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Tales of the Squire- Modern Gentlemen

 

by Dan Rae

Here are the facts people- Modern exists as a format and it actually does not suck, like a lot of people say.  Modern at the moment may not be the most played form at but it is still fairly new in the Magical world.  When Modern came out Wizards banned cards that they felt were going to be too good, and tried to avoid the possibility of the format just being all the best Standard decks.  In order to do that they banned cards like Bitterblossom, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Stoneforge Mystic.  These bannings may have been a bit premature, but hey, it happened. I don’t want to go into any of the bannings and such but I do want to talk about the deck I have been playing and want to know what all of you lovely people have been playing. I bet Ken Adams is running some sweet combo tech that no one can beat; I know I sure can’t handle his wind pants aggro.

When the format came about and shock lands sky rocketed in price I knew right away I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a mana base.  I scrounged the forums and found an Enduring Ideal list that I thought would be fun to play, and it only ran six shocks and eight fetch lands. Here is the list I am running currently:

 

 

Instants/Sorceries:

4 Enduring Ideal
2 Dovescape
4 Seething Song
4 Serum Visions
3 Sleight of Hand
2 Peer Through Depths
4 Remand
3 Mana Leak

 

 

Enchantments:

3 Form of the Dragon

2 Meishin, the Mind Cage

2 Oblivion Ring
1 Blood Moon

 

Artifacts:

4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism

 

Basic Land:

2 Plains
2 Island
2 Mountain

 

Non-Basic Land:

Steam Vents
Arid Mesa
Scalding Tarn
Hallowed Fountain

The sideboard is inconclusive at the moment but the cards I do know I want to have in there are:

 

3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Ghostly Prison
1 Phyrexian Unlife

 

The way this deck works is to resolve Enduring Ideal as quickly as possible and get the right enchantment to shut down your opponent completely.  It gets tricky sometimes seeing which enchantment is the right one to get (I have lost before due to grabbing the wrong card, it happens) but most of the time if you just think it through you can make the play.  I really do like this deck because it attacks your opponent in a completely different way and if they are not expecting a lot of enchantments they may have nothing to beat your deck.  Before the second wave of bannings though, the deck was much faster and could go off by turn 4 consistently, but now that the deck lost 8 cantrips (4 Ponder and 4 Preordain) I changed it around to be a little more controlling to handle those pesky spells your opponent wants to play.  A lot of times people will just run out their non-basics and be stopped dead in their tracks by a Blood Moon with no way to answer it other than drawing their basics.  The deck may need to run a couple more lands because it lost some explosive power, but so far it has played just fine with the list above.  From scouting at Jupiter I noticed that half of the field was going to be artifact based aggro decks, so I put two Stony Silence in the sideboard and that card may also be quite good in the Modern meta game by shutting down lands and any equipment decks may run.  I got to test against a few players at Jupiter and I want to discuss the match ups.  First I faced the almighty Kaiser running Melira combo. Here is the list he ran:

 

 

Melira Combo:

4 Birds of Paradise
3 Viscera Seer
1 Noble Hierarch
4 Wall of Roots
2 Tidehollow Sculler
3 Melira, Slyvok Outcast
1 Spellskite
4 Kitchen Finks
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Eternal Witness
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Nekrataal
1 Reveillark
1 Body Double
1 Sun Titan

 

Instants/Sorceries:

3 Chord of Calling

 

Artifacts:

4 Birthing Pod

 

Basic Land:

5 Forest
2 Swamp

 

Non-Basic Land:

4 Misty Rainforest
2 Temple Garden
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Breeding Pool
2 Godless Shrine
4 Verdant Catacombs

 

 

 

If you don’t know how this deck works it basically resolves Melira and then gains infinite life using Viscera Seer and Kitchen Finks or does infinite damage with Seer and Murderous Redcap. While playing against this deck I honestly did not know there was Birthing Pod in it.  We played probably about five games and he never saw a Pod.  You would think that is good for me but in honestly didn’t matter.  The deck seemed to draw great otherwise and he was able to beat me in the majority of the games.  We did not play any side boarded games and I think bringing in Leyline and possibly cards like Flashfreeze, then Ideal could take down more of the games.  I think the other problem was I could never manage to draw an Ideal and go off quickly in any of the games.  If I did manage to stick an enchantment, Harmonic Sliver would come down and hurt my feelings.  It’s okay though, I got my revenge in pack wars in which I received multiple inappropriate gestures.

 

While Kaiser was crushing me, the Jupiter Games dragon Ryan McKinney was building a U/B deck to throw at Enduring Ideal.  Here is Ryan’s list:

 

 

Creatures:

4 Dark Confidant
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Vendilion Clique

 

Instants/Sorceries:

2 Cryptic Command
3 Mana Leak
2 Remand
3 Spell Snare
4 Serum Visions
2 Doom Blade
1 Damnation
2 Dismember
1 Smother

 

Artifacts:

2 Vedalken Shackles 

 

Planeswalkers:

2 Liliana of the Veil 

 

Basic Land:

5 Island
2 Swamp

 

Non-Basic Land:

4 Watery Grave
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Marsh Flats
4 Mutavault

 

 

Ryan’s list is pretty solid in my opinion but he said he wasn’t sure how it would do against the aggro decks in the format.  But that is what testing is for.  As you can see, Ryan has six dead cards vs. my deck- creature removal.  A lot of decks in the format will have dead cards to Ideal because of Ideal’s lack of creatures.  Ryan’s only out to a resolved enchantment or Enduring Ideal is Cryptic Command which can bounce the relevant enchantment and just swing in for the win.  We played a few mainboard only games and both of our decks just went draw go.  It seemed again that Ideal did not want to show up in my hand at all.  Trust me readers, Enduring Ideal is not a complete pile.  I just had poor draws and when I did have the chance to go off on turn 3 or 4 against Ryan I usually waited because I knew he ran plenty of counters.  I found that Ryan’s deck did not put a lot of pressure on and I could just build up mana in the form Lotus Blooms, Pentad Prisms, and Seething songs and just have enough mana to cast Ideal, and pay any counters needed, or cast counters of my own.  Drawing the one of Blood Moon also proved to be horrendous for Ryan.  I definitely think my deck gets better during side boarded games because of Boseiju.  I will gladly pay 2 life to guarantee my Enduring Ideal resolves.  The games between Ryan and I seemed pretty 50/50 but I think if we played more I would be favored.  I lost a game because after I resolved Ideal, I grabbed Form of the Dragon first and dropped my life to 5. Ryan cast Cryptic Command and bounced the Form, animated his Mutavault and beat in with that and Vendillion Clique.  My life total was high enough that I should have gotten Dovescape in order to shut of all of the answers in is deck, but honestly, I forgot that Cryptic Command could bounce a permanent.  Them are the breaks; luckily it was only in testing.

 

I have also taken Enduring Ideal against a few others decks.  I faced a Zoo list back when Green Sun Zenith was still in the format and to no surprise Qasali Pridemage was a pain for the deck.  Zoo can be fast but also a mind cage would neutralize all of their creatures and they would need to find an answer or burn me out as soon as possible.  Ideal seemed to do quite well against Zoo and I’m sure the Ghostly Prisons from the sideboard would be super helpful.

 

Another deck I faced was Living End piloted by my friend Phil and I would like to think Ideal is highly favored in this match up.  This match up was in an actual tournament and in game 1, I just went off on turn 4 and once I grabbed Form of the Dragon, my opponent knew it was over and picked them up.  I knew Phil has Krosan Grip in his side board so like a bad player I sided in Ghostly Prisons and Flashfreezes.  Yeah, forgot about the whole “Split Second, not able to cast a counter” part of Krosan Grip. (I swear I’m not a horrible player all the time).  In games 2 and 3 I ran out Ghostly Prisons early and Phil wrecked them immediately with his grips.  My cantrips also served to be worthless as I could never find an Ideal in any of the early turns.  Phil did take down the round but I do think that Ideal can beat the deck if I had a proper sideboard and didn’t play poorly.

 

Overall Enduring Ideal is a fun deck and it can be very powerful.  I think the deck needs some more cantrips, or possibly different ones.  I want to test Think Twice in the deck and try to add one more land.  I find that the Oblivion Rings are nice but I don’t use them as often as I would like.  I will continue to grind with this deck through Modern tournaments and try to keep optimizing the deck.  So let me know in the comments what you are playing in Modern or if you have card options for my Enduring Ideal deck I would love to hear them.

 

Follow me on Twitter @rocketrae21


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