Modern Times: Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto

Secret Secret, I got a Secret

There is a new ‘Robots’ build, and it has parts made in Japan (or at least results). If you’ve been following me on Twitter you might have already seen it, but otherwise, watch out for Scissors Affinity at your next Modern event.

 

Scissors Affinity
Khans of Tarkir PTQ, 1st place, Ryuji Murae – Nagoya, Japan
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Island


16 lands

4 Signal Pest
3 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge
4 Arcbound Ravager
2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Etched Champion


25 creatures

 

4 Galvanic Blast
4 Cranial Plating
3 Ensoul Artifact
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Mox Opal


19 other spells

Sideboard
1 Wear // Tear
1 Torpor Orb
1 Annul
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Spellskite
2 Blood Moon
2 Spell Pierce
2 Thoughtseize
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Gut Shot


15 sideboard cards

Ryuji Murae took this build to an 197 person PTQ in Nagoya and finished at the top of the standings when the dust cleared. If you’ve played Affinity or played against it before at a modern tournament, then you no doubt know how the deck wins. It’s all about emptying your hand on turn 1 or 2 with a lot of zero casting cost cards then attacking until your opponent is dead. This deck is no different aside from one key card: Ensoul Artifact. There were many naysayers in the MTG community that said the card wasn’t that good when M15 was released, but I think these results speak for itself. Not one but TWO Affinity decks running Ensoul Artifact made the top 8 (for a full deck list from the top 8, you can see it here. Look for the Nagoya 7/22/2014 post.) All the player did was drop Thoughtcast from the list, and in return he could have an indestructible 5/5 attacker on as soon as turn 2 if you played a Darksteel Citadel on the first turn. If your opponent taps out at any time, you could do some real damage. Making your Memnite, Ornithopter, or even your Inkmoth Nexus a 5/5 can inflict serious, sometimes LETHAL damage on your opponent.

The sideboard is also interesting I thought. Wear/Tear deals with Affinity and Twin, Torpor Orb is great against Twin and sometimes Pod, Annul can work against either Twin or Affinity as well, Grafdigger’s Cage shuts down Birthing Pod, Spellskite is good against removal heavy decks as well as Splinter Twin, Blood Moon hurts Tron decks and a few others, Spell Pierce is good for control match ups and Scapeshift to stop early Anger of the Gods, Thoughtseize can hurt control decks a lot, Ancient Grudge is a must for mirror matches, and Gut Shot deals with Kataki, War’s Wage. I don’t think you’ll want to copy it card for card depending on your metagame, but this prepares you for quite a bit.

So what does this mean for modern? You’ll definitely see more Ensoul Artifact in affinity decks in the future, and it’s going to make cards like Wear/Tear a much more important card in the sideboard of a few decks. White decks will probably focus on Path to Exile and blue will be loading up on bounce effects like Hurkyl’s Recall. Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, and Flame Slash won’t cut it any more if a 5/5 is attacking. One of the biggest problems for Affinity in the past was Shatterstorm, but now all you have to do is play Ensoul Artifact on the Citadel and you put your opponent on a very quick clock.

 

I am . . . the Modern . . . man

 

7/21/2014 Grand Prix Kobe Trial

This last weekend I participated in both a 51 person Grand Prix Trial, as well as the PTQ. It had been a while since I last gotten a chance to play modern, so I was a bit rusty at the GPT. I was playing my own build of Affnity, sans the Ensoul Artifact for Master of Etherium and Boros Charms instead of Galvanic Blasts. I had lost pretty badly to another player using a Boros Charm build to give his creatures double strike/indestructible the week before so I wanted to try it out myself.

GB Rock had been dominating the first few events of the season up near Tokyo, which put a lot of people on faster aggro strategies such as Naya Zoo, Affinity, Merfolk, and RW Burn. UWR control has always been popular in Japan, especially in Nagoya and was represented well both days. Tron decks were also on the upswing as GB became more popular, but I think they won’t be much longer if these aggressive decks continue.

I went 3-3 at the GPT on Sunday. I lost my first match against Affinity 1-2 due to some less than stellar hands, misplays, and being stuck with Boros Charms, lost against Naya Zoo in game 2 due to misplays AGAIN (didn’t attack with a creature one turn which would have put my opponent in burn range), but in round 3 I got my first win against Eggs. My opponent managed to combo off into an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in game 1, but I played aggressively in the following two games for the win. I got another win against UWR control in round 4 thanks to some good hands and aggressive play that my opponent couldn’t fight back from, and also won against a RW Soulsisters deck using Norin the Wary with the help of Inkmoth Nexus. I was hoping to finish the day at 4-2, but I played UWR control again in round 6 and a well timed Supreme Verdict got me in game 1 while a Shatterstorm ruined my day in game 2.

The top 8 of the GPT was Naya Zoo, BW Tokens, GB Rock, GR Tron, RUG Twin, UR Twin, a bant midrange deck of sorts, and the UR Possibility Storm deck. I had to leave before the event ended, so I don’t have any information as to who won. There was a ton of Affinity UWR at this event, so after this event I made some changes to my deck and dropped the Boros Charms for Galvanic Blasts and put in some more anti-Affinity cards in my sideboard.

 

7/22/2014 Nagoya KTK Pro Tour Qualifier

 

The Modern PTQ in Nagoya was the first large Modern event I had ever attended. I had done a Super Sunday Event at GP Nagoya, but it wasn’t anywhere as large as 197 people. I had only played in GPTs and some local events prior to this event, and my experience with some decks was extremely limited. In fact, the first time I had ever played against Naya Zoo was the day before, and I had only faced the Affinity mirror match one time. I’ve only been playing Modern since April, and I’ve been playing with Affinity since the end of May/early June. I was a bit nervous and wanted to do well, but I didn’t really have my mind set on making the top 8. I knew I was still months away from being at a high competitive level.

  • Round 1: BG Rock – I won 2-1 against this deck largely in part to man lands like Inkmoth Nexus and Blinkmoth Nexus. He was able to kill most of my other creatures with Abrupt Decay, but the man lands, along with Etched Champion put him on too fast of a clock.
  • Round 2: UWR control – I lost 1-2 due to misplays/missed attack opportunities. I also sided out my Galvanic Blasts which was probably a bad idea. I need to work on my sideboarding a lot before GP Kobe.
  • Round 3: Scapeshift – I was a turn too late in both games and lost 0-2. If I had kept more explosive hands I might have stood a chance, but I also had to deal with Anger of the Gods after game 1. I managed to Spell Pierce it the first time but Snapcaster Mage + Anger of the Gods bought my opponent the time he needed to get Scapeshift in game 2 for the win.
  • Round 4: Naya Zoo – I lost 1-2 due to sideboarding errors, even after winning impressively in game 1. I had sided in only one Wear/Tear in game 3 on accident and couldn’t deal with a turn 3 Stony Silence. Again, my inexperience showed through.
  • Round 5: Merfolk – Really fast hands and limited removal from my opponent helped me to take the match 2-0 and improve to 2-3 overall. I was out of the running for top 8 of course, but I definitely wanted to stay for the practice.
  • Round 6: Junk (GBW) – I managed to pull out a win and go 2-1 in round 6. The card that absolutely destroys me in these match ups tend to be Drown in Sorrow. Keeping in cards like Steel Overseer and Arcbound Ravager are a must, even if you sometimes get screwed by a Stony Silence.
  • Round 7: GB Rock – I’ve had quite a lot of practice against Jund/Junk/GB, so by now I knew how to play against this deck. I focused on attacking with my man lands again and won 2-0. Ravager helped me get around cards like Dismember and other spells like it for the win.
  • Round 8: Opponent NO SHOW

For those of you that didn’t check the link above, the Top 8 of the PTQ was: Scissors Affinity, UR Twin, RUG Twin, Goyf Affinity, Merfolk, UR Possibility Storm, Kiki Pod, and RW/b burn. The top 4 was Affinity Goyf Vs. RUG Twin, and Scissors Affinity Vs. Merfolk. RUG Twin and faced off against Scissors Affinity in the finals, and well . . . you know what happened from there.

I finished 5-3 for 49th place out of 197, which isn’t bad. I saw quite a bit of GB and GB based decks, Naya zoo, Affinity and UWR Control at the event. I felt like I could have easily had gone 6-2 or 7-1 if I hadn’t made those misplays, so I’ll be working really hard to improve in the month I have left before Grand Prix Kobe. There is a PTQ in 2 weeks in Kyoto I will probably be going to, and the week after that I will be attending a PTQ in Tokyo at Hareruya and a World Magic Cup Qualifier. I will continue to use Affinity, but I have made some changes to it to reflect how Ensoul Artifact performed at this last PTQ. I call it, Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto.

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto
By Ryan Schwenk
1 Island
4 Glimmervoid
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Inkmoth Nexus


17 lands

2 Master of Etherium
4 Vault Skirge
2 Memnite
4 Arcbound Ravager
2 Etched Champion
4 Signal Pest
4 Ornithopter
3 Steel Overseer


25 creatures

3 Galvanic Blast
4 Cranial Plating
3 Ensoul Artifact
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Mox Opal


18 other spells

Sideboard
1 Annul
1 Torpor Orb
2 Etched Champion
1 Rule of Law
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Wear // Tear
2 Spellskite
2 Spell Pierce
2 Grafdigger’s Cage


15 sideboard cards

I’m not copying it card for card, but instead  I’m keeping my list somewhat intact. I want 4 Glimmervoid in the main to be able to cast my red and blue cards quickly, and I’m also going with 2 Master of Etherium instead of maxing out on Steel Overseer. This gives me a power boost when I have to side out Steel Overseer due to Stony Silence, while at the same time putting a lot of pressure on my opponent. In the sideboard I have decided to allocate a spot for Annul instead of a 3rd Spell Pierce, and I’d also like to have a Rule of Law in there for Storm match ups. Without it, I would stand no chance against it. I know have 5 cards for the affinity match up (which I think will become a strong metagame choice over the next month due to this PTQ’s results), and I also have a good sideboard against Twin. I might drop a Grafdigger’s Cage since Birthing Pod hasn’t seen too much play recently in Japan, but I’ll be following the meta in other cities before making my decision.

 

I’m Kilroy! Kilroy!

 

News of this PTQ is already making waves across the net. People still seem split on whether or not Scissors Affinity will become the next big thing, but I’m happy that players in Japan aren’t afraid to try something new and to push the game in a different direction. Things are definitely going to heat up in modern over here in Japan before the Grand Prix, and I look forward to bringing you more information in the coming weeks to help you with both your modern PTQs and events where you are, and to help you prepare for Grand Prix Kobe if you’re living over here. Thanks for reading as always, and be sure to check back for further developments in the coming weeks!

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