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 had a decent performance and felt we were in a good position to continue moving into the realm of winning more than losing. To that end we made to additions to the deck. The first addition was to the main deck and, to the joy of many of my readers, involved replacing City of Brass with Godless Shrine. The logic here should be obvious. The second change was to the sideboard and was determined by vote.

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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In went a third copy of Suppression Field and out came the final copy of Kataki giving us the deck we went with into this week’s tournament.

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
Godless Shrine
Isolated Chapel
Windbrisk Heights

Sideboard (15)
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Ghost Quarter
Relic of Progenitus
Stony Silence
Suppression Field
Torpor Orb

Four Rounds of Modern

Round 1 – Michael with American Control

Round 1

Michael requested to not have his picture taken for the blog. So, instead, here’s a terrifying picture of fellow Hipsters of the Coast writer Zach Barash who was a) sitting next to me during round one and b) also playing American Control. That works.

The first game did not work out very well for Michael, as I opened up with Thoughtseize and saw Path to Exile, Cryptic Command, Restoration Angel, Snapcaster Mage, and Electrolyze. I made him pitch the blue/red burn spell, not wanting him to get two uses of it off of Snapcaster Mage. I then proceeded to cast Spectral Procession and Lingering Souls and backed them up with Intangible Virtue, Zealous Persecution, and my own Path to Exile to clear away his angelic blocker. We quickly moved onto the next game.

The sideboard plan is pretty straight-forward. Duress comes in for Inquisition because we want to be able to hit Wrath of God and Cryptic Command with it. We lose the ability to take away Snapcaster Mage but that’s not a big loss. In the second game I had Tidehollow Sculler which revealed Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Anger of the Gods, and a handful of land. I took the Bolt and then beat in with the 2/2 for a few turns looking to avoid over-extending into any mass removal. I eventually found a Duress to take away Anger of the Gods and then played out some Lingering Souls.

I also landed an early Torpor Orb in this game which Michael did not find an answer to, shutting off his Snapcaster Mages. In the end game, Michael had three Restoration Angels, which is a decent army, but not really a match for five beefed up Spirit tokens.

Event Deck 1—Not Event Deck 0Draws 0

Round 2 – Max with U/W ‘Tron

Round 2

You may remember Max from Week One of Modern Hero in which his U/W ‘Tron deck wrecked me with Ghostly Prison putting me on a crusade to acquire Oblivion Rings (which I never did). I’m still not very fond of this match but was very fortunate in game one. Luckily for me Max never found a third ‘Tron piece and I was able to beat down his life total with impunity. At one point he even wiped my board with Elesh Norn, but I was able to remove it with Path to Exile and recover to win.

Max shipped his seven and six-card hands and settled on a five-card hand. If you’ve been reading along for a few weeks then you know that everyone in this story who goes down to five cards ends up winning. I kept an aggressive opener with Relic of Progenitus to prevent any Unburial Rites shenanigans. Unfortunately for me Max ended up casting Mindslaver and then activated it once, after I had him down to two life! I cracked Relic after ‘Slaver hit the yard but it wasn’t enough. On the ‘Slaver turn, Max cast Gifts Ungiven making me choose to put Iona and Unburial Rites in his yard, and put Wrath of God and Snapcaster Mage in his hand. He also looked at my whole deck to see my sideboard plan.

Game three went very poorly for me and was over very quickly. I mulliganed into a five-card hand which had Thoughtseize but no other answer cards. Max quickly found Gifts Ungiven and put Iona into play to end the game.

Event Deck 1—Not Event Deck 1Draws 0

Round 3 – Oscar with Mono-Red Burn

Round 3

Boy do I hate mono-red burn decks. I had the audacity to cast Thoughtseize twice in game one, after Oscar mulled his opener, taking away Eidolon of the Great Revel and Keldon Marauders. This bought me a little bit of time and I was at three life when I finished off Oscar by attacking for 10 damage using five spirits and Zealous Persecution.

I wasn’t sure about taking out the Dismembers but it didn’t seem very good against creatures that would deal their damage anyways. It turned out to be fine, but I still got wrecked in game two by Goblin Guide, Eidolon of the Great Revel, and then double Keldon Marauders. A few burn spells finished me off.

Game three was much closer as I managed to cast Thoughtseize and take away an Eidolon. Oscar drew into a ton of land that game and I was able to assemble a decent board presence. Unfortunately it simply wasn’t enough and he eventually finished me off with Keldon Megaliths. I needed one more life in this game, and I had paid one life to Caves of Koilos. I don’t know if having Godless Shrine there would have allowed me to win this one, but it’s definitely possible.

Event Deck 1—Not Event Deck 2Draws 0

Round 4 – Paul with Affinity

Round 4

Wait a second, that doesn’t look like “Paul with Affinity” at all! That looks like Power and Toughness writer Matt Jones! Well, after the round four pairings went up, Paul found me and told me that he had to leave early and was conceding the match to me. I knew Paul was playing Affinity from watching him play in round three, so I was confident that I had a good chance to win that match anyways.

While hanging around, I noticed that Twenty Sided Store had for sale four sealed Fifth Edition starter decks. I challenged Matt Jones to a one-on-one Fifth Edition Sealed Deck battle. He bought up all four and agreed to duel at a later date in an epic Modern Hero vs Power and Toughness showdown. Stay tuned for that!

Event Deck 2—Not Event Deck 2Draws 0

Lessons Learned

After analyzing the matches with ‘Tron and Burn it became abundantly clear that this deck could really benefit from Leyline of Sanctity. The number of cards that it can shut off is astounding, including the critical cards in both of these key matches. I continually lose to Mindslaver and Gifts Ungiven when playing against ‘Tron and Leyline turns off both cards. I keep getting my face burned by Mono-Red and Leyline turns off those spells.

Unfortunately Leyline of Sanctity is a $20 card and well out of our budget. Still, for those of you playing along, I highly recommend adding it if you can!

Next Time on Modern Hero

We’re coming into the home stretch of Modern Hero with only two weeks to go! After that we’ll make our final changes to the deck and get ready for Grand Prix Worcester. For Week Seven we’ll have our $10 weekly budget to work with, having wiped ourselves out with this week’s additions of Godless Shrine and Suppression Field.

At this stage I see three main routes we can go down for preparing for the Grand Prix. First, we could finish tuning the mana-base which means replacing a few Caves of Koilos with Godless Shrines. This will not improve mana fixing but it will reduce the amount of damage we inflict upon ourselves. That is important for a few matchups. Second, we could make various changes to the maindeck such as adding Brimaz or Pack Rat to the deck. Finally, we can hope that we finish 3-1 or 4-0 in one or both of the final weeks of Modern Hero and add Leyline of Sanctity to the sideboard, vastly improving several matchups.

Modern Hero - Week 7 Upgrades

  • Go big or go home and try to save up for Leyline of Sanctity (45%, 257 Votes)
  • Finish improving the mana by swapping out Caves of Koilos for Godless Shrines (30%, 172 Votes)
  • Make some changes to the main deck such as Brimaz or Pack Rats (25%, 143 Votes)

Total Voters: 572

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Polls close on Tuesday at 4pm!


Money Spent on Deck: $75
Money Spent on Entry Fees: $60
Money Contributed to Improvements: $60
Money Earned from Cards Sold: $6
Tournament Winnings: $21
Money Spent on Improvements: $87.00
Remaining Budget for Improvements: $10.00

Total Expenses: $195
Total Winnings: $21
Cards Sold: $6
Net Expenses: $168

Overall match wins: 14-15-1 (.467)
Overall game wins: 26-26-1 (.500)
Match wins vs. HotC writers: 2-1-0 (.667)
Game wins vs. HotC writers: 4-3-0 (.571)

Vs. Affinity: 2-0-0 (1.000)/4-1-0 (.800)
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: 0-2-0 (.000)/1-4-0 (.200)
Vs. Mono-U Tron: 0-2-0 (.000)/0-4-0 (.000)
Vs. UW Tron: 0-2-0 (.000)/1-4-0 (.200)
Vs. RUG Twin: 1-1-0 (.500)/2-2-0 (.500)
Vs. RWU Control: 1-1-0 (.000)/3-2-0 (.600)
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 6:

  • +1 Godless Shrine (MD)
  • -1 City of Brass (MD)

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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