Continuing with my coverage of Modern in prep for GP Richmond, I’m going to go over the decks that I’m looking at playing in the event over the next few weeks. Give you a breakdown of them, their match-ups and as Born of the Gods comes out I’ll touch back to them to talk about possible changes (assuming there are some) in the metagame.

The first deck I want to go over is Unburial Gifts. This deck has evolved a bit since I first began playing it. One of the things I love about Unburial Gifts is that there are a lot of nuts and knocks to tweak. You can tun the deck toward your intended metagame and the deck itself, at its core, is resilient against most decks if played intelligently. Here’s the list I took to Tuesday Night Magic this week.

Unburial Gifts

Lands (25)
Creeping Tar Pit
Ghost Quarter
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Watery Grave
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Marsh Flats
Overgrown Tomb
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Misty Rainforest
Tectonic Edge
Verdant Catacombs
Academy Ruins

Creatures (11)
Sun Titan
Eternal Witness
Scavenging Ooze
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Deathrite Shaman

Spells (24)
Engineered Explosives
Raven’s Crime
Go for the Throat
Lingering Souls
Maelstrom Pulse
Liliana of the Veil
Abrupt Decay
Gifts Ungiven
Life from the Loam
Unburial Rites
Sideboard (15)
Baneslayer Angel
Kitchen Finks
Iona, Shield of Imeria
Surgical Extraction
Pithing Needle
Timely Reinforcements
Supreme Verdict
Path to Exile

As you can see this version is much more aggressive than the normal, Gifts decks. Scavenging Ooze are in the place of Kitchen Finks. This is to reflect a more graveyard centric meta. Deathrite Shaman has definitely warped the format over the last year and change but there are plenty of decks that still use their graveyards with ruthless efficiency. MeliraPod and Storm are two decks that take advantage and lets not forget Living End.

The focus of this deck is not easy to pick up on at first. Gifts decks are full of “Packages”. These packages range from “I win” combos like Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn, to more controlling ones like Raven’s Crime and Life from the Loam. Other cute ones are BatterSkull, Engineered Explosives, Academy Ruins and Life from the Loam or Lilianna of the Veil, Unburial Rites, Sun Titan, Eternal Witness. The packages are classic no win situations. These leave your opponent in a state of confusion as to what is the best two cards to put in the graveyard and what should go to you hand. Many times Gifts gives you the options of getting the cards you need to answer a particular card and maintain advantage or can strip you opponent of resources.

This deck is a control player’s paradise, with a sideboard to boot. Let’s take a look at the match-ups for the too tier decks in Modern (Jund, UWR Control, MeliraPod, Kiki Pod, Storm, Tron and Affinity).


This match up relies on you keeping their Deathrite Shamans from ruining your plan. Getting out your land and staying alive until you cast Gifts is a large part if your plan here. Thoughtseize/Duress is your worst enemy. But Lilianna is fine as long as you can get rid of her before she ultimates or kills whatever your win condition is.

Sideboard: +1 Path to Exile, +3 Kitchen Finks, +1 Supreme Verdict +1 Baneslayer Angel, -3 Thoughtseize, -1 Raven’s Crime, -2 Lingering Souls

UWR Control:

The main thing you need to worry about is being tempo’d out of the game. This means sequencing your plays in some strange ways. Raven’s Crime and Thoughtseize are excellent in this match-up. The key here it to act with big plays when your open and bait with small plays when you’re likely to have them countered. The great thing is that in the long game you’re favored as you can consistently cast spells from you graveyard. It’s important to maintain card advantage and keeping your opponent off Sphinx’s Revelation. After board Pithing Needle on Celestial Colonade can stop them from winning until you can either take over or begin overwhelming them with Tectonic Edge/ Ghost Quarter and Loam.

+1 Surgical Extraction, +1 Duress, +1 Path to Exile,+1 Doomblade, +1 Terrasdon, -4 Scavenging Ooze -1 Crime/Punishment


You have to be careful around MeliraPod as it has the ability to pressure you with creatures as well and the ability to combo off if you’re not paying attention. The key is to save your removal until the last second. Jumping the gun allows them to work around your disruption. The same applies for KikiPod but they are more likely to combo off and tend to have a much weaker creature base. KikiPod need KikiJiki to win it doesn’t run Splinter Twin but between Zealous Conscripts, Restoration Angel, and Deceiver Exarch it’s Pod is much more likely to find the piece it needs.

Sideboard: +1 Surgical Extraction, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Doomblade, +1 Supreme Verdict, +1 Pithing Needle, -3 Thoughtseize, -2 Lingering Souls


Your hand disruption goes a really long way in this match up. Permanent removal and creature kill are pretty much worthless here. What you need is a clock. and a way to keep their graveyard in shambles. Scavenging Ooze, provides pressure as does Deathrite Shaman. the key to this match-up is to hit fast and save mana for activations. Sideboarding is pretty easy as far as removing the stuff you don’t need. it’s finding things to bring in that is a little trickier.

Sideboard: +1 Duress, +1 Surgical Extraction, +1 Iona, Shield of Emeria, -1 Damnation, -1 Go for the Throat, -1 Path to Exile


Tron is a tricky one. If you’re a skilled Gift player you have a slight advantage here. One reason is because you have some many ways to attack this deck. Hand disruption is amazing and a Turn 2 Lilianna of the Veil can be backbreaking. Killing their eggs, before they can cycle them is another good way to win. After board I like to saving my Pithing Needle for Karn but If I can use it to tie up their Expedition Map, on turn 2 I won’t hesitate. With Academy Ruins I can get back the Needle later in the game. Also using Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge and Surgical Extraction is a sure fire way to keep the game nice and fair, just make sure they don’t have Relic of Progenitus active.

Sideboard +1 Surgical Extraction, +1 Duress, +1 Pithing Needle. +1 Path to Exile, -3 Scavenging Ooze, -1 Dismember


At first this deck seems like its going to be a real pain to deal with. Remember that their deck is nothing more than a bunch of X/1’s. Lingering Souls buys you time and you removal does too. The main thing you are worried about in this match is Steel Overseer. Why? Well without him active they can’t win if you drop Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite onto the board. It’s game over. Unless they are packing 2 Galvanic Blasts it’s not looking really good for them. In board you just want more bodies and more removal. Thoughtseize come out for sure. Save your Abrupt Decays for Cranial Plating.

Sideboard: +3 Kitchen Finks, +1 Doom Blade, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Supreme Verdict, +3 Timely Reinforcements, +1 Pithing Needle, -3 Thoughtseize, -4 Scavenging Ooze, -1 Raven’s Crime, -1 Deathrite Shaman, -1 Go for the Throat

That’s most of the format for you. I’m still tweaking the main and side for this one. and as the weeks go by I’ll update you on my progress. For now this is looking like my choice for GP Richmond. If you wanna hear any explanation of sideboard choices or you’re interested in knowing what i think about other match-ups comment below and I’ll pitch in my two cents. Otherwise Follow me on Twitter @DurdleMagus.

Zac Clark started playing during Fallen Empires. He began taking the game seriously during Alliances. Stasis, Titiania’s Song, then a long love affair with Mono Blue Control, finally settling on Replenish before taking a 12 year break. Now that he’s back he’s been favoring control and combo decks. Constantly, on the prowl for a new deck Zac often looks at the Meta in Modern and Legacy formats.

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