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Deck Spotlight - Next Level Junk

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In many old religions and mythologies, the end of December is the time of birth, of new beginnings, when the new life cycle is starting, and when we bury the past and start with something fresh. We at the Blackborder decided to follow this tradition and offer you, our dear readers, something new. We present you with a series of articles that will be called 'Deck Spotlight' and will be slightly shorter, easier to digest articles that take a look at a specific deck and discuss/analyze it. You might get some interesting ideas for new decks, or just new looks at old decks, but it should be interesting.

Deck Spotlight: Next level Junk

I must admit, I wanted to start off this series with a Standard deck, but as I mentioned in my last article, Standard isn't at its most exciting right now. This seems to be the general opinion of the community judging by the recent twitter fiasco, so I delved a bit deeper and brought you a Modern deck that is far more interesting than anything I can think of in Standard right now.

Without further ado: Modern Next level Junk

Next Level Junk

Smuggler's Copter
Versions:
Kaladesh (Foil)

This is a list played by the Macedonian and Serbian teams in the unified Modern format at the World Magic Cup that placed Macedonia in the top 16. Having talked to the players playing and designing the deck, I have inside info in how the deck came to be and how different the deck would be if it was played in the regular Modern format, and not in the unified format at the WMC.

Martin Nanik, a Macedonian player who was one of the players who designed the deck told me that the main idea was to build a deck that has a very strong game against Infect, Affinity and especially Dredge, while also having a good chance against a completely unknown field. What better way to combat an unknown field than playing a turn 1 discard spell and turn two Tarmogoyf? This is also the main reason why there are four Thoughtseize in the main deck, since they wanted to be ready for everything, they didn't want to run the usual four Inquisition of Kozilek that you can often see in the B/G/X lists in Modern.

The usual catch-all package of discard is complemented by the infamous removal duo of Abrupt Decay and Path to Exile. While Path to Exile is an amazing removal that deals with pretty much anything, Abrupt Decay is a bit more limited, but still has plenty of applications. Even though there is no more Splinter Twin around, some matchups are still heavily swayed by the uncounterable B/G instant. There is also a one-of Maelstrom Pulse that is a signature catch-pretty-much-all removal designated as a destroyer of random Worships, Dragonforms, and/or Planeswalkers that you weren't really expecting, but it is always good to have a backup plan, just in case.

The creature suite is where things get a bit weird. Besides the usual playset of Tarmogoyfs, we have Elves of Deep Shadow, three Anafenza, the Foremost and only two Siege Rhinos? First off, let's address the Elves - certainly there is a better one-drop? Birds of Paradise, or even Noble Hierarch should do the job better, right? Maybe, but this deck runs Smuggler's Copter and neither Birds nor Hierarch can crew it, so Elves were the ones that were picked more for their piloting skills rather than their mana producing ability. Llanowar Elves are also a contender, but black mana is far more important than a second green in the deck. Anafenza, the Foremost is not a card that saw a ton of Modern play, but with the recent resurgence of the Dredge decks, Anafenza is once more a great three drop and a perfect two drop. It is not only great against Dredge, but it also helps against other strategies that use the graveyard, and it doubles up as a great clock that is immune to Anger of the Gods and Lightning Bolt.

Siege Rhino is familiar to all of you, I believe, but why only two? It seems logical that with 23 lands where you discard a lot of them to Smuggler's Copter and Liliana you don't want to be drawing too many Rhinos. Lastly, some creatures that aren't really creatures: Lingering Souls is an obvious addition to every Junk deck, since it is a very good card against both Infect and Affinity that are very popular in Modern right now, albeit a bit slow, combined with the discard and removal, it is a great way to progress to the late game. It has great synergy with Smuggler's Copter, both as crew material and discard fodder. Last but not least, we have Dryad Arbor, a fetchable pilot for the Copter is something your opponent might not expect when he attacks for the win.

This leaves us with two Liliana of the Veil, which is a Modern staple, but is somewhat slow in the format lately and in this deck got substituted by the three Smuggler's Copter. Copter is doing everything for this deck - it filters your draw so you don't get stuck with a ton of discard or land in the late game, while it also puts on pressure when you are ahead and provides a flying blocker when you are behind. It performs very well in this deck and I have no doubt that it will see more Modern play in time.

The mana base is, as Nanik said, perfect. They only considered cutting one fetchland and going down to 22 lands while upping the number of threats (Liliana, the Last Hope) since the only weak point of the deck was flooding out from time to time.

The sideboard is a pretty straightforward affair - four Leyline of the Void for the Dredge matchup, four Fulminator Mage for Tron/Scapeshift (and even Infect), three Stony Silence for Affinity/Lantern, Blessed Alliance and Night of Souls' Betrayal for Infect/Bogles and two Gideon for grindy matchups. In retrospect, Sorin, the Solemn Visitor would have been a better choice than Gideon since it doubles up as a great burn sideboard card, but the card wasn't on the radar during the deck creation. These colors have the access to the best sideboard cards so feel free to modify it for your local meta!

Conclusion

This might seem like an odd deck at first, but it really isn't any different than any other B/G/x 'I play all the best cards' deck. This one is just better adjusted to the current metagame. The game plan is still a pretty simple job of disrupting whatever your opponent is trying to do while bashing him with some pretty great creatures. This time around, these creatures are doing far more than just bashing, with Anafenza disrupting your opponent and Smuggler's Copter progressing your own plan. Remember that this deck was prepared for a random field heavy with Infect and Dredge and has great matchups against those decks. If your metagame isn't sporting any of those, maybe try modifying it to battle what you need it to battle. B/G/x is certainly a very diverse beast.

Good luck and have fun!

Stjepan Sučić
Stjepan Sucic

About Stjepan Sučić

Stjepan started his Magic career in 2003, and had some decent finishes over the years, including a World Magic Cup top 8, Pro Tour and Worlds top 32 finishes, and a GP top 8, with 61 pro points total.

During the summer months he is also a Magic Online grinder who you can easily find in the draft queues. Stjepan boasts a 74% win rate in his real life Magic career. When he is not playing Magic, Stjepan enjoys watching Starcraft and playing MOBA games.

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