Verdant Catacombs
Fetch, Overgrown Tomb for Green
Cast Deathrite Shaman

If I had a game win for every time I heard that haiku, well I’d be well on my way to the Pro Tour by now. Or something. With every banning/unbanning there comes a long line of “experts” telling you why the DCI really botched this one or should never in a million year let this card roam free again. I’m here to tell you that I love what the DCI did here. We all got our chance to play Deathrite Shaman in our B/Gx or Gx splash B for DRS or Bx splash G for DRS decks. Truly that card was genius in its design. Easy to cast 3 abilities, 4 if you count graveyard hate (I do), and just out of Gutshot range. Rendering, in Modern, one of standard’s best removal spells, unplayable.

I won’t say it was lazy R&D. In fact, I think a lot of thought went into this guy. In Legacy seeing this guy on turn one tells you as much as seeing Delver of Secrets on the same turn. You’re facing a type of deck. In Modern however it meant you were seeing one of 3 of the most dominant decks in the format (based on color splash, and removal suite) which you likely saw 30% percent of your matches at larger events. That’s not what Modern is about.

So we’ve had our little ceremony and the spirits are (hopefully) appeased, let’s talk about what this means for Modern. You can welcome back graveyard tomfoolery for certain. I was able to play Gifts Ungiven with very little difficulty only stoping to kill Deathrite Shamans or focus on hard casting my threats. Now that Deathrite isn’t a 4 of in every deck with Black or Green Mana, I’m a little safer.

Let’s talk about the Pro Tour though. This has been the defining moment of pro tour play for Modern. The bannings come out and brewers go to work. The Tour sets the pace for upcoming Modern season and Grand Prix. Pay special attention to this PT. Especially, since so little time is left for everyone to figure out the prefect 75. Plenty of old strategies are still gonna be viable, but they’ll have to be prepared for a resurgence of the graveyard decks. There will be a ton of subtle differences in the sideboards and likely a few main board utility cards.

With a focus on graveyards and a likely tier one Faeries deck to be figured out, that could leave some room for Storm combo to open up while no one is looking. I have to be honest this is the first time in a long time I’ve been interested in what the pro tour will bring us. What are the bannings changing for you?

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

Zac 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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