A New Moon, a New Hope

The banning of [card]Splinter Twin[/card] left me in a slightly awkward situation. I’d played Twin for over 3 years and didn’t know how to approach Modern after the ban. I had the base of a UR deck, but didn’t know what to play. I was left with the following options:

  1. Sell [card]Steam Vents[/card] and company into the absurd conversation rate of CA to US
  2. Make a shrine to honor the fallen
  3. Spend a mortgage payment on a brand new Modern deck
  4. Spend a Grand Prix’s road trips worth to shift into another based Blue/Red deck

Before making any hasty decisions, I decided to wait for the pro tour. I was hoping two things:

  1. That there’d be some sweet Eldrazi deck superior to the mediocre BW version.
  2. That there’d be some blue/red related strategy I could latch onto.

I was happy to see our new Eldrazi overlords arrive with cool variations; UR, UB processor, and mono colorless. Though, I didn’t see anything on coverage that appealed to my Blue/Red sensibilities. I was left dejected and hopeless, mulling over the painful options that probably required me to pay cash to remain competitive in Modern. As I circled the drain, I was pointed toward Jason Chung’s glorious Blue Moon list by the wise Philipp Leube. I have no idea how I missed that part of the PT coverage. It looked like it trashed Affinity and Infect. To boot, it had a better matchup vs Burn than I’m used to. Most importantly, it looked like it could be modified to battle our new overlords. Here’s my current attempt at viva la resistance!


A New Moon, a New Hope

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[deck]
[Lands]
1 Desolate Lighthouse
4 Flooded Strand
7 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
2 Sulfur Falls
[/Lands]
[Spells]
1 Batterskull
3 Blood Moon
2 Cryptic Command
2 Electrolyze
1 Izzet Charm
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Logic Knot
2 Mana Leak
3 Remand
2 Roast
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Snare
2 Spreading Seas
1 Vedalken Shackles
[/Spells]
[Creatures]
2 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Vendilion Clique
[/Creatures]
[Sideboard]
1 Dispel
2 Shattering Spree
1 Spreading Seas
2 Negate
2 Pyroclasm
2 Izzet Staticaster
1 Blood Moon
1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Batterskull
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Engineered Explosives
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Now I’m sure you’re wondering, “Alright, but Izzet good?”. Yes! It’s got good matchups across a wide portion of the field. It can be easily modified, depending on your local meta. It boats a strong matchup against Infect and Affinity, though it is only slightly favoured vs Burn. Furthermore, it should be adequately prepared for Eldrazi decks with [card]Blood Moon[/card] and [card]Spreading Seas[/card].

Card Choices and Adjustments
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Let me go over some of the card choices and justifications I made to Jason Chung’s dazzling Pro Tour list.

The first card I looked to add to the deck was [card]Roast[/card]. The key threats in the format right now are [card]Reality Smasher[/card], [card]Thought-Knot Seer[/card], [card]Arcbound Ravager[/card], [card]Master of Etherium[/card], and [card]Spellskite[/card]. It’s important to have a mana effective way to deal with these cards, which is something [card]Burst Lightning[/card] unfortunately doesn’t do.

I’ve been pleased with the addition of [card]Vendilion Clique[/card]. It started off as a 1 of in the board, and slowly moved toward the main deck. The card is amazingly versatile, even more so in Blue Moon than it was in Twin. Clique does almost everything in this deck. It’s a legitimate win condition in combination with your burn. It’s a “discard” spell that can mess with your opponents curve or snipe answers to [card]Blood Moon[/card]. Finally, it is a cycler that lets you recycle excess or useless [card]Blood Moon[/card]s and [card]Spreading Seas[/card]. The last point is why I included a single Desolate Loothouse and [card]Izzet Charm[/card], they let you churn through cards and not get bogged down by useless draws.

I’ve added two [card]Spreading Seas[/card] to the main and another to the sideboard. It’s important to be able to pick off manlands and any basics your opponent was able to find while under [card]Blood Moon[/card]. In dire situations, you can use [card]Spreading Seas[/card] to power up your [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card], or fix yourself so you can [card]Cryptic Command[/card] while under the red moon.

I’ve opted to go with 3 [card]Blood Moon[/card]s in order to minimize drawing too many useless copies. I also expect Eldrazi to be under represented in my local metagame due to a myriad of reasons. There is a severe case of [card]Diminishing Returns[/card] when drawing too many [card]Blood Moon[/card]s. I feel comfortable having 1 in the board and going up to 4 or down to 0 depending on the match up.

I shifted a [card]Batterskull[/card] to the sideboard. I expect Burn to see a decline in the metagame, as it had a poor showing at the Pro Tour, and it’s not particularly well positioned against Eldrazi decks. I think having 1 in the main deck is still important since you need a unkillable win condition in case the game gets dragged super late, which is something Blue Moon is quite capable of doing.

[card]Vedalken Shackles[/card] has long been a mainstay in Blue Moon strategies. Since the bannings, and Pro Tour, the format has shifted heavily towards creature based strategies. It seemed like a easy decision to add one to the main and board.

My thoughts on [card]Logic Knot[/card] have been covered here. It’s not as strict of an upgrade as before, since processors like [card]Wasteland Strangler[/card], [card]Blight Herder[/card], and [card]Oblivion Sower[/card] can punish you for enabling them for free, but having just 1 seems like an overall bonus considering the format as a whole.

Sideboarding
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The sideboard is pretty generic. [card]Shattering Spree[/card] was picked over [card]Vandalblast[/card], since it can blow up a [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] set to 1 by replicating it. I believe the Affinity matchup is strong enough that you just need an early game two for one to take away the match. You don’t need to rely on having a 5 mana win more. [card]Pyroclasm[/card] is favored over [card]Anger of the Gods[/card], since it’s more applicable against Burn. Plus, the deck is already loaded with 3 drops; being 2 mana is a huge perk. [card]Pyroclasm[/card], unlike [card]Anger of the Gods[/card] it’s not a nombo with [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card].

For a brief moment in time, [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] looked like it would dominate Modern in tyrannical fashion, but thankfully the colorless version of Eldrazi has moved aside for other variations, like U/R, R/G, Sultai Processor, and other TronDrazi variants; like the one written by Anthony Cameron. In my opinion, the core of the deck is so powerful and flexible that it’s important to not get too caught up in trying to answer ultra specific cards in their deck. Instead focus on a broader approach, since the metagame has not even come close to settling on a best version.

Now that the 75 has been covered I’ll go over my current sideboard plans. Please keep in mind sideboarding is fluid. This is just a basic plan that can, and should, be changed on occasion.

vs Affinity

-2 [card]Cryptic Command[/card], -3 [card]Blood Moon[/card], -2 [card]Spreading Seas[/card], -1 [card]Remand[/card]

+2 [card]Shattering Spree[/card], +2 [card]Pyroclasm[/card] +2 [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card], +1 [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card], +1 [card]Engineered Explosives[/card]

Mana denial doesn’t work at all against Affinity, so all of it goes out. I typically don’t like remand in this match up, but with so many cards being boarded out something has to stay in.

vs Infect

-2 [card]Spreading Seas[/card], -2 [card]Cryptic Command[/card], -1 [card]Batterskull[/card], -3 [card]Remand[/card]

+1 [card]Blood Moon[/card], +2 [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card], +2 [card]Pyroclasm[/card], +2 [card]Negate[/card], +1 [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card]

Surprisingly, [card]Blood Moon[/card] is potent vs Infect since they’re typically fetching [card]Breeding Pool[/card], and derive a lot of power from their manabase in [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] and Pendlehaven. There’s tons of ways to cost-effectively to remove [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] to severely limit their colored mana with [card]Blood Moon[/card]. If your opponent brings in [card]Spellskite[/card], or any other artifacts like [card]Ichorclaw Myr[/card], consider boarding in [card]Spellskite[/card].

vs Naya Burn

-3 [card]Remand[/card], -1 [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card], -1 [card]Vendilion Clique[/card], -1 [card]Pia and Kiran Nalaar[/card]

+2 [card]Pyroclasm[/card], +2 [card]Negate[/card], +1 [card]Batterskull[/card], +1 [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]

[card]Blood Moon[/card] and [card]Spreading Seas[/card] are effective vs Naya Burns mana base. You can deny the following cards: [card]Boros Charm[/card], Atarkas Command, [card]Lightning Helix[/card], and, [card]Destructive Revelry[/card], if they tap out. The second benefit of this plan is that all their Destructive Revelry’s will be targeting your mana denial, or be rendered uncastable, which leaves your Batterskull’s unscathed. A decent amount of your wins can come down to out burning them. Since they do so much damage to themselves a few burn spells and mild beats can seal the deal.

vs Blue/Red Eldrazi

-2 [card]Spreading Seas[/card], -2 [card]Spell Snare[/card], -1 [card]Izzet Charm[/card], -1 [card]Vendilion Clique[/card], -1 [card]Remand[/card]

+1 [card]Blood Moon[/card], +2 [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card], +1 [card]Batterskull[/card], +1 [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card], +1 [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card]

I’ve got some good news and bad news. The [card]Spreading Seas[/card] + [card]Blood Moon[/card] plan isn’t a hard lock. The good news is that [card]Blood Moon[/card] still cuts them off [card]Thought-Knot Seer[/card] and [card]Reality Smasher[/card]. The goal here is to maintain as many answers as possible to [card]Reality Smasher[/card] and [card]Drowner of Hope[/card] and board in some big fatties to meet them out on the ground. [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card] isn’t quite the scion obliterated I’d hoped she’d be, but she still doubles up with burn and keeps the scion numbers in check.

vs Colorless Eldrazi

-1 [card]Izzet Charm[/card], -2 [card]Vendilion Clique[/card], -2 [card]Cryptic Command[/card], -1 [card]Lightning Bolt[/card], -1 [card]Pia and Kiran Nalaar[/card]

+2 [card]Shattering Spree[/card], +1 [card]Engineered Explosives[/card], +1 [card]Spreading Seas[/card], +1 [card]Blood Moon[/card], +1 [card]Batterskull[/card], +1 [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card]

The plan here is different than against Blue/Red. Here you are actively trying to mana screw them out of the game. You have some of your late game elements that you keep in vs Blue/Red. The [card]Shattering Spree[/card]s are to answer a Chalice on 1, since the replicated copy doesn’t get countered, as well to answer [card]Spellskite[/card].

That concludes my take on Blue Moon. I think this has a lot of potential in Modern right now and I hope you do to. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments. thanks for reading.