Modern Agro

April 16, 2018

Matteo Versari

29 Years old from Livorno, Italy
GP Malmo 2012 1st
GP lisbon 2012 10th
GP Utrecht 2013 Top 4
Silver level pro

More Posts (3)

Hello everybody!

Today i want to tell you how to build a competitive deck in a stapled format such as Modern.
Last year we have seen a deck dominating the scenes of the tables in every tournament, i am speaking of Jund, with all its variations. But why is Jund so dominating nowadays? There is not always an easy answer, but i think this is the answer: it’s solid, it’s complete, and it’s not so difficult to be played (even if every deck, to be played at 100% of its potential, needs playtesting and skill) and you can find so many different options
to build your Jund, we had a small White splash, then we had the ban of Bloodbraid Elf, and we arrived at the new lists that run the new Chandra, Pyromaster. But let’s not focus all our energies on Jund, it’s not Jund that i want to talk about afterall!

Besides that deck, few decks shined with a smaller light, like Pod(both Melira-ish versions and the Kiki-jiki-ish one, or actually with both of those cards),
Tron (Gr and Ux), Splinter twin, Affinity, Scapeshift and Uwr. Starting from this point and from these lists, our score is to find the weak points of the best deck in the format, namely Jund, that can be exploited even with the other decks in the field.
If we look at all the decks that are in the recent Modern, a deck is missing, an old school aggro deck, fast, cheap creatures, and direct damage spells that can seal the game as fast as possible.
On Magic Online, there are a lot of monored aggro lists:


18 Mountain


4 Goblin Guide
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Spark Elemental
2 Hellspark Elemental


4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
4 Lava Spike
3 Flames of the Blood Hand
1 Burst Lightning


1 Burst Lightning
4 Smash to Smithereens
4 Relic of Progenitus
4 Molten Rain
2 Sudden Shock



The deck works, and it’s pretty effective against Jund, but it has some weak points: it can’t put board pressure all the time, it has no great one-mana drops, and we are going to have a lot of troubles to take the game home if we are flooding with lands, or we draw a wrong sequence of cards (for instance, a Vexing Devil or a Goblin Guide shine on turn one, they suck on turn 5).

As a matter of fact, another deck that is doing pretty well on Magic Online, is RG aggro:


4 Arid Mesa
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Forest
1 Mountain


4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Goblin Guide
4 Kird Ape
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Vexing Devil


4 Lightning Bolt
2 Seal of Fire
2 Dismember
2 Tarfire


3 Blood Moon
3 Pillar of Flame
3 Vines of Vastwood
2 Combust
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Tormod’s Crypt



The main difference between this deck and monored is that it tries to put a lot of threats on the board, making any defense from our opponents useless, the weak point of this deck is that it has just 8 burn spells, meaning that we must pass through combat phases to win our games, making life easier for decks like pod, with the use of Kitchen Finks, and decks like Jund, with Deathrite Shaman and Scavenging Ooze, that can easily foil our plans.

Seeing both decks’ weak points. I realized that our weapon of choice will be a Boros decklist, and this is the list i am currently working on:


4 Marsh Flats
4 Arid Mesa
4 Sacred Foundry
3 Mountain
3 Scalding Tarn
3 Clifftop Retreat
2 Plains


4 Goblin Guide
4 Steppe Lynx
4 Student of Warfare
4 Vexing Devil
4 Plated Geopede
1 Kataki, War’s Wage


4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
4 Boros Charm
4 Searing Blaze


3 Blood Moon
3 Skullcrack
3 Rest in Peace
3 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Ethersworn Canonist



We have 16 one mana drops, meaning that we have always a good start, cards like Searing Blaze and Lightning Bolt can keep Shamans and Oozes at bay, Lightning Helix shines against aggro decks and Boros Charm needs any comment: having 2 charms in hands will be any opponent’s nightmare.
I am playing one Kataki, War’s Wage maindeck to arrive at 4 copies between maindeck and sideboard, because it really wrecks Affinity.
With Theros coming out Student of Warfare will leave its place in honor of Soldier of the Pantheon, a pretty efficient card in Modern, where it can’t be Abrupt Decayed, Terminated, Electrolyzed, Lightning Helixed, it can’t be blocked by Kitchen Finks, Deathrite Shaman, Voice of Resurgence. It is just SO good.
This deck has a lot of good matchups against Tron, Pod, Scapeshift and Jund, and it’s a 50-50 game against Affinity.
But when it comes to having a fight against Uwr, i am sorry, you took the wrong deck. Uwr gains life, it has a lot of removals, and it’s out worst nightmare.

Here’s a little Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Sideboard. Oh, remember that making a good sideboard is important just like making the right deckbuild, you will be playing at least half of your matches with it, so be sure to put enough efforts on making it really effective with the gamefield you think you will find at the tournament. Let’s go ahead with the Guide:

VS Jund
-1 Kataki, War’s Wage -4 Student of Warfare -1 Boros Charm ; +3 Blood Moon +3 Rest in Peace

Once you resolve the Deathrite Problem, Blood Moon wins alone so many games; Rest in Peace is needed to make cards like Scavenging Ooze and Tarmogoyf useless, and to make Lingering Souls less effective on the board.

VS Tron
-4 Searing Blaze -1 Kataki, War’s Wage -1 Lightning Helix ; +3 Skullcrack +3 Blood Moon

Just like in jund matchups, 3rd turn Blood Moon means game almost all the time, it will give us enough time to kill our enemy, Skullcrack will do the same against
Wurmcoil Engine, destroying our opponent’s plans to gain life and tempo.

VS Scapeshift
-3 Lightning Helix ; +3 Blood Moon

I think this choice is self explanatory

VS Affinity
-3 Goblin Guide ; +3 Kataki, War’s Wage

Goblin Guide is our most useless card against affinity, it really has no good feats against affinity’s swarm, Kataki, War’s Wage au contraire if used in a smart way (i mean, you really won’t play Kataki if your opponent has an untapped Mox)it can easily win the game the turn it comes into play.

-4 Boros Charm -1 Kataki, War’s Wage -1 Vexing Devil ; +3 Rest in Peace +3 Blood Moon

Their deck has a very unusual mana base, complicated by a lot of dual lands and few basic lands, the plan is to destroy their mana and use our creatures to finish them off (sometime even one creature is enough).
A rightly timed Blood Moon means victory and Rest in Peace can turn the tables when our opponent thought that a Voice of Resurgence or a Kitchen Finks could have been enough to stop the aggression.

VS Uwr
-4 Student of Warfare -1 Kataki, War’s Wage -1 Lightning Helix ; +3 Blood Moon +3 Skullcrack

This Match up is Horrible. And it’s not possible to turn things in our favour with a side plan.
The game will be played on our nerves and we will have to rely on our bluff skills in complicated situations, pushing a wrath effect to play a Blood Moon can be a way to win the game, bluffing an empty hand while you have 10 damage in burn spells, but in the end, if Uwr will be played perfectly, there is not even one chance we can win.

Something more aboout our deck:

There are some new cards i would like to analyze, but not today.
(SPOILER ALERT!) These cards are Young Pyromancer and Chain to the Rocks
I know, Path to Exile is viable in Modern, but in this deck, giving your opponent one more land is worst
than making the removal in almost every circumstances, and so i decided to play one more burn spell, because if everything goes the right way, we won’t have to face a 4-toughness creature.
I think this deck is a good choice overall if we are going to play at a gp, like Antwerp, for example, because it’s easy to play, and games are fast, so that you can keep your mind fresh and focused, which is really
important in a long tournament like a gp.
And, this, my friends, is the end!

Thanks for reading this article, till next time, and have a nice GP!

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