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
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
4 Arcbound Ravager
1 Master of Etherium
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge
4 Glavanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
2 Welding Jar
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Cranial Plating
2 Experimental Frenzy
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Inkmoth Nexus
3 Spire of Industry
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Damping Sphere
2 Etched Champion
1 Experimental Frenzy
2 Ghirapur Aether Grid
2 Rest in Peace
2 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
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.