As is the tradition (I guess third time makes it a tradition, right? Right?), I didn’t just look at the list of the Modern Event Deck, but went out and played it in a real environment.
I decided not to wait until the next time I had a chance to play in a Modern FNM. Since there’s a local bar that runs events every Monday, and it happened to be Modern this week, it was an easy decision to join. Its pretty much the same crowd I’d see in a Modern FNM in our town anyhow.
The deck is a black and white token deck. Pretty heavily white, only slightly black. And it worked pretty well. At least better then I expected.
The thing about Modern is that its supposedly about letting people go on playing their favorite cards after they rotate out from Standard. A noble goal, I’d say. On the other hand, it doesn’t work like that.
Although certain decks have a bit of a feel of an old Standard deck from the past, those few are actually those decks on steroids. For example, the UWR Flash deck that was very popular a year ago in Standard, now includes an instant kill combo with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and has access to much better removal in Lightning Bolt and much better permission in Remand, and Mana Leak. Also, with access to manlands, it has yet another path to victory.
Then there’s a plethora of strong combodecks, which have access to a decade’s worth of cards instead of the usual two years. That makes combo just so much better.
So, WotC has clearly failed in its mission. Still, Modern is popular, so understandably they are trying to support it, but if you look at the card prices, they are not doing enough. So, that’s where this deck is supposed to come in. Actually, it feels like a bit of a cash-grab with its price, even though it doesn’t include much more than a regular Event Deck (the package does contain 80 sleeves and five two-sided tokens, which you won’t get in your normal Event Deck).
But before I get too deep into this, here’s the decklist for March of the Multitudes.
The capacity to kill is purely in white, but the actual power of the deck is in black. Without the hand disruption, the deck would be pretty worthless. Since the deck isn’t fastest around, it needs to buy some time to build momentum. No turn four kills here.
The deck is all in all pretty good for what it is, but there are clearly some weak cards. Granted, I don’t know Modern well enough to know what to replace these cards with, but I bet I would have found something, given time.
The first problem card is Soul Warden. I feel like this is an addition to make the deck more playable against some deck (probably burn) they think is ubiquitous. Well, I haven’t seen one in our town. There probably is one, but if so, they aren’t getting much play in the tournament scene.
Second, Shrine of the Loyal Legions never mattered. I drew it plenty of times, but decided to play it only once and in that case I was desperately seeking to put something into play. Didn’t help much at that point. There must be a better token generator out there somewhere. Right? Maybe Gather the Townsfolk, Midnight Haunting, or even Launch the Fleet.
Also, I felt like there were too many lands. Having 24 lands in a deck that tops off at 3 cmc, with one exception, just feels like too much. Since most of the action happens at 3, I wouldn’t shave off too many lands, but maybe one or two less.
I guess they like to leave a bit of room for the player to make the deck his own.
On to the matches:
Match 1 – vs. GR Tron
Didn’t feel like a strong match-up, but my opponent made a mistake in the first game that ended up costing him the game. In the second game he couldn’t put together the Tron (the three Urza lands), so he ended up losing the game to mana problems.
In both games, hand disruption was pretty key. Also, making my creatures big enough to withstand Pyroclasm helped quite a bit.
1 – 0
Match 2 – vs. UWR Control
The version I spoke of above.
I actually won the first game. I bit of a surprise actually. Then, in the second game I couldn’t get a third land in time to cast all the token producing spells, in the third game I couldn’t draw token producers after the one in my hand got countered. Actually, I misplayed that. It was a Raise the Alarm and I should have played it on my turn instead of letting my opponent play a land and counter it.
1 – 1
Match 3 – vs. Storm
Here the disruption was key, again. I won the first game with it, but lost the second one to a poor draw. The third one was going strongly in my direction when my opponent was flooding (relatively), but I punted and made a greedy play by activating two Windbrisk Heights’s, where I should have only activated one and kept mana open for a Relic of Progenitus.
1 – 2
Match 4 – vs. Slivers
This was probably closest to the WotC original intention. Just a deck full of Slivers and a few facilitators. I won 2-0, but luck was definitely involved. In the first game, my opponent kept a hand with one land and I was able to rid the board of his Manasweft Slivers with a Zealous Persecution, that ruined his game totally. The second game was a bit more difficult, but I managed to make some key tempo plays, which let my Spirits fly over his Slivers and take him out.
2 – 2
All in All
I guess that’s the kind of record I should be able to put up with a deck right off the shelf. Perhaps I would have been able to go 3-1 if I didn’t make that crucial mistake against the Storm deck.
The deck felt pretty good. Not actually competitive, since some of my wins were clearly about luck. Although some of my losses were as well, as some were about me just punting. Well, at least one. Some of that shouldn’t be counted against the deck though. It does at least have the benefit of being an unknown quantity in a place where the hardcore crowd knows all decks. Well, at least for now.
It is on the expensive side, but on the other hand, compared to, say, Liliana of the Veil, the deck is pretty affordable when the price of playing Modern is quickly becoming prohibitive.