With the latest Banned & Restricted list announcement and the departure of Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll, Modern is a new format. Sunday brought the first big event after the change—the MOCS Playoff, a tournament where the best players of MTGO battle through 7 rounds of Swiss to determine who qualifies for the MOCS Championship.
The two players who earned the invite were Corey Burkhart and Steve Rubin. While I’m sure Corey will provide ChannelFireball content on his own deck—Grixis Control—I’m going to take a look at 3 interesting decks that made to the Top 8.
Sturvedog/Steve Rubin, 2nd place at the MOCS Playoff
It feels a little weird not seeing Sejiri Steppe, a land that’s very useful once you have 4 Knight of the Reliquary in your deck. Instead, you have Kessig Wolf Run to win the game once you grow your Knight. It feels weird to splash red just for a land and a couple of Izzet Staticasters in the sideboard, but I guess it must be the most effective plan.
Spell Queller is another new addition to Modern, a good interactive creature that we aren’t really used to seeing. Overall, the deck plays a midrange role, trying to grind the opponent out with Company, Tracker + fetchlands, and a nice toolbox of lands.
Mono-White Death and Taxes
Nacatls4Life/Craig Wescoe, 4th place at the MOCS Playoff
Good old Craig Wescoe over here with his Mono-White Prison deck that he just brewed up on his own. After being played all over the place in Standard, Thraben Inspector has finally made it to Modern!
The obvious comparison is to Death and Taxes in Legacy, though the lands here are weaker: Ghost Quarter and Tectonic Edge aren’t even close to Wasteland and Rishadan Port, and the absence of Mother of Runes and Stoneforge Mystic is significant.
Kor Skyfisher works like Flickerwisp with Vial on 2. You are able to bounce your creature in response to removal, or reset a Thraben Inspector or Blade Splicer to get an extra enters-the-battlefield trigger.
I can see this deck beating other midrange thanks to its many flyers—typically a real problem for decks with Tarmogoyfs.
I think this deck will suffer a lot with the presence of Fatal Push—it preys on your opponent using over-costed answers to your cheap threats.
We are of course looking at a Wescoe deck, which sometimes means that if your name isn’t Craig Wescoe, you should probably stay away from it.
Death’s Shadow Aggro
SebastianPozzo, 7th place at the MOCS Playoff
Once I saw that Gitaxian Probe was banned, I assumed that archetypes like Death’s Shadow would disappear. I was wrong, since not only SebastianPozzo but Oliver_Hart also managed to make the Top 8 on the back of Death’s Shadow.
This version of the deck is much different than the one we’re used to. No Steppe Lynx, no Monastery Swiftspear, and no Temur Battle Rage + Become Immense. Now you grind the game out, with 9 discard spells and 2 Liliana of the Veil.
Even with Probe gone, it looks like Death’s Shadow Aggro will remain a tier 1 deck in Modern.