Journeys of a Tax-Man – Part I – In The Beginning (Brisbane Modern League)

Greetings and salutations, Magic fans!

Within Brisbane, and possibly all of Australia, Modern is the format to play competitively. It may be because the last two years of standard have been outright unloveable, it may be because Modern Masters sets have given new players an in to the format, or it may be because (at the time of writing) the dominating deck in the format is Humans with only a 10% Top 8 share across the last two months. Whatever the reason, Modern is hot property right now.

How better to celebrate the format than with a 12-week league as run by Brisbane’s Local Legend: Dougal? The rules are simple: Each fortnight players get allocated two opponents (based on their standings after the previous fortnight) with whom to play a best-of-five round consisting of two pre-sideboard and three post-sideboard games. After the dust settles in week 12, the Top 8 will participate in a single-elimination playoff for over $1500 in prize cards. You can play any deck you like throughout the preliminaries, and players are free to change anything they like between opponents.

ATGN will be covering this series in three ways. Firstly, I’ll be doing a meta-report and tracking results as the preliminary rounds are completed, giving you an idea of how decks fare and how a metagame adapts in a micro-universe of 48 players. Secondly, I’ll be performing a little experiment with my own go-to list: Mono White Death and Taxes, which will be the primary focus of this “Journeys of a Tax-Man” series. I’ll cover the details of how I’ll run this experiment in a moment. Finally, ATGN will be on the scene of the finals to bring you full coverage of the exciting conclusion to this 12 week saga.

So without further ado, on to the experiment.

My theory is that the deck I have built runs at least 50% game win for any given game one in the format, and should go to 60% game win against any deck except Jund after sideboarding. In science, we must have sanitary conditions to test any theory, so to achieve that I’m going to run the exact same 75 card deck in every round of the tournament. The list is as follows.

Mono White Taxes

Creatures (32)
2 Judge’s Familiar
2 Dryad Militant
2 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Selfless Spirit
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Leonin Arbiter
3 Flickerwisp
3 Eldrazi Displacer
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Blade Splicer
3 Aven Mindcensor
1 Mangara of Corondor

Spells (8)
4 Aether Vial
4 Path to Exile
Lands (20)
5 Plains
2 Horzion Canopy
2 Eiganjo Castle
2 Shefet Dunes
4 Ghost Quarter
2 Tectonic Edge
2 Mutavault
1 Sea Gate Wreckage

Sideboard (15)
1 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Rest In Peace
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Mark of Asylum
2 Mirran Crusader
2 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Ghostly Prison
2 Kor Firewalker

Yes, I am aware that my future opponents can see this, and yes I know that they’re able to effectively pre-board against me for my hubris. My responses would be that, according to my Top 8 predicting software, it will take an 8-3-1 (W-L-D) result to make the cutoff; that’s basically a 66% win-loss rate, which should be challenging but achievable. Another factor is that Modern is a format decided largely by deck aptitude, with outright power playing a smaller role in your win percentage than other formats. Given my history with iterations of the deck, I would say that I am proficient enough to achieve that result even with my opponents having knowledge of my deck beforehand. Finally, Brisbane is a small enough community that I know what most people play, and similarly most people know the guy who runs their Modern locals and that he’s a sucker for a Thorn effect.

So there you have it. The rules are set, pairings for the first fortnight are released and all that’s left is to see how the deck treats me. I’m honoured to have you readers alongside me for this journey, and I hope I can keep things entertaining for you.

My next post will be the first fortnight’s results and meta breakdown. Until then if you are interested to know more, check out the Facebook Group and/or follow the standings on Challonge.

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