Pro Tour: Rivals of Ixalan
Wow, Pro Tour: Rivals of Ixalan was fantastic! Modern is such a fun format to watch (well most of the time) and we got to see a tonne of different decks on camera. I’ve been pouring over all the well performing decks and I’ve picked out five decks that I think are really cool and put up some surprising results. I am also super excited to see that five colour humans (Deck Tech) and Mardu Pyromancer (Deck Tech) put up super impressive performances. I am super close to playing either of these decks so it was great to see them in the hands of Pro Players like Gerry Thompson and Andrea Mengucci. Alright, let’s just get straight into the decks.
UR Pyromancer- Pascal Vieren (7-2 and Semi-Finals)
This is a pretty sick deck, we’ve seen Young Pyromancer return to modern in the mardu deck, but now young peezy has returned to a UR shell. The basic idea of this deck is to safely get down a Young Pyromancer or a Thing in the Ice and then control the board with the huge amount of spells in the deck. Eventually you transform Thing or build a giant army thanks to young peezy. This seems like quite a tough deck to play but if you love casting spells then I recommend trying this one out at an FNM for sure.
BR Hollow One- Ken Yukuhiro (7-1 and Semi-Finals)
I really regret not doing a deck tech on this deck before the Pro Tour, but I honestly didn’t expect it to put up such a fantastic result. This deck is all about using Faithless Looting, Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore to churn through as many cards as possible and then try to cast Hollow One for free or cast Gurmag Angler for super cheap. This deck can be super explosive and get some really fast wins, BUT it can be very inconsistent and some draws will have you crossing your fingers and hoping the odds are in your favour. I recommend testing the deck out but I wouldn’t say to take it to any competitive events unless you put a lot of effort into learning the intricate lines that the deck has.
WB Zombies- Julien Berteaux (7-3)
Now I admit I did not see this one coming. Zombies have moved from standard to modern and put up a very decent showing. Julien seems to have been playing this deck in modern for a while now, he even used it to qualify for this Pro Tour in a RPTQ (regional Pro Tour qualifier). The deck features the most important black spells in modern (Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek and Fatal Push) and some very resilient threats in Gravecrawler, Dread Wanderer and Bloodghast. The deck also benefits from the power of Lingering Souls which is becoming one of the strongest cards in modern lately. A big surprise to see here is Smuggler’s Copter, a very powerful artifact that can hit the opponent for a tonne of damage while also helping find the right card at the right time. I highly recommend giving this deck a go at FNM and maybe if you’re confident you can take it to a PPTQ too.
Ironworks Combo (KCI)- Shaheen Soorani (7-3)
This deck gets it’s name from the card Krark-Clan Ironworks, since without this card the deck does not function. To simplify the deck (I will do a more complicated deck tech if people request it) you cast a bunch of artifacts that either create mana or draw a card, then you sacrifice them all to Ironworks and make a huge amount of mana and play an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to kill the opponent. The deck has been around ever since eggs (a similar deck that won Pro Tour: Return to Ravnica) was banned, but this is the first time in a while that it has put up a good performance in a big event. This is a very very complicated deck and I would only recommend it for someone who has the time to learn it inside and out and even then it’s a risky choice.
Eldrazi Spirits- Michael Hinderaker (6-4)
What do you get when you combine Death and Taxes, Eldrazi and Spirits….. you get Eldrazi Spirits! Now this deck isn’t completely out of nowhere, it’s just a combination of several decks which I found really cool. We’ve seen Eldrazi and taxes and this is just the next evolution of that. Mausoleum Wanderer and Selfless Spirit are there to protect your important creatures while also being a clock in the air. Reflector Mage and Spell Queller are there to help control what happens on the board; the mage takes care of any annoying creatures while queller is a nice catch all. We also see the usual taxing creatures of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter to make life difficult for the opponent. To finish the opponent off the deck also runs Eldrazi Displacer (works great with Reflector Mage and Spell Queller) and Thought-Knot Seer. I think this is a pretty cool take on an existing archetype and I recommend trying it out. If you do, let me know how it goes.
The Wrap up
This was a pretty sick Pro Tour for some newer decks, and it just shows that modern can really produce some super cool decks and it really rewards people for being super experienced with their decks. I’m really excited to see if any of these decks can continue to put up consistent results and really establish themselves in the modern metagame. What are your favourite decks from the Pro Tour? Are there any decks you are sad didn’t put up results? Let me know and maybe I can do some deck techs on those. I think modern is in a really good place right now and although people are unhappy that Lantern Control won the tournament I still think nothing needs to be banned. In fact I believe it would be safe to unban Bloodbraid Elf. Please let me cast Bloodbraid Elf in modern again, please WoTC #UNBANBBE