Preparing for Cardmarket Series Frankfurt

Cardmarket Series takes its next stop in Frankfurt. Christopher is deep into preparation and wants to share his thoughts about Modern and Legacy, from Wrenn and Six, Four-Color Decks, and the all-powerful Hogaak. He also breaks down his personal choices for the event!

For the past couple weeks, Magic has fallen behind in my everyday life. Getting ready for my new job and other private events took a lot of my time which resulted in a small break on Cardmarket, but I'm back now and the first subject I want to discuss is CM Series Frankfurt.

Cardmarket Series Frankfurt is my first major tournament for months and I've been happily preparing for Legacy and Modern. I thought it would be great to share some of thoughts on the current state of the formats with you.

Modern

On Saturday, the weekend starts with Limited, Vintage and Modern.

Modern is an exiting format right now with Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis still being one of the best cards to play in the format.

The Meta

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis Wrenn and Six Expedition Map

Modern has the luxury of several big events recently with Magic Fest Barcelona, Mythic Championship IV, SCG Open Columbus and SCG Classic Columbus. We have enough data to draw an accurate picture of the current meta.

The following decks made it into the Top 8 of these four tournaments:

6 Hogaak
5 Jund
4 Mono G Tron
4 Urza Thopter Combo
2 Humans
2 Eldrazi Tron
2 U / R Phoenix
2 Mono R Phoenix
1 Esper Control
1 Dredge
1 Amulet Titan
1 Merfolk
1 Hardened Scales

Over all four tournaments, Hogaak has the most top 8 finishes, followed by Jund, Tron, and Urza. Humans, Eldrazi Tron and U/R Phoenix fall apart, and Dredge seems to have been replaced by Hogaak.

Let's look at the data from Mythic Championship IV:

Of the top ten decks, Hogaak again has the highest Day 2 conversion rate and the highest win rate among the ten most played decks. With this, it's easy to see that Hogaak is currently the best deck in Modern and the top deck to beat at CM Series Frankfurt.

Two other decks to play (or prepare against) are Jund and Urza Thopter Sword. Jund is the deck that benefits the most from Wrenn and Six. Urza Thopter Sword benefits from the reduced number of Karn, the Great Creators running around, as the cards passive works quite effectively against the deck.

While Mono Green Tron won the Mythic Championship in the hands of Cardmarket's very own Thoralf "Toffel" Severin (congratulations my friend), Tron's overall performance at the MC was mediocre. While Tron has a good matchup against the variety of midrange decks, Hogaak seems to be a little too fast for the deck. This might be the reason that Toffel played the full playset of Leyline of the Void in addition to his three main deck Relic of Progenitus.

Eldrazi Tron's top 8 conversions don't look great, but the deck was solid in the Mythic Championship.  With the addition of Karn, the Great Creator, the deck is able to switch from an aggressive playstyle to a prison strategy in a single turn. The sideboard toolbox with Mycosynth Lattice and Ensnaring Bridge is where Eldrazi Tron really shines.

What I'm Playing

Urza's Power Plant Urza's Tower Urza's Mine

To be honest, the only thing I know is that I will play 12 Tron lands!

I won a European Modern Series Qualifier on Saturday with Eldrazi Tron and the deck felt surprisingly strong and is not that dependent on having all three Tron pieces. Going 7:0 at the qualifier and 4:1 or better in four of five leagues on Magic Online definitely gives me some confidence in the deck. But there are two things that really bothers me about the deck:

  1. The Sideboard: Playing with a toolbox and four Leyline of the Voids limits your remaining slots to 1-2 and that hurts against decks, where some main deck cards are useless (for example All is Dust versus Tron or the mirror match).
  2. The Eldrazi-package gets outclassed by creatures like Hogaak or Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror. Seriously, I won like 20% of my games with beatdown and the remaining 80% with concession to Karn-lockdown.

Because of these issues, I've started looking to Mono Green Tron, which managed to win both major events in Barcelona and is my personal pet deck in Modern. People fill up their sideboard slots with graveyard hate and have no space to attack Tron's mana base. Tron's bad matchups like B/G Midrange, Affinity, and Infect aren't seeing much play right now too.

Tron has a good matchup against Eldrazi Tron, Jund, and Humans and with a build like Toffels with four Wurmcoil Engine and a playset of Leyline of the Void, you might be able to more consistently win against Hogaak.

At the moment, I'm looking to run a Mono Green Tron list similar to Toffels, but I will keep testing until Friday.

Mono G Tron by Thoralf Severin, Mythic Championship IV Barcelona

The State of Modern

Leyline of the Void

Here are my conclusions for the Modern event:

  • Play Hogaak or play something that is even or good against it.
  • Leyline of the Void is the best card in Modern right now (and was the most played card at the Mythic Championship).
  • Have a good plan against colorless decks - everything with Urza in its name is good right now.
  • The amount of discard and counterspells are low. Maybe it's a good time for a fast combo deck?

Legacy

Sadly, we don't have the same amount of data as we have in Modern, but luckily the Legacy meta doesn't shift as fast as Modern does. I'm quite exited to play a big Legacy tournament again on Sunday.

The Meta

Wrenn and Six Dark Depths Brainstorm

To start with, we use the metagame breakdown of the last two months, provided by mtgtop8.

Aggro 41%

  • U / R Delver 10%
  • Death and Taxes 4%
  • Eldrazi Aggro 4%

Control 28%

  • Grixis Control 7%
  • W / U / x Control 7%
  • Stoneblade 4%

Combo 31%

  • Dark Depths 5%
  • Reanimator 4%
  • Show and Tell 4%

The problem with a Legacy meta is the "Kitchen-Table Phenomenon." You can analyze the meta as much as you want. You can prepare for Delver, Grixis Control and Dark Depths… just to run into a Mono R Goblin list from 2013. Many Legacy players at a tournament have their pet decks and are happy to dig it out for a tournament like this.

Another factor that's not included in the metagame breakdown is the rising number of 4C Delver and 4C Control. Like in Modern, Wrenn and Six gives them additional card advantage and handles problematic cards like Baleful Strix and Narset, Parter of Veils. These two strengths make the card good, but it's the combination with Wasteland that makes the two mana Planeswalker insanely good.

If you look at the meta just from the last two weeks and compare it with the numbers above, you will see the rise of Wrenn and Six:

Aggro 49%

  • U / R Delver 13%
  • 4c Delver 8%
  • Canadian Threshold 5%

Control 21%

  • W / U / x Control 5%
  • 4c Control 4%
  • Lands 3%

Combo 31%

  • Dark Depths 8%
  • Reanimator 6%
  • Show and Tell 4%

The sample size here is of course much smaller, but it shows the way Wrenn and Six is shaping Legacy.

What I'm Playing

Show and Tell Griselbrand Sneak Attack

Sure, Sneak Show isn't the most popular decision, but like with Tron, I have a pet deck which I think is in a good position right now and always a good choice against rogue decks.

Delver is a tough matchup, but U/R Delver and 4c Delver are better for Sneak Show than Grixis Delver and U/B/G Delver. Trading discard spells and cutting on Spell Pierce for Wrenn and Six or Preordain helps to consistently fight fair decks, but it makes your matchup against combo decks worse.

The same goes for Grixis Control. It's already a good matchup, but their dropping some Hymn to Tourachs and Kholagan's Commands for Wrenn and Six and the Punishing Fire Package.

Because Delver variants are the most common decktype, I might drop the Cunning Wish plan and go for the pure Show and TellSneak Attack plan.

This is the list I might end up on:

Sneak & Show by Christopher Brunner

I've been discussing this list a lot lately with my friend Jonathan (also known as JPA93) and here are some bullet points on the list:

  • Cunning Wish is not fast enough.
  • Death and Taxes is not seeing much play, so one Omniscience main is enough.
  • I like the speed and flexibility of Intuition more than Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
  • Blood Moon is great against all the four-colored variants.

The State of Legacy

Delver of Secrets

Here are my conclusions for Legacy

  • Have a good match plan against Delver of Secrets. It will serve you well in Frankfurt.
  • Due to the high number of Wrenn and Six, having a Blue Elemental Blast in your Sideboard looks like an interesting choice.
  • Play basics in your Deck to counter the Wrenn and Six – Wasteland strategy.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.

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