Quick Question #1 – What Modern Deck Would You Recommend for the Upcoming PTQ Season?

Posted in Event Coverage on May 10, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

With the Modern PTQ season kicking off in just under a month, there's still enough time to pick up a deck and start to learn the Modern format. It's an incredibly rich format that rewards players for fully understanding a deck, sticking to it, and learning how to play it against the major players in the field. Here are a few suggestions from some of the Pros in the room for players looking to pick up a new deck to take their shot at getting to the Pro Tour.

Patrick Dickmann:

"For the next month, I think the best plan is to pick one of the top three decks in the field (either Pod variant, UR or URG Twin, or Affinity), and practice it against the other decks in the field until you know it incredibly well. Modern is a format that really rewards players for understanding the inner workings of their decks and how they play against the field. While there is a large amount of variety in the format, it is essentially a known quantity, so it is possible to be very prepared on a week-to-week basis. Just pick one of these good decks, learn it inside and out, and you should be very good."

Luis Scott-Vargas:

"Splinter Twin. The deck is fairly straightforward, but it's still powerful, so I think it'd be a good deck to pick up and learn for PTQs. The deck isn't easy to play (no Modern deck really is), but you will still have games where you can just drop Splinter Twin on your Deceiver Exarch and win. I'd start with the UR version to learn the ins and outs of the deck, but, once you do, you can branch out and learn to play the URG version. It's a bit more difficult to play because it occasionally just wants to kill opponents with Scavenging Ooze and Tarmogoyf, which can lead to some unexpected lines of play. But they've each got things that make them better in some situations than others, and having the flexibility will really help over a PTQ season."

Conley Woods:

"I would definitely advise someone to pick up and learn one of the proactive decks in the field. Reactive decks like control decks are too dependent on knowing the metagame. Modern is a format that people will ignore for a while and they pay attention to in bursts, so the metagame will change rapidly. Proactive decks, like Affinity, are really good in cases like that because once you learn how to play them, they don't change all that much. Once you do put in the time and learn all of the matchups in Modern, you're able to tweak your deck just a little based on the field you expect, which gives you a huge edge. That's harder to do for control decks. Plus most people tend to only play decks like Affinity at about 70% of their maximum potential, yet they still do well because they're opportunistic decks. If you can be a great player with one of these decks, think Patrick Sullivan and Monored, you are at a big advantage.

Another reason decks like this are good is that they don't tend to have a lot of weaknesses, but the ones they have are incredibly powerful against them. Cards like Stony Silence are capable of beating Affinity on their own, but people aren't going to be playing it every week. If you're serious about trying to qualify for the Pro Tour, playing a deck that's a haymaker like that is a great way to get there. You might lose one week to a card like Stony Silence, but you'll eventually hit a week where no one is prepared, and you'll be in perfect position."

Craig Wescoe:

"I feel like I have to say Pod, since it's the deck that rewards you the most for understanding all of the intricacies. If you can spend a month and learn how to play Pod against the other decks in the field, you are at a huge advantage, but it's also the most difficult deck in the format to play perfectly. If you're worried about the complexity level, you should think about looking at a deck like the WBR Burn deck with Lightning Helix and Bump in the Night. It's another deck that can gain a lot by learning how to play the deck perfectly, which does actually take some practice.

Even better, it's a deck that attacks the field in a way that most people aren't prepared for. With all of the other decks in the field, there aren't many people willing to devote sideboard spots to dealing with Burn. This makes learning how to properly sideboard with the deck an incredibly important skill. Knowing when to sideboard in cards like Destructive Revelry against a deck that might be siding in Leyline of Sanctity can mean the difference between having a dead card in your hand when you really need a Lightning Bolt and having the answer when it's actually useful. It's a probability game at that point. Because the deck is such a minor part of the field, chances are slim that you need to reactively sideboard. This is where your practice comes into play. Knowing what to expect, and how much of it, will really pay off for a deck like this."

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