With the Mythic Championships out of the way until July, everyone’s attention is focused on War of the Spark. The first week with a new set is always exciting as we see players try out new cards in established decks or witness new archetypes being created. This week I dive into War of the Spark’s impact in Modern so far, and what we can expect to see in the coming weeks.

War of the Spark’s core theme is planeswalkers; we have thirty-seven new walkers, some of which will see play in Modern. The uncommon planeswalker cycle has made an impression in the format already with Ashiok, Dream Render and Saheeli, Sublime Artificer making early Modern apparances. But we have a more interesting contender:

Narset, Parter of Veils has been making huge waves in Vintage as a way to make powerful draw-sevens such as Timetwister one-sided. That strategy has also popped into Modern, thanks to noted brewer Colney Woods.

Narset Day's Undoing, by Conley Woods

Creatures (10)
Notion Thief
Vendillion Clique

Spells (32)
Days Undoing
Narset, Parter of Veils
Disrupting Shoal
Spell Pierce
Vapor Snag
Spell Snare
Commit // Memory
Mistvein Borderpost
Lands (18)
Polluted Delta
Watery Grave
Blast Zone
Geier Reach Sanitarium
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

Sideboard (15)
Spell Pierce
Mindbreak Trap
Notion Thief
Engulf the Shore
Blast Zone
Ashiok, Dream Render
Relic of Progenitus

Although going 5-0 in a League may not be a high-profile achievement, the deck offers plenty of potential. If you resolve Day’s Undoing with Narset, Parter of Veils in play, your opponent will draw one card while you get a fresh seven. Lore Broker does an incremental version of the same thing. If you use its ability during your opponent’s draw step, they will only discard. And if they had no cards in hand previously, you can lock them out of the game. This also works well with Vendilion Clique, which can turn into pure discard.

Mistvein Borderpost looks a bit odd in this list, but it fixes while also being pitchable to Commandeer and Disrupting Shoal. If your opponent chooses to not concede out of sheer frustration, your win conditions are beating down with Vendillion Clique or Notion Thief. The deck’s engine can take some turns to get going, leaving you vulnerable to explosive starts. Disrupting Shoal and friends hope to keep that from happening.

Any new strategy in Modern takes time to refine, and I expect to see many iterations of Narset Day’s Undoing over the coming months. I am excited to see where this new archetype can go, however. The two-card combo could even prove to be an alternate win condition package for blue control decks to include in their 75. With Modern Horizons around the corner, maybe a card like Arcane Denial will join the format.

Conley’s list also features new War of the Spark utility land Blast Zone. Engineered Explosives has become a staple in Modern and I expect Blast Zone to see plenty of play as well—especially in Tron, which can tutor up the sweeper with Sylvan Scrying or Expedition Map. Amulet Titan will also be likely to find a spot for one. In addition to the land tutors in the deck, Sakura-Tribe Scout can drop in Blast Zone at instant speed. Although mana-intensive, these big mana strategies can pay the cost.

Speaking of Tron, we’re beginning to see different approaches to the archetype thanks to Karn, the Great Creator. There were a handful of 5-0s in the Competitive Modern Constructed League this week incorporating the powerful new Planeswalker.

Mono-Green Tron

Creatures (5)
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Walking Ballista
Wurmcoil Engine

Spells (36)
Karn Liberated
Karn, the Great Creator
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ancient Stirrings
Sylvan Scrying
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Expedition Map
Oblivion Stone
Relic of Progenitus
Lands (19)
Blast Zone
Ghost Quarter
Sanctum of Ugin
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower

Sideboard (15)
Walking Ballista
Wurmcoil Engine
Defense Grid
Ensnaring Bridge
Grafdigger’s Cage
Mycosynth Lattice
Nature’s Claim
Pithing Needle
Thought-Knot Seer
Tormod’s Crypt
Witchbane Orb

Karn, the Great Creator offers a few new abilities to Tron. As you can see in the list above, the -2 ability enables a “Wish” sideboard for situational cards even in game one. In addition, Karn compliments Mycosynth Lattice incredibly well by acting as a one-sided Stony Silence. Not only can Karn enable sideboard threats, the -2 can return artifacts exiled by Surgical Extraction or Unmoored Ego. You can’t get back exiled Tron lands, but it’s still a powerful ability.

I expect to see Karn, the Great Creator in Tron strategies, in particular Mono-Blue Tron. That version of Tron can make room for Karn and already runs a suite of artifact answers in the sideboard. Outside of Tron, I predict that Karn will appear in Prison strategies such as Four-Color Whir or even Big Red Prison. Karn should shine in all eternal formats, and even kills opposing Moxen in Vintage.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Neoform and its possible application in Modern. We’re beginning to see what the card can do. Consider this Neoform Combo deck:

Neoform Combo

Creatures (18)
Allosaurus Rider
Autochthon Wurm
Chancellor of the Tangle
Laboratory Maniac
Simian Spirit Guide
Wild Cantor

Spells (27)
Eldritch Evolution
Serum Visions
Sleight of Hand
Dissenter’s Deliverance
Lightning Storm
Nourishing Shoal
Noxious Revival
Summoner’s Pact
Lands (15)
Botanical Sanctum
Breeding Pool
Gemstone Mine
Yavimaya Coast

Sideboard (15)
Chalice of the Void
Echoing Truth
Engineered Explosives
Leyline of Sanctity
Nature’s Claim
Pact of Negation
Spell Pierce

The deck uses Neoform or Eldritch Evolution to convert Allosaurus Rider into Griselbrand. From there, the deck plays like the Grishoalbrand combo deck, using expensive green spells and Nourishing Shoal to fuel repeated draw sevens. This strategy benefits from the London Mulligan as you are able to see so many cards, meaning you can keep cards you need to combo off and can kill on turn one if the draws line up.

Despite its potency in the early turns, Neoform Combo is very weak to any kind of disruption such as Thoughtseize and leans on the London Mulligan for consistency. I don’t expect to see Neoform Combo break Modern if the London Mulligan comes into full effect as it’s so easy to disrupt and doesn’t have a long-game strategy. As I mentioned last week, if a card becomes too powerful due to the London Mulligan, this should raise questions about that card’s legality in the format rather shifting blame towards the London Mulligan. Despite this, I predict Neoform Combo to be played with the current mulligan rule as it’s still playable but it won’t warp the format any time soon.

War of the Spark looks to be making a fantastic impact in its first week. We’re seeing new archetypes, new decks, and different approaches to existing archetypes in Modern. I always enjoy the first month of a sets new release as there is the fun aspect of deckbuilding, and I’m excited to see what else War of the Spark can bring in the upcoming months in Modern to keep us busy until Modern Horizon releases in June.

Emma is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She has been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir’s release back in 2014, but won’t shy away from Cube and MTG Arena. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.