Hold your horses, I didn’t quit Standard. But because its modern season, I want to share what I’m using whenever I play modern.
Recently I placed 16th in a 47-man modern PPTQ with a 3-1-2 record. I won against RB Hollow One, Hardened Scales and UR Kiki-Mite, then drew to Bant Reliquary and Humans, then lost to another Hardened Scales deck for the win-and-in.
What am I playing?
I was always fascinated by the power of milling your opponent. In the good ‘ol days of standard, I fancied a deck that played Traumatize and Haunting Echoes to deck the opponent instantly. From an information gathering standpoint, being able to see your opponent’s entire deck gives you perfect information on what’s in the main and what he sided in.
Playing mill is not easy. Instead of dealing 20 damage, you have to deal 53. In a format like modern, some decks can be insanely fast and unforgiving for the mill player. Decks like burn, humans and affinity are savage and don’t care getting hit by Glimpse if it means having 10 power on the table.
To survive and get to your game plan, the mill deck fancies a controlling shell and some incorporates a prison-like suite to hold off the barrage and concentrate all resources at milling the opponent out.
Like some modern decks, Mill has a god-draw that’s super fun to pull off. If ever you do pull it off make sure to do a victory lap at least twice and high five the players that you pass by.
It involves drawing 4 Archive Traps in the opening hand and the opponent cracks a fetch to search their library. Pulling off 4 Archive Traps mills 52 cards. 60 cards minus 7 opening, minus 1 land fetched is exactly 52. Just pass the turn and make your opponent draw from nothing and win! Crazy! Have I done it? Sadly no.
I’m running Esper as opposed to the traditional straight UB build. The cost of adding one more color does not come cheap since you need to sometimes pay 2 life to bring in a Hallowed Fountain or a Godless Shrine to secure your colors. However adding white opens up a lot of options in the sideboard which turns decent match-ups into favorable match-ups.
Fragmentize comes in against turn 1 Leyline of Sanctity, against bogles, against affinity, against TRON and KCI. For 1 mana, I can take out Fatal Pushes or Paths and make my removal much more focused.
Planeswalkers are a pain and decks that run a lot of 4-offs are also scary because of their consistency. Detention Sphere helps us fight off these pesky permanents and gives us a solid answer against multiple anythings.
Perhaps the most difficult to cast is Supreme Verdict because of its double white cost. However I will argue that Verdict is the best hoser for situations we’re very far behind. It evades counter magic which is very important once our opponent sees we’re playing Bontu’s Last Reckoning, Pushes and PTEs.
Lingering Souls is probably the weirdest card from the sideboard and this used to be Blessed Alliance. Lingering Souls comes in against attrition match-ups like Jund, Bogles for block them forever, affinity to get in the way of cranial plated inkmoths and control match-ups.
I like the angle LS provides because it is still useful in case we mill it with Orb. It’s very versatile and buys us time in matches we needed 1 or 2 turns to completely deck the opponent.
I got the list from Azeem Lyons who took the same list to a top 2 finish in a modern PPTQ. We exchanged plenty of ideas and we were sold at how this deck performs.
This is the same list I’ll be running for Grand Prix Hong Kong this weekend. Hopefully it nets me a Day 2 finish!