I often get messages, tweets or hear from friends that they don’t really like modern.  I know the area I live in has a huge legacy scene but I’m still always surprised by the sentiment because personally, I love modern.  However, these complaints have  merit so I’d like to take some time to outline and address them in one place.

Problem: Price

The price gap between legacy and modern has been getting smaller and smaller and not in a good way.  $200 Tarmogoyfs, $100 Liliana’s, fetchlands, etc add up quite quickly.  I started to try to calculate the value of my jund deck but decided to stop before I had even finished adding up the lands.  Even burn can be fairly expensive if you want to be competitive.  I reached out to a competitive burn player that I’m friends with, he said his deck value came to $474.96 and the mono red version runs around $250.  For a deck that is known as the cheap deck I wouldn’t exactly call that budget friendly, though it is still cheaper than a playset of Goyfs.  Worse than all of that is that random cards spike constantly because they’ll do well for a few weeks but then quickly fall out of favor due to Moderns quickly evolving meta.

Wizards has attempted to address this problem to a certain extent.  They did reprint some fetches in Khans but Zen fetches are still extremely expensive.  In addition Wizards has printed two runs of Modern Masters now but somehow that only made the price of Goyf go up and hasn’t really lowered the price of other cards enough to make modern feel like a playable format.  Overall the price jump from standard to modern is still huge.  Considering how hard Wizards is pushing this format I’m surprised that they aren’t doing more to make it more accessible.  The price jump to modern can be so steep it seems to me that it may be better to make the jump to legacy instead where at least you don’t have to worry about your pricey staples being reprinted and losing value.  In addition legacy is less restricted which brings me to point number two.

Problem: Ban Hammer Heavy

Wizards has been very quick to ban cards in the format including staples such as Bloodbraid Elf, Cloudpost, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and more.  There are a lot of articles out there about modern bannings so I’m not going to dive too deep into it.  I will say I feel like the cards I just listed were banned prematurely.  In regards to BBE, is it really better than Splinter Twin?  Bloodbraid Elf is a 2 for 1 on turn 4, Splinter Twin wins the game on turn 4 so I don’t understand the logic behind this ban.  Cloudpost is another great example, it’s a card that shouldn’t violate the turn 4 rule. In addition, is Cloudpost really that much better than Tron lands? I’m sure most people who know me well would be surprised that I would support Jace being unbanned.  I feel like the format is missing a true control deck which is unfortunate and necessary.  Which brings me my third point.

Problem: No Hard Counter

Now if you read this column weekly you will know my gripes with Miracles in legacy and blue in general.  However, I find it ridiculous that there is no top tier control deck and no good hard counters.  You could argue that the format has Cryptic Command but the spell costs 1 and 3 blue, a heavy price to pay.  The only early game options are Spell Pierce and Remand which aren’t hard counters. Some decks do run Spell Snare but it only hits 2 mana spells so it is extremely limited. So much of this format is: do you have your kill pieces or your sideboard tech in your first three turns?  If not, you lose.  I think that alone is a good argument for a better counterspell for modern.

Overall I still love modern, I love it because of some of it’s weaknesses.  I love how many top tier decks there are, I love how quick the format evolves and I love that the format lets me play fun archtypes I could never do well with in legacy.  However, the problems I listed above are serious ones that Wizards needs to address and if they don’t I think that modern will turn into a mini legacy against their best wishes.  If they want to keep the format happy and alive I think they need to address at least these three problems.  I’d hate to see anything happen to Modern so let’s hope they address these issues soon.

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