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What we can expect from Pro tour Valencia 2014 – by Alex Lavoie

Posted on February 20th, 2014

Articles Magic: The Gathering

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The pro tour is quickly approaching and with the recent banning of Deathrite Shaman and the unbanning of Wild Nacatl and Bitterblossom the format should look quite a bit different. I will be going over decks I think will have an impact in Valencia as well as which deck I think will take down the event. So let’s get started.

Main Deck
60 cards

1  Desolate Lighthouse
3  Island
4  Misty Rainforest
1  Mountain
4  Scalding Tarn
4  Steam Vents
1  Stomping Ground
3  Sulfur Falls
2  Tectonic Edge

23 lands

2  Deceiver Exarch
3  Grim Lavamancer
4  Pestermite
4  Snapcaster Mage
2  Vendilion Clique

15 creatures

2  Cryptic Command
2  Electrolyze
3  Izzet Charm
4  Lightning Bolt
3  Remand
4  Serum Visions
4  Splinter Twin

22 other spells
Sideboard
2  Ancient Grudge
2  Anger of the Gods
2  Batterskull
1  Dispel
1  Engineered Explosives
1  Mana Leak
3  Molten Rain
2  Relic of Progenitus
1  Remand

15 sideboard cards

Splinter Twin has been a player since the format’s inaugural tournament at Pro Tour Philadelphia in 2011. The winning deck from that event was of course Twin. And it has taken down a high level Magic event as recently as October. In recent months the deck has taken a turn towards a more tempo oriented game plan. As seen in the list above, 2 Electrolyze and 4 lightning bolt in the main give this deck much more game against the aggressive strategies. I don’t expect to see much Splinter Twin in Valencia, but what I do expect is to see the few players that choose this deck to make deep runs on Saturday.

The Next deck I’ll be going over I have mixed feelings about.

Main Deck
60 cards
3  Arid Mesa
4  Celestial Colonnade
1  Glacial Fortress
2  Hallowed Fountain
3  Island
1  Mountain
1  Plains
1  Sacred Foundry
4  Scalding Tarn
2  Steam Vents
1  Sulfur Falls
3  Tectonic Edge

26 lands

3  Snapcaster Mage

3 creatures

4  Cryptic Command
4  Electrolyze
4  Lightning Bolt
2  Lightning Helix
3  Mana Leak
2  Path to Exile
3  Spell Snare
2  Sphinx’s Revelation
2  Supreme Verdict
2  Think Twice
1  Wrath of God

29 other spells

1  Ajani Vengeant
1  Gideon Jura

2 planeswalkers

Sideboard
2  Celestial Purge
2  Counterflux
2  Magma Spray
2  Pyroclasm
2  Relic of Progenitus
2  Sowing Salt
2  Stony Silence
1  Wear // Tear

15 sideboard cards

I expect a variation of UWR Control to be very popular among the top pro players. However I don’t know if the deck has what it takes to take down the event. This of course breaks my heart because it’s the only true control deck in modern at the moment. I do think it will over perform due to its highly skilled pilots. If this is enough to overcome UWR control’s bad match ups remains to be seen.

Next up we have Zoo.

Main Deck
60 cards
4  Arid Mesa
1  Blood Crypt
1  Forest
1  Hallowed Fountain
4  Misty Rainforest
1  Plains
1  Sacred Foundry
4  Scalding Tarn
1  Steam Vents
1  Stomping Ground
1  Temple Garden

20 lands

4  Geist of Saint Traft
4  Ghor-Clan Rampager
4  Kird Ape
4  Loam Lion
4  Tarmogoyf
4  Wild Nacatl

24 creatures

4  Lightning Bolt
4  Lightning Helix
4  Path to Exile
4  Tribal Flames

16 other spells
Sideboard
2  Ancient Grudge
3  Domri Rade
3  Grafdigger’s Cage
2  Ranger of Eos
3  Stony Silence
2  Unified Will

15 sideboard cards

With the unbanning of Wild Nacatl this deck will give rise to an all but extinct strategy in the Modern Metagame; The aggro deck. Note that I consider Robots to be more of a combo deck than an aggro deck. Wizards banned our furry friend in an effort to diversify the aggressive decks in the format. What wizards failed to account for was what was keeping these aggro decks in the format. Once Nacatl was banned aggro died off almost instantly, giving way to decks like Jund and RUG Delver.

Then they printed Deathrite Shaman, and that was all she wrote. Aggro was dead, Jund became 40% of the decks played at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, and players like Gerry T. had to build decks with Kiln Fiend to try and go under Midrange Strategies. Spoiler: he did not do well in that event.

I’m still unsure of the best version of Zoo, whether it’s Tribal Zoo (5 Color Tribal Flames) or just Naya Zoo (White-Green-Red). What you can expect is to see plenty of Wild Nacatls in Valencia and if Pat Cox isn’t sleeving up the newly unbanned Kitty for the Pro Tour I will lose all faith in humanity.

Then we come to Bitterblossom, for most of 2008 faeries dominated the standard format on the back of the two mana enchantment. When modern was introduced as a format, Bitterblossom was already on the banned list. This ban was more of a preventative measure as wizards didn’t want a repeat of the extended format considered by most to be comprised of the best standard decks from the previous 2 years. As for the Pro Tour, I actually think that the best Bitterblossom deck will not be Faeries but a more proactive Bitterblossom strategy.

Finally my favourite modern deck and my pick for the winner of the Pro Tour, Melira Pod!
Main Deck
60 cards
3  Forest
2  Gavony Township
1  Godless Shrine
4  Marsh Flats
2  Overgrown Tomb
1  Plains
3  Razorverge Thicket
1  Swamp
1  Temple Garden
4  Verdant Catacombs
1  Woodland Cemetery

23 lands

1  Archangel of Thune
4  Birds of Paradise
1  Cartel Aristocrat
1  Eternal Witness
4  Kitchen Finks
1  Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1  Melira, Sylvok Outcast
2  Murderous Redcap
3  Noble Hierarch
1  Orzhov Pontiff
1  Qasali Pridemage
1  Ranger of Eos
1  Reveillark
1  Scavenging Ooze
1  Spellskite
1  Spike Feeder
1  Viscera Seer
2  Voice of Resurgence

28 creatures

2  Abrupt Decay
4  Birthing Pod
3  Chord of Calling

9 other spells
Sideboard
1  Aven Mindcensor
2  Dismember
1  Harmonic Sliver
1  Kataki, War’s Wage
1  Obstinate Baloth
1  Scavenging Ooze
1  Shriekmaw
1  Sin Collector
4  Thoughtseize
2  Voice of Resurgence

15 sideboard cards

Melira pod is another deck that has been around forever. It uses the interaction between persist creatures and Melira, Sylvok Outcast to gain infinite life or deal infinite damage to opponents with the help of a sacrifice outlet like Viscera Seer. It also uses Birthing Pod to great effect to create card advantage and complete the combo kill whenever possible. It is unclear if replacing the now banned Deathrite Shamans with Noble Hierarchs is correct, but it is clear that this is a dangerous strategy and players who ignore it during testing will be punished in the constructed rounds.

I of course missed many decks as modern is very diverse, decks like Green-Red Tron, Green-Blue Infect, Affinity, Scapeshift etc. are all very good decks and I look forward to seeing what the great teams like channel fireball: The Pantheon and team Mana Deprived come up with for the event.

As always you stay classy Magic community.

Article submitted by Alex Lavoie. For any questions or comments feel free to email Alex at AL_X11@HOTMAIL.COM

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