Sunday, 1:52 p.m. – A Missing Melira

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

If you name a deck around a specific card in it, say Melira, Sylvok Outcast in the popular Birthing Pod combo engine, then find at a decklist that for all intents and purposes looks like a Melira Pod list would it be confusing to find a namesake card missing in it?

It's a question we ran into looking at several suspicious decklists all tied to the same ChannelFireball team. Modern may be stable and diverse but that doesn't mean there isn't room for finding new edges and technology for existing decks.

Pro Tour Hall of Famer Luis Scott Vargas has some explaining to do.

Why were Pro Tour Hall of Fame member Luis Scott-Vargas, and others on his team, playing Melira Pod this weekend? "Melira Pod is just a great deck. I don't think you can go too wrong with it," Scott-Vargas explained. "We didn't want to spend a lot of time testing Modern before the Pro Tour so we picked decks we had already played. [Pro Tour Hall of Fame member and 9th-ranked] Shuuhei Nakamura posted in our discussion forum he was testing Yuuta Takahashi's Melira Pod list that cut Viscera Seer, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, as well as two Kitchen Finks. You get to add in more Thoughtseizes, Sin Collector, Voice of Resurgence – more value cards and answers. You can still go infinite with Archangel of Thune and Spike Feeder. Of 14 games so far, I've gone infinite in two of them and beaten down in the other 12.

What's the benefit of making these changes? "There's enough creatures that are answers in the format that if you're using Birthing Pod every turn you're just going to win," Scott-Vargas said. "The extra Thoughtseizes and Abrupt Decay are much better against other combo decks. We expected a lot more Splinter Twin this weekend. Pod doesn't beat Twin, but Abrupt Decay is exactly what you want against it. Everyone playing it – except Shuuhei of course – made it to Day 2."

What are the downsides? Cutting the namesake combo has to have some drawbacks, right? "It can't win on turn 4 anymore," Scott-Vargas admitted, "but it's way better at playing a grindy game with Restoration Angel and Abrupt Decays. You do get worse against Tron – where the combo actually just kills them – and Affinity, but generally you're better against more decks in the field."

Melira Pod – Luis Scott-Vargas

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