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The Quest for Gold: A Tale of Two Cities


GP Charlotte

For Grand Prix Charlotte, I decided to consult the previous weekend’s Modern results in order to figure out what to play. Given the weekend before Charlotte, my favorite deck (Abzan Company) got absolutely decimated; I decided to investigate other avenues. Peter Ingram won the StarCityGames open in Charlotte with Jeskai Nahiri, and Gerry Thompson did well in the MOCS with a version of Jeskai Nahiri as well. Given the success of Jeskai Nahiri, I decided to try Jeskai splash Lingering Souls Nahiri and Mardu Nahiri to get an edge by having access to Lingering Souls versus the pseudo-mirror in order to A: pressure the planeswalker, B: try to make spot removal terrible.

These conclusions led me to register the following deck:

Here’s a brief description of how my rounds went:

  • R3: Win over Bant Eldrazi
  • R4: Loss to G/W Tron
  • R5: Win over Abzan Company
  • R6: Win over Naya Bushwhacker Zoo
  • R7: Win over Mono-Blue Turns
  • R8: Loss to Naya Burn
  • R9: Win over Jeskai Kiki-Jiki Control
  • R10: Win over Abzan Company
  • R11: Win over Jeskai splash Souls (no Emrakul, only 1 Nahiri, the Harbinger)
  • R12: Win over R/G Tron (games 2 and 3 were very close)
  • R13: Loss to Infect
  • R14: Loss to R/G Tron
  • R15: Loss to Affinity

Interesting scenarios I can recall:

Versus Mono-Blue Time Warps in r7, I had actually played a bunch of games versus Reid playing U/W Taking Turns before the GP started, and noticed Gigadrowse was a giant nuisance. Given the fact I noticed this, I figured out an on-the-fly game-plan versus Mono-Blue: deploy Lingering Souls on turn three, then attempt to keep as many un-cracked fetchlands as possible to play around Gigadrowse (so I can Counterspell the expensive time walks). This plan worked perfectly in Game 1, then my opponent was unfortunate enough to not hit his fifth land in Game 2 (which is a death knell for the deck full of Time Warps).

Versus Tron in R12, I cast flashed back Bribery (off Snapcaster Mage) to get Thought-Knot Seer to nab his Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in his hand with only nine lands in play for him (I had cast two Crumble to Dust this game to keep him off the UrzaTron).

Versus Infect in R13, the combination of Defense Grid plus Inkmoth Nexus did me in both of the post sideboard games.

In general, I think my deck was fine, but not absurd or excellent. If I were to play the deck again in another event, I’d make the following changes:


-1 Electrolyze

-1 Cryptic Command

+1 Celestial Colonnade

+1 Serum Visions


-1 Bribery

+1 Stony Silence

I believe Bribery is a bad plan, especially versus Tron and the Jeskai Nahiri mirrors, because it forces you to expose yourself to whatever expensive spell they can cast after you tap out for Bribery.

GP Minneapolis

For Grand Prix Minneapolis, I decided to start with Sam Black’s Seasons Past deck and chat with my teammate Ben Weitz.

Given the popularity and success of Sultai Midrange online, we decided that adding Blue to Sam’s deck was an extremely low price to pay to gain access to the incredible Dragonlord Silumgar, and Silumgar's Command. Given that, and taking into account some other Sultai Midrange lists (popularized by MTGO PTQ winner ‘Jaberwocki’ aka Logan Nettles), we ended up here:

This deck was relatively strong, and Ben Weitz finished 10-4-1 with it. My wheels fell off after starting 7-2 on day 1 (then 0-4 on day 2), but the straight G/B version of this deck performed admirably well in Reid’s hands (to a record of 11-3-1). I believe Reid lost playing for Top 8, and took an unintentional draw with Justin Cohen in round 14 (where it was unclear who was going to win the match).

I would certainly make some changes to this deck. To the Slaughter is a very bad card. It should be a Clip Wings or some other answer to Ormendahl, Profane Prince. I would like a second copy of Painful Truths (in the main deck over Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger). Woodland Bellower seemed extremely impressive in Reid’s version of the deck (do note it cannot search for Nissa, Vastwood Seer due to the ‘nonlegendary’ clause on it). Being able to generate a fast two for one that speeds up your clock (either by grabbing Tireless Tracker or Sylvan Advocate) is excellent.

Standard and Modern are dynamic and interesting puzzles to crack right now. Grand Prix New York was won by B/W Control, and indeed B/W Control was everywhere at both Grand Prixes this past weekend. However, G/W Tokens won both Grand Prix (which doesn’t surprise me all that much, since G/W is naturally favored in Secure the Wastes mirrors, and versus most of the controlling decks). I wouldn’t recommend playing Ralph Levy’s list with two Chandra, Flamecaller that rely on a four-of Oath of Nissa to cast.

Modern’s evolution post ban-list update has been interesting to watch. I still have Nagging Thoughts that a U/W Thopter Foundry control deck is excellent: I’ve just been unable to find a build that ‘feels right’. Bant Eldrazi is a good deck which is obviously less broken than its progenitor, but also has Ancient Stirrings to decrease its inconsistency.

I personally will be playing in a Magic Online Regional Pro Tour Qualifier this upcoming weekend in my continuing quest for Gold, but I look forward to seeing the results of Grand Prix Costa Rica. I refuse to let my (albeit disappointing) setbacks in Minneapolis and Charlotte hold me back from acquiring the three necessary pro points.

I also look forward to playing in Grand Prix Columbus (Legacy), and I hope to go further in depth (in a following article) about what I expect to happen in preparation for that.

Thanks for reading, and I welcome any comments here or on Twitter @jkyu06


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