Last week, I examined the top sixteen of the Modern SCG Classic in Atlanta in the wake of the bannings. While the Classic events represent a fairly small sample size, they are the best barometer for the current metagame until the Pro Tour this weekend. Until we have Pro Tour lists, let’s go ahead and break down the results from the SCG Classic this past weekend in Columbus.

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The archetype breakdown looks like this:

Aggro (8)

1—Naya Zoo

Midrange (1)


Control (4)

3—GR Tron
1—Jeskai Control

Combo (3)

1—Kiki Chord

As always, the terms Aggro/Midrange/Control/Combo aren’t definitive by any means. Tron certainly isn’t a traditional control deck but tends to win via incremental planeswalker advantage and has access to several sweepers, much like other control shells.

While we’re on the topic of Tron, it appears that rumors of its demise were somewhat exaggerated. While there was no RG tron in the top sixteen of Atlanta, lo and behold there are 3 lists in the top sixteen of Columbus. In terms of innovation, the sixth place Tron list contained the most cards from Oath of the Gatewatch (though each list had at least one copy of Warping Wail in the 75). Here is Hobie Hagan’s 6th place list:

RG Tron

Creatures (9)
Wurmcoil Engine
Thought-Knot Seer
World Breaker
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Spells (31)
Karn Liberated
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Expedition Map
Oblivion Stone
Kozilek’s Return
Ancient Stirrings
Sylvan Scrying
Lands (20)
Ghost Quarter
Grove of the Burnwillows
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower
Eye of Ugin

Sideboard (15)
Relic of Progenitus
Wurmcoil Engine
Matter Reshaper
World Breaker
Nature’s Claim
Warping Wail
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Crumble to Dust
Ghost Quarter

While this list plays no Ugins in the main we have a veritable buffet of Eldrazi including Thought-Knot Seer and World Breaker. Aside from the giant colorless fiends, Hagan chose to replace Pyroclasm with Kozilek’s Return. Return is an instant speed sweeper that is great against Affinity and Burn. Not only can Return hit activated Nexi (of the Blinkmoth or Inkmoth Variety), it kills Etched Champion and Kor Firewalker thanks to being colorless, and the five damage clause triggers off of four different creatures in the main deck.

While Tron proved to the world that it is indeed still a deck, the real story of the classic in Columbus was Burn. Burn put up four copies in the top sixteen including a list that was designed to win the mirror. Adam Minniear cut Boros Charm and Atarka’s Command, instead opting for a mono red maindeck with two Stomping Ground to support a playset of Destructive Revelry in the sideboard. This innovation is significant because it means that Minniear isn’t taking nearly as much damage off his lands and is less susceptible to Blood Moon/Spreading Seas.

Rg Burn

Creatures (15)
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Goblin Guide
Grim Lavamancer
Monastery Swiftspear

Spells (24)
Lava Spike
Lightning Bolt
Rift Bolt
Searing Blaze
Shard Volley
Lands (21)
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
Scalding Tarn
Stomping Ground
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Destructive Revelry
Dragon’s Claw
Forked Bolt
Grim Lavamancer
Magma Spray
Molten Rain

Not only does Minniear have a less painful manabase than most recent Naya Burn lists, he also chose to run a full set of Dragon’s Claws in the board for the mirror match. Minniear accurately predicted the meta for Columbus and was rewarded with a third place finish. I do wonder just how many times he played the mirror throughout the day.

The last innovation I want to talk about is Erik Rose’s fifth place Jund deck.


Creatures (13)
Dark Confidant
Huntmaster of the Fells
Kitchen Finks
Scavenging Ooze
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Spells (23)
Liliana of the Veil
Abrupt Decay
Doom Blade
Inquisition of Kozilek
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Maelstrom Pulse
Lands (24)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Ghost Quarter
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Stomping Ground
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Abrupt Decay
Ancient Grudge
Anger of the Gods
Crumble to Dust
Ghost Quarter
Grim Lavamancer
Kitchen Finks
Obstinate Baloth
Olivia Voldaren

While this list may appear stock on first glance, his decision to include two copies of Doom Blade over additional copies of Abrupt Decay and Terminate is significant. In twenty lists on MTGTop8, Rose is the only person to include Doom Blade in the main deck. Right now, Doom Blade is a super efficient removal spell that is relevant in most match-ups. Even against decks with Tasigur/Angler or Siege Rhino, Doom Blade still has applicable targets. With a bunch of very aggressive decks dominating the meta, having a removal spell that doesn’t require two separate colors and can hit everything from Goblin Guide to Oblivion Sower is really important right now.

Going into the Pro Tour, I think there is still a fairly open meta. While there are an abundance of aggressive strategies, with Burn and Affinity being the decks to beat right now, there is no doubt in my mind that with an interactive deck and a few sideboard slots, flavors of GBx or even Jeskai could be the real winners this weekend. Though if enough folks try to go the midrange route, they risk being run over by the Eldrazi overlords in Tron or Bx Eldrazi. Regardless, I’m looking forward to coverage this weekend and taking the time to analyze the results afterward.

Also, Hipsters of the Coast has a Twitch Channel! This Wednesday tune in at 7:30PM (EST) and watch me draft Oath for the first time. Should be an adventure—

In terms of Magic, Shawn Massak is a Modern enthusiast, with a penchant for tier two decks, counterspells, and pre Eighth Edition frames. In terms of life, Shawn lives in Brighton, MA where he works as an employment coordinator for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and spends his free time reading comics, complaining about pro-wrestling, and wishing his apartment allowed dogs as pets.

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