GP Charlotte has come and gone, and the Modern landscape has been shaken up again by its results! Elves took down the tournament, which I certainly didn’t see coming, and there was plenty of innovation to be seen in the Top 8 – after all, not a single Top 8 deck played even one copy of Tarmogoyf! Let’s take a look at the results.
Grand Prix: Charlotte
|Elves||1st||Michael Malone||Grixis Control||9th||Patrick Chapin|
|U/R Twin||2nd||Wesley See||Naya Company||10th||Paul Rietzl|
|Affinity||3rd||Andrew Wagoner||Abzan Company||11th||Riley Curran|
|Ad Nauseam||4th||Darien Elderfield||Burn||12th||Joe Rittiner|
|Goryos Vengeance||5th||Zach Jesse||G/R Tron||13th||Michael Ingram|
|Abzan Company||6th||Ian Bosley||Abzan Company||14th||Mark Klusa|
|U/R Twin||7th||Samuel Pardee||Lantern Control||15th||Zac Elsik|
|Burn||8th||Donald Smith||Abzan Company||16th||Bradley Robinson|
Let’s highlight some key parts of the Elves strategy:
- Elvish Archdruid – A key component to the strategy, this card accelerates your mana while also providing a lord effect for your team. It allows you to easily cast Chord of Calling or Collected Company for even more elves to continue the beatdown.
- Heritage Druid – Another card that allows fast mana acceleration, Heritage Druid makes elves that you cast immediately be available for more mana to continue playing spells
- Nettle Sentinel – This card synergies with Heritage Druid, by allowing you to tap it for mana and then when you cast a green spell it will untap immediately and allow you to again tap it for mana or even attack since it is a 2/2.
- Ezuri, Renegade Leader – Probably the most pivotal card in the deck, this guy allows you to pretty much win on the spot if you untap with him in play.
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – This Standard card fits right in with what the deck is trying to accomplish and allows you to keep making that green mana all day long.
- Cavern of Souls – Uncounterable Elves are pretty good, I hear.
All in all, this is pretty cool deck that can win extremely fast if left unchecked. In the sideboard, Kitchen Finks and Burrenton Forge-Tender help you stabilize against Burn and Beast Within is a nice catch-all answer that can take care of any troubling permanent in a pinch to help finish the game.
U/R Twin was the runner up, playing the usual Deceiver Exarch / Pestermite and Splinter Twin game winning combination. One trend I’ve noticed amongst Twin players (even the three color Grixis / Temur variety) is that they’re playing at least one Roast main deck these days – five damage to a creature for two mana is really good! Most of the time this kills Tarmogoyf and will always take out Tasigur, the Golden Fang.
Ad Nauseam came in fourth place, which is a great result for such a large field. The deck is somewhat difficult to pilot but can win out of nowhere since the deck has several ways of keeping the player alive until they can win with Lightning Storm. Phyrexian Unlife and Angel’s Grace are both key parts of the combo, and Spoils of the Vault is also an important card because it allows you to easily search for any card you need for only one mana (and you don’t have to worry about dying because of the Unlife/Grace that is keeping you alive). Angel’s Grace also works nicely with Pact of Negation, and you could even use multiple Pacts on the same turn and only need to pay one white mana during your upkeep! Finally, Lotus Bloom helps with any mana issues by allowing you to suspend it on turn one or two and then have an explosive turn four or five.
Goryo’s Vengeance has taken a completely new direction this tournament – the deck is now focused on drawing out your entire library with a combination of Nourishing Shoal and Worldspine Wurm, followed by cheating into a play a Borborygmos Enraged and then discarding a bunch of lands that you just drew to kill your opponent. Griselbrand is the key piece of this combination, and you can help filter your deck to get him by using Faithless Looting, Night’s Whisper, and even the newer Tormenting Voice. Strangely enough, there is enough actual support in the deck to actually utilize the Splice onto Arcane ability of several of the cards – splicing Goryo’s Vengeance seems especially important if you have two legendary creatures in the graveyard that you want to get into play in a single turn. All in all, this deck looks really fun to play and I can’t wait to jam some games with or against it if given the chance.
In the Top 16, the most unique deck is the mill strategy Lantern Control. This deck utilizes the cards Codex Shredder and Ghoulcaller’s Bell along with tons of “top of the library” manipulation in order to ensure that the opponent never draws a useful card again throughout the rest of the match. Quickly dropping an Ensnaring Bridge means that your opponent will never be able to attack you as long as you have zero cards in hand, and afterwards all you do is sit back, take their best cards (or cards that could remove Bridge), and then win through milling them.
Several Collected Company decks made the Top 16 of the event, which means that Collected Company is officially “in” as a card to expect in Modern from this point out. Even if the math doesn’t seem to work out in theory for the number of creatures you need to run vs. the number of creatures that that are actually in the deck, Collected Company has put up amazing results in one of the largest Modern tournaments of the year. Remember everyone, if you opponent has four mana open at any point during your turn, you can pretty much bank on Collected Company being cast if they’re playing green and have already dropped one or two small creatures throughout the game so far.
Looks like Modern is shaping up quite nicely. Combo and control were well represented at this event, and even aggro and creature based strategies did quite well. It looks like Modern has hit a nice spot where no one deck or strategy is overtly more powerful than another. Sure, it can feel rock-paper-scissors at times, but Modern overall looks really healthy to me after seeing the results from this weekend. That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.s