Welcome to another weekly Showdown Recap, where we take a look at what happened at Face to Face Games Toronto’s weekly Sunday Showdown, a series of 1k events feeding into the Ultimate Showdown 5k Invitational. This week, we played Modern, Toronto’s favourite format!
Last Modern Showdown, we saw a diverse field ultimately dominated by the powerful two-card combo of Thoughtseize into Tarmogoyf. Yesterday’s metagame was as wide open as ever, with multiple Eldrazi and non-Eldrazi Hatebears decks, Blue-White Prison, Esper Control – you name it! Only two decks, however, sent multiple copies into the top 8. Brenton Henry and Alexei Varakin, both Modern veterans, brought Affinity to finishes in the elimination rounds. Both lists were fairly typical, as the Affinity archetype unfortunately doesn’t allow that much room for innovation, but Brenton went with a slightly unconventional pair of Spell Pierces in the maindeck. Slightly more surprisingly, Sun and Moon, the Todd Stevens-powered white Blood Moon prison deck also showed up twice in the top 8, piloted by Jack Cooke and Philip Wong. As with our Affinity decks, there wasn’t much technology to be found in these decks, with the exception of Philip’s maindeck Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. A Standard powerhouse that’s oddly powerful in Modern… you’ll find this to be a recurring trend throughout this top 8.
One of the greatest qualities of the Modern format, and likely one of the reasons why Magic players hang on to it so tightly, is its diversity, specifically the frequency with which odd, powerful decks rise to the top. There’s been much complaining about the linear decks that make up much of the metagame, specifically about how they create uninteresting games and always win. Affinity and Sun and Moon fall within the linear deck category – but they were all eliminated in the quarterfinals by a swath of significantly more interactive strategies. First off we have control master Ben Wang with a very innovative Esper Control list. Ben’s been playing Esper Charm in Modern for years now, and his current list is a thing of beauty. The counterspell suite is reminiscent of Corey Burkhart’s Grixis Control, with the full playset of Cryptic Command and pairs of Negate, Spell Snare and Logic Knot. Chock-full of card advantage, Ben eschewed Ancestral Vision for the more quickly-cantripping Think Twice and jammed the deck full of removal, including a full playset of Supreme Verdict! Ben’s deck tops out with a pair of Snapcaster Mages, a pair of Sphinx’s Revelations, and a singleton Secure the Wastes to achieve instant speed x-spell nirvana. A sideboard Elspeth, Sun’s Champion rounds out the unbeatable Standard cards.
Next up we have Chris Duong’s Bant Eldrazi, the sole Thought-Knot Seer deck in the top 8. Chris’s deck was fairly typical of the archetype, with the powerful Eldrazi, and a removal suite featuring maindeck Engineered Explosives. The deck has a stellar sideboard, with countermagic in Stubborn Denial and Unified Will and white’s powerful targeted hate cards. And of course, it’s also the fourth (!) deck with at least one copy of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion in the 75. Alex Georgievski made it all the way to the finals with Lantern, a much-maligned prison deck. Alex might not have been able to play Elspeth, but he made sure to carry on the tournament’s trend of spicy one-ofs in the sideboard with Padeem, Consul of Innovation!
There might have been four Elspeth, Sun’s Champion decks in the top 8, but the best card in Standard right now is in fact also the best card in Modern. Daniel Fournier brought Abzan with maindeck Gideon, Ally of Zendikar to the fray, and was even able to use it to punch through an Elspeth in his quarterfinals match against Jack! The Dark Confidant build of the deck, championed by Toronto’s Jund Whisperer Keith Capstick, returns to the core principles of Jund strategies, not playing individually weak cards like Noble Hierarch or Grim Flayer, preferring more disruption and powerful threats.
Chris Ha, still on vacation, falls further in the standings as Daniel’s win skyrockets him to fall just ahead! Ben Wang and Jack Cooke also added some more points to their lofty totals, putting them within reach of the triple-digit points leaders! Join us next week for a Legacy Showdown, and don’t forget to start preparing for March 18th’s Facetofacegames.com Toronto 3k Modern Open!
Daniel Fournier – Abzan – 1st
Alex Georgievski – Lantern – 2nd
Chris Duong – Bant Eldrazi – 3rd
Ben Wang – Esper Control – 4th
Alexei Varakin – Affinity – 5th
Jack Cooke – Sun and Moon – 6th
Brenton Henry – Affinity – 7th
Philip Wong – Sun and Moon – 8th