The depression mindset, but also Temur Moon

You might not have noticed, but I’ve been writing very little lately. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and a lot of ideas that I’d love to put to the proverbial pen and paper, and yet every time I sit down and try to jam, nothing happens. Unfortunately, this same mindset has been plaguing my MC Barcelona preparation. Once upon a time, I could play a dozen leagues in a day and just feel excited to continue iterating, but that flame is gone. I tire after a mere ten matches, and while I feel like my gameplay and theory-crafting is as sharp as ever, I just can’t get the reps in.

I’ve taken note of this trend over the past few months, and tried a bit of an experiment at GP Detroit last weekend: I didn’t prepare. I played my way through a draft on Arena to take a look at the cards, and kind of paid attention during the spoiler season, but otherwise, I just focused on other areas of my life. You see, I’ve been getting really into strength training at the gym. It works wonders on my depressive mindset to actually get something out of hard work, while the crap shoot that is competitive Magic and its future, well, isn’t so reliable of an endorphin rush. Instead of spending my week grinding meaningless matches away at a Limited format I knew I’d only play once, I worked on my form. I learned how to apply leg drive to my stalled-out bench press, and felt great later that afternoon on the road to Detroit with my friends. Then I finished tenth at the Grand Prix on the back of my solid fundamentals — so long as you ignore the moment in Round 8 where I chump attacked for no reason. Unfortunately, squatting heavy doesn’t help me read my opponents’ cards.

Once upon a time, I would’ve beaten myself up over that mistake. I’d take it back home with me, dwell on it until the next tournament, until I redeemed myself with a better finish. Now, however, for the first time, I don’t care. I’m free from the yoke of these self-imposed expectations. I just want to play Magic on my own terms, compete with what I find fun, and only play the tournaments that would be enjoyable to play. For the first time in my Magic career, I played an entire Grand Prix without feeling sad, upset, or emotionally drained. I mean, I wasn’t happy to take my third loss late in the event, but I’ve been there before and know what to expect. You know what? I played the best Magic — the chump attack notwithstanding — that I’ve played in ages. This is my first time ever beating out my depression, and I’m gonna chase this feeling wherever it takes me.

Yes, this is a long-winded justification for my registering Temur Moon in Barcelona. No, you can’t stop me. Every time you try, I’ll add a [Card]Torrential Gearhulk[/Card] to the list.

[Deck Title= Temur Moon – Daniel Fournier]
[Creatures]
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Ice-Fang Coatl
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Opt
4 Arcum’s Astrolabe
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Magmatic Sinkhole
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Remand
1 Force of Negation
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
3 Blood Moon
1 Electrolyze
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Cryptic Command
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Breeding Pool
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Prismatic Vista
3 Scalding Tarn
6 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Force of Negation
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Flame Slash
2 Tireless Tracker
2 Firespout
2 Wrenn and Six
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Ceremonious Rejection
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

With Hogaak mostly neutered, the format should slow down ever so slightly. Decks on the rise include Eldrazi Tron and [Card]Wrenn and Six[/Card] Jund, both of which are not fans of a consistent Turn 3 [Card]Blood Moon[/Card]. Blue Moon gets a lot of new toys from Modern Horizons: [Card]Ice-Fang Coatl[/Card] encourages you to play a bunch of basics, which we’d love to do already, and [Card]Arcum’s Astrolabe[/Card] is only a slight downgrade from a normal cantrip, while fixing the sometimes-awkward mana under Moon. [Card]Prismatic Vista[/Card] helps us easily take on Temur colours, and alongside the recent power-ups to blue in Modern in the form of [Card]Narset, Parter of Veils[/Card] and [Card]Force of Negation[/Card], this much-maligned strategy has legs all of a sudden.

[Card]Ice-Fang Coatl[/Card] is definitely the lynchpin of this deck. It is the most powerful new addition and is worth stretching the mana of a [Card]Blood Moon[/Card] deck. This [Card]Baleful Strix[/Card] impersonator hasn’t seen much play in the format so far, so we’ll have to take a look at Legacy to see what kind of matchups this flying snake will impact. Unfortunately, there are no [Card]Delver of Secrets[/Card] in this format for it to block, but its [Card]Moat[/Card]-effect against decks like Humans and Eldrazi seems very relevant in a post-[Card]Bridge from Below[/Card] Modern.

I’m not gonna lie, this list is far from extensively tested, but my years of experience with similar strategies should pay dividends in getting it to a reasonable place. It’s extremely hard to test Modern online these days, since the moment you take a loss in a league, you’re consigned to the Merfolk bracket to rot for the rest of your days. Also, in case you skimmed past the first few paragraphs of this article, I have no interest in grinding out meaningless matches online against people incomprehensibly screaming racial slurs whenever they miss a land-drop, and I don’t feel any obligation to subject myself to that nonsense anymore! Ahh, the sweet taste of freedom.

That said, I’m entirely unsure about the inclusion of [Card]Remand[/Card] in this deck. It shouldn’t be too hard to cut it for a mix of [Card]Mana Leak[/Card], [Card]Logic Knot[/Card] and maybe a [Card]Force of Negation[/Card] and a [Card]Spell Snare[/Card] or something. Ever since the [Card]Splinter Twin[/Card] ban, a day that will live in infamy, [Card]Remand[/Card] really just hasn’t been of an appropriate power level for the increased speed of the Modern format. It is, however, at its best curving into [Card]Blood Moon[/Card], or being a [Card]Time Walk[/Card] under a [Card]Blood Moon[/Card], so if there was ever a time to try and make it work, it’s this one.

[Deck Title= VS Izzet Phoenix]
[IN]
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Force of Negation
1 Engineered Explosives
[/IN]
[OUT]
2 Cryptic Command
1 Remand
3 Blood Moon
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

You’re gonna have a really easy time with [Card]Thing in the Ice[/Card], whose trigger seems actively detrimental, but multiple Phoenixes and [Card]Aria of Flame[/Card] can pose a significant problem for our non-white reactive deck. Hopefully Leylines and the maindeck Surgical are enough to deal with Phoenix, while we’ll have to rely on countermagic, Narset and the single [Card]Engineered Explosives[/Card] to try and stop ourselves from dying to Aria.

[Deck Title= VS Eldrazi Tron]
[IN]
1 Force of Negation
1 Flame Slash
2 Tireless Tracker
2 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Engineered Explosives
[/IN]
[OUT]
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Surgical Extraction
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

There are two big things going on here: we’re oddly soft to Chalice thanks to our eight cantrips, but very powerful against everything else they have going on, thanks to [Card]Ice-Fang Coatl[/Card] crushing their creatures and [Card]Blood Moon[/Card] being very strong in the matchup. [Card]Lightning Bolt[/Card] doesn’t kill very much here, so it can go in favour of more interaction.

[Deck Title= VS Azorius Control]
[IN]
1 Force of Negation
2 Tireless Tracker
2 Wrenn and Six
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Surgical Extraction
4 Lightning Bolt
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

To be entirely truthful, I’m mostly interested in playing Temur Moon so that I can play a beautiful, fair match against UW. Two players, both with counterspells, vying for card advantage. Ah, Magic as it was intended to be played.

[Deck Title= VS Humans]
[IN]
1 Flame Slash
2 Firespout
2 Wrenn and Six
1 Engineered Explosives
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Cryptic Command
4 Remand
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

If they have no fliers in play, [Card]Firespout[/Card] can be cast without the green mana to let your [Card]Ice-Fang Coatl[/Card] survive. Think of the value!

[Deck Title= VS Mono-Red Phoenix]
[IN]
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Flame Slash
2 Firespout
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Force of Negation
3 Blood Moon
2 Cryptic Command
1 Remand
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

Stop playing this horrible deck and register Burn like an adult.

[Deck Title= VS Jund and Golgari Midrange]
[IN]
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Engineered Explosives
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Force of Negation
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Remand
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

More Magic as it was intended to be played. All of our x-1s that are soft to [Card]Wrenn and Six[/Card] should get us a card before they die, so it’s not all that big a deal.

[Deck Title= VS Urza]
[IN]
1 Force of Negation
1 Flame Slash
2 Firespout
2 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Tireless Tracker
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Electrolyze
3 Blood Moon
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Ice-Fang Coatl
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

I honestly don’t really know what to do in this matchup. Their deck is too new, and so is mine. This is my best guess.

[Deck Title= VS Burn]
[IN]
1 Force of Negation
1 Flame Slash
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Engineered Explosives
[/IN]
[OUT]
4 Remand
1 Surgical Extraction
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= VS Mono-Green Tron]
[IN]
1 Force of Negation
2 Ceremonious Rejection
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Electrolyze
1 Lightning Bolt
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= VS Infect]
[IN]
1 Flame Slash
2 Firespout
2 Wrenn and Six
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Force of Negation
[/IN]
[OUT]
2 Cryptic Command
1 Surgical Extraction
4 Remand
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

I’d imagine this to be the easiest matchup in the history of the game. It’s like playing Czech Pile against Legacy Infect, but they don’t even get to have [Card]Berserk[/Card] in their deck.

[Deck Title= VS Dredge]
[IN]
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Firespout
[/IN]
[OUT]
1 Electrolyze
4 Remand
1 Opt
[/OUT]
[/Deck]

God bless the London Mulligan.