With Standard on the table this weekend at Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica, some may have forgotten about Modern. But Grand Prix Atlanta took place last weekend, and we saw a myriad of Pro Players spar with their preferred Modern decks in an attempt to win the elusive Grand Prix champion title. Even through the pro tour testing, 1550 players came to the event to battle Modern. Many of the top players settled for what they were comfortable with instead of trying to beat the metagame, as priorities lay elsewhere naturally, but plenty of the field came to play Modern without pro tour plans.

If we look at the three-bye breakdown which is where the Gold, Platinium and Hall of Fame players come off their byes, we can gain an idea of how the Pros picked their deck of choice on day one.

Unsurprising to see Five-Color Humans at the top of the table as it’s relatively easy to pick up and rewards you for knowing the Modern format well. Interesting to note the pick up in Jund too, which tends to be popular with pro players. A similar trend follows with the overall day two metagame breakdown.

The day two field may seem unexciting given how prevalent Five-Color Humans has been recently—11% of the day two metagame is pretty significant given how broad Modern is as a format and how many different decks are on offer.

SGC Charlotte a few weeks ago saw the dominance of big mana decks such as Amulet Titan, Scapeshift, and Tron. As a result, GP Atlanta brought the rise of Dredge. Since the introduction of Creeping Chill (not to be confused with Crippling Chill), Dredge has become more powerful and matches up well against big mana archetypes. U/W/x Control decks also performd well, perhaps also by preying on these big mana archetypes.

Despite Humans’ popularity at the Grand Prix, only one copy managed make the top 32. Overall, the top 32 had a wide assortment of Modern decks, which is always good to see:

  • Bant Spirits—5
  • Hardened Scales—4
  • Dredge—3
  • KCI—3
  • Storm—2
  • Tron—2
  • R/G Valakut—2
  • Infect—1
  • Hollow One—1
  • Bridgevine—1
  • Titanbreach—1
  • Izzet Phoenix—1
  • Devoted Evolution—1
  • Mardu Pyromancer—1
  • U/R Acsenion—1
  • Burn—1
  • Faeries—1
  • 5C Humans—1

Creature-focused decks make up a fair chunk of the top 32. Some interesting builds crept in, such as Izzet Phoenix, which promotes the power of the recently printed Arclight Phoenix. Overall the top 32 looks to be an exciting spread of archetypes and proves that Modern isn’t a two- or three-deck format. Moving on from the top 32, the top eight was as follows:

  • Peiyuan Zheng—Bant Spirits
  • Piotr Glogowski—KCI
  • Christoffer Larsen—Hardened Scales
  • Kazu Negri—Infect
  • Martin Jůza—Hollow One
  • Joao Choca—KCI
  • Takumi Utsunomiya—BridgeVine
  • Yoshihiko Ikawa—Tron

The top eight featured seven different archetypes, with KCI putting two copies in. This demonstrates once again that Modern rewards you for playing the deck you know well. Although KCI has its detractors and haters, since it’s close to being a broken combo deck. It’s still an excellent choice as this top eight proved, but it requires heavy practice time to play well.

Bant Spirits is making a strong case again to be the best tribal deck in Modern. It took the trophy at the hand of Peiyuan Zheng. Bant Spirits has the perfect compliment of tempo and midrange strategies, making it a very flexible choice with a catalogue of sideboard options to boot. Five-Color Humans can struggle with its sideboard, because its focus on the Human subtype cuts room for premier sideboard options such as Rest in Peace and Stony Silence, which are well placed right now. Spirits can afford to lose the Spirit subtype, as evidenced by Reflector Mage cropping up in these lists, which improves Collected Company hits.

Even though the event was popular and well received, for the most part, there’s been talk about the elephant in the room once again.

Ancient Stirrings was featured in half of the top eight decks of GP Atlanta, sixteen copies in total. This raises the question once again: should Ancient Stirrings be banned in Modern?

Sixteen copies does sound a lot, although I don’t think it’s as straightforward as that, as you’re always going to slam a playset of Ancient Stirrings in a deck and you’ll never see decks run any less given how consistent it is. However, has it finally hit that point of being too good? I wrote plenty about this subject a few months ago, and my opinions remain the same. If you missed out the article initially, you can read it here.

We’ll find out on November 26th if anything happens, and in my opinion, I don’t think anything will change and believe the changes will occur in the New Year, before Ravnica Allegiance’s release. That seems to be when R&D like to shake things up if we follow the trends of Bloodbraif Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor for example. Besides, Standard is in a decent place right now, and I think any attention away from the format would be bad for business currently.

Although Modern is now on the back burner given Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica is around the corner, you can keep up to date with all the news and events that are happening. Make sure you’re following @HipstersMTG on Twitter to get all the news and coverage from these events!

Emma resides in Suffolk, England and started playing Magic back in 2014 when Khans of Tarkir first hit the shelves. She dabbled in Standard for a while then shifted into Modern, in particular playing Eldrazi Tron and Commander where she has found her home. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

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