Hexproof with Cedric Phillips

Posted in Event Coverage on May 21, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Cedric Phillips has been a huge proponent of Hexproof strategies in Modern for some time now. Recently, this Pro Tour Top 8 Competitor and Magic personality managed to take down a Magic Online PTQ with the deck. I had the opportunity to sit down with Phillips to talk bogles and its current place in Modern.


Cedric Phillips

When asked what new innovations have been made to the Hexproof deck, Phillips was quick to point out the new creature base, “We used to play Kor Spiritdancer. More recently, that card has been replaced by Silhana Ledgewalker. There's a lot more spot removal in Modern these days and we want all of our creatures to have Hexproof. It's especially good because people sideboard out all of their removal. This means that it's safe to go all-in on Dryad Arbor in games two and three. Basically every fetchland in the deck becomes a creature for the sake of opening hands if the opponent is playing a deck that would sideboard accordingly and saw Silhana Ledgewalker in game one.”

By making all the deck's non-Dryad Arbor creatures have Hexproof, Phillips has essentially blanked all of his opponents' spot removal. These days we're seeing the more interactive decks play as many as fifteen spot removal spells. This means that some of Phillips' opponents will be playing with a deck that's 25% dead in the first game.

The format's diversity is one of the big stories coming into Modern weekend. Phillips recognized the wildness of the format and made his deck choice accordingly, “The diversity of Modern right now means that there are a lot less focused sideboard cards that I need to worry about when playing bogles. Sideboard hate like Back to Nature is much less common because people only have fifteen slots in their sideboard and the card doesn't affect enough matchups to warrant a slot. The deck is easy to play, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. Especially in a format like Modern, sometimes a deck choice is more important than playskill.”

What was the most interesting play you had to make to achieve your Pro Tour Qualifier victory a few weeks ago?

“I was faced with a very stressful decision in the finals against Jund. I could empty my hand by playing a bunch of auras on a single creature on turn three. My opponent would easily win the game if he had Liliana of the Veil in hand. I ended up going for it. It wasn't necessarily interesting, but it was definitely the most stressful turn of the tournament.”

Phillips is, once again, armed with Hexproof and ready to battle through a field of 2399 players. Will he keep his momentum as the Pro Tour approaches and continue to stomp opponents with his favorite Modern deck? Stay tuned to continuing coverage of Grand Prix Charlotte to find out!

Cedric Phillip's Hexproof

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