Posts Tagged ‘mailbag’

This week in Magic: A new deck and Mailbag Time!

karn liberated


Welcome back to another “This week in Magic.” For those of you who have been following for a while, this will probably the last time I mention Mono Red Burn for a while. Reason being is that we’ve neared the end of the Modern season. There are a few more slightly major tournaments I can think of, but I won’t be playing Burn at them. The deck got it’s last bit of play this past weekend when I attended the TJ Collectibles Modern weekend.


There was a cash tournament on Saturday. I went 5-2 and was able to cash the event. Thanks to that result, I was able to play in the PTQ the following day. I didn’t do quite as well there. It was the first time I had played against Hatebears which also hates red…a lot. Mark of Asylum is just killer and once they dropped it, I found it almost impossible to win. It may have just been Phyrexian Unlife.


It’s really interesting to take a look at the deck I initially started with to what I ended up playing t the PTQ. The biggest difference is that I was able to get my hands on fetchlands. They made Searing Blaze (which was always the worst card in the deck without landfall) another reliable burn spell. They fuled another addition – Grim Lavamancer.


Now that the season has slowed down a bit, I’m going to try my hands at another deck. Here, take a look:


GR Tron
3x Wurmcoil Engine
2x Spellskite
1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1x Sundering Titan


4x Karn Liberated
4x Oblivion Stone
4x Ancient Stirrings
4x Chromatic Star
4x Chromatic Sphere
4x Expedition Map
4x Sylvan Scrying
2x Relic of Progenitus
3x Pyroclasm


4x Urza’s Mine
4x Urza’s Tower
4x Urza’s Power Plant
1x Forest
1x Eye of Ugin
1x Ghost Quarter
1x Llanowar Wastes
4x Grove of the Burnwillows


If any of you are familiar with this list, this is the same list Cedric Phillips is known for playing. I’ve always been a big Tron fan and I think it’s set up pretty well right now. I know a lot of people are playing the Mono Blue version, but I like being able to have all of these tutor effects at my disposal.


I get that I’m completely vulnerable to any counterspells, but thanks to the absurd amount of mana I can potentially make, spells like Mana Leak and Spellpierce become moot. Remand isn’t even a problem since I can cast most things twice in one turn.


Still, I haven’t gotten a good chance to play this deck yet, but I’m hoping that will change soon. I am trying to make it to GP New Jersey which is happening in October. It’s Legacy fomat event, and I’ll be playing burn (which I’ll talk about another time). However, thanks to my performance at GP Boston, I’m actually close to accumulating enough Planeswalker Points for two byes at the event. That means I would need to squeeze in solid outings at a few events coming up – one of them being PTQ in New Hampshire the last day of the season.


It’s at these outings where I’ll try my luck with Tron. Hopefully I’ll have more to report on the deck then.


Mailbag Time!

Here on “This week in Magic” I’m going to try something new. Earlier this week I posted on all of the various Battleground Games & Hobbies social media accounts that I’d be holding a mailbag session for this week’s article. Let’s just say I’m happy I got a few submissions. So without further ado, let’s get to them.


This first question comes from Aaron. He writes:


Dear Simeon,

I know you have been doing well recently with Mono Red decks in both Standard and Modern, but what drew you to the color in the first place? Was it just purely for budget?


Good question Aaron. To tell you the truth, I have always considered myself more of a midrange player. There was a time where I thought I was a decent player, and had some success to back it up. That was during a time when I was playing “Esper Lark.” If you ask some of my other friends, they’d say I had some success with another deck called “Boat Brew.” This was a Boros aggro deck that flooded the board with Kithkins and Goblins and aimed at making them really big.




However, I’ve never really played a Mono Red deck. It was always too aggressive for my playstyle. I guess over the years it may have evolved into that. As far as Red being a budget deck, for Modern that is a big reason why I chose the deck. Fetchlands are very expensive right now thanks to the popularity of the Modern format. If Mono Red Burn didn’t have the success it had, I would not have had this much to write about.


As far as it being what I played in Standard, it’s something that was under the radar at the time. Thanks to that reason, playing the deck was more on the affordable side in Standard. At the same time, I should add that the deck is a lot of fun to play. I’m not sure I can say it’s the real deal right now. It’s only been out a few weeks. Although, it’s solid outting at the recent SCG Open shows that it could be here to stay. That is until it rotates out of Standard in October.


The next question comes from a player named Micah. He wrote:


Dear Simeon,

Why do you enjoy Modern so much?


That’s a fair question Micah. I like Modern because of it’s diversity. There are so many decks in the format that could win a tournament on a given day. This past weekend, there was a deck that play Generator Servant (a new creature from M15). The point of this deck was to get out a turn three Master of Cruelties. Yes, you heard me right. This is something you’d see in Standard, probably. However, here it was, doing well at a Modern PTQ. I don’t know how it finished, but it was sitting around the top tables for a bit.


Another example of diversity in Modern was a Mono Blue/ Turbo-Fog deck. Talk about annoying to play against, but I’m sure it was a lot of fun to play. This deck played cards like Gigadrowse to tap your opponent’s permanents, Exhaust to tap your opponent’s lands, and then take numerous turns with spells like Time Warp. How did it win? With Laboratory Maniac of course!


laboratory maniac


Our final question comes from someone who wishes to be called, “Puntmastr 4K.” He wrote:


Dear Simeon,

First of all, I’m a big fan of your writing. This is a two-part question. First, how does Scapeshift work? Secondly, assuming you’re using Scapeshift to get Valakut out, how exactly does the combo work?


Thanks for writing in “Puntmastr 4K.” That is an excellent question. So, Scapeshift is a sorcery speed spell from Morningtide that costs 2-colorless mana and 2-Green mana to cast. It allows the caster to sacrifice any number of lands from their battlefield, and then get that many lands from his or her library and put them into play. Don’t forget to shuffle your library afterwards!




To answer the second part of your question, if you get Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and enough Mountains, you can actually kill your opponent. So how does it work? Well, if your opponent is still at 20 life, you’ll need at least eight lands. The kind of lands you sacrifice doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you search your deck for two Valakuts and six Mountains. I’m not going to get too detailed with the timing and rules, but remember to have eight lands if your opponent is still around 20 life. With two Valakuts and six Mountains, this would deal 36 damage to your opponent.


Now of course, this can all change depending on how much your opponent has shocked or bolted themselves. In Modern, this is something that occurs all the time. In the event your opponent has hurt themselves because of fetchlands and shocklands, then you may only need seven lands to combo with. Here you would need a Valakut and six Mountains. This would deal 18 damage to your opponent.




Well, that’s it for now. I hope you all enjoyed this week’s column, and more importantly, I hope you all enjoyed this Mailbag. If you want to participate in the next Mailbag, then send your questions to I would love to answer your questions.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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