The fairy tale ending for Once Upon A Time in Modern has finally come.  Free spells have caused problems in the format previously, especially ones that replace themselves like Gitaxian Probe.

Following the closing chapter of Once Upon a Time, we can look at how the Modern metagame will shape itself into a new format. This week let’s look at the winners and losers in the aftermath of the latest ban.

Loser: Amulet Titan

As the best deck for Once Upon a Time, the main loser post-ban is Amulet Titan. Without the free spell, the deck loses consistency while slowing down the more explosive draws. That slowdown gives other decks the chance to disrupt or slip under Amulet’s gameplan. Banning Once Upon a Time knocks Amulet decks back into the fray of the metagame instead of running over the field.

Ancient Stirrings remains in the deck, but it cannot find Primeval Titan, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and Azusa, Lost but Seeking. Instead, you now have to lean harder into Amulet of Vigor to get the engine going. Some people enjoy the way the deck plays out, and they can continue to try to make it work; but nobody has to play it if they don’t want to.

Winner: Midrange Decks

With Amulet of Vigor losing some consistency, other midrange strategies better. That deck had become too good to allow other midrange nonsense to take hold. The other major predator against midrange decks—Tron—already took a hit from the last banning by losing Mycosynth Lattice That’s basically left Scapeshift as the only threatening big-mana deck in the metagame.

What is the best midrange strategy to take advantage of this new opportunity? The Four-Color Snow Control deck is probably the leading option. Arcum’s Astrolabe remains a legal and fair Magic card.

Four-Color Snow Control

Creatures (8)
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Ice-Fang Coatl

Planeswalkers (4)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Wrenn and Six

Spells (23)
Thought Scour
Arcum’s Astrolabe
Detention Sphere
Archmage’s Charm
Cryptic Command
Mana Leak
Path to Exile
Shadow of Doubt
Lands (25)
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Breeding Pool
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Lonely Sandbar
Misty Rainforest
Mystic Sanctuary
Sacred Foundry
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents

Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Detention Sphere
Leyline of the Void
Lightning Bolt
Veil of Summer
Ashiok, Dream Render
Teferi, Time Raveler

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is probably the best midrange card in the format., and this deck provides the the strongest shell for the new Simic Titan. The deck looks a bit like the old multicolor good stuff decks that ran the Legacy metagame for a while before Deathrite Shaman was banned. Plus you get to ruin opposing gameplans with Shadow of Doubt.

Loser: Death’s Shadow

I wasn’t a fan of Death’s Shadow before the ban, but the axing of Once Upon A Time hurt the deck even more. Jund Shadow relied on the powerful free spell to—surpise—improve consistency. The deck really struggled to find threats quickly enough to compete against other decks.

Without the powerful free cantrip, people are considering to move back to Grixis. But the biggest issue for the archetype are Veil of Summer and Ice-Fang Coatl. Ari Zax said it perfectly here:

These cards will still be around dashing the hopes of Shadow players. Whether it’s Scapeshift, Bant Snow, or Four-Color Snow Control, being able to grind through these decks consistently will be difficult.

Winner: Scapeshift

Now that the big bad Amulet Titan deck took a hit, there’s a new King of the Hill. Scapeshift will be the big-mana deck to beat in the first few events. With Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Castle Garenbrig are still just as explosive. Scapeshift has a winning history against midrange strategies. With access to Veil of Summer you do have game against the Uro decks and other Thoughtseize variants that have some legs in Modern now.

Did you ever experience the Fairy Tale ending with Once Upon a Time? What deck is your new chapter going forward?

Zack a veteran grinder at this point plays most of his magic online nowadays. That doesn’t mean you won’t find him occasionally slinging spells at an Open or Grand Prix. Catch him streaming on Twitch to find where he’s at with all the formats.

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