Every Magic player has that one deck they love beyond belief. That deck can either be a pet deck, a deck they made and continue to work on, or just a deck they love in a certain format. For me, I loved the Counters Company deck in Modern. That was my pet deck for the entirety of 2017 at every Modern event.

It’s okay to love a deck—but you have to know when to put the deck down when it is poorly positioned in the meta. Or, if your brew just isn’t working, when to switch to one of the better options in the format.

Bad In Meta

In a format like Modern where the metagame is constantly shifting, it usually isn’t optimal to keep playing the same deck. It is important to be able to identify when the deck you play is not well-positioned in the format and when you can gain an advantage by switching decks.

Counters Company, for example, is unfortunately not positioned well in the current Modern metagame. To be competitive against the best decks in the format, the deck will needs a lot of tuning, but those changes will cause you will lose some effectiveness against medium- and low-tier decks. Sure, you could make those changes anyway, but the sacrifices you’ll be making will make your choice suboptimal.

The biggest issue that people have when choosing a deck is being stubborn. I have been guilty of this myself when it comes to playing my favorite deck and just running it into a poor field. Take a step back and look at the expected metagame and let that guide your deck choice.

Bad Brews

Bad brews are a common affliction and happen to everyone. I generally put myself at a disadvantage in Week 1 of a new Standard format because I can’t resist brewing up mediocre decks with new cards.

Going back to the start of Ravnica Allegiance Standard, I had made a pretty bad BR aggro deck. I really loved the cards Theater of Horrors and Spawn of Mayhem, but as much as I tried to work on it and fix the holes in the deck, it still was pretty bad against the other decks people were testing. But that’s ok! It’s ok to make a bad deck and not all of your ideas will pan out.

What is important is being able to acknowledge that your brew is bad. Understanding that the deck is weak will help you move on and try a different strategy. You have to take a step back and maintain an objective view of your brew and make sure you don’t just try and force it. If the event is important to you, there is no need to intentionally play a bad deck just because you liked it.

Better Options

Unless you are playing the best deck in a given format, there is always a way to upgrade your deck choice. Being able to identify the best deck, and realize you aren’t playing it, will only be beneficial for you.

At the first SCG Open this year, Team Modern, I played UG infect. The Open did not go well for us and I realized that Infect was not a good choice unless I played against the Ancient Stirrings decks. Phoenix was really popular and had great cards against you in their maindeck and Death’s Shadow, which was also really popular, did too. For the Classic the following day I played Grixis Death’s Shadow to go to a 7-2 record.

It was important for me to come to the conclusion that I just needed to play better cards. One thing to take from this is that it is ok to be a bit Spikey and let that desire to win guide you to better deck choices. Playing better decks that have been tuned by plenty of other players is the easiest way to give yourself and edge going into a tournament.


Everyone has a pet deck or a brew that they love to play. While playing that deck can be fun, it is important to remember to not force it or to stubbornly hold onto the deck when it just isn’t working. I’m certainly not saying to never play the deck again—just make sure to evaluate the current metagame for the given format and pick your spot when you choose to play it again.

Zack is a SCG grinder with one ultimate goal: getting to the Players Championship. Based out of NYC, you can find him in other cities every weekend trying to hit that goal. When he isn’t traveling he streams. Follow his journey on Twitter!

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