Welcome to Modern Hero

Where do I even begin? This is a question many Magic players ask themselves when they get ready to play a new format for the first time. Wizards of the Coast has attempted to help you answer this question. They have created the Modern Event Deck. This B/W Tokens mid-range deck costs $75, a reasonable price compared to the hundreds of dollars required to play a deck with Scalding Tarn, Misty Rainforest, Tarmogoyf, or Dark Confidant. But, is it even worth the investment?

That’s where Modern Hero comes in. I’m going to buy the Modern Event Deck and put it to the test. Here’s what you need to know:

  • I will be using the actual event deck purchased from my local game store
  • Every week I will enter a four-round Modern tournament hosted at my LGS for a $10 entry fee
  • After each tournament I will post a report on the deck’s performance that week
  • The tournament reports will end with a poll for voting on improvements to the deck
  • A budget of $10/week will be used for making the improvements
  • Any prizes I win at my LGS will also be used to make improvements
  • After 8 weeks of testing, I will play the deck at Grand Prix Boston/Worcester
  • Once all is said and done, post-GP Boston, we will be auctioning off the final deck for charity

The total budget for this project is $275 which includes the $75 event deck, eight weeks of tournament entry ($80), eight weeks of improvements ($80) and the $40 entry fee to Grand Prix Boston/Worcester. You’ll get to follow along week-by-week and see the improvements and help direct the changes made to the deck. In the end, we’ll have a community-built deck to be proud of.

Last Week on Modern Hero

Last week we finally picked up our first winning record by closing out a 3-1 evening. Our prize was $20 in store credit which, in addition to this week’s $10 and the leftovers from the previous weeks allowed us to pick up two new copies of Thoughtseize for $16 each.

Modern Hero - Week 4: What to Remove for Thoughtseize?

  • Soul Warden (49%, 278 Votes)
  • Sword of Feast and Famine (plus another card) (16%, 89 Votes)
  • Dismember (goes back to SB) (13%, 71 Votes)
  • Inquisition of Kozilek (goes to SB) (11%, 62 Votes)
  • Tidehollow Sculler (8%, 48 Votes)
  • Hero of Bladehold (plus another card) (3%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 565

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Modern Hero - Week 4: What to Add with our $3.50?

  • Save for Godless Shrine ($12.00) (33%, 184 Votes)
  • Save for Auriok Champion ($15.00) (26%, 146 Votes)
  • Stony Silence ($2.00) (20%, 110 Votes)
  • Torpor Orb ($2.00) (12%, 67 Votes)
  • Oblivion Ring ($0.50) (8%, 44 Votes)

Total Voters: 551

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We swapped out the Soul Wardens for Thoughtseizes as voted on by the community. We also left the sideboard as-is despite a strong personal desire to add more copies of Suppression Field and Stony Silence to improve the Birthing Pod matchup (spoiler: this is foreshadowing). In addition, we made an executive decision to swap out Vault of the Archangel for City of Brass. With the extra copies of Thoughtseize, I wanted another black mana source, and, honestly, I’ve never activated Vault of the Archangel or wished I could.

March of the Multitudes

Creatures (4)
Hero of Bladehold
Tidehollow Sculler

Spells (34)
Honor of the Pure
Inquisition of Kozilek
Intangible Virtue
Lingering Souls
Path to Exile
Raise the Alarm
Spectral Procession
Sword of Feast and Famine
Zealous Persecution
Lands (22)
Caves of Koilos
City of Brass
Isolated Chapel
Windbrisk Heights

Sideboard (15)
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Ghost Quarter
Kataki, War’s Wage
Relic of Progenitus
Stony Silence
Suppression Field
Torpor Orb

Four Rounds of Modern

Round 1 – Mario with Jund

Round 1

I know Mario from my former life as a competitive Magic player. He’s been in the NYC Magic scene for a long time now so I recognized him immediately. Mario opened up with a turn two Dark Confidant. I knew it was coming because on turn one I cast Thoughtseize and saw double Tarmogoyf, double Dark Confidant, Liliana of the Veil, and Blackcleave Cliff. Even though he didn’t have a second land I still don’t enjoy having to play against Liliana. Also, I was holding Zealous Persecution and was looking forward to turning it into a 2-for-1 if Mario played out both copies of Dark Confidant. Mario did play them both out and never really recovered from that.

  • -2 Dismember
  • -1 Intangible Virtue
  • -1 Honor of the Pure
  • +2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
  • +2 Relic of Progenitus

This is a new sideboard strategy for Jund for me. The goal is to eliminate their ability to power through with Tarmogoyf and wipe my board with Anger of the Gods. I’m also testing out boarding out a few of my anthem effects against decks where they aren’t as critical. This allows me to leave in the juicier threats like Hero of Bladehold and Sword of Feast and Famine.

Game two ended up with a very interesting board state late in the game. I had Hero of Bladehold already on the field. Mario was at 14 life and had Pack Rat, Scavenging Ooze (at 2/2 with no creatures to eat) and Dark Confidant in play. I also had two of my Honor of the Pures in play and Mario had enough mana to create one more Pack Rat. I attacked threatening to deal 13 damage. This would leave Mario at 1 life with Dark Confidant on the board. If he flipped any non-land he would be dead but if he flipped a land he could swing back for lethal damage himself. I had no cards in hand.

Mario chose an unfavorable blocking scenario which left him with only Pack Rat on the board, and left me with the two soldier tokens. He wasn’t able to recover and lost the game. His next card  was a land. I don’t know if there’s a valuable lesson in here or not, but it was a very interesting board state and result.

Event Deck 1—Not Event Deck 0Draws 0

Round 2 – Rob with Jund

Round 2

I played Rob a few weeks ago. With the improvements I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned, I was very much looking forward to this rematch. In game one Rob and I traded blows back and forth. I Dismembered his turn two Dark Confidant, not wanting to let him fill up his hand with extra cards. I eventually got out a Hero of Bladehold which ate a Slaughter Pact. We each had answers for each other’s creatures until I finally landed enough creatures into play to trigger my Windbrisk Heights and take the game.

In game two I ended up getting blown out by Bonfire of the Damned. This was an unfortunate situation but there was not much I could do. When I cast Inquisition I saw both Bonfire and Chandra Pyromaster. I honestly don’t remember what I took from his hand. It may have been Liliana. I did not write it down. I ended up getting crushed by Chandra and Bonfire. I immediately swapped both copies of Inquisition of Kozilek out for Duress.

Game three was fun for me and a nightmare for Rob. I mulliganed down to five and Rob commented that he would likely lose. I had a strong opening curving out fortunately into a turn four Spectral Procession. Rob had some removal but for the most part hit a pocket of mana in his deck. He had Dark Confidant in play while I continued to apply beats in the air. With me sitting at only one life, Rob had about 30 outs in his deck, and drew two more lands. I swung back for 16 damage the next turn and won the game.

Event Deck 2—Not Event Deck 0Draws 0

Round 3 – Joe with Merfolk

Round 3

I had never seen Joe around before and he explained to me that he was a piano teacher who was off for the summer. I asked if I could take his picture for the blog and he asked for the name of the blog. I told him and he said “wait, you’re not that Modern Hero guy are you?” Guilty as charged. I won the die roll and Joe led with turn one Aether Vial. I played a turn three Spectral Procession and got blown out by Echoing Truth.

I debated Stony Silence as well but felt that it wasn’t worth it for just Aether Vial. Boy was I wrong because I forgot about Spellskite being an artifact as well. This ended up biting me in the ass pretty hard. I won game two pretty handily with a solid amount of beat-down and Joe drawing more land than a Merfolk deck ought to. So I didn’t re-evaluate by sideboard strategy before the final game. I got wrecked by a vial’d in Spellskite and was never able to remove his army of Merfolk lords. Joe had a turn one Aether Vial in all three games and ended up finishing the night with a 4-0 record.

I want to mention that Joe is one of the nicest people I’ve played against in a very long time. He was very pleasant and made great conversation the whole time. I look forward to a chance to get a rematch against him in the next few weeks.

Event Deck 2—Not Event Deck 1Draws 0

Round 4 – Rah with Melira Pod

Round 4

Remember that time I played Birthing Pod decks all night and ended up getting crushed because of it and insisting I add more Thoughtseizes to the deck as a result? Well things haven’t changed very much. In game one I was forced to use the Zealous Persecution I was sand-bagging early on in order to kill both a Kitchen Finks and Murderous Redcap permanently before he Rah could begin shenanigans. Unfortunately when you have Birthing Pod in play it’s very easy to create shenanigans and I lost anyways.

Game two went my way because I mulliganed to five. Again. Rah mulliganed down to six and my hand was very aggressive. He had a Kitchen Finks early but it wasn’t enough to stem the bleeding as he never found a copy of Birthing Pod to get things going. Unfortunately for me, in game three he found three copies of Birthing Pod. At this point I was kicking myself for not boarding in (once again) Stony Silence. Lesson learned.

Event Deck 2—Not Event Deck 2Draws 0

Lessons Learned

  • This deck mulligans very well. I was able to win two games after going down to five cards. Sure, my opponent’s had some bad luck, but it’s still a testament to how powerful this deck can be and how important it is to have an opening hand that can apply early disruption and/or pressure.
  • That said, I should not have had to mulligan as much as I did. I feel that a two-land hand is perfectly fine in this deck but I saw far too many one-land openers this week. When I cut back from 24 lands to 22 lands, a lot of people suggested that I had gone too far. Perhaps I did and the right number (without any Marsh Flats involved) is 23.
  • The Jund match-up is very good. The Birthing Pod match-up is very bad. Aggro mirrors including B/W Tokens, Affinity, and Merfolk are roughly 50/50. The ‘Tron match-up should be much better now with Thoughtseize in the deck. The sideboard needs to reflect this and currently 8 cards come in against Pod. Is it enough? Maybe not.

Next Time on Modern Hero

Well we saved our $3.50 from last week which means we have $13.50 this week to spend on improvements. That means we can finally acquire a copy of Godless Shrine, the unanimous decision from last week. I won’t be removing one of the other lands as I want to move up to 23 lands after having to ship so many one-land hands this week. As such I will be swapping the Godless Shrine into the deck and taking out Sword of Feast and Famine. Last week when we voted to remove Soul Warden for Thoughtseize, the Sword was the runner-up. So now it gets the axe. This still leaves us with $1.50 which is enough to get a Suppression Field or a few copies of Oblivion Ring. Or I could keep saving up for more Godless Shrines. Personally, I would strongly advocate for improving the sideboard…

Modern Hero - Week 6 Upgrade

  • Buy another Suppression Field for the Sideboard (44%, 269 Votes)
  • Save for Godless Shrine (36%, 216 Votes)
  • Buy some Oblivion Rings for the Sideboard (20%, 122 Votes)

Total Voters: 607

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Polls close on Tuesday at 4pm!


Money Spent on Deck: $75
Money Spent on Entry Fees: $50
Money Contributed to Improvements: $50
Money Earned from Cards Sold: $6
Tournament Winnings: $21
Money Spent on Improvements: $73.50
Remaining Budget for Improvements: $13.50

Total Expenses: $175
Total Winnings: $21
Cards Sold: $6
Net Expenses: $128

Overall match wins: 12-13-1 (.474)
Overall game wins: 20-22-1 (.465)
Match wins vs. HotC writers: 2-1-0 (.667)
Game wins vs. HotC writers: 4-3-0 (.571)

Vs. Affinity: 1-0-0 (1.000)/2-1-0 (.667)
Vs. BG Rock: 1-1-0 (.500)/3-2-0 (.600)
Vs. Faeries: 1-0-0 (1.000)/2-0-0 (1.000)
Vs. Jund: 3-1-0 (.750)/7-4-0 (.636)
Vs. Kiki Pod: 0-1-0 (.000)/0-2-0 (.000)
Vs. Melira Pod: 0-2-1 (.000)/3-5-1 (.333)
Vs. Merfolk: 1-1-0 (.500)/3-2-0 (.600)
Vs. Mono-R Burn: 0-1-0 (.000)/0-2-0 (.000)
Vs. Mono-U Tron: 0-2-0 (.000)/0-4-0 (.000)
Vs. UW Tron: 0-1-0 (.000)/0-2-0 (.000)
Vs. RUG Twin: 1-1-0 (.500)/2-2-0 (.500)
Vs. RWU Control: 0-1-0 (.000)/1-2-0 (.333)
Vs. Splinter Twin: 2-0-0 (1.000)/4-2-0 (.667)
Vs. Storm Combo: 1-0-0 (1.000)/2-0-0 (1.000)

Change Log

Week 5:

  • +2 Thoughtseize (MD)
  • +1 City of Brass (MD)
  • -2 Soul Warden (MD)
  • -1 Vault of the Archangel

Week 4:

  • +2 Dismember (MD)
  • +2 Stony Silence (SB)
  • -2 City of Brass (MD)
  • -2 Dismember (SB)

Week 3:

  • +2 Thoughtseize (MD)
  • +2 Suppression Field (SB)
  • -2 Shrine of Loyal Legions (MD)
  • -1 Duress (SB)
  • -1 Kataki, War’s Wage (SB)

Week 2:

  • +1 Hero of Bladehold (MD)
  • -1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant (MD)

Rich Stein is a former amateur Magic player turned Magic journalist. He came very close to making day two of several Grand Prix tournaments before metaphorically hanging up his playmat. He now returns to the table to sling spells in the guise of investigative journalism. You can also check out his weekly news column: What We Learned, which appears on Mondays on this very site.

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