State of the Format: Addressing the Modern Critics

I really enjoy Modern as a format. This wasn’t always true, though I think that the format is moving in an increasingly positive direction over time. What I don’t care for is the fact that I can’t express my interest in Modern without somebody feeling the need to remind me why they think it’s a bad format. If they were speaking more literally they’d just say, “but I don’t like Modern,” which is completely valid, though I take issue with calling the format bad. Is it perfect? Oh my, no. But the format’s success is undeniable, and the positives vastly outweigh the negatives from my perspective.

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Most of these critiques won’t be anything new to the readership at Modern Nexus. We’ve heard complaints about Modern’s non-interactivity, its supposed lack of skill, its poorly-managed banlist, its prohibitive cost. Certainly these point to some problems with the format that are worth addressing, but I think they’ve been blown out of proportion. Today I’d like to respond to Modern’s detractors and show the flaws in each of these arguments.

Modern Isn’t Interactive

The major criticism of Modern is a “lack of interaction.” There are many different angles for a Modern deck to attack you from, and a given hand won’t be good against all of them. To me, there is a silver lining here, as this means that there won’t be a dominant deck in the format that has universal interaction advantage, but I digress. The argument is that there are just a bunch of ships passing in the night.

Deaths ShadowThis argument ignores the delicate combat steps of Infect versus Affinity, or how a Burn deck manages its resources against either of those decks. To say nothing of the dance between Burn and Death’s Shadow! It’s true that many games where Infect draws Blighted Agent are easy mode, though surely your position isn’t that haymakers and trumps for specific matchups and situations have no place in Magic. If it is, you’re not going to like any other format either. There are matchups where there is little or nothing that a player can do—Jund versus Tron comes to mind—though by and large I don’t buy the position that there is no interaction. Hell, even with that example you can gain significant points in the matchup with experimentation. Blood Moon Jund, anyone? There are skewed matchups and a lot of races, but ignoring blocking and removal spells as forms of interaction and citing specific cards that can make interactive pieces irrelevant isn’t taking a position that uniquely detracts from Modern.

Beyond that, I am extremely tired of hearing that Modern doesn’t have a great control deck. It does. It’s called Grixis Delver, and just because the professional community outside of myself and Kevin Jones ignore it doesn’t take away his Open trophy that he won with the deck or his undefeated run at the WMCQ this weekend. Congrats, Kevin! You might say that you don’t want to play a control deck with a win condition that is a one-mana 1/1, but stating that the win condition of the control deck isn’t shiny enough for you just means that you don’t like the control deck of the format, not that there is a void in archetype definitions.

Engineered ExplosivesNot to mention that Jund by most counts is yet another great control deck. And Jeskai Nahiri. And if you really need mopey nonsense to feel like you’re playing control, I see sluggish UW control decks putting up results with relatively high frequency. They don’t have what it takes to to dominate every field or necessarily enough interaction for every matchup, but again, having a deck that just has interaction advantage against everything is a recipe for dominance rather than health. Modern does not need Miracles. Legacy doesn’t even need Miracles.

One last point on the matter of interaction: putting a bunch of Stony Silences in your sideboard and complaining that you can’t interact with everybody is your own fault. There are great sideboard options with a ton of flexibility in Modern, and failing to appreciate these cards doesn’t stop them from existing. Kitchen Finks is great against aggressive creatures and removal spells alike. Fulminator Mage messes up both creature lands and Tron/Eldrazi lands. Engineered Explosives is phenomenal against opponents going wide or playing artifacts/enchantments. When I tell people that I board in Spell Pierce against Tron and how impactful hitting an Expedition Map can be they are always surprised. Modern has depth, and refusing to get your feet wet doesn’t erase that fact.

Modern is Uncompetitive

Ari Lax did a fantastic job highlighting what makes Modern so popular in his Premium article on the topic at Star City Games. The fact that there are a wealth of decks that could reasonably win a given tournament appeals to a wide audience, almost by definition. ValakutWhether I like Burn, Valakut, Affinity, Infect, or Snapcaster Mage I can play some variant of my deck on any given week and feel reasonably good about my odds of going deep into the tournament. For many players, there is a lot of value to playing the same deck for long periods of time. You develop an emotional connection that Standard simply doesn’t offer. I get to cast Delver of Secrets any old week that I want to, and unless they ban Snapcaster Mage I’ll probably feel pretty good about it.

This undeniably contributes to the format’s popularity, and while it’s true that isn’t necessarily the same thing as quality, it is more important from a business perspective. Do you know why they banned Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic so late into their Standard life? Tournament attendance. It’s okay for a format to have questionable quality as long as it is well-received, and for the GP and SCG Tour audience, Modern is clearly very popular.

Now, if you want to make the argument that Modern is a bad competitive format, then I’ll offer that they have already removed the Modern Pro Tour, and I agree this was the correct move. Not only is the Pro Tour about promoting the new set, but from the participant perspective it’s about “breaking it,” which flies in the face of Modern’s general purpose. Jace the Mind SculptorThat said, this does not carry down to Grand Prix and Opens. The goal of these tournaments is not the same as the Pro Tour.

Sure, Grand Prix award pro points, but consider the following. The Grand Prix cap was introduced to make it so that pro players don’t have to play literally every GP, and if you don’t like Modern then I recommend crushing the Standard and Limited GPs that you can attend rather than trying to abolish Modern GPs. The cap and the shift to 6-3s making Day 2 should have made it clear by now that Grand Prix are run in an attempt to reach the wider playerbase, and whether you think the format is a good “competitive format” doesn’t play on that level. Not to mention that there are competitive players who love Modern GPs who are able to leverage their experience with the format on the Grand Prix level. With regard to Opens, I don’t even know why you think a business like Star City Games would hold tournaments of any variety other than the one that appeals to the widest audience.

On the Modern Banlist

Part of the common criticism of Modern is that the banlist could use a significant overhaul. While I agree it’s not perfect, I think that rocking the boat in a big way all at one time would be an extremely foolish thing to do to a successful product. become immenseMajor changes are not unlike creating a whole new format, which is most certainly not the end goal for Wizards. What they have shown is a willingness to unban cards so long as they do not stifle competitive diversity by the rawest definition.

I’ve seen Become Immense on the list of cards people would like banned, though the fact that there are two unique Become Immense decks and the fact that other combo decks are still viable makes me think the card is safe. Further, there is a largely unspoken element of the Modern banlist philosophy that I think is very pronounced if you’ve been paying attention. That is, decks that have to win inside of combat without tons of resilience are given more of a pass on the turn four rule. Infect is fast and resilient enough that it has some staggeringly positive matchups, though it generates very interesting games for decks that have a high density of removal. A deck like Amulet Bloom technically had to attack, though because it was so easy to set up over and over again, when opponents could only interact with the Titan, it got the axe.

Seething SongThe most pronounced banning on this front was Seething Song. Storm was such a medium deck at the time of this banning that it took a lot of players by surprise. If your point is that you don’t like two players playing solitaire, then Wizards agrees, though they specifically consider decks that win on the stack with busted spells outside of combat to be the definition of solitaire. Even under these parameters I agree that there are at least a few offenders in Modern very deserving of a ban. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Simian Spirit Guide or Goryo’s Vengeance banned on the upcoming update, as these cards contribute almost exclusively to non-combat-based degeneracy.

You can like or dislike that the format’s philosophy gives a heavy bias to combat—though I would argue this factor absolutely contributes to the format’s popularity, as combat is among the more grokkable elements of Magic.

What Additions Could Improve Modern

Something I hear often is that Modern would benefit from Force of Will, and even more recently I’ve heard questions posted about Daze. Assuming my beliefs about the developers’ format philosophy are correct, then these free counterspells don’t make any sense.

dazeWhile Splinter Twin was legal it was clearly the deck that would most heavily benefit from Force of Will due to its ability to protect a spell and win on the same turn, thus not caring about the card advantage. Currently, Infect is the deck that would most heavily benefit from Daze, as it’s just another way to win on turn two or three with counter backup, while other decks have to pay more mind to an opponent upping land counts or simply playing around Daze. If you do a good job of ensuring that the fastest decks have to win in combat, then free counters benefit the combo decks the most.

If making control decks in Modern better was your goal, then you should be thinking more along the lines of Swords to Plowshares than Force of Will. One of the biggest barriers to playing a highly interactive deck in Modern is that the cheapest interactive spells all have significant drawbacks. Dismember is great against Infect, though horrid against Burn. Path to Exile is inherent card disadvantage, and if you want to combine it with the premier counters of the format in Mana Leak or Remand that mana disadvantage will matter. Not to mention that being at a mana disadvantage will often be significant simply by Modern’s efficient nature. Lightning Bolt is great on turn one and continues being great as long as reach is something you’re in the market for, but for a control deck it is far from a catchall.

swords-to-plowsharesSwords to Plowshares specifically might be too pushed for Modern, and it definitely isn’t the sort of card you want in Standard. But I do believe that a similar spell is what the “Modern isn’t interactive enough” players are actually pining for. Would that require cards printed specifically for Modern to make this happen? Maybe, though what’s more important here to me is that players understand the type of interaction that would actually benefit the interactive decks over the combo decks.

The other major element you could argue is missing in Modern is pushed, but reasonable, interaction with non-basic lands. Blood Moon only fits in your deck if you’re trying to cheese your opponents, Ghost Quarter has similar drawbacks to Path to Exile in addition to costing you a land drop. While Fulminator Mage is great, sometimes it comes down after you get Karned which won’t get the job done.

Finding a way to make a Standard-legal card that would be better than any of these options in Modern is dicey. Something like a creature or artifact with the text, urzas-mine“if a land would generate more than one mana of any type, it generates {1} instead” wouldn’t rock the boat in Standard. Or, perhaps a two-mana spell that only hits non-basics could be fine in a Standard format where monocolored decks were the focus. I wouldn’t shed a tear over an Eldrazi Temple or Urza’s Tower banning, though I don’t believe that to be the path we’re on—and I’m fine occupying the universe as it exists instead of asking for it to be tailored to me.

Realistically it seems wise to keep Tron in the format to prevent the control decks from totally taking over, given that the fast creature decks can generally brown Tron. Matchups between control decks and Tron will continue to be horrendously unfun, but at least this will prevent a control deck from completely dominating the format, which is a worse threat to format health than a perceived lack of interactivity.

On the Financial Cost of Playing Modern

And lastly, we come to the criticism that Modern as a format is too expensive. If you play a lot of Limited and/or Standard and have crunched the numbers, then you already know that Modern is a more affordable format over time. I fear this point may not resonate with everybody, though it is undeniably true. Smart trades and investing in Modern staples when they’re low will help make the format more affordable as well, though beyond that this luxury good will unfortunately not be made free to everybody.

Inquisition of KozilekConspiracy: Take the Crown demonstrated that Wizards is willing to reprint Modern staples in a heavily-printed set, which means that on a long enough timeline the staple you’re looking for will get a reprint in some capacity. I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask for more, as over-printing and completely crashing the market would destroy the game completely. That’s far more concerning than the game (or just one format) being expensive.

Modern is expensive, and please don’t take this as my saying I don’t care. I’m just saying that you don’t have to buy your deck all at once. You might look at a deck that costs $1,500 and think you could never possibly own it, but there are ways around that. Investing and budgeting wisely, especially given that more reprints will be coming, makes the format far more affordable. Check out Jim Casale’s articles on this very site—there are resources available to help you get into the format for less than sticker price, and once you own a deck the cost of upkeep is very low.

All Hail Modern

Modern isn’t perfect, but it has a large following and the common arguments against the format are filthy with faulty logic. I personally love Modern, and while I can respect that not everybody does I should hope we are all mature enough to understand that no format caters to everybody. I believe the format is fine from a competitive perspective (though again, not perfect). But even if you disagree, the main avenues for the format (Grand Prix, SCG Tour) mean it doesn’t have to cater to the specific desires of the most competitive crowd. You can embrace it or you can loathe it, but understand that Modern supports a large swath of happy Magic players—and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

34 thoughts on “State of the Format: Addressing the Modern Critics

  1. an excellent article Ryan, it’s good to see positive people thinking out of the box like yourself

    i’m sick of the internet negativity about modern, but then again it’s the internet, it’s negative towards everything and vocals individuals act as ‘one man armies’ when it comes to complaining…

  2. I think a White enchantment that makes any lands that taps for more than one, tap for only one instead would be a welcome addition to sideboards everywhere, and would help breathe some life into the color (although not enough, I fear, to give it the power some of the other colors have). I also agree with a need for an efficient one-mana answer for the format. I believe Sheridan talked about an Innocent Blood reprint for Modern, and that’s the best answer I’ve seen so far. With that card, each color except Green would have a one mana answer to a turn one threat (Path, Vapor Snag, Innocent Blood, Bolt), which I think would help a variety of interactive decks take shape. The best part of Innocent Blood is that it plays inherently poorly with tempo decks and, to a lesser degree, midrange decks, leaving it as a specialized tool for creature-light control. I think free counterspells like Force of Will or Daze would overpower Blue in the format, as well as provide too much resiliency for Blue-based combo.

  3. Count me among the critics, on occasion. I’ve come to realize over the last week or so that I just genuinely hate the infect mechanic. It also can be a little demoralizing seeing a deck that looks fun but requires a playset of a card that will come to $250 for four pieces of cardboard.

    Guess it’s just a matter of prioritizing, and ultimately deciding whether playing competitively in this format is worth it.

      1. I realize that. And if I wanted to become a pptq grinder over anything else I could probably have the deck in two months by saving up. I am just saying that me, personally, cannot bring myself to spend that much on 4 cards. Noble Hierarch in particular is close to $70 now. Virtually every good modern deck has that “money card.” It has one card, maybe two, that costs forty dollars or more each and requires the full playset, whether it is enemy fetchlands, hierarch, snapcasters, goyfs, etc.

        Hell Aether Vial, an uncommon in darksteel, is about forty dollars each.

      2. The lists I’ve seen lately have typically had two misty rain forests for a total of 10 fetches, and the addition of Kitchen Finks to the deck puts it above 800 or 900 dollars. I think at that point it isn’t a cheap deck anymore. That is also not including owning any maybeboard cards which are very important to the deck’s versatility. When you get down to it the deck is more than dredge,burn, tron, affinity, merfolk, and valakut breach. It is cheap compared to decks playing Lilis and Goyfs, but I think to call it cheap is a lie.

  4. This is very much in line with what I’ve been thinking, especially noting that one of the issues is the big mana decks vs. Control are simply the least interactive matchups in the format. I’ve been on a Mardu Control binge, and I’ve simply given up on the Tron matchup. Sure, I can throw in some Crumble to Dust in my board but half the time they’re too slow, and the other half the time I simply don’t draw them. Beyond that, it’s not hard to build a Jund/Abzan/Jeskai/Grixis/Mardu deck that interacts well with Infect/Death’s Shadow Zoo/Affinity/Burn etc., the issue is you run into one or two tron/valakut pilots or lose the 40-60 eldrazi matchup and get knocked out of the tournament, while the linear aggro players laugh at the free win provided by Tron.

    TL;DR Control player salty and convinced that Tron/big mana is the problem with Modern, not the “linear aggro” decks that die to bolt/path

  5. Any thoughts on unbanning Preordain?

    I feel that one of the things holding blue based control decks back is a lack of quality card selection. Given the number of super fast kills in the format, it seems that reactive decks have too many angles of attack to cover with only 15 sideboard slots. It’s obviously not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it’s baffling to me that Ancient Stirrings is okay while Preordain isn’t.

    1. Would Preordain make control decks better? Yes. Unfortunately, it would also make the combo decks significantly better. I imagine we would sooner see an Ancient Stirrings ban than a Preordain unban. I believe that it offers too much card selection relative to what the idea behind the format is. An unfortunate casualty for control decks, though they’re not the only decks that would play it.

      1. Also notably I feel Ancient Stirrings is one of the big reasons Tron n co can so be so consistent relative to the control decks of the format, it gets to run a significantly better cantrip than any of them have access to.

      2. Good grief. Ban ancient stirrings?

        Ancient stirrings is fine. It has a powerful effect, but one so limited that it works within safe bounds. Really only two decks utilise it, and it’s more of a “makes the deck work at all” kind of effect than a “makes a good deck better” one…

        Banning ancient stirrings would destroy two perfectly reasonable decks, without any particular reason (neither break any format rules and neither are a dominant force in the metagame right now). We don’t need to de-buff bant Eldrazi or tron in order to “save modern”.

        Besides, bannings have huge negative connotations for lots of people. You mention an emotional connection to decks, and bannings ruin this aspect, and make people leas inclined to invest.
        Unbannings (where appropriate) are a far better use of the banlist as a metagame-influencing variable.

        Ans besides. We all need a bit more bloodbraid in our lives 😛

        1. I said that ban would make more sense than Preordain, not that I think it needs to happen. Bloodbraid easily has less business being in Modern than Ancient Stirrings though.

  6. Excellent article!

    How far out of the realm of possibility would it be for Wizards to create an eternal format set (not standard legal) comprised of new cards? I think we can all agree that the market is there. I’d just like to hear some opinions on it.

    1. I think the primary argument against that, and I could be wrong on that this is well out of my control, is that if you make a Modern specific set then you’re specifically taxing Modern players when the cost of the format is already considered by many to be a problem. You would also have the issue for many players of having new card face supplemental product that is legal in Modern, and others that aren’t. Having non-Modern legal Commander product and then a special Modern product causes some unnecessary confusion I would imagine. I think that the ability to print cards just for Modern would be good, though I understand why they don’t.

  7. I think you missed the main problem with Modern: the archetypes are very imbalanced. Aggro is like 50% of the meta. If you just take the new metagame analysis posted the other day, Tier 1 is 61% Aggro, 31% Midrange, and 8% Control. Taking Tiers 1 and 2 combined, you have 46% Aggro, 29% Midrange, 12% Control, and 13% Combo. You might disagree with some of my classifications, but your results will still be somewhat similar to this if you count it up as well.

    There are a couple reasons why this has happened in Modern. First of all, the natural predator to Aggro decks are fast Combo decks, because Combo goldfishes faster than Aggro when not interacted with. The problem is that all the fast Combo decks in Modern have been banned thanks to the Turn 4 rule. This has resulted in Aggro being the fastest archetype in the format, since these decks are able to reach the artificial floor that WotC has implemented in Modern. There’s not really a clean solution to this that I can see. Either you ban a bunch of stuff from the Aggro decks to slow them all down by a turn, or you adjust the philosophy behind the Turn 4 rule to allow Combo decks that are a little faster than the Aggro decks are. The former is probably not an option, as it would be very unpalatable to most Modern players, and the latter would be sooo difficult for the DCI to get right.

    So the real question we need to ask is: “How do we slow down the Aggro decks without mass bannings?” Twin used to do this. I’m not here to advocate for a Twin unbanning because although I loved that deck, I believe that there is potential for a healthier format without it. However, it filled a role in Modern that has not been filled since its departure. I don’t think we need Force of Will or Daze in Modern. Maybe something like a fixed Mental Mistep. Perhaps a counter that counters CMC = 1 for free if you reveal a blue card from your hand. It would restrict it to blue decks, which was the problem with Mental Mistep, and it would probably not be run in Infect, since most of their cards are green, and they would probably rather just run the new +2/+2 hexproof pump spell.

    Either way, what Modern really needs is a way to slow the format down a bit. I love Modern and what it stands for, but the aggressive strategies are getting out of control. Pun intended 🙂

    1. So, did you scroll down like two paragraphs in and miss the section on Swords to Plowshares, or do you for some reason think that card is bad against aggressive decks?

      1. It’s certainly not bad, and it would be better than Path for sure, but the question is if it would be better enough to make a difference. Affinity doesn’t really care about the extra land, they’ve probably already dumped their hand, and neither does Dredge. I don’t feel like it would make a lot of difference against Burn, they’re going to dump their hand in the first few turns either way and don’t really need the extra mana. It would be pretty good against Suicide Zoo just because the life gain interacts in a funny way with their gameplan, so it’s actually an upside against them. I think it would also be a bit better against Infect, because most of their spells cost 1, so they make better use of the extra land from Path. Overall, though, I just don’t know how much of a difference it would really make against those decks if we had Swords instead of Path, but my guess is that it would have minimal effect on the format. I think what would work better would be some kind of fixed Mental Misstep like I suggested. Something that would let you protect yourself on the first turn when you’re on the draw, delaying the aggro decks by a turn.

        1. I think this is where Disrupting Shoal pops up. The card answers every one of these concerns and can dominate games when used appropriately. Modern is fast. I can link any number of authors who have identified that Modern is so fast that tempo is better than card advantage. Shoal conforms to and confirms that rule.

          1. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but my issue with Disrupting Shoal is just that it isn’t very good. Card disadvantage AND inflexibility. There’s a reason it sees little play.

  8. Excellent article, Ryan. I genuinely enjoyed reading it, and I agree with many of your conclusions. As far as additions to the format that could help interactive decks go, I’m a fan of Innocent Blood, but I’m also open to concepts such as the hate cards for Tron that you describe. Keep up the good work!

  9. Great article! It always makes me laugh when detractors of the format argue that control decks don’t have the tools to beat everything because the different linear decks attack from too many different angles. While that is certainly true, if a control deck could beat everything else, then everyone would eventually gravitate to it and we’d have a boring format with a tier-0 deck. The fact is, no deck should be able to answer/beat everything, that’s the whole reason we get to choose and tune our decks in the first place. Do I wish there was a way that my Affinity deck could crush Jeskai Control? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it should. The deck is great in some match-ups and naturally has to struggle elsewhere, otherwise it would get smacked by the banhammer, and I have no doubts that that would suck way harder than playing against 8724 removal spells and Stony Silence to boot.

    I agree with you that the format could probably use another strong removal spell, and I think a good counterspell (but not a free one!) could do some work too. I’d be very curious to see if Absorb and Undermine could cut it in Modern. They’re “Cancel with upside” with a more restrictive mana cost, so I think they could go through Standard, and in some match-ups would be almost like a better Cryptic Command (think Jeskai vs. Burn). I don’t think they’d revolutionize the format or see play as 4-of’s, but I do think they might be a worthwhile addition. The Counterspell variants proposed on reddit might have some merit too, (either the ones templated like Abrupt Decay to counter spells with CMC 3 or less for UU or the ones with a kicker on top of that to make it counter any spell in the late game). Obviously any of these would require extensive testing to see if they’re genuinely good for the format, but I think at the very least all 3 ideas have potential to make our already great format better.

  10. IMO Burn is the biggest offender in modern, but one I see talked about so little? It’s a very, very consistent turn 4 kill, which leaves you very little room to enact your own gameplan. Sometimes your removal is great when they’re on a creature draw, but often a lightning bolt isn’t enough and neither is your one spell pierce. They likely get you low enough that when you try to play your own game, you’ll die to a top deck. Burn basically says “win before turn 4, or answer everything” and that’s really hard to do in the current state of the format. These leaves you with lifegain, and with that being somewhat mediocre if you’re not Soul Sisters and not named Kitchen Finks, it’s a bit rough.

    However, I think this issue stems a lot from the mana bases in modern too. Burn essentially starts with an 8 card hand+SSG when you go 17 off your fetch, which is pretty nuts for an extremely efficient and consistent combo deck. Being what is essentially a 50/50 deck, but unlike Jund it sort of feels like 50% of the time your opponent doesn’t play Magic and 50% of the time, you just lose kind of ruins some games. I don’t know, I absolutely never enjoy playing against burn.

    At least with Infect, you’re fighting this battle over their 1/1s and it’s fought on the stack and there’s key timing and blue spells and things involved. Dredge is trying to battle hate and pull off creature synergies. Death’s Shadow is pushing themselves to super dangerous life totals. Affinity is synergistic and somewhat complex with a lot of scary hate out there. There’s definitely mindgames against these decks. Burn just doesn’t feel like that. With the advent of Nacatl burn and the addition of Atarka’s Command, old favorites like Spellskite and Leyline just don’t pack the same punch anymore.

    1. …You do realize that part of Burn’s favorable positioning is that it can effectively combat other linears, right? Burn morphs into sort of a tempo deck against the likes of Affinity, Infect, and Death’s Shadow Zoo. Those decks are capable of beating it in a “ships passing in the night” race, but not so much when Burn is removing their guys. The deck is capable of far more interaction than what you’re giving it credit for. The GP-winning list had 4 Path in the sideboard, for crying out loud.

  11. Great, much needed article. I agree with all the points – this whole idea that linear matchups can’t be complex or fun is nonsensical. I also think there are a lot of good decks in modern that aren’t putting up showings at big tournaments simply because not many people show to the tournament with that deck. For instance, I have played a lot of death and taxes on magic online to 67% win rates across multiple leagues. I found that affinity and infect capped out around 60% because of the amount of available hate.

  12. I strongly believe that good old Counterspell would be perfect for the Modern format. It is way too good for Standard so they would have to enter it into the format another way. There is just no fear of something getting countered any more. There are so many bonkers ETB effects that people can play without fear. Now with Counterspell in the format, you could easily bring back bloodbraid to combat the rise in control. Tron wouldnt just simply crush control decks any more. Aggro decks just have to take it into account. I dont think there is much wrong with modern, but UU Counterspell could certainly help.

    1. Here’s the concern with Counterspell: Midrange/Control are good against the creature-based aggro decks, and kept in check by big-mana and over-the-top strategies like Bant Eldrazi and Tron. If you make it too easy for them to beat up on their natural predators, they might take over the metagame.

      That said, I don’t think Counterspell is good enough to lead to that result. But I could be wrong, and you have to tread carefully.

      1. I agree with you. There are just so many people saying how hard it is to play control in modern. I think counterspell could be a good catch all that isnt free. its cheap but restrictive with its UU casting cost. Im very much the aggro player and i wouldnt mind counterspell.

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