Back to Basic Lands: Mono Color Decks in Modern
- Rodrigo Martin
Starting over in Magic is always difficult, especially Eternal formats where there is no rotation, and card staples tend to be expensive. Fortunately, there are some budget archetypes that allow you to start playing Modern and then evolve into a tier deck. Today, we are going to break down some mono color decks for Modern.
One Color to Rule Them All.
Historically, Modern tier decks have relied on two or more colors thanks to the powerful combination between shock-lands and fetch-lands. There are even rainbow lands like Cavern of Souls or Unclaimed Territory allowing 5-Color Humans to exist.
That's why if we try to build a deck from scratch, it can cost a lot of money to get those mana bases and the expensive spells that come along with them. Therefore, if we do not want to make a huge investment and play tournaments from time to time, a good way to get into Modern is through mono color decks.
Obviously, playing mono color decks diminish the card pool and deny us some colour combination features: Mono-red decks cannot get rid of an enchantment, blue decks won’t win life, and green decks will be unable to inflict direct damage.
However, there are also strong advantages in our favor: There will be no life loss due to our mana base, Blood Moon effects won’t affect us, and we will always find lands opposing Ghost Quarter or Path to Exile.
Here you have three examples of mono color strategies that can perform well at local tournaments and be the foundation of a tier deck if you want to invest more resources on it later.
Death and Taxes. No Pay No Search.
MTGO Modern Challenge. Format: Modern | Number of Players: 100 | Date: 21/01/2018
|SpiderSpace Playing White Weenie||Position: 13|
|Deck Name: White Weenie|
|23Lands||27Creatures||10Instants and Artifacts|
|1Eiganjo Castle||2Eldrazi Displacer||4Path to Exile|
|2Field of Ruin||2Thalia, Heretic Cathar||2Smuggler's Copter|
|4Ghost Quarter||3Blade Splicer||4Aether Vial|
|4Tectonic Edge||4Leonin Arbiter|
|8Snow-Covered Plains||4Restoration Angel|
|4Thalia, Guardian of Thraben|
|2Burrenton Forge-Tender||1Declaration in Stone||2Eidolon of Rhetoric|
|2Gelid Shackles||2Ghostly Prison||1Gideon of the Trials|
|1Gideon, Ally of Zendikar||2Rest in Peace||2Stony Silence|
The good old white weenie strategy! In this deck, the main goal is to punish the opponents’ intricate mana bases. To do that, Leonin Arbiter slows down fetch-lands and tutor effects as well as turning Ghostly Prison and Field of Ruin into Strip Mine.
Once our opponents are constrained on mana, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben will make it even harder to play spells with her tax effect, while not significantly bothering us.
The deck also runs 10 “blink” effects: Flickerwisp and Eldrazi Displacer can momentarily get rid of opposing threats and alongside Restoration Angel they all get value from our ETB (enter the battlefield) creatures, like Blade Splicer and Thraben Inspector.
Finally, once you acquire this deck, it can be transformed into the BW version with the Eldrazi package or with even more resources, you can build a 5-Color Human deck, although it will then be time to invest in Cavern of Souls.
Blue Tron. The Cheapest Tron of All.
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 20 | Date: 13/01/2018
|Max Kuntze Playing Tron||Position: 8|
|Deck Name: U Tron|
|1Academy Ruins||1Platinum Angel||1Cyclonic Rift|
|1Oboro, Palace in the Clouds||1Snapcaster Mage||1Dismember|
|1Tolaria West||1Solemn Simulacrum||1Spatial Contortion|
|2Field of Ruin||1Torrential Gearhulk||1Spell Burst|
|4Urza's Mine||1Treasure Mage||3Remand|
|4Urza's Power Plant||1Walking Ballista||3Repeal|
|4Urza's Tower||2Wurmcoil Engine||4Condescend|
|7Island||4Thirst for Knowledge|
|1Chalice of the Void|
|2Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|2Chalice of the Void||2Dismember||1Mana Leak|
|1Negate||1Oblivion Stone||2Spatial Contortion|
|2Spreading Seas||1Summary Dismissal||2Surgical Extraction|
Strictly speaking, this deck is mono-colored, but it has a strong colorless component as it abuses the Urza Lands to play powerful artifacts. The main issue when building a Tron archetype is investing in Karn Liberated, a fundamental card with a very high price. The good news is that Blue Tron does not need Karn.
The blue part of the deck consists of some counterspells to get to the late game: Remand buys us some time, Condescend lets us scry and dig for more answers, and Spell Burst is a recurring counter once we get to the Urza Tron.
If we manage to get to the late game with the Urza Tron assembled, there are plenty of pay-off cards to win the match: The Mindslaver - Academy Ruins combo gives you infinite turns, Walking Ballista can ping your opponent to death and finally, we can always rely on Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and his ultimate.
Regarding deck improvements, after building Blue Tron, we will be a little closer to other Tron versions, either Green Tron or Eldrazi Tron, which are both tier decks at the moment.
Skred Red. To the Moon and Back!
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 959 | Date: 06/01/2018
|Trevor May Playing Skred Red||Position: 8|
|Deck Name: Skred Red|
|1Mouth of Ronom||1Hazoret the Fervent||4Lightning Bolt|
|2Scrying Sheets||2Eternal Scourge||4Skred|
|19Snow-Covered Mountain||3Pia and Kiran Nalaar||2Anger of the Gods|
|3Stormbreath Dragon||4Blood Moon|
|4Relic of Progenitus|
|2Chandra, Torch of Defiance|
|4Koth of the Hammer|
|3Dragon's Claw||2Goblin Rabblemaster||1Dismember|
|1Kozilek's Return||1Ricochet Trap||4Molten Rain|
If you like snow-covered mountains, then this is your deck of choice. Skred is the namesake of the deck; a one mana removal that deals damage to creatures equal to our snow permanents. Scrying Sheets and Mouth of Ronom both complete the snowy theme.
Since we are mountain lovers, why don’t we share our love for them? Blood Moon is the scariest threat for any other multi-colored deck. It’s such an unfair card that shuts down games very quickly if the opponent didn’t fetch their basics early.
Another card that cares about mountains is Koth of the Hammer. Transforming mountains into hasty 4/4 Elementals every turn is a huge deal but be careful not to target the land you just played else it won’t be able to attack. Plus, getting to Koths’s ultimate is one of the coolest ways to finish off the game. Pinging your opponent with basic mountains feels great!
Regarding red creatures, they all have a great impact when entering the battlefield. Pia and Kiran Nalaar play aggressively or defensively, a role depending on the board state. Stormbreath Dragon laughs at every white removal, and the new addition of Hazoret, the Fervent also ensures direct damage when discarding useless cards.
It is also worth mentioning that the synergy between Relic of Progenitus (a powerhouse against graveyard strategies) and Eternal Scourge allows us to have an infinite blocker when exiling it from our graveyard to cast it repeatedly.
Last but not least, Skred Red can be switched to some other Blood Moon decks: GR Land Destruction, Mono Red Prison, or RW Sun and Moon. The UR Breach version might be the most competitive deck at the moment, although it would be a completely different strategy wherein blue is more important than red.
All in all, here it is — our mono color decks review for Modern. Thanks for reading and please leave your comments below.
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