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.
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 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 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 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.