially dual lands and shocklands) away from other potential decks.

The Mox Opal card pool is also closely tied to Ancient Stirrings, another powerful artifact enabler.

“If it’s the most likely card to be banned in Modern, should we maybe try and play it, if possible?”


Magnus Nielsen, 1st place at GPT

KCI is a strong choice if you are not planning to split up Opal and Stirrings since it takes advantage of both in a powerful way. The reason to split up Opal and Stirrings is to play Affinity and Urza Tron in the same trio.


David Brugger, 1st place at the PPTQ

Nothing too fancy. Lots of sweepers and removal. Good permission. Tons of card draw to push through. There are lots of different builds of the Jace/Teferi control shell. Some of them even include a red splash for burn spells. It’s kind of cool that there is no established list yet. So you’ll be on your own to pick the version you think is best suited to battle with.

It’s also significant that U/W gets a ton of great sideboard cards in white:

“Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.”

Casting one of these spells, against the decks where they are most effective, is kind of like lobbing a holy hand grenade.

Run Them Over with the Third Wheel

It’s Modern, so people are going to play what they own and feel comfortable with. With that said, it makes a lot of sense that people gravitate toward the decks that are consistently putting up numbers. Those are the decks people are also most likely to own.

Humans is a really strong choice. It’s the second most popular deck in Modern at the moment and despite getting hated out pretty hard by U/W Control, it still manages to get results. It is also worth noting that the deck really does not overlap on many cards that other decks would want, making it a great third deck.


Theyostwiththemost, 1st place at MTGO RPTQ

Another nice deck that doesn’t have much overlap is Red Deck Wins. There are obviously Boros, Rakdos, and Naya versions of the deck as well, but I’ve included this one since it is an easy splash and will likely not overlap with the shocklands.

Red Deck Wins

Starfall, MTGO Competitive Event

Dredge is also a fine option. Faithless Looting is clearly one of the powerful cards in the format and the revitalization of Dredge has been a big story after the Pro Tour.


Hyeri0418, 1st place in an MTGO League

It’s Modern. There are a zillion decks to play and just because I didn’t talk about your deck doesn’t mean much other than it isn’t either a wacky list or one of the most popular archetypes by results.

Narrowing it Down to Three—Level One Metagame Predictions

In my opinion, assuming that all players can play each deck perfectly, I think the best way to maximize deck choice would be a configuration like this one:

  • Affinity
  • U/W or Jeskai Control
  • Humans

You’ve got three format defining decks and there is simply no overlap. I also think that these are very popular decks people tend to own, which also makes them likely choices to face off against.

I’m a big fan of taking Tron in the three this time around, with U/W being such a top dog.

  • Tron
  • U/W Control
  • Humans

It is also worth noting that neither configuration needs to take a U/W deck. In either configuration, U/W (or Humans for that matter) can be replaced by half a dozen different decks to meet what your team can build and/or play.

One of the big takeaways from writing this article has been that if you look at the top 8% you can basically field almost all of the top 6 decks together in most combinations. If ever there was a time to practice your deck against six specific matchups…

A Few Dining Suggestions

Since I’m from the Metro Detroit area I thought that I’d give you some quick suggestions on some of my favorite places in the area to check out.

Slow’s BBQ in Corktown

If there was one place I’d recommend checking out it would be Slow’s in Corktown. It’s upscale BBQ in a bar setting. I recommend making a reservation or risk waiting a long time.

Firebird Tavern – Greektown

I had my wedding here two weeks ago, and the food and setting is amazing. It’s in Greektown, which is only a short walk/Uber from Cobo. Great bar food.

Fishbones – Greektown

Great seafood and sushi in a cool setting. Both Fishbones and Firebird Tavern are directly adjacent to Greektown Casino, if you are looking for something to do after hours. All three places are reasonably priced. Menu items range between $12-$25 but are good quality and value for the price.

There’s actually a lot of cool stuff to check out downtown but these are a few of the ones I personally enjoy.

It’s exciting to have a Grand Prix this weekend where I’ll get to sleep in my own bed the night before and only have a 10-minute drive to the site! I’m hoping that home court advantage translates into some wins for me!

No matter what happens, I’m certain that this is going to be a really fun event. Modern with friends—what could be better? Good luck with those last minute roster changes and enjoy the event!

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