Introduction to Modern: Part Two

Welcome to Part Two

Part two of my modern article series has arrived. Last time we looked at the aggro decks (found here) and this time we are going to look at the midrange decks in the format. Modern is a very fast format lately so the midrange decks look a bit different to the ones you may be used to seeing in standard. Lets get things started with one of my favourite decks that I have ever played.

Jund

Creatures (13)
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze
Tarmogoyf
Huntmaster of the Fells

Planeswalkers (4)
Liliana of the Veil

Spells (19)
Abrupt Decay
Slaughter Pact
Collective Brutality
Thoughtseize
Inquisition of Kozilek
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Terminate
Maelstrom Pulse
Lands (24)
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Blood Crypt
Ghost Quarter
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Bloodstained Mire
Blackcleave Cliffs
Forest
Twilight Mire
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Collective Brutality
Crumble to Dust
Damnation
Fulminator Mage
Grim Lavamancer
Jund Charm
Kitchen Finks
Liliana, the Last Hope
Night of Souls’ Betrayal
Obstinate Baloth

This is an incredible grindy and versatile deck that seeks to use incredibly powerful cards to gain an advantage over their opponents and then eventually kill them. It is jam packed full of removal (Terminate, Abrupt Decay), hand disruption ( Thoughtseize, Collective Brutality) and efficient creatures that create some kind of card advantage (Dark Confidant etc). Jund has been around since Shards of Alara released in 2008. The main strength of Jund is that most of the match ups are 50/50 and the odds increase in your favour the better you are with the deck. The weakness of Jund is probably the fact that there are so many slots for removal and creatures that you have to be tuned for the right type of meta game. If you show up with an untuned Jund deck then you will be crushed, however if you show up for the right meta then you will have a huge advantage.

Abzan (Junk)

Creatures (14)
Noble Hierarch
Grim Flayer
Scavenging Ooze
Tarmogoyf
Siege Rhino

Planeswalkers (4)
Liliana of the Veil
Liliana, the Last Hope

Spells (18)
Path to Exile
Fatal Push
Thoughtseize
Inquisition of Kozilek
Abrupt Decay
Collective Brutality
Lingering Souls
Maelstrom Pulse

Artifacts (2)
Nihil Spellbomb
Lands (22)
Marsh Flats
Blooming Marsh
Overgrown Tomb
Plains
Godless Shrine
Shambling Vent
Forest
Stirring Wildwood
Swamp
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath

Sideboard (15)
Collective Brutality
Creeping Corrosion
Engineered Explosives
Fatal Push
Fulminator Mage
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Path to Exile
Stony Silence
Surgical Extraction

Abzan is a very similar deck to Jund, it is incredibly grindy and wants to disrupt the opponent while playing efficient threats on board. The main attraction to this deck is switching out red for white, white gives players access to Lingering Souls, Path to Exile and opens up room in the sideboard for hate cards such as Rest in Peace and Stony Silence. Abzan has been seeing more play recently thanks to access to these sideboard cards and the addition of Fatal Push being another very strong removal spell that doesn’t require red mana. The main strengths of Abzan is having access to a wide range of incredibly powerful sideboard cards, while also being advantaged against Jund thanks to Lingering Souls. The weakness of Abzan is that it does take a while to close out the game and sometimes the mana can be a bit of a hassle (this has gotten better since the new fastlands came out in Kaladesh). Abzan is definitely a strong deck in the current format and it is worth considering if you enjoy grindy match ups.

Bant Eldrazi

Creatures (25)
Noble Hierarch
Spellskite
Eldrazi Displacer
Eldrazi Skyspawner
Thought-Knot Seer
Reality Smasher
Drowner of Hope

Spells (9)
Ancient Stirrings
Path to Exile
Dismember

Artifacts (2)
Engineered Explosives
Lands (24)
Brushland
Breeding Pool
Eldrazi Temple
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Hallowed Fountain
Cavern of Souls
Plains
Sea Gate Wreckage
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Yavimaya Coast

Sideboard (15)
Blessed Alliance
Disdainful Stroke
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Grafdigger’s Cage
Stony Silence
Stubborn Denial
Thragtusk
World Breaker
Worship

Bant Eldrazi is a very strong deck thanks to a single card; Eldrazi Temple, without this land the deck would not be viable. A few months ago the deck lost Eye of Ugin (Eldrazi winter was a miserable time for modern) and everyone rejoiced, now the deck is still strong but not nearly as oppressive as it used to be. The deck uses Eldrazi Temple and Noble Hierarch to cheat out powerful eldrazi several turns before they are usually meant to enter the battlefield. Thought-Knot Seer is able to disrupt the opponent while Reality Smasher is there to put them out of their misery very quickly. The main strength of the deck is being able to put huge threats on the board ahead of the normal curve of creatures, this puts the opponent on the back foot and if they can’t keep up they die. The weakness of the deck is that sometimes you don’t have the fast mana draws and you are playing a fair game of magic (which no one really does in modern). This is also a big deck in the format at the moment and I would recommend playing a few games with it and seeing if you enjoy it.

Tron 

Creatures (7)
Spellskite
Wurmcoil Engine
World Breaker
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Planeswalkers (6)
Karn Liberated
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (11)
Ancient Stirrings
Path to Exile
Sylvan Scrying

Artifacts (17)
Oblivion Stone
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Expedition Map
Relic of Progenitus
Lands (19)
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Brushland
Razorverge Thicket
Sanctum of Ugin
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower

Sideboard (15)
Nature’s Claim
Path to Exile
Pithing Needle
Relic of Progenitus
Thragtusk
Timely Reinforcements
Warping Wail

Tron gets its name from the cartoon Voltron, it is called tron because much like Voltron you have to assemble several parts to get the main effect. The deck tries to assemble the “combo” of Urza’s Tower, Urza’s Mine and Urza’s Power Plant, once all three lands are in play together they can tap for seven mana. This can happen as early as turn three which leads to a Karn Liberated or a Wurmcoil Engine. Some people may be wondering why this in the midrange section and I didn’t save it for the combo article, well I believe that Tron is actually a very strong midrange deck as it does not always need to play a huge threat on turn three, of course it is able to do that in most games but it doesn’t always have to. The huge strength of the deck is obviously being able to spend seven mana on turn three, this threat is usually strong enough to win the game on it’s own but any other threats can ensure victory. The weakness of tron is that it is sometimes hard to interact with the fast combo decks of the format, it is also quite weak to counterspells as it usually has to tap out for it’s threats. While Tron isn’t as strong as it used to be, I still believe it can be quite strong going forward and you should have a plan to beat it.

Part 3 on the way

Join me next time as we look at some combo and control decks of the format, feel free to get in contact with me and let me know what you want to see in the next few articles. I am here to help you learn the format and feel confident showing up to a modern tournament.

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