Monday, October 20, 2014

Casual Modern Formats

I have two favorite stores out of the seven where I have played in tournaments. Don't get me wrong, I've never been to a "bad" store, but I have particular favorites. Of the seven stores, three have closed (two of them were the same store but with different names and managers), so there are four left. Of those four, one of them is a national name (Star City Games), and the other is Games Parlor in Chantilly, VA, which is a great store, but having only played there three or four times, I can't count it as a favorite because it isn't a regular store for me.

That leaves my favorites, one of which is a sponsor of Monday Morning MTG: Red Battle Games. As this is my local store at the moment and it is owned by a couple of my friends, how could it not be my favorite? But today's article is not about Red Battle Games or any tournament there. It's about my other favorite store, LostShade Games & Hobbies.

Okay, so it's not ABOUT the store, but about a couple Magic formats there. If you check out their Facebook page (in the above link), you can find a copy of their October Magic events. Moving away from the competitive, sanctioned FNM events, on October 24th and October 31st they are introducing special Modern variants, both of which seem interesting.

Not living in Harrisonburg, VA where LostShade is located, I won't be participating in the formats, but I can at least tell you what they are and invent a deck behind it. Let's take a look:

Power of 2 Modern

In this format, which will be played 10/24/14, you build a Modern deck completely with cards with a converted mana cost of two or less.. This makes my choice easy as the deck I would personally build is mostly two or less mana anyway. Here, take a look:

Naya Power of 2


x4 Birds of Paradise
x4 Kird Ape
x4 Loam Lion
x4 Wild Nacatl
x2 Strangleroot Geist


x4 Stomping Ground
x4 Sacred Foundry
x4 Temple Garden
x2 Wooded Foothills
x2 Windswept Heath
x1 Kessig Wolf Run
x1 Mountain
x1 Forest
x1 Plains


x2 Isochron Scepter

Other Spells

x4 Lightning Bolt
x4 Lightning Helix
x4 Giant Growth
x4 Colossal Might
x2 Path to Exile
x2 Chained to the Rocks


x2 Path to Exile
x2 Chained to the Rocks
x4 Titan's Strength
x2 Vexing Devil
x2 Voice of Resurgence
x2 Mountain
x1 Plains

I had to play around with the Sideboard, because I'm really not sure what needs to go in here. This is pretty much just pump and swing.

Kird Ape  Loam Lion  Wild Nacatl

With shocklands, making some of these creatures 2/3 or 2/2 on Turn 1 this is not difficult. Fetchlands will find you your shocks, and it can really be any of the three below in any combination, but I figured two each of the newer ones because they're cheaper and most people can gt their hands on them because of the large influx into the market created by Khans of Tarkir.

Wooded Foothills  Arid Mesa  Windswept Heath

There are a couple more things crucial to the deck:

Kessig Wolf Run  Isochron Scepter

So Kessig Wolf Run is here because you'll have plenty of mana due to the mana base, so why not boost your smaller creatures with trample and a huge amount of power? Isochron Scepter is also here for along the same lines. You have pump spells and burn spells, so why not imprint one on an Isochron Scepter to constantly pump your creatures or burn your opponent?

Let's move on to the other format...

Halloween Magic Modern

In this format, which will be played 10/31/14, you build a Modern deck but you can only use black spells and artifacts. You can also use "LostShade Sticker Cards" which I imagine are custom cards printed on stickers and stuck to basic lands, but I was never there when they did this, but they're printing a new set, so that could be interesting. But the main thing here is only black cards (not even hybrid or multicolored) and artifacts. Should be fun.

Mono Black Modern


x4 Tormented Soul
x4 Vampire Nighthawk
x4 Pack Rat
x4 Street Wraith
x2 Sheoldred, the Whispering One


x14 Swamp
x1 Bojuka Bog
x2 Leechridden Swamp
x1 Mystifying Maze


x4 Codex Shredder
x3 Grimoire of the Dead


x3 Liliana of the Dark Realms
x2 Liliana Vess
x2 Sorin Markov

Other Spells

x4 Nighthaze
x4 Bile Blight
x2 Profane Command


x2 Griselbrand
x3 Mystifying Maze
x4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
x2 Erebos, God of the Dead
x2 Profane Command
x2 Whip of Erebos

Pack Rat  Street Wraith  Sheoldred, Whispering One

Pack Rat is a powerful card that utilizes discarding creatures to duplicate and get more creatures. Street Wraith can be tossed into the graveyard and brought back to the battlefield using Sheoldred, Whispering One. In a monoblack format, Swampwalk is important because your opponent cannot block anything.

Grimoire of the Dead  Codex Shredder  Profane Command

I decided I ultimately wanted a deck that could be unblockable AND also have some recurrence throughout using Sheoldred, Grimoire of the Dead, Codex Shredder, and one of our planeswalkers. Profane Command was added as an after thought because it occurred to me that another planeswalker could boost our lands and allow us to force our opponent out of the game.

Liliana of the Dark Realms  Liliana Vess  Sorin Markov

Liliana of the Dark Realms is here to find swamps, bring them onto the battlefield, and hopefully pop out an emblem so you can use fewer swamps to cast bigger spells. Liliana Vess is mainly here to take away card advantage from your opponent, find other spells, and then also as a backup Grimoire of the Dead. Sorin Markov is pretty much spot removal and hopefully controlling an opponent's turn.

Bojuka Bog  Leechridden Swamp  Mystifying Maze

So Bojuka Bog is here as a one-of in the event we need to exile an opponent's graveyard because they are running a deck like ours, but since we have ways of taking control of all creatures in their graveyard, we only want one. Leechridden Swamp can be searched for by Liliana of the Dark Realms. Forcing the loss of life could come in handy. Mystifying Maze is here only to stop any large swampwalk creatures an opponent has.

The sideboard pretty much has more Mystifying Mazes for extra protection, Griselbrand for card draw and life gain, Erebos and Gray Merchant for their devotion requirements, Whip of Erebos to help return things from the graveyard to the battlefield and also include lifelink, and then just a couple more Profan Commands because they seem useful.

While these are casual events at LostShade Games and Hobbies this month, starting January of 2015 these could be viable formats at FNM due to the "create your own format" option of the new list of allowed formats.

See you next week for Commander Mondays!

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