Feature: A Whole New Modern World

Posted in Event Coverage on November 19, 2011

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, 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.

In the wake of the bannings that followed Pro Tour Philadelphia, Words offers the Magic community and hungry-for-tech PTQ players their first look at high-level Modern play. With Cloudpost and Infect decks gone and Blue-Red decks severely crippled, Worlds would set the new metagame that will almost certainly define the first weeks of the Modern PTQ season.

With that in mind, we looked at what the Top 20 tables were playing in the first round of Modern on Day 3. While we'll have a more robust look at the metagame later in the day, this first look holds a number of surprises that are likely to ripple through Modern.

First, the archetypes:

Deck Type Amount Played
Blue Zoo 9
Splinter Twin 6
Four-Color Gifts Ungiven 4
Ad Nauseam 3
Mystical Teachings 3
Affinity 3
Death Cloud 2
Naya Zoo 2
Bant Control 2
Rock 1
Pyromancer Ascension 1
Empty the Warrens/Past in Flames 1
Melira Combo 1
Blue-White Gifts Tron 1
Bant Aggro 1

Almost certain to be the breakout deck of the tournament is Blue Zoo, an evolution of the CounterCat deck played by a number of pros at Pro Tour Philadelphia. Blue Zoo differs in that it has adapted Snapcaster Mage which has given it a number of new toys to snap back, not the least of which is Tribal Flames. But Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix can give the deck an incredible amount of reach, and the ability to play spells like Mana Leak, Negate and Bant Charm gives the deck a dimension other Zoo decks don't have.


Ten you?


Splinter Twin, as expected, stayed strong since it leaned on its Ponders and Preordains much less than decks like Ascension and Storm did. Most players seem to have simply slotted in Sleight of Hand and kept right on rolling.

Another surprising deck that can't be ignored is the Four-Color Control. With Sakura-Tribe Elder and fetchlands finding Ravnica shocklands, the control deck utilizes discard for early control and Gifts Ungiven to find its long-game Punishing Fires and other goodies. The four players playing it seemed likely to have worked together, and several very big names are piloting this list, including a former Player of the Year.

Another deck making a surprise appearance in the hands of the tournament's top players is Ad Nauseam, which tries to set up Ad Nauseam and Angel's Grace, letting a player draw their entire deck. The kill condition is usually Conflagrate, but when you draw your whole deck there are a number of ways to do it.


When you can't lose for going to 0, there's nothing stopping you from drawing your whole deck with Ad Nauseam.


The Mystical Teachings decks were all different and likely unrelated. One was pure Esper Control, one had Gifts Ungiven, and one appeared to be a supplement to a Punishing Fires plan.

Stay tuned throughout the day for more on several of these decks, as well as a look at the Modern metagame as a whole.

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