I wanted to share with you a Daily experience I had and some of the insights I have gleaned from it.
Before leaving for a two-week vacation, I wanted to enter one last Event. The decks I had sleeved up were Mono-Green Infect, Ad Nauseam, Storm, and Mono-White Death and Taxes. I dared not enter Infect while B/G/x is such a popular archetype, and I don’t care for its Twin match-up either. Similarly, I dare not use Ad Nauseam or Storm while V4 is so laborious and unfriendly to big turn strategies. Finally, I was weary of the Death and Taxes plan. I did not want to prevent opponents from winning; I wanted to win. More than that, I wanted to win quickly. After all, I had clothes and toiletries to pack.
So I did some research of prices and decks to play, and I noticed that Goblin Guide has skyrocketed in value the past few months (those of you that tried Goblins: congratulations to you!). So there went my idea of spending very little time and tickets jamming Burn through four rounds. In the past week, a number of days have posted Burn as the number one deck to cash at 10%. What’s more, a lot of players are probably running Burn without cashing. In fact, I suspect that the number of players running Mountains is not proportionate to the amount of players winning, though I wouldn’t say it is only placing because so many are buying in. Anyway, if Burn is the latest trend, then what is a good idea to play?
Well, Death and Taxes tempted me. I’ve never lost a match to Burn in testing and in 2-man queues. It doesn’t seem like it would win, but it has just enough disruption and life-gain to get there consistently. But what happens if I face the other 90% of decks in Modern? Well, I was disappointed with my testing against Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, and Storm combo, the very three lists I thought D&T would be well-equipped (pardon the double meaning) to face.
I ended up deciding to play Bogles, selling some packs I had been holding onto in the hopes that they would increase in value, to buy 4 Daybreak Coronet. I owned the rest of the cards in the arguably sub-optimal build featuring Suppression Field maindeck. I thought this would be a bye against the Burn lists and put enough pressure and mild hate against Twin and Pod, and with a lowly 2 Leyline of Sanctity in the board, I could get there against Liliana of the Veil.
Here is the list I had thrown together with a few minutes and 17 tickets to spare. I overcompensated a bit on selling the packs I’d been squirreling away.
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Temple Garden
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
2 Path to Exile
3 Spider Umbra
1 Spirit Link
2 Spirit Mantle
4 Suppression Field
2 Burenton Forge-Tender
1 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Nature’s Claim
1 Path to Exile
2 Rest In Peace
1 Spirit Link
2 Stony Silence
Let me stress this here: This is not an optimal Bogles list. This is not a list I suggest you buying into. I just looked at the trends of Modern the past few days and thought that the Bogles strategy, regardless of list optimization, was going to be favorable.
That being said, the things I missed in the deck are Keen Sense, the 4th Spider Umbra, and one or two more Spirit Mantle. The former gives me a draw engine (even if it favors second main phase) even when removal takes care of Kor Spiritdancer, and the latter gives me the safe feeling that the game is nearly over.
The main-deck Suppression Field were inconsequential here and may be removed in the future for the Auras I miss, but it is way too soon for me to state that this is the optimal move. For the time being, I will happily use them as an excuse not to dish out for Horizon Canopy and fetches.
As far as the 2 Temple Garden and 8 basics go, that was just an oversight.
I enjoyed playing Bogles. It reminded me of playing Mains and Toys in Decipher’s Star Wars card game (RIP) and assembling Artoo in Red 5 plus Luke piloting with Han in the Millenium Falcon, adding many battle destiny. I digress.
I went into the Event with little practice but the plan that if I had the option of turn 2 auras or Kor Spiritdancer on the play, I was going to play the latter. On the draw, I was going to play the 2 auras. Having this solidified plan (which I will maintain) at least gave me the data to know which decisions are stronger in the future, and it will be a long time before I change the plan. This daily, it proved favorable to stick with this strategy.
Without further rambling, let’s get into the rounds.
Round 1 – Win against Dega Burn, 2-0
Keep hand with 3 lands, Bogle, Umbra, Daybreak Coronet, Spiritdancer
I lose the die roll and see an Arid Mesa fetching Mountain, Lava Spike. Ok, so far so good. My die roll with the format seems to pay off for a free round.
I open with Leyline of Sanctity, Gladecover Scout, Spirit Mantle, and Rancor.
There is some jostling for position in the early turns where I am unsure whether I should hold back my creature with protection from his guys or to apply pressure. I decide on the latter and later topdeck into Spirit Link.
It is interesting that Dega Burn is specifically chosen over Mono Red for the purposes of dealing with Leyline of Sanctity, but my defeat over this list was much handier than what you’ll read in round 2.
Sideboarding: -4 Suppression Field, -2 Path to Exile, +2 Leyline of Sanctity, +2 Burenton Forge-Tender, +1 Nature’s Claim, +1 Spirit Link
MTGO V4 Crash count: 1 (after sideboarding)
Round 2 – Win against Mono-Red Burn 2-1
I mulligan down to five to see a creature, but he gets equipped with Spirit Mantle and Ethereal Armor, easily able to put away the game. I played Kor Spiritdancer here over two auras, and he was immediately targeted by Magma Jet. Having experience with Mono Green Infect against Burn, I’m always happy to see my opponent targeting my creatures.
My opening seven shows me both Leyline of Sanctity and… five lands. I mull it to six, which has Burenton Forge-Tender and some auras plus one land. Unfortunately I never see another land, and my opponent targets the first with Molten Rain before I can assemble the win.
I was tempted to keep the 2 Leyline hand, but what would have happened if I never drew a creature?
After his fourth turn, I am at 7 life, and my opponent is at 10. He has four Mountains in play, tapped, a Rift Bolt suspended, and a Hellspark Elemental in his graveyard. His hand is three cards. My Slippery Bogle is enchanted with Hyena Umbra, Spirit Mantle, and Ethereal Armor. My hand is Nature’s Claim and Sunpetal Grove, and I topdeck a Brushland. If any of his three cards can deal me one damage, I lose. Do you see the play? Comment with what you would do. Maybe it’s obvious, but this is the only moment where a game was close, and I actually had to think with Bogles.
Once again, Mono Red Burn was so much closer to getting there against me than the multi-colored version.
Crash count: still 1.
Round 3 – Win against Naya Pod 2-0
I just don’t respect this deck. I hear it mulligans well, but I never felt any pressure against him, and the opening hands can be so top-heavy with multiple Pod targets and Angels.
We’re busy swinging away, ignoring each other, and he has 2 Noble Hierarchs and one Restoration Angel with me at 5 life when I topdeck Daybreak Coronet. It’s not for the win, but it buys me the turn I need.
He mulls down to 5 and keeps a one lander. He plays a mana dork and concedes on turn 4 with those two permanents remaining on his board doing nothing.
Sideboard plan: +1 Path to Exile, +2 Rest in Peace, -1 Spirit Link, -2 Hyena Umbra. Well, this was the plan, but…
Crash count: 3. Once at the beginning of the round, and once in place of sideboarding.
Round 4 Loss against Affinity 1-2
He casts turn 2 Thoughtseize against me to remove Daybreak Coronet. I think it was inconsequential because he beats me with poison counters from Inkmoth Nexus. Still, maindeck Thoughtseize in Affinity is interesting.
This one was more of a grinder; he didn’t see an early Inkmoth Nexus so lifelink mattered. He made a misplay attacking with a Cranial Plating-equipped Vault Skirge when my Voltron had Spider Umbra. So I ended up winning the life race and had the Nature’s Claim for his last ditch effort with Arcbound Ravager, targeting Inkmoth Nexus with his trigger before his last turn.
I keep a shaky 5 with 2 lands, Path to Exile, a Bogle, and Daybreak Coronet. I hate to pass it for a random 4, though (one of the consistent problems with the deck). His Thoughtseize takes the Coronet and nearly puts me out of the game. I make a misplay not casting Path to Exile during his upkeep on his Signal Pest which would have saved me four life. The turn that he won, I had Bogle with Rancor and a second Daybreak Coronet and could have dug myself out of the hole with the right top-decks and lifelink. When the game was over, I discovered by drawing a few cards that it wouldn’t have mattered, but tight play still should be the goal regardless.
Crash Count: 6, Once during game 1, once in between rounds (after sideboarding), and once again in game 3.
I love going into round 4 in the 3-0 bracket. The pressure is totally off, and I never perform optimally in the 2-1 bracket. That’s something I need to work on. I’m certainly better here in the MTGO environment that in real life.
In my closing thoughts, I will start with apologizing for not going with the video series route on this. I’d like to hear whether you all want a weekly Daily Event video, but as long as my computer system is so low and the V4 requirements are so high, it is very unlikely that I can provide it.
So why am I sharing this wall of text with you?
Possibly to brag about my victory? Certainly not. Boggles does have some decision trees, particularly on turn 2, but for the most part, I rode free wins to 6 Theros-block packs. I am glad, though, that finally mtgo-stats and mtggoldfish turns up a result on my username, as typically the 7pm EST daily (my wheelhouse) does not publish.
To tell you to use this deck? Good gracious no. As I said before, this is not an optimal Boggles list. Boggles may not even prove to be a good idea for long (although the deck is trending upward in daily results).
Instead, guys, my take away is this: Metagaming is hard. And I say this to lead into my next article about Burn to encourage you, as you look at Modern, to set the bar high with what deck you invest in and play. I picked this deck specifically for the easy Burn match-up, noting its prevalence, and still I was one single turn or one bad choice away from losing to Burn and going 2-2 instead of cashing. I’m going to elaborate on these concepts more as an introduction to my next article, but remember this key piece of advice from this article: Play good decks. Be the problem, and not the pest.
Hope you enjoyed. If you have an answer to any of the questions I had in this article or any questions for me to answer, please comment below.