Last week I participated in the WMCQ. Let’s take a look at what I played and then I will break down my match-ups.
This list was thrown together at the last minute. At a quick glance, the list looks pretty stock. However, I have been playing Jeskai control in Modern for a very long time. Playing the archetype from tempo to control, I would venture to say that I am fairly well versed with this deck. Let’s go over the numbers. Let’s start with the elephant in the room — Soulfire Grand Master. Definitely not a card commonly seen in Modern. However, I have been testing this card for quite some time now and have found it to be excellent. Turning Bolts to Helixs or Helixs to dealing 3 gaining 6, Soulfire does everything you would want on turn 2 or turn 6. In the past, prior to playing Soulfire I wasn’t able to fetch and shock as aggressively as I wanted, which always put me a turn behind. Playing with Soulfire balances out the life loss and acts as a fantastic bear.
3 vs 4 Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint Traft is still a card I’m on the fence about. While it does have a lot of upsides, it has just as many downsides to it as well. In a format full of large creatures it’s hard to push through damage with Geist, that is without losing him, but an unanswered Geist will run away with the game very quickly. I believe the trick with Geist is understanding what you have to work with and against. He isn’t always the most optimal turn 3 play, but often times it’s a card that will outright end the game once you have exhausted your opponent’s resources. I didn’t want to be put into a position where I was holding 2 Geists in my hand, so I swapped out the 4th for a Vendilion Clique. The rest of the creatures in my 60 are just Jeskai All-Stars, 2 Restoration Angel and 4 Infamous Snapcaster Mage.
Instant / Sorcery Package
With running 2 Soulfire Grand Master and 4 Snapcaster Mage, I really wanted to capitalize on the amount of Instants / Sorceries that I ran. Most of the cards in this category don’t really need an explanation. I did opt to run 2 Dispel and 2 Spell Snare in the main deck. These cards are fantastic vs the blue matchup and much much more. Only 2 Cryptic Command because of how clunky the deck can feel especially with the presence of Restoration Angel. Lands
I honestly thought that when I threw the deck together that I was playing at least 25 lands. I knew that I had shaved a land from the standard 26, but registering 24 made me cringe. Let’s face it, I don’t play a lot of cantrips, I ran 3 colorless lands, and 7 fetches. Regardless of the amount of land that I played, it’s still pretty standard from what other most Jeskai lists ran in the past and currently — though the archetype has shifted a bit. The All-Star here is the Desolate Lighthouse, turning excessive lands to spells or pitching spells that would otherwise be uncastable.
Some of the cards that really stick out in the board are Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Porphyry Nodes. Elsepth has been seeing more and more play in Modern. Frankly the card is phenomenal which I will talk about a little more below. Porphyry Nodes made it into the deck because of the amount of Boggles and Affinity that were seen at Worlds.
My 9 Rounds of Modern
Here's a breakdown of each match.
Round 1 — U/R Twin
Unfortunately in the first round I had to play against not only someone I play test with on a consistent basis, but a friend as well. With that being said, we both knew the 75 each other was running. I ended up getting color screwed in the third game. 0–1
Round 2 — Abzan
These games were quite wild. After game 1, I suspected B/G/X and I boarded for Jund. Boy was I surprised when I saw White! In game 2, he chained off Lingering Souls and stole the game with Evolutionary Leap, finding cards like Siege Rhino, Sigarda, Host of Herons, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Game 3 closed with me having Elspeth in play. 1–1
Round 3 — Grixis Twin
All three games we both missed land drops making for some awkward turns. I took game 1 off the back of Geist. He took game 2 off the back of Tasigur. Game 3, surprise, I won with Elspeth in play once more. This card is outstanding in Modern. 2–1
Round 4 — Living End
All I have to say is, that I was thrilled that I played 4 Remand in the 60. I punted game 2 where I fetched and he proceeded to go off with fetch on the stack, where I had 2 Remand in hand. Lesson learned, tightened my play, and won game 3. 3–1
Round 5 — Grixis Twin
This was probably the most nervous I have been playing magic in a while. Being matched against a Pro Player and being on the brink of being knocked out for top 8 contention. I EOT’d a Vendilion Clique where my opponent responded with Cryptic Command, tapping out. I slammed a Geist on my turn and proceeded to beat my opponent down. Game 2 went to time were if my opponent flipped a non-land off of Keranos, God of Storms I would have lost. I won the coin flip and won the match. 4–1
Round 6- Affinity
Coming off an incredible high, I felt at this point I was ready for anything. I was punished for keeping a slightly greedy hand in the dark, never drawing a red source. Game 2, I had an alright hand, but in hindsight I should have aggressively mulled. Lesson learned. 4–2.
Round 7- Scapeshift
While I was upset for not being X-1 I continued to play in hopes of cashing out. Game 1, I burned my opponent out before he could assemble his combo. Game 2 I got combo’d out. Game 3 was quite interesting. He played out both of his Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles where I had both my Tectonic Edges. The line here was interesting. Being familiar with variants of the deck, I knew that I could shut off Scapeshift if I took out both of his Valukuts. The other line was to starve his Blue sources disabling counterspells seeing he only had a Steam Vents in play. I opt’d to shut off Scapeshift. Were he followed up by playing 3 back to back Obstinate Baloth. I managed to fight my way through. 5–2.
Round 8- Naya CoCo
So this is the price I pay for not play testing during the week with my group. I was unfamiliar with the deck and its threats. I got aggro’d out hard in game 1. Surprise! Lightning Bolts aren’t very good against 4/4's.. Game 2, managed to stabilize at 1 and steal the game. Game 3, this is where my unfamiliarity with the deck came into play. He resolved a turn 3 Blood Moon. 5–3
Round 9 — Jund
Not much to report here. I drew poorly and my opponent drew really well. I had multiple play mistakes to top it off, and was mentally exhausted. 5–4
All in all, I had a fantastic run at the WMCQ and I would run this deck again with some changes. Changes being, putting a land back in, possibly an island, and playing around the new Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. It is quite possible that Geist doesn’t currently have a home here. Until next time…