Hope Eternal—A Welcome Return to Modern

Now that the release chaos has largely died down, I got a chance to dip my toe back into the first Modern tournament I’ve been able to get to in a while.  It’s a wide–open format, in many ways, although the big bad of the moment seems to be Pod, particularly the four–color Kiki–Jiki version.  I wanted to hit up Edison or a PTQ, but thanks to Nemo we ended up staying in on Saturday and hitting up the local Modern tournament at the Twenty Sided Store on Sunday.  I ran Infect.

No, not the Monoblack Infect deck I was talking about two weeks ago; I ran the BUG Combo version.  I probably would have done better with the Monoblack version, but I wanted to try out Simic Charm in the more typical list, and I thought in a more open meta it might be better to play a deck with an aggressive set of win conditions over some of the more plodding decks I’ve played.  Here’s the list I was running.

4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Plague Stinger 
1 Giant Growth
4 Groundswell
4 Might of Old Krosa
3 Mutagenic Growth
4 Rancor
2 Simic Charm
2 Thoughtseize
4 Vines of Vastwood
2 Breeding Pool
2 Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Pendelhaven
4 Verdant Catacomb 

1 Darkblast
3 Dismember
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Nature’s Claim
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Spellskite
2 Thoughtseize

I went two and two in the tournament.  In my first round I played against good old Splinter Twin, which made it to the finals as I understand it.  We split games one and two, with each one of us having the respective nuts on the play.  Game three he went first, and it was a close game.  I killed his Spellskites as soon as I saw them, and he in return tried to combo off with Splinter Twin when he had zero cards left in hand I had a (known) Simic Charm.  The charm bounced his Pestermite in response to the enchantment, but it left me without pump.  He replayed the Pestermite when I went to attack, and I knocked him to 9 poison counters.  He untaps and draws a Splinter Twin to win the game.  It was interesting, because he would have been dead to my swarm of poisoners had he drawn almost any other card in his library, but he managed to pull the win out by playing to his outs.  It stung, but I respected the tightness of his play, and there wasn’t much I could have done to change the outcome other than drawing a pump spell instead of a land.

Second round I played against Death and Taxes.  Boy, is that a bad matchup for the Infect player!  Rob (my opponent) had the turn two Thalia both games, which makes my pump spells a lot less efficient and helps to prevent the Glistener Elf from swinging in.  I’ll admit, I went a little on tilt after getting Stone Rained by a timely Aven Mindcensor, but the matchup wasn’t really in my favor in the first place, and my shocking manabase made the races that much faster.

Third round my luck changed.  I ended up playing against David, of the End Step fame.  He was on Black White Tokens, a deck I was trying to get to work for me last month.  I didn’t really ever feel like it got there, personally; it has some powerful starts, but it runs out of gas too quickly.  It also suffers from desperately wanting an anthem effect to make its dudes more relevant, but never really wanting to spend a turn or a card playing the anthem instead of more dudes.  Anyway, we played a bunch of games and I won most of them.  The removal in the deck is fairly light, even post board, and all I had to do was wait until I had a Vines or a Charm before putting all my eggs in a single basket.  This matchup specifically seemed to favor me, but I am not entirely sure what decks Black White Tokens is favored against, so it’s hard to tell if it was specific to the nature of my deck or not.

Finally, I ended up playing Johnny, who was on the Affinity plan.  Or Robots, or whatever names the deck is currently going by.  He was running a version with Steelshaper’s Gift, Master of Etherium and Galvanic Blast, which seemed pretty hot, although I was a little unsure how his manabase worked out since I don’t think I saw a rainbow land in the five or six matches we played.  I won most of them.  Again, decks that have little disruption or removal don’t do too well against Infect, and it didn’t hurt that one of my hands was a theoretical turn two win that got there turn three instead (Glistener Elf, Mutagenic Growth, Groundswell, Groundswell, Blighted Agent, fetch, fetch).  It’s strange to me that we’re playing in a format where Affinity is no longer the fastest deck, and it’s not even the fastest Voltron strategy, what with Boggled Enchantments in the wild.  But that’s the format!  Brave new world.

So, I tried Infect Combo and I think I am returning it back to our gauntlet where it belongs.  For this next week’s Modern tournament I am thinking about going back to Soul Sisters in preparation for the upcoming PTQ.  I know the deck, I have a lot of fun with it, and I am dying to find some slots to add in Blind Obedience, which seems like it could give the deck some needed reach.  I’ll tell you how it goes!

7 Responses to “Hope Eternal—A Welcome Return to Modern”
  1. Li Xu says:

    Darkblast in the side is interesting. What’s the reasoning there?

    • thejlina says:

      I initially copied it from a MTGO side, but I think the idea is that it’s a really good removal spell against X-1s that are clogging the way, particularly because it’s reusable and it doesn’t hit you for a bunch of life.

  2. Junie says:

    I saw a list with Livewire Lash recently. Thoughts? Also, can you point me to a solid Soul Sisters list?

    • thejlina says:

      As much as I love livewire lash, and I think it was a good call when standard infect was still a deck, I worry that Modern is a turn or two too fast for the card. You basically need to spend one of your action turns playing the lash instead of playing an infect critter or killing your opponent, and then you need to spend protection on another turn to make sure they don’t remove the dude out from under your equip… and that’s at least one extra turn for your poison critters to die to sorcery speed removal. That having been said, the engine is super powerful if you get it online, so it might be worth taking the risk. What would you cut for it?

      And the typical list I see for Soul Sisters is 8 Soul Sisters, 4 Martyrs, 4 Rangers, 4 Serra Ascendants, 4 Spectral Procession, 4 Pridemates, 4 Honor of the Pure (although I am trying Blind Obedience in that slot) and 3 Path to Exiles, with 23ish lands (usually with tectonic edges and at least one mistveil plains and two flagstones of trokair, although some builds go the emeria route and others like windbrisk heights). I might be forgetting something in there, and some decks cut a soul sister and a martyr to add in two flex spots for cards like Aven Mindcensor, but I personally prefer to make sure the lifegain engines get online.

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  1. […] next weekend. With that in mind, Matt Jones recapped his busy week of Modern, Standard, and Draft; Jess Stirba attacked the shifting Modern meta with Infect; Li Xu got burned in the 20SS modern finals; and Zac Clark […]

  2. […] decks that, if I am being honest, are not exactly tier one. I wrote about my travails with Infect last week, and on Sunday I busted out my good old Soul Sisters brew. Now, Soul Sisters isn’t a bad deck, […]

  3. […] I lost this matchup in two games. I actually had played against the deck a few weeks ago when I was running Infect, and it had trouble dealing with Infect’s explosive start. Jund, however, is just enough slower […]

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