With both Fate Reforged and a Pro Tour with the format coming in less than a month, this was our last chance to look into Modern before it evolves yet again. Throughout the weekend we saw plenty of interesting players and decks; these are the five cards that share the story of Grand Prix Omaha.
What if one of the best decks in the format is packed full of one-mana threats and card draw? What if another deck can combo off in an almost unanswerable way using one-mana spells?
You pull out your copies of Chalice of the Void.
The powerful artifact from Mirrodin has been cramping the style of cheap spells for over a decade. Whether it was alongside fellow artifacts in Affinity, putting the vice grip onto other decks in Zoo builds, or providing the utility needed to hold control in an entirely new deck, Chalice of the Void was a common thread across all the decks prepared to battle Delver of Secrets and Jeskai Ascendancy all weekend.
4) Siege Rhino
New cards aren’t just for Standard anymore. While a few splashy blue cards from Khans of Tarkir have gotten the most attention in the format, a decidedly colorful one cropped up everywhere over the weekend too.
Siege Rhino is, ostensibly, difficult to cast requiring three different colors. In Modern, with both the likes of Windswepth Heath and friends as well as the Godless Shrine cycle, the mana has never been better for decks. Fitting right into the string of tools Birthing Pod can use, and providing serious firepower for disruptive Rock-types decks like Abzan, Siege Rhino is another one of the many recent cards in Standard to break out in an Eternal format.
3) Goblin Guide
When you see Goblin Guide in Modern, there’s usually two reactions: One is an understanding that the deck you’re facing (Or playing!) is burn; the other is an immediate sense of urgency since your life total (Or the opponent’s!) will begin dropping fast. It’s that speed and immediacy to answer that led Pascal Maynard to add Goblin Guide to his Blue-Red Delver deck.
Beginning the game by taking quick chunks of life away from opponents put enormous pressure on opponents to answer things quickly. Turning the clock forward a turn or two made a huge different for the Canadian, and it paid off with a deep run to the semifinals.
“You don’t need to learn that deck.” It’s a popular sentiment we bumped into throughout the weekend regarding one of the less-prominent combo decks in the format. While it’s undeniable that Amulet of Vigor and Summer Bloom do some great things together, it’s what the deck can do without them that leaves many players adverse to giving it a try.
That’s all about to change.
Stephen Speck championed the deck all the way to the finals, using his opponents’ lack of familiarity and a Hive Mind-Primeval Titan backup package to surprise many throughout the weekend. If you haven’t learned how this deck works you should get started: It’s only a matter of time until it appears at your next Modern tournament.
1) Birthing Pod
Could it be anything else?
Birthing Pod decks have evolved over the years since Modern’s beginnings. Through Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combos into redundant engines of aggression with answers to just about everything, Birthing Pod has been a mainstay and nemesis as long as most have played the format.
These days, Birthing Pod doesn’t need to find arbitrarily large combos or locking mechanisms, just the next Siege Rhino or answer-come-creature needed. Erik Peters pulled Sin Collector, Reclamation Sage, Voice of Resurgence, Orzhov Pontiff, Sin Collector and more throughout his battles to victory for the weekend and he was far from alone. Birthing Pod was the most played archetype across the field despite being firmly in everyone’s crosshairs as on of the decks to beat.
Modern may have plenty of choices and excitement, it’s Birthing Pod that always finds the creatures it needs to remain king of the format.