Probability and Eggs

Hello all,

While playing Eggs, you can get yourself into a few sticky situations. In this article I will attempt to explain just how sticky those situations can be. Should you go for it, or will you likely end up with egg on your face?

Probability and Hypergeometry

First, let me direct you to this site: Hypergeometric Calculator. Getting accustomed to the use of this site while playing MTGO or getting a few ranges of probability for paper Magic will improve your game immensely.

Here are a few facts about the Modern format and probability:
1) While playing combo, you want to assemble two or more cards to win.
2) By deciding to keep an opening hand, you have one or more of those cards.
3) Most Modern cantrips function as an extra draw step for the immediate turn: [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c], [c]Serum Visions[/c], etc. [c]Sleight of Hand[/c] is an exception.
4) Some Modern decks, like Eggs and Storm, instead have engines that let you draw many cards.

So how do we use the Hypergeometric Calculator to play Magic? Well, let’s say we are playing [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] combo, and we have [c]Angel’s Grace[/c] and six mana but not the namesake piece. If our opponent has a three-turn clock on us, then we have three draw steps.
In the “Population size” space of the Calculator, we enter the size of our library. I’ll say 50.
Any one of our four [c]Ad Nauseam[/c]s is a success, so we enter 4 in the “Number of Successes in population” space.
We have three draw steps remaining, so we enter 3 in “Sample Size.”
Only one [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] will do the trick, so we enter 1 in “Number of Successes” and press “Calculate.”

The website spits out five new numbers, and the last of these is the likelihood that in three cards, we will draw one or more [c]Ad Nauseam[/c]. With no other factors, we have a 22% chance to win this game. Looking at it in long-range match terms (which you should when picking a deck), we will win one out of every five games that this situation comes up.

But that isn’t the fun part. Here, we are saying that we find the card or die. What if our clock is unknown? What if the [c]Splinter Twin[/c] player has three untapped lands at the beginning of our turn? Or what if Affinity has 7 artifacts, [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], and [c]Cranial Plating[/c], and one more artifact will kill us? Here we can decide what the cost is to try and go for it, and what percentage of the time we should win in these scenarios. Additionally, these scenarios come up very frequently.

Scenario #1: We need Ironworks
Often on turns three and four we will have three eggs and four mana available: [c]Chromatic Star[/c], [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c], and [c]Terrarion[/c]. Since each of these eggs replace their activation costs with added mana, we can sacrifice them all and have three chances to draw [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c]. Again, we use our population size of 50 here, and all of our numbers in the previous example are the same: 4 successes, 3 chances, 1 success matters. Only one in five games will we find [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] with this method. A [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] can help us recoup our losses, but we can’t keep the cycle going without more mana. Here, without knowing that we are going to die next turn, it is only good to wait or have the value [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] turn. Continuing to cantrip is only good if we have [c]Open the Vaults[/c] and are on that plan.

Scenario #2: We need Faith’s Reward or Open the Vaults
In this scenario, it is turn four, and we have tapped out to play and resolve [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c]. We have played a [c]Terrarion[/c], [c]Chromatic Star[/c], [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c], and [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c]. No amount of mana will be a problem, but we do not have either of our 7 combo pieces.
Population – 50
Number of Successes – 7
Sample Size – 4
Number of Successes in Sample – 1
We find here that we have a 47% percent chance to find [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] or [c]Open the Vaults[/c] from these four cards alone, and we will win half these games based on this probability.

What’s beautiful about playing Eggs, though, is that we can adjust our number of “successes” also to the cards that simply let us keep going. A land is a dud, but each egg piece allows us to lower our population and a new chance to “hit calculate,” as it were. Even [c]Reshape[/c] can find [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c] and likely be easily cast. In this scenario, while needing [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] or [c]Open the Vaults[/c], we give “success” the definition of the ability to keep playing, likely finding a win, instead of one of the seven cards outright. Usually this works. Let me acknowledge my failures in Math here and tell you that this is the section of the article that gets a little squirrelly.

Population – 50
Number of Successes – 21 (our eggs in deck – the ones I have mentioned on the table)
Sample size – 4
Number of successes in sample – 1

Here, our deck will only fail us and provide land, [c]Lotus Bloom[/c], [c]Mox Opal[/c], land one in ten games. We have a 90% chance to “win” with [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] and a handful of baubles provided that our opponent has no interaction. And let’s admit it; interaction will be tough against Eggs.

Application in Paper

Knowing that the probability of drawing 1 card in 50 with 3 chances comes up so much that I have used it twice in this article: roughly 20% chance of working. How do the numbers adjust, roughly, per Eggs in play and cards in deck?

Well, if it is cards in our deck, the probability is affected very minutely. With 51 cards in the deck, our 22.55% probability (from 50 cards in the deck) becomes 22.13%. With 49 cards in the deck, the probability is 22.98%. So you get half a percentage point per card in the deck.

If it is Egg cantrips, the probability is a little greater affected. If we have four draws on the board and 50 cards in the library (instead of the previously used 3 draws), or 22% moves to 29%. With two draws instead of three, our likelihood drops to 15%. Every egg cantrip is worth 7% at finding what we need! This shows how important it is to continue to develop your board and not sacrifice eggs randomly until you are ready to go off.

Conclusion
Probability is a fascinating thing to explore while playing Magic: The Gathering, and it obviously has many applications outside of playing Eggs. If you want to improve your game, consider where these calculations can be used with your deck. Should you [c]Thoughtseize[/c] this combo piece or that one based on the clock you have? If you have looked at your opponent’s hand earlier in the game, what are the chances he has drawn a piece of interaction? Should you go for it? It’s a beautiful study, and you will win more by exploring it.

-drinkard

Breaking Turn 4, Breaking Modern: Eggs

Hi all,

Due to some sort of avian flu or other, many chicken farms in the United States of America have been forced to restart their egg game. One family in Ohio had to slaughter 5,000 chickens in order to prevent selling contaminated eggs. As a result, the cost of eggs in some places has doubled.

There’s a twisted Magic metaphor here.

The banning of [c]Second Sunrise[/c] brought a tragedy to eggs and wiped them out. Many players turned to [c]Urza’s Mine[/c], [c]Urza’s Power Plant[/c], and [c]Urza’s Tower[/c] to pay for the doubled cost of their eggs [c]Prophetic Prism[/c] and [c]Elsewhere Flask[/c]. I’m here to tell you, though, that there is another way.

Today I’m not bringing you a new brew but an old favorite that is well-positioned in today’s metagame. No one is playing graveyard hate, so some are playing a combination of [c]Griselbrand[/c], [c]Through the Breach[/c], and [c]Nourishing Shoal[/c] to draw lots of cards. Why not draw all the cards with [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] and dorky artifacts?

Like many of the great Modern decks, Jund, Twin, Infect, and Storm, Eggs has a rich and strained history with Modern. Also like those decks, it has fought banned list updates and made it to the other side. It is perhaps not as fast, but usually when decks lose speed, they gain resiliency. This is no exception. Recently many players brought the list into the Modern Festival Preliminaries on Magic Online and qualified for the main event easily.

The List

Before we get into playing the deck, here is the list. It is only a slight variation from MTGO player Spokes, who seems to be the mastermind behind the resurgence of the archetype.

[d title=”Drinkard Eggs”]
Land
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Ghost Quarter
5 Island
4 Plains
2 Radiant Fountain

Artifacts
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
1 Codex Shredder
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
3 Lotus Bloom
4 Mox Opal
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Terrarion

Other spells
4 Faith’s Reward
3 Open the Vaults
4 Reshape
1 Tezzeret the Seeker

Sideboard
2 Erase
2 Void Snare
4 Defense Grid
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Aether Spellbomb
4 Sunbeam Spellbomb
[/d]

The differences between my maindeck and Spokes’ are the [c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c] and an extra [c]Open the Vaults[/c] in place of 2 [c]Edge of Autumn[/c].

Cards in my sideboard that are not in his include [c]Erase[/c], [c]Void Snare[/c], and [c]Aether Spellbomb[/c]. In their place, he plays 4 [c]Tormod’s Crypt[/c] and 2 [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]. He argues that if anti-hate is necessary, then the deck needs to be put on hold for a bit. I think [c]Stony Silence[/c] is too common in the metagame, but its foils are easily drawn into with your draw effects.

Let’s analyze each of the components of the deck.

The lands
[c]Darksteel Citadel[/c] these help to turn on [c]Mox Opal[/c] and are often the first lands to sacrifice to [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] to activate a [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c] or [c]Chromatic Star[/c] for white. Additionally, if you should need white or blue mana, then you can activate [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] targeting citadel without being down a land.

[c]Ghost Quarter[/c] – Besides the mentioned interaction with [c]Darksteel Citadel[/c], [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] is insane with [c]Faith’s Reward[/c], granting you a new land drop with each resolution. The card randomly gives you wins against Bloom Titan also. Play [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] turn one, pass, and set yourself back one turn in order to set your opponent back the game. If they try to go off with [c]Summer Bloom[/c] and [c]Amulet of Vigor[/c], then simply respond to the trigger to destroy the tapped land.

[c]Radiant Fountain[/c] – These are much more versatile than they seem. Normally, Eggs decks play between 15-17 lands, but they also play more artifacts that draw a card upon entering the battlefield. Here, our artifacts don’t draw until we are comboing off or trying to. In match-ups where your life total matters, these can be a [c]Time Walk[/c] to get us to the critical turn. In match-ups where the life total doesn’t matter, our mana resources do. Whether it is resolving a spell through [c]Spell Pierce[/c] or [c]Mana Leak[/c] or just hitting our land drops to have [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] before an opponent can [c]Cryptic Command[/c] it, [c]Radiant Fountain[/c] is a necessary resource.

Artifacts
We have 16 card-drawing Eggs, 7 accelerants, 2 win-condition pieces, and 4 [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c], without which the deck usually doesn’t work (but it can). There are just a few things to take note of:

[c]Mox Opal[/c] – These are essential for developing your board early and having an early critical turn. Just remember to tap it for white or blue mana before you begin sacrificing your eggs. It is really awkward to hold [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] with 7 colorless mana and two artifacts on the board.

[c]Codex Shredder[/c] – If you see that you are on the [c]Open the Vaults[/c] plan, then you can activate these once per untap in order to build critical mass in your graveyard. This is especially important against Jund and other [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] match-ups.

[c]Chromatic Star[/c] and [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c] – Star will draw a card when used with [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c], and Sphere will not. Just remember that this fact does not necessarily mean that Star should not be used for colored mana or that Sphere should not be used for colorless. One mistake with these decisions can cost the game!

[c]Pyrite Spellbomb[/c] – This kill condition is played over [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] in the maindeck because it is more powerful in the opening hand or as a top deck. Much like [c]Living End[/c] combo, we want to be able to put together cogs that later kill the opponent and minimize bad draws.

Other Spells
[c]Reshape[/c] – This is more versatile than it seems. Get [c]Mox Opal[/c] for overall development of board and to prevent blow-outs, [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] to go for it (and as a ‘ritual’ effect for one mana), [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c] to draw more cards, or [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] to get the wheels turning!

[c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c] – While I have not activated his ultimate to date, it is a bizarre out against [c]Stony Silence[/c], [c]Rest in Peace[/c], and [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]. What’s more, though, is that it is a fifth copy of [c]Reshape[/c] when it needs to be, [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] when that is what you need, or [c]Codex Shredder[/c] to cycle to the win. On your [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] turn, remove all of his counters to tutor up any artifact knowing that he’ll come back for another round.

[c]Open the Vaults[/c] and [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] – These are dead draws, the former more so than the latter, but they are the value win conditions. The third [c]Open the Vaults[/c] is a concession to the attrition and [c]Remand[/c] matches. Remember that [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] is an instant, so often you will cast two back to back or a [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] in response to their response to [c]Open the Vaults[/c] in games two and three.

Preparation

The deck is not quite as forgiving with opening hands as the Tron variety because of the times that cards such as [c]Terrarion[/c] draw cards for you in contrast to [c]Elsewhere Flask[/c] and [c]Prophetic Prism[/c]. Nonetheless, you generally want to look for one to three lands with the hopes of having four mana and access to a few artifacts on turns three and four. The four mana can come from lands, [c]Mox Opal[/c], a [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] to suspend, or a [c]Reshape[/c].

[c]Terrarion[/c] gets priority over other one mana artifacts in your early turns because you may need to use it for UU to cast [c]Reshape[/c].

Serving Up Breakfast

Soon you will need to do some math and determine that you will have a [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] in hand and W3 with a very small board. Additionally, the [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] needs to earn you some value in the form of artifacts that draw more cards. This can happen as early as turn two, but the earliest I’ve ever gone for the kill and succeeded is turn three.

Once you are able to use [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] and [c]Open the Vaults[/c], you will want to find [c]Codex Shredder[/c] quickly, using either [c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c], [c]Reshape[/c], or off the top of your deck. Again, with Tezz, be sure to use all of his loyalty counters even though shredder costs one. In paper, you can ask the judge to present him a loop. On MTGO, you sacrifice enough artifacts to pay W8 and can draw infinite cards. 5 activates the shredder and W3 cast the [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] that you target with the shredder.

Eventually, you go infinite on your opponent with [c]Pyrite Spellbomb[/c], [c]Codex Shredder[/c], [c]Faith’s Reward[/c], and WR8. I prefer the 8 to come from cards that do not draw upon entering the battlefield, so you do not deck out.

Second Breakfast
..and elevensies.

Humpty Dumpty may have had a great fall when [c]Second Sunrise[/c] was banned, but this time around, without the use of a single horse, eggs have been put back together. It is good at times to set your opponent up for the kill without them being able to do much about it. Many cards in their deck and sideboard will be dead as they aim to eliminate creatures. Enjoy this essential part of a balanced breakfast.

Green Eggs and Morph: Brewing with Khans of Tarkir

Hi all,

At the time of this article’s writing, 31 cards out of 269 have been spoiled from the upcoming set Khans of Tarkir, and 20 of those are basic lands. In particular, I have my eye on two: [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] and [c]Thousand Winds[/c]; it’s not for the cards themselves but what they represent in their keyword mechanics. It’s strange; blue stuff typically doesn’t catch my eye, but here we are nonetheless.

jeskai elderJeskai Elder, AKA reverse [c]Storm Entity[/c]

Prowess is an interesting mechanic. It reads “Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn). We have seen things like it before, in the earliest days of Extended with [c]Quirion Dryad[/c] Miracle-Gro, ever-present in Pauper ever since Return to Ravnica brought us [c]Nivix Cyclops[/c], and with the aforementioned [c]Storm Entity[/c]. Essentially, prowess is a storm mechanic, rewarding you for playing many spells in one turn.

Unfortunately, the rest of Jeskai Elder’s text, to draw a card and discard a card whenever you deal combat damage to a player, is counterintuitive to how we have used the Prowess-like effects before. Jeskai Elder’s Prowess effect wants to be taken advantage of in one turn, like [c]Kiln Fiend[/c] and [c]Wee Dragonauts[/c], but his triggered ability wants to go long. When we went for an incremental advantage in [c]Quirion Dryad[/c], the +1/+1 did not go away at the end of turn, so it made more sense than Elder.

So why is Prowess interesting, then? Well, two things set it apart: it works with enchantments, with green spells, and with artifacts, and we can go mono-blue with the [c]Quirion Dryad[/c], cantrip deck.

If we want to recur an enchantment, I don’t think we can get better than [c]Auratog[/c] and [c]Rancor[/c], when format limitations allow. We can bypass that until we see more cards.

[c]Quirion Dryad[/c] was never particularly hungry for green spells that weren’t [c]Berserk[/c], either. So where can we go with [c]Jeskai Elder[/c], then? Eggs, of course! Rip through your deck and attack with a big dude. Fortunately, the power boosts will replace themselves, so an all-in strike isn’t as risky as others could be.

Jeskai Elder in Legacy

Here is an early draft for Legacy.

[d title=”Jeskai Egger (Legacy)”]
Land
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Archaeological Dig
4 Island
4 Seat of the Synod

Creature
4 Etherium Sculptor
4 Jeskai Elder

Artifact
4 Aether Spellbomb
4 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Helm of Awakening
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Shadowblood Egg
4 Skycloud Egg
4 Sungrass Egg[/d]

So here we aim to play [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] as fast as possible (the cantrips will help us draw into him) and have either [c]Helm of Awakening[/c] or [c]Etherium Sculptor[/c] to draw through our deck. We can find 2 [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c] to go infinite, and [c]Aether Spellbomb[/c] to clear any blockers.

We have to ask ourselves: is Elder better than [c]Brain Freeze[/c]? Probably not, because we have to untap with him in play, whereas we can draw into the latter as we combo. Still, we bookmark the idea, and we move into Modern where the storm instant isn’t an option.

Jeskai Elder in Modern

[d title=”Modern Eggers (Modern)”]
Land
4 Island
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

Creature
4 Etherium Sculptor
4 Jeskai Elder

Artifact
3 Aether Spellbomb
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Cloud Key
3 Cloudstone Curio
3 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
4 Mind Stone
1 Spine of Ish Shah
2 Terrarion[/d]

Once again, go big or go home. We play our eggs until we have Elder in play, we assemble [c]Cloudstone Curio[/c] and either [c]Cloud Key[/c] or [c]Etherium Sculptor[/c], and we attack for approximately 7,000,000. It’s a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Jeskai Elder in Standard

If this archetype is to be a thing in Standard, then it will be on the back of [c]Chief Engineer[/c]. That deck will be awkward, though, because you’re looking to cast creatures to enable Convoke, but the creatures won’t grant the power boost.

The things that makes me most excited about Prowess is that if there is an ability on the Prowess creature that goes well with Prowess – unlike [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] – making it more accessible to the all-in strategy, or a keyword plus number effect like Prowess 2 or, much less imaginable, Prowess 3. If Prowess sees play, there are three things we all will want to be holding onto:

  1. Phyrexian Mana Spells: [c]Dismember[/c] and [c]Gut Shot[/c] will be good for clearing blockers. [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] and [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] will boost the power and toughness for free, and all of this will happen for free-to-little cost.
  2. Alternative cost spells or untap lands spells: [c]Daze[/c] and [c]Force of Will[/c] will protect our large creature in their formats, and [c]Snap[/c] and [c]Snapback[/c] will make way for the big swing.
  3. Things that double power: We’ve seen [c]Assault Strobe[/c] before, but there is a slew of them, including artifacts which boost Prowess and double power such as [c]Inquisitor’s Flail[/c] and [c]Fireshrieker[/c]. Look for [c]Berserk[/c], [c]Tainted Strike[/c], and [c]Psychotic Fury[/c] to be correlative in power to Prowess.

thousand winds[c]Thousand Winds[/c], as in, Modern Morph may have a chance

This card is okay. It will certainly be an early pick in limited pack one because it is a big flyer, and later on it will be less enticing. In constructed, I can’t see it shaking up anything. Still, now that I see Morph, I see potential.

There was a Pauper list that combined cards like [c]Undying Evil[/c] and [c]Otherworldly Journey[/c] with [c]Treespring Lorian[/c] and other big beaters. In Modern there are so many cards that can reset a Morph creature, but there is only one creature to take advantage of: [c]Akroma, Angel of Fury[/c]. We have seen it in Death and Taxes lists, and it has actually gone 3-1 and even 4-0 a number of times. There are even some lists that max out on the red inferior Akroma along with [c]Flickerwisp[/c] and [c]Cloudshift[/c]. If there is just one more solid morph guy that we can cheat in for four mana, I will be really happy. If there are multiples, then look out. We have [c]Venser, the Sojourner[/c], [c]Ghostly Flicker[/c], [c]Restoration Angel[/c], and many more cards for the necessary blink effect.

As it is, let’s say [c]Thousand Winds[/c] is the best we get. Is it worth cheating in a 5/6 flyer? We’ll see. Here’s my first draft. As soon as something better is spoiled, go ahead and sub him in.

[d title=”Modern Morphin Power Rangers (Modern)”]
Land
4 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Ghost Quarter
13 Plains
2 Tectonic Edge

Creatures
4 Akroma, Angel of Fury
4 Blade Splicer
4 Epochrasite
4 Flickerwisp
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Restoration Angel
4 Thousand Winds

Other Spells
4 Cloudshift
4 Path to Exile
3 Otherworldly Journey[/d]

So I’ve converted a Death and Taxes list into a strictly blink and enter the battlefield deck, as Modern Death and Taxes often has so little of the latter. We keep the bare minimum of disruption and life-gain so that we don’t throw away some of our good match-ups, and we emphasize the “Death” element of the namesake. A more all-in approach could be to play G/W with mana elves for the turn 3 swing using a big beater, but I don’t particularly see a reason for that just yet.

I hope you enjoy the couple of brews and ideas, and that you can be excited about the direction of this set with me!

-drinkard

Highlights from GP Kobe

So, last week I talked about the best cards in Theros, and I ended up saying [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] was my favourite one, because it would help Burn a lot. Surprisingly enough, I was right. I tend to make awful predictions.

Burn was already getting more and more important in the online metagame, but lacked real life results to back it up. Well, here they are. There were two mono red decks in the top 8 of GP Kobe, and both sported a cool playset of Eidolons. Why am I happy Burn became important in Modern? Because I think it is a healthy deck for any format. It regulates the game, feeding on greedy manabases, thoughtseizes, and big cards that you can’t do anything about. No, I am not a fan of BGx decks. Plus, with Burn you get to see this:

bxDj6K5

This is a Burn mirror with both players placing a [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] on the table before the game started. A sight to behold. One of them ended up being unable to draw. If only he had played an [c]Elixir of Immortality[/c]! Anyway, Burn was not the only surprise in Kobe, as was to be expected: Japanese players tend to be inventive brewers. Let’s see what transpired.

The other finalist: No Affinity

The deck is a rather unconventional Affinity deck (even though I’ve been told it isn’t completely original and has already showed up in other occasions). It’s called No Affinity because there is no card with the keyword printed. Is it Affinity then? In a way.

[d title=”No Affinity, Yuusei Gotou (Modern)”]
Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Glimmervoid
2 Mana Confluence

Creatures
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite
4 Vault Skirge
4 Tarmogoyf

Sorceries
2 Thoughtseize

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Shrapnel Blast

Artifacts
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Chromatic Star
4 Cranial Plating
4 Darksteel Citadel

Enchantments
4 Ensoul Artifact

Sideboard
1 Thoughtseize
2 Sunbeam Spellbomb
2 Path to Exile
2 Wear & Tear
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Whipflare
2 Spellskite
2 Aven Mindcensor[/d]

I love this deck, and not only because of the beautiful round numbers. Looks incredibly solid, and the results showed it is. [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] is here to stay, it seems. [c]Shrapnel Blast[/c] seems incredibly fun too: I don’t really know if it was popular already, but it is a fantastic spell. [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is the midgame: rather more difficult to remove than the other critters, efficient, dodges artifact hate, and [c]Cranial Plating[/c] suits him perfectly. A beautiful list. I must try this deck. I really must. The important thing here is this deck isn’t just swapping [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] or [c]Etched Champion[/c] for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]: it’s a rather different animal.

Another interesting list in the Top 16 was this one:

[d title=”WUR Midrange, Tamura Ryo (Modern)”]
Land
3 Mountain
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Arid Mesa
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Sacred Foundry

Creatures
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Geist of Saint Traft

Sorceries
4 Serum Visions
4 Gitaxian Probe

Instants
3 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Lightning Helix
3 Remand
2 Electrolyze
2 Spell Snare
1 Izzet Charm

Sideboard
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Magma Spray
1 Shattering Spree
1 Counterflux
1 Negate
1 Combust
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Dispel
1 Wear+Tear
1 Stony Silence
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Spellskite
1 Relic of Progenitus[/d]

This is what happens when you think about the weaknesses of UR Delver (which is a great deck) and try to solve them. There have been green splashes for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], and URW midrange with [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] exists, but this is a new thing.

It worked, too: Top 16 out of more than 2,000 players is quite a feat. I am not quite sold, as the greedy manabase makes playing [c]Blood Moon[/c] impossible, and this deck vs the UR version gives a lot of free wins thanks to [c]Blood Moon[/c]. Also, you necessarily have to reduce the number of counterspells, including [c]Remand[/c], which works wonders on the regular version. On the other hand, [c]Path to Exile[/c] is a very powerful removal, [c]Lightning Helix[/c] is a fantastic card, and [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] is the strong threat this deck normally lacks, one that is very difficult to deal with. In all, an interesting experiment.

And then we’ve got this:

[d title=”Eggs, Taisuke Ishii (Modern)”]
Land
1 Glimmervoid
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Mystic Gate
1 Adarkar Wastes
4 Plains
3 Island

Creatures
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Sorceries
4 Open the Vaults
1 Polymorph

Instants
2 Remand

Artifacts
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Mox Opal
1 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Chromatic Star
4 Terrarion
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Mind Stone
3 Thopter Foundry
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks

Sideboard
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
3 Erase
2 Path to Exile
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Silence
1 Pyroclasm
1 Seal of Primordium[/d]

The deck is not so surprising per se, but the few refinements and changes are. [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] is a known deck I have had to suffer occasionally, but [c]Thopter Foundry[/c] is a such a great fit in this deck I am surprised I haven’t seen this yet. Generates tokens, it’s a sacrifice outlet, the tokens can be fodder for the Ironworks, and occasionally one of these tokens becomes an [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c]. Such a beautiful list. Not that I have any intention of running anything resembling Eggs, but if I were, it would probably be very, very similar to this list.

So, that’s it. Three interesting decklists that have recently placed well in an important tournament. You can access the top 8 here, the top 9-16 here, and the top 17-32 here. Should you see anything interesting, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

See you next week!