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Five Decks You'll Play This Weekend


Welcome to Gathering Magic's weekly quintet of Magic Online decks you should be aware of this weekend, whether you're playing a major online event, going to a Grand Prix, or hitting Friday Night Magic. In an era of big data, Magic Online provides some of the biggest data, so even a quick-and-dirty snapshot of recent activity gets you ahead of the competition. This week, with three Modern Masters 2015 Edition Grand Prix, we'll look at decks most helped by the reprints.

VCU Repair

Whether in Vegas, Chiba, or Utrecht, there're a lot of Modern cards to be slung this weekend. To look at what people might use the most out of what they open, here's what 4–0'd at least twice in Modern Dailies this week (Bold = won a Daily):

  • Grixis Delver: 9
  • Amulet Bloom: 5
  • Red-Green Tron: 5
  • Elf Company: 5
  • Blue-Red Twin: 4 (2 wins)
  • Jund: 3
  • Jeskai Control: 3
  • Naya Burn: 3
  • Boros Burn: 2
  • Red Burn: 2
  • Storm: 2
  • Domain Zoo won a Daily in its only 4-0 appearance.

So . . . shall we talk about Grixis Delver?

The winner from May 19, this is the best use of Snapcaster Mage (not yet eligible for a Modern Masters reprint) in Modern, with a toolbox of instants including Lightning Bolt, Mana Leak, and Electrolyze in the main deck, with Flashfreeze in the sideboard, all of which have just been reprinted. The Delver of Secrets/Young Pyromancer shell had fallen out of favor awhile back, but Tasigur, the Golden Fang invigorated the archetype with more Snapcaster Mage power, a 4/5 beat stick, and an incentive to add black (which allows for hard removal like Murderous Cut). I like Izzet Staticaster a lot in my own Modern deck—there are a lot of x/1s running around—and Flashfreeze is intriguingly positioned. The archetype has a lot of options in the instants and sideboard, so it should adjust pretty well to most basic metagame shifts.

Amulet Bloom, benefiting from the 2013 reprints of Pact of Negation, Slaughter Pact, and Summoner's Pact and the 2015 reprints of Ravnica bounce lands, Primeval Titan, and the sideboard Leyline of Sanctity, did quite well for itself this week:

I chose this version for the range of cards in its sideboard. With Ancient Stirrings as a vital part of the deck, Chalice of the Void, Engineered Explosives, and Ghost Quarter can be found relatively quickly, while Hornet Queen, Sigarda, Host of Herons, and Ruric Thar, the Unbowed are tutorable with Summoner's Pact. There are plenty of other green creatures and colorless cards available for the sideboard should the metagame change.

This deck won Saturday's Daily, and while it has several familiar elements, it's a strange mashup:

There's the package of Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape, and Tarmogoyf from regular Zoo (and who doesn't want more reprints of Tarmogoyf?). There's the Tribal Flames associated with the Domain Zoo variant. But with Geist of Saint Traft, Snapcaster Mage, and Atarka's Command in the same deck . . . and Crackling Doom in the sideboard . . . I assume you have to practice extensively with this deck to know what your fetch lands should fetch, but if you can manage your mana base, there are some absurd plays available. Flashing back Atarka's Command with Snapcaster Mage feels all kinds of unfair, and Tribal Flames isn't too far behind. It seems next to impossible to stop all of this deck's possible angles; it's just a matter of whether the lands and opening hand will cohere sufficiently to work in any given game.

This went 3–1 in the same Daily, and while I normally wouldn't feature a 3–1 deck here, it's relevant here for its reprint count:

Of the deck's fifty-one nonland cards (counting sideboard), twenty-seven are Modern Masters or Modern Masters 2015 Edition reprints, including 2015 entrants Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Iona, Shield of Emeria, and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Because the Gifts version of Tron runs Azorius Signet, it can be more lenient with its colored mana requirements than R/G Tron, allowing the removal and sideboard cards to be more robust. It's a little weird to see the normal Tron finisher, 2015 reprint Karn Liberated, absent from the list entirely, but this deck isn't all in on the Tron plan (note only two Expedition Maps), so the chances of a third-turn Karn are already low.

One Spicy Metaball

Although this deck is more about 2013 reprints, this June 18 4–0 deck was too good to pass up:

Gifts Ungiven
This deck is a hybrid of several disparate archetypes, much like the Domain Zoo list above. Gifts Ungiven is present, but Unburial Rites isn't a strong theme. Instead, the focus is more on the ramp shell that's powered decks such as last year's Green Devotion deck, allowing Gifts Ungiven to assemble various two-card combos with +1/+1 counters. Birds of Paradise, Arbor Elf, Utopia Sprawl, Sylvan Caryatid, and Garruk Wildspeaker are most of the non-singleton cards, meaning most games can land a third-turn Gifts Ungiven for whatever combo will most suit the game.

Unburial Rites with Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is fine, but Archangel of Thune with Spike Feeder is great in several other matchups, and while we've seen those cards with Kitchen Finks frequently, we haven't seen the Archangel pair with Glen Elendra Archmage much. It's a brilliant pairing, one that the Gifts Ungiven package can enable in a different way with Archangel's lightly-regarded backup Master Biomancer. What opponent has a great plan against Master Biomancer and Glen Elendra Archmage? An effectively 3/3 flyer resistant to removal and stopping all combos is pretty good.

Since this deck is so heavily into Gifts Ungiven after ramping, the silver bullets in the seventy-five are varied and unexpected. Confiscate and Panglacial Wurm are in the main deck, while the sideboard offers up Elderscale Wurm and old Legacy favorite Rhox War Monk against Burn, Terastodon for value, and River Kelpie for general deck interaction and possibly even against Storm (nice Past in Flames; I'm drawing my deck now). I have no idea how much staying power this deck has, but as many awesome cards as it is able to play, I hope it becomes a bigger player in the metagame.


The original Modern Masters was a fun environment any way it was played, and I hope the thousands of players assembling this weekend will feel the same way about the sequel. Even as the original had more cards that obviously helped Modern card supply, this weekend's worldwide opening of tens of thousands of boosters should bring sweet relief to Modern deck-builders. This weekend is one of the hugest stages Magic's ever had, so it promises to be fantastic. If you're going to a Grand Prix this weekend, have fun, and open great cards. If you're not, have fun anyway—I'm not stingy with my wellwishing (though maybe with my Wellwisher).

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