Saturday, 3:51pm - Philadelphia On My Mind

Posted in Event Coverage on August 20, 2011

By David Sutcliffe

The UK is sending a host of qualifiers over to Philadelphia for the Pro Tour in the next couple of weeks, and with all the attention on Modern suddenly I took the chance to grab a few of them and find out what they thought of the format, and how they were going to prepare for the Pro Tour.

It was the same questions to each of them, but two things soon became clear – firstly that everyone was going to be working together to crack the format, and secondly that they would have their work cut out for them because they had some very different ideas about what was going to work!

Richard Bland

How excited are you about Modern?

Yeah I'm pretty excited. It's obviously a big change, but any change from Extended is good because Extended looked like it was going to be boring. Modern has loads of stuff you can do, there's loads of options to explore.

What are you plans for testing?

We're going to do it all in the States. We're flying out next week to go to Pittsburgh and I'm going to take like 4 of every major card in Modern, and work it out once we're there.

Are there any decks you're keen to look at?

We're definitely going to try and find the best Zoo deck. It's an obvious deck but there are hundreds of cards you can put in it, and the challenge is working out the best version – do you go 5 color, or do you play Blood Moon? Then there's Twelvepost, see how good that deck is, and finally we really want to explore what the best combo decks are.

Are you worried about Dragonstorm or Affinity?

I'm not too worried about Dragonstorm really. I'm sure it works, but it seems like it's a pretty 'fair' combo deck and there are probably better combos you can play. As for Affinity – I wouldn't say that I'm worried about it, I'd say I'm excited to see what it can do! There are loads of cards you can play in an Affinity deck now, and the hard part is going to be boiling it down to just 60 cards.

And, finally, is Hive Mind going to be the best combo deck?

Well, I haven't really tested any of this yet, but probably – it's definitely a good place to start when you're looking at great combo decks. But there are loads of possible combo decks you can play, so there could easily be something better.

Stephen Murray

How excited are you about Modern?

Very excited – Extended was going to be really boring, and I love the bannings as well. They've really opened things up.

What are you plans for testing?

We're going to try and get together all the UK players who have qualified tomorrow. Maybe those who have made Top 8 will get let off, but we're going to get together and work out the logistics of it all. We're basically all going over to Pittsburgh for the Grand Prix and we're going to stay in the same couple of hotels and spend the whole time testing. Well, the whole time that we aren't going out to buy Philadelphia Cheese Steaks, anyway!

Are there any decks you're keen to look at?

Living End – I'd love to be able to play that card. I really hope I get to play something with Reveillark – maybe some Kiki-Jiki shenanigans. And then maybe some mulicolor Sunburst Goblet deck!

Are you worried about Dragonstorm or Affinity?

I'm not worried by Affinity, really. I figure that Ancient Grudge is probably going to be the most heavily played sideboard card, and Affinity is just going to get hated out of the field. It's such a known quantity I don't think it can survive. I'm more worried by Dragonstorm – depending on the version they're playing it can be very resistant to hate cards.

Is Hive Mind going to be the best combo deck?

Hmmm... I don't think so, actually. It doesn't have all the support cards that it has in Legacy – all the mana, all the Force of Wills to make sure everything happens.

Jonathan Randle

How excited are you about Modern?

It's interesting, for sure. I was chatting about this with Quentin Martin, and it's a very rare opportunity to be able to sit down and take a run at breaking a brand new format. There's nothing set at all, it's a blank slate. That's a really exciting opportunity that doesn't come along very often.

What are you plans for testing?

Well, I might not be able to make it. I really want to go to Worlds later in the year and I just have to work out if I can make it to the Pro Tour as well as Worlds. But I'm working with all the Black Bordered guys, so I would be feeding into their testing.

Are there any decks you're keen to look at?

Cryptic Command is legal so I want to look at blue. I'll always try blue if Cryptic is legal, so maybe a mono-blue Faeries deck, maybe with Riptide Laboratory? There's always Zoo to make, and then I think Pyromancer's Ascension could be really good.

Are you worried about Dragonstorm or Affinity?

Maybe Dragonstorm, but I don't really know much about Affinity. I mean they banned the lands, right? I don't know if it can survive that.

Is Hive Mind going to be the best combo deck?

We haven't started testing yet, but I know it's one that the guys are talking about. I've seen the email flying around...

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