Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2019

16th June 2019

Games Haven Paya Lebar

It was the Sunday of the Modern Horizons release and 43 players appeared on the horizon to do battle and participate in unfolding the new Modern metagame! With War of the Spark printing so many Modern-relevant playables, and Modern Horizons injecting cards directly into Modern, there has been an undercurrent of excitement running under our community to see how greatly the format would be shaken up in our small corner of the world Magic community. Early impressions from pros and influencers across the world as well as Magic Online already identified a few high-profile format shakers, and we were eager to see it play out in reality in the shop. All in all, it was a really interesting day, and MH does indeed look like it has shaken things up at least a bit (but probably quite a lot).

Besides Burn, there is the OTHER Lightning Bolt deck, Arclight Phoenix. Modern Arclight Phoenix puts its Standard counterpart to shame with sheer speed, power, and a resilience that you never would have expected out of a deck so far removed from the Abzan wedge. Phoenix builds on Sunday were mainly of two kinds, an Izzet version closer to the pre-MH build, and a mono-red one that had been sneakily rising in popularity before the MH release, and got solidified after with the addition of a few spicy new commons. And as we know, a lot of Red's power lies in their commons.

UR Phoenix builds have Fiery Islet as their go-to MH inclusion, but otherwise the build is roughly the same. Thing in the Ice and Blue allow for a strong sideboard game and a resilience against Surgical Extraction. Mono-Red, however, is enjoying a vast upgrade, and only from commons. Lava Dart and Shenanigans were criminally underrated locally, and the Phoenix players were vindicated in their faithful looting of playsets from the draft chaff. Both commons are cheap to cast, have effects the deck cares about, and recur themselves to allow you to keep on bringing back Arclight Phoenix again, and again, and again. No need to worry about blindly flashback-ing Faithless Looting, the available options now are incredible. Not to mention the return of an old flame ported over from the Mardu Pyromancer deck, Bedlam Reveler.

It would be remiss, of course, not to mention the boogeyman in the room, the new and arisen Bridgevine. The consistency issues from its older self are now almost nonexistent, and the weakness against targeted graveyard hate is now mitigated. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is yet another bullet for the internet keyboard warriors who claim that Delve is a broken mechanic, and its ability to be casted from the graveyard makes it even stronger. Delve by itself would probably have made Hogaak just another card, but its combination with Convoke makes its "drawback" almost nonexistent with the tools available to us in Modern. Targeting Hogaak with Surgical Extraction doesn't even help much either, the deck is resilient to any hate weaker than Leyline of the Void and is capable of performing even when slowed down. Whether the deck is ban-worthy or not is a topic beyond the expertise of this writer, but before we grab the pitchforks, it would be wise to increase our data sample. Or maybe ask Kelvin Chew. 

As players invested in Magic's ability to keep itself fresh, it was heartening to see how Modern Horizons affected the archetypes already present. Regardless of performance, it was refreshing to feel the electrifying charge of brewery behind every little tweak to deck builds. From high-profile attempts like trying to make Thopter Sword infinite on the back of one expensive mythic rare like Urza, High Lord Artificer or bringing UW Control one step closer to Legacy with Force of Negation; to little "I can't believe I've played Modern for this long without this card being legal!" additions like Aria of Flame into Storm, or Pillage into Ponza. And, of course, Slivers. A very big shout out to you, Bryan Lim, for attempting what a huge subset of us secretly wants to see flourish in Modern. The Hive applauds your efforts.

What of the old guard? Fascinatingly, the largest hole in our turnout was Tron, which presented a whopping zero decks for the day. Other than that stunning occurrence, the rest of the tables were sprinkled with the holdouts from the diverse Modern metagame we have come to know and love. Burn was a no-brainer presence, with Lightning Bolt still Singapore's favourite card (rightfully so). UW Control have differing numbers of Teferi, Narset, Jace and Vendilion Clique that no two builds feel the same, which is quite amazing when one considers that being on the receiving end of a stabilized UW Control deck ALWAYS feels the same (hint: refer to the cardname of a certain black MH card that can be casted for free if it's not your turn). Pictured above, we had a surprising number of Valakut decks, and thinking on it, it was probably due to the ability to maindeck Anger of the Gods for those pesky Vengevines and Bloodghasts. We then rounded off the entire ensemble with a small peppering of decks such as Amulet Titan, YOLO One, Devoted Druid combo, Zombies (wow!) and a Jeskai Flash deck that simply has to be mentioned because it was lovingly named "Jeskai Ah Boys to Men".

Ultimately, against the gauntlet of matchups that emerged from the horizon, our winner at sunset was the one, the only, the completely expected Kelvin Chew! He took a deck that we haven't seen in a while in Modern, brought it through an Eldritch Evolution, and following his speedy victory, posted his decklist on Twitter for all his adherents to examine. Him having won the event, what better way to lead into the Top 8 decklists than with a quote from Kelvin?

Unfortunate victim: "Phew so fast... Turn 3 finish!" 

Kelvin: "That's Modern!"

Top 8 Decklists

1st Place - Kelvin Chew

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Devoted Druid Combo

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Eladamri's Call, enables me to search for missing combo pieces.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Postmortem Lunge. I combo'd off after a Supreme Verdict.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Not drawing Devoted Druid.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Killing my own Devoted Druid and returning it with haste using Postmortem Lunge to combo off.

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Giver of Runes. The best start is T1 Giver of Runes into T2 Devoted Druid.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

Jin ho jiak.

 

Devoted Druid Combo - Main Deck

4x Misty Rainforest

4x Snow-Covered Forest

4x Horizon Canopy

2x Temple Garden

4x Windswept Heath

1x Overgrown Tomb

2x Snow-Covered Plains

4x Giver of Runes

1x Shalai, Voice of Plenty

4x Vizier of Remedies

1x Walking Ballista

2x Duskwatch Recruiter

4x Devoted Druid

2x Eternal Witness

2x Noble Hierarch

4x Birds of Paradise

4x Finale of Devastation

4x Incubation//Incongruity

3x Postmortem Lunge

4x Eladamri's Call

Sideboard

2x Thrun, the Last Troll

4x Thoughtseize

3x Path to Exile

1x Tireless Tracker

1x Knight of Autumn

3x Ravenous Trap

1x Gaddock Teeg

2nd Place - Wu Yi Kai

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
4C Storm [sic]

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Noxious Revival

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Ravenous Trap. Can kill graveyard.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Not drawing lands.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

None.

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Shenanigans.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

Ho jiak.

 

Storm - Main Deck

4x Steam Vents

4x Spirebluff Canal

3x Shivan Reef

1x Fiery Islet

2x Island

2x Snow-Covered Island

1x Mountain

3x Goblin Electromancer

4x Baral, Chief of Compliance

4x Serum Visions

3x Opt

3x Sleight of Hand

2x Remand

1x Unsubstantiate

1x Noxious Revival

4x Pyretic Ritual

4x Desperate Ritual

4x Manamorphose

4x Gifts Ungiven

2x Past in Flames

2x Grapeshot

1x Repeal

1x Peer Through Depths

Sideboard

3x Pieces of the Puzzle

2x Aria of Flame

2x Empty the Warrens

1x Echoing Truth

2x Ravenous Trap

1x Flame Slash

2x Lightning Bolt

1x Abrade

1x Shenanigans

Top 4 - Ian Teoh

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Boros Burn

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Searing Blazes and Searing Bloods. Killing the creature while still dealing damage to face

wins games.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Path to Exile. Path to Exile targeting Hogaak saves 8 points of damage.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

My deck has no interaction against combo, especially Bridgevine. I also need to get

used to playing with Sunbaked Canyon.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

My opponent's Nature's Claim in response to my Smash to Smithereens saved him a lot of damage from me.

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Sunbaked Canyon! Makes my late game better!

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

Mai jiak. Bad for me as I have no true outs.

 

Boros Burn – Main Deck

3x Wooded Foothills

3x Bloodstained Mire

3x Arid Mesa

3x Sacred Foundry

2x Inspiring Vantage

3x Sunbaked Canyon

3x Mountain

4x Goblin Guide

4x Monastery Swiftspear

1x Grim Lavamancer

4x Eidolon of the Great Revel

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Lava Spike

3x Skewer the Critics

2x Rift Bolt

4x Searing Blaze

4x Boros Charm

3x Lightning Helix

3x Skullcrack

 

Sideboard

3x Smash to Smithereens

2x Path to Exile

2x Searing Blood

2x Kor Firewalker

2x Rest in Peace

1x Relic of Progenitus

1x Risk Factor

1x Skullcrack

1x Grim Lavamancer

"Aiya lost to Kelvin Chew"

-caption added by request

Top 4 - Andrew Lakondegai Sim

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Red Phoenix

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Finale of Promise

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Forked Bolt, got rid of pesky blockers.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Facing the mirror match.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Opponent used 4 Martyr of Sands to drag our game.

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Lava Dart, enables Phoenix and kills opponents out of nowhere.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

HO!!!

 

Mono Red Phoenix - Main Deck

10x Mountain

4x Wooded Foothills

4x Bloodstained Mire

4x Soul-Scar Mage

4x Monastery Swiftspear

4x Arclight Phoenix

3x Gut Shot

3x Lava Dart

3x Forked Bolt

3x Lava Spike

2x Finale of Promise

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Manamorphose

4x Faithless Looting

4x Light Up the Stage

Sideboard

3x Abrade

3x Seasoned Pyromancer

2x Blood Moon

2x Kozilek's Return

2x Ravenous Trap

2x Noxious Revival

1x Force of Vigor

Top 8 - Joseph Tan Boon Kiat

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Red Phoenix

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Phoenix!!

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Lava Dart.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Getting the right amount of land!

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Hojiak deck is overrated!

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Can-lands!

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

Mai jiak! For sure!

Mono Red Phoenix - Main Deck

15x Mountain

1x Sunbaked Canyon

1x Fiery Islet

4x Soul-Scar Mage

4x Monastery Swiftspear

4x Arclight Phoenix

2x Bedlam Reveler

3x Gut Shot

2x Lava Dart

2x Forked Bolt

4x Lava Spike

2x Finale of Promise

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Manamorphose

4x Faithless Looting

4x Light Up the Stage

Sideboard

4x Leyline of the Void

3x Abrade

2x Blood Moon

2x Eidolon of the Great revel

1x Grim Lavamancer

3x Dragon's Claw

 

Old photo reused

Top 8 - David Tan

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Hogaak Bridgevine

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

HOGAAK!!!

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

HOGAAK!!!!!

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

NO HOGAAK!!!!!!!

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Land, elf, untap, land, 3-drop, die.

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

HOGAAK!!!!!!!!!

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

FKIN HO JIAK

 

Hogaak Bridgevine - Main Deck

4x Blackcleave Cliffs

4x Blood Crypt

4x Bloodstained Mire

1x Godless Shrine

1x Marsh Flats

4x Polluted Delta

1x Swamp

4x Bloodghast

4x Carrion Feeder

4x Gravecrawler

4x Insolent Neonate

4x Stitcher's Supplier

4x Vengevine

4x Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

4x Faithless Looting

1x Necrotic Wound

4x Altar of Dementia

4x Bridge from Below

Sideboard

2x Ingot Chewer

4x Leyline of the Void

2x Necrotic Wound

1x Shenanigans

2x Thoughtseize

4x Wispmare

Top 8 - Tay Wen Kai

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Izzet Phoenix

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Thing in the Ice. Help clear all the Zombies.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Lava Dart. Helps clear stuff even when not enough mana.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Not drawing lands.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

The Mono White Martyrproc mirror. [Editor's Note: WHICH, by the way, gave GH their first ever unintentional 0-0 draw]

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Not Hogaak.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

No.

UR Phoenix - Main Deck

4x Scalding Tarn

2x Flooded Strand

2x Steam Vents

1x Sulfur Falls

4x Spirebluff Canal

3x Snow-Covered Island

2x Snow-Covered Mountain

4x Arclight Phoenix

4x Thing in the Ice//Awoken Horror

1x Crackling Drake

4x Serum Visions

4x Sleight of Hand

4x Manamorphose

4x Thought Scour

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Faithless Looting

2x Lava Dart

2x Surgical Extraction

1x Magmatic Sinkhole

1x Finale of Promise

1x Echoing Truth

2x Pyromancer Ascension

Sideboard

1x Surgical Extraction

1x Ravenous Trap

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Spell Pierce

1x Dispel

1x Anger of the Gods

1x Beacon Bolt

2x Abrade

2x Blood Moon

1x Saheeli, Sublime Artificer

2x Alpine Moon

Top 8 - Calvin Chen

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Arclight Red

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

I want to say my Snow-Covered Mountains because I got to cast spells. Hardcast

Arclight Phoenix FTW.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Should be Lava Dart, hides in graveyard to sneak shot opponents, and counts as two

spells in a card, makes Young Pyro triggers too good.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Running only 18 lands does give a higher mulligan rate. My loss was to mull to 5 and mull to 6 against Jeskai.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

I took 12 damage from a Farseek, figure it out. [Editor's Note: A clue to that lies in the writeup.]

 

What is your favourite Modern Horizons card, and why?

Lightning Skelemental!!! It's my favourite colour combination of Rakdos. One hit and the opponent is so far back.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis - ho jiak, or mai jiak?

Never met.

Mono Red Phoenix - Main Deck

16x Snow-Covered Mountain

2x Prismatic Vista

4x Monastery Swiftspear

4x Young Pyromancer

4x Arclight Phoenix

2x Bedlam Reveler

4x Faithless Looting

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Lava Spike

4x Lava Dart

4x Gut Shot

4x Manamorphose

2x Light Up the Stage

2x Finale of Promise

Sideboard

3x Blood Moon

2x Grim Lavamancer

3x Abrade

2x Rending Volley

2x Dragon's Claw

3x Tormod's Crypt