The August 30, 2016 Update

Posted in Daily Magic Update on August 30, 2016

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

The Daily Magic Update is a roundup of everything Magic you should know on August 26, 2016. Today's Update is brought to you by Shuhei Nakamura and Eric Froehlich going toe-to-toe—or maybe keyboard-to-keyboard—in tonight's Vintage Super League finals.

Today's Must Watch

  1. Vintage Super League Finals

Tonight's the night—the culmination of a long season of Vintage action. The final match pits Shuhei "Oath of Druids" Nakamura against Eric Froehlich to crown a season champion. Everything starts at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on

Before That, Read, Watch, or Listen to These

  1. A New Planeswalker in Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest—Exclusive Details | Geek & Sundry | Tom Pinchuk

We hinted at this yesterday, but now you can read the full interview with a senior game designer from Puzzle Quest. And there might be a few details about Saheeli Rai in there too.

  1. What's Old Is New Again! | | Jennifer Long

Something old and something new, as one archetype of the past returns in Modern, and a rotating monster from Standard finds new life in Modern.

  1. Draft Leagues Are Great | ChannelFireball | Matt Sperling

I mean, they are. Or will be. But the real key here is that Sperling discusses why cross-pod pairings aren't actually the worst and how the effect of this is largely overblown.

  1. Podcast 084: Modern Triple GPs, Standard Rotation | MTGGoldfish | Chas V, Richard, and SaffronOlive

I'm highlighting this because no one else I've seen (or heard) has started talking about rotation much yet. Typically, in this period right before rotation but also before previews start, we get a number of articles about cards that are rotating out and what decks will be dying and what can survive. Granted, there's still plenty of time for that, but it's interesting that this is the first discussion of it I've really found. Maybe we're not yet used to the new rotation. Maybe Conspiracy: Take the Crown is crowding out some of that discussion. Maybe we're all just ready to see Collected Company go and nothing else matters. Either way, get a taste of what rotation will bring with the MTGGoldfish crew.

  1. How Would You Change the Color Pie? Q&A | The Command Zone | Jimmy Wong and Josh Lee Kwai

I would move burn from red to absolutely nowhere. Flame Slash can stay. What about you?

  1. Tales from the Fringe | Gathering Magic | Alex Ullman

An article in which Alex Ullman writes about Pauper. Here, he examines the fringes of the successful Pauper decks, and finds some hidden gems.

What People Are Talking About

For PAX West, we're bringing in a number of Community Ambassadors to help you experience all of the awesome things PAX has to offer, even if you can't make it. Follow them on all of the social media platforms and YouTubes and whatnots to get some inside information, updates, and exclusive content as the weekend rolls on.

  1. Statement Regarding Ali Aintrazi

There has been a lot of discussion about this over the past 24 hours. Some of the discussion has led to positive learning moments—but not all of it. In fact, the Reddit thread on the topic has been locked.

I'm going to mostly stay out of this one except to say that Wizards of the Coast highly values inclusivity and does not condone or tolerate harassment or anything that makes a player or players feel unsafe in any way.

Deck of the Day

  1. Modern Azorius Control at Grand Prix Indianapolis

Still no Mulldrifters, but there are several copies of the highly underrated Jace Beleren in this White-Blue Control list in Modern. In a format where Naya Burn can win on turn three and Death's Shadow Aggro can, once in a blue moon, win on turn two, you have to respect a deck playing Sun Titan in the main deck.

In this case, Brian Cooper took his Azorius Control deck to 19th place and a 12-3 record in Indianapolis last weekend, but you can see the hoops he jumps through to attack the format right now. Sunlance is a very underrated removal spell at the moment for control decks (which are few and far between) that utilize white but not red (which virtually don't exist), and Spell Snare is really strong in a format full of two-casting-cost spells that matter.

It's the planeswalker suite that really stands out, plus a few sideboard cards worth highlighting. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has been a popular choice for a planeswalker in Standard, but this is the first we're seeing it make a dent in Modern. If the ever-popular and powerful Elspeth, Knight-Errant isn't seeing play, then Gideon certainly wasn't on anyone's radar. But the deck does need a way to finish off opponents. Elspeth, Sun's Champion can also fill that role, though there are only so many six drops you can play in Modern (not counting cards with delve).

Speaking of six drops, Sun Titan is one that pops up in Modern from time-to-time. This time it's bringing back Kitchen Finks, Jace Belerens, and the occasional Ghost Quarter. If the deck is going to have a finisher, one that brings with it incremental advantage seems like a strong way to go when gaining control of a game and then keeping it can be tough.

But it's the sideboard that really shines. Leyline of Sanctity has all kinds of applications—from burn to Thoughtseize—and Rest for the Weary is worth its weight in life total against decks that pressure you from that vector. And costing only two mana means it can actually show up in time to help against the hyper-aggressive decks. Stony Silence and Rest in Peace are obvious inclusions, while Surgical Extraction is a fine option when you just need to nuke a single card while keeping your own Snapcaster Mages doing their thing.

Oh, and Bribery? Anyone trying to get cheeky with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is going to have a bad time.

Brian Cooper's Azorius Control

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