The Spicy decks of MagicFest Toronto

This past weekend over 1,300 players descended upon Toronto to test their mettle in the wonderful world of Modern Magic. This would be the first MagicFest since the banning of Krark-Clan Ironworks, and many people (including yours truly) were interested to see how the format would shape up. Would decks that were kept down by KCI Combo bounce back or would more established decks rule the day. For me, I was eager to see if any new and exciting brews surfaced and how they would impact the format, and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

Today I’ll be looking at three decks that caught my eye over the weekend. Some will be twists on existing builds, while others will be more wild and interesting brews. All these decks made day two, even if they did come up short of hitting the top 8. Not all of these will contain sideboards, as I could only get so much information from snippets of social media. But hopefully you will get a good enough idea of these builds and be inspired to brew around with them in the future. Let’s not waste any more time and get to the decks.

Vannifar Pod by Philippe Gareau

Prime Speaker Vannifar

Creatures (33)
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Wall of Roots
Scryb Ranger
Scavenging Ooze
Renegade Rallier
Reflector Mage
Eternal Witness
Kitchen Finks
Deceiver Exarch
Knight of Autumn
Prime Speaker Vannifar
Restoration Angel
Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Glen Elendra Archmage
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Spells (5)
Eldritch Evolution
Chord of Calling
Lands (20)
Breeding Pool
Hollowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Temple Garden
Stomping Ground
Grove of the Burnwillows
Wooded Foothills
Flooded Strand

When Birthing Pod was banned in Modern, many magic players believed we would never again see the day of a rampant creature combo deck and were happy of that fact. So when Wizards of the Coast printed a Birthing Pod on a stick in the form of Prime Speaker Vannifar, many were wondering if this menace would rear its head again. Well we haven’t had to wait long as Philippe Gareau put in a good showing with this Vannifar Pod brew.

The plan of the deck is simple but also terrifying to behold. Play out early mana accelerators like Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, and Wall of Roots. Then get down value creatures like Kitchen Finks and start feeding them to Vannifar to get even larger threats. This all leads to an instant kill combo once you get Deceiver Exarch and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker online.

The deck also has quite a few redundancies with Eldritch Evolution and Chord of Calling being able to grab combo pieces as well as neat singleton creatures to provide more specific answers to niche threats. Overall I really like this kind of deck, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit worried about its potential to become the boogieman of the format given time. If you know a friend that was a Birthing Pod player, be ready for them to rock up with this in the future.

Frenzy Affinity by Andrew Elenbogen

Experimental Frenzy

Creatures (19)
Arcbound Ravager
Master of Etherium
Steel Overseer
Vault Skirge

Spells (4)
Glavanic Blast

Artifacts (14)
Mox Opal
Welding Jar
Springleaf Drum
Cranial Plating

Enchantments (2)
Experimental Frenzy
Lands  (17)
Blinkmoth Nexus
Darksteel Citadel
Inkmoth Nexus
Spire of Industry

Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Damping Sphere
Etched Champion
Experimental Frenzy
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Rest in Peace
Spell Pierce

If I were to pick a card from the last couple of sets to make its way into Modern affinity, it wouldn’t have been Experimental Frenzy. I could see Simic Ascendancy being tried out in a Hardened Scales variant, but I wouldn’t have pictured Frenzy. Andrew Elenbogen did, and he made day two of a Grand Prix so that just shows what I know.

To be honest its not hard to see why Experimental Frenzy is a good fit in Affinity. Most traditional Affinity hands are pretty much empty after the first couple of turns and have the ability to generate a healthy amount of mana to boot. Since Frenzy allows you to play off the top of your deck, and most of your spells are super cheap or even just free, the enchantment can provide an absurd amount of value.

Time will tell if this new bit of tech will be adopted by the wider Affinity player base, but it is great to see even the established decks in the format trying out new cards and expanding their offensive capabilities.

Boros Soldiers by Russ Jeffery

Tithe Taker

Creatures (29)
Champion of the Parish
Soldier of the Pantheon
Kytheon, Hero of Akros
Precinct Captain
Tithe Taker
Thalia's Lieutenant
Thalai, Guardian of Thraben
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Field Marshal

Spells (10)
Path to Exile
Lightning Bolts
Lightning Helix
Lands (21)
Cavern of Souls
Arid Mesa
Sacred Foundry
Inspiring Vantage

The final deck of the day is certainly a unique one and is probably my favourite deck of the lot. A pet deck of one Russ Jeffery, Boros Soldiers took the field by storm on day one of the tournament going undefeated in the first nine rounds. While his performance on day two was not as successful, it still got people excited about seeing what this deck could do.

A straight up White Weenie beat down tribal deck, this brew does everything I want from an aggro build. It can quickly overwhelm the board with effective one and two drops, blast opposing threats with efficient removal, and then push through for the win with some great top end three drops. A simple concept, but then again, most aggressive decks follow a similar game plan and that hasn’t stopped them.


That just about wraps it up for today’s article. Modern seems to be on an upward swing since the banning of KCI, and hopefully this will continue in the coming weeks and months. Sure, it’s not perfect, but I feel it’s on its way back to being a more healthy format. If you want to find out more about the event as a whole, I would recommend checking out Channel Fireball’s event coverage, which includes the top 8 breakdown.

I’m curious to hear what you think. Is Modern a healthier format now? Are you inspired to try any of these builds yourself? Let us know in the comments below, and while you’re there, don’t forget to like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. Until next time though, remember – whatever format you play and wherever you play it, good luck and have fun.

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