gpkc13

Manfield is the Rite Man for Kansas City!

  • Print

The letter G!oing into Grand Prix Kansas City, many players had Melira-Pod on their mind as the Modern deck that should be on everyone's radar. As the weekend and tournament has come to a close, it was Seth Manfield who reminded players about why Melira, Sylvok Outcast and her motley crew of misfits should not be taken lightly.

Manfield's Melira-Pod deck conquered one opponent after another all weekend. Its ability to assemble an unbeatable sequence of creatures, along with Birthing Pod's general utility to find the right creature for the right job, served him well time and time again. It was in the Semifinals against Robert Berni, playing Splinter Twin, that the toolbox aspect of Manfield's deck let him find the right tool for the job in Spellskite, stopping Berni's Splinter Twin combo cold and giving Manfield enough time to assemble a victory.

In the finals, Manfield kept his sights on target against Joe Hemmann's monstrously consistent Living End deck, keeping pace with all of Hemmann's Fulminator Mages, Avalanche Riders, and monsters as he slowly crept back into the first game to assemble a lethal board of Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer, and Murderous Redcap courtesy in part to Reveillark. Tight play, and an unexpected outcome, allowed Manfield to win his second Grand Prix title.

Modern has shaped itself up to be a diverse format where anything can happen. Cards work in many wonderful ways when allowed to run in an open-ended format such as this one. Kansas City has set the current stage for the format, and has once again cemented Birthing Pod's place as one of Modern's most defining decks.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Robert Berni   Robert Berni, 2-1        
8 Greg Ogreenc   Seth Manfield, 2-0
       
4 Seth Manfield   Seth Manfield, 2-0   Seth Manfield, 2-1
5 Brandon Nelson    
       
2 Scott Hoppe   Scott Hoppe, 2-0
7 Casey Swanson   Joe Hemmann, 2-0
       
3 Joe Hemmann   Joe Hemmann, 2-1
6 Ari Lax    









  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Kansas City provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, and Ben Swartz. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.




EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Top 5 Cards
    Top 5 Cards of GP Kansas City 2013

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Finals
    Joe Hemmann (Living End) vs. Seth Manfield (Melira Pod)

  • by Nate Price
    Semifinals
    Robert Berni (UR Twin) vs. Seth Manfield (Melira Pod)

  • by Nate Price
    Quarterfinals
    Casey Swanson (UWR Twin) vs. Scott Hoppe (Scapeshift)

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Quarterfinals
    Robert Berni (UR Twin) vs. Greg Ogreenc (Burn)

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Top 8 Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    GP KC13 Top 8 Profiles

  • by Nate Price
    Top 16 Decklists
    Top 16 Decklists of GP Kansas City 2013

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Seth Manfield $3,500
 2.  Joe Hemmann $2,300
 3.  Robert Berni $1,500
 4.  Scott Hoppe $1,500
 5.  Brandon Nelson $1,000
 6.  Ari Lax $1,000
 7.  Casey Swanson $1,000
 8.  Greg Ogreenc $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

15
14
13
12
11
10
15
14
13
12
11
10
15
14
13
12
11
10

9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

 

  • Top 16 Decklists of GP Kansas City 2013

    by Nate Price

  • Tyler Lytle
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City


    Jeff Hoogland
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City


    David Sharfman Scapeshift
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City


    Noah Whinston
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City


    Matthias Hunt
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City


    Derrick Steele
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City



    Todd Anderson's Reanimator
    Top 16 Decklists - GP Kansas City





     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Scott Hoppe

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Columbus, NE
    Occupation: IT Specialist


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Won a PTQ for Pro Tour Dublin

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Scapeshift. It's proactive and consistent.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – TronWorst – Jund

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    Zero changes.

    What card do you most want to play in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Bloodbraid Elf

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Nothing of note.




    Robert Berni

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Austin, TX
    Occupation: Operations Manager


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Some things happened here and there.

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Splinter Twin. The state of Oklahoma suggested it.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    The deck is its own best/worst matchup.

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    I would make all of my Boomerangs the same picture...

    What card do you most want to play in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or Stoneforge Mystic!!!

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    One of my opponents Remanded my Dispel during a counter war and then lost the following turn because I was able to cast Dispel.




    Seth Manfield

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Chevy Chase, MD
    Occupation: Finishing up school


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Won GP Daytona Beach, Top 16 Worlds '09, won "Win Gold" tournament

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose to play it?
    Melira Pod. I wanted an interactive deck.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – Burn, MonowhiteWorst – Tron, Storm

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    I would probably cut the Spellskite from the maindeck and play the fourth Voice of Resurgence.

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Shardless Agent

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Someone went from having just a Wall of Roots and Birthing Pod in play to comboing off and winning with no cards in hand.




    Greg Ogreenc

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Occupation: Computer Programmer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    High GP Day 2 percentage, virtually nothing else.

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Burn. No predators in the format after the Eggs banning.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – Decks that start at 14 life from their lands.Worst – Goryo's Revenge and other combo decks

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make to it (if any)?
    None

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Wasteland

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Chalice of the Void for one and another on two (against Burn)




    Brandon Nelson

    Age: 28
    Hometown: St. Paul, MN
    Occupation: Web Design


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 4 US Nationals '11, 26th PT RTR, 3 SCG T8s

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    UWR America Control – Alex Oleson convinced me it was the best.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – Pod decks.Worst – the mirror.

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make to it (if any)?
    None, I liked every card

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Ancestral Visions

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Jimmy Berg giving a 15 minute discussion on playing Monored Burn.




    Joe Hemmann

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Occupation: Database Report Writer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Qualified for US Nationals several years ago, a few PTQ Top 8s

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Living End. It's fun and has good matchups against a lot in the format. Also poorly understood by a lot of players.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – Any aggro deck that can't win by turn four.Worst – Storm, Affinity, turn four Burn

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make to it (if any)?
    Drop the fourth Trap from the board. Brindle Boar might be better than Spike Feeder

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Chrome Mox

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Winning a match attacking with Simian Spirit Guide.




    Ari Lax

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Boston, MA
    Occupation: Electrical Engineer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    2 PT T16s, 5 prior GP T8s, demonstrated ability to count to 10.

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Kiki Pod, very fun, very good, and very experienced with it.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best – Martyr, Hatebears, Tokens (white creatures)Worst – Twin, Burn, Scapeshift are all real close (interactive combos)

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make to it (if any)?
    Unsure. Have to figure out how to solve the fact that Phantasmal Image no longer kills LGeist of Saint Traft and Linvala, Keeper of Silence.

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Give me Bitterblossom for one event and I'll show you why it is banned...

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Was targeting my own Image as a Reveillark to loop stuff. Cox could have then combed with his Metamorph copying my Image but missed it.




    Casey Swanson

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
    Occupation:Web Developer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Fall 2012 State Champion, Spring 2013 States Top 8

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    UWR Twin. It's the kind of deck that I like to play and it seemed like it had a lot of synergies.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Honestly not sure. Strong disruption?

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make to it (if any)?
    Suggested Cryptic Commands in the sideboard.

    What card do you most want to play with in Modern that isn't Modern legal?
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    What is the most interesting thing you saw happen all weekend?
    Making Top 8 for me was the most interesting.






     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Robert Berni
    Modern – Grand Prix Kansas City


    Scott Hoppe
    Modern – Grand Prix Kansas City











     

  • Quarterfinals - Robert Berni (UR Twin) vs. Greg Ogreenc (Burn)

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Despite immense effort, and some very sick headgames and acting that got him through to the third game in the face of thousands of faerie tokens, Greg Ogreenc's burn deck fell to Robert Berni's blue-red Splinter Twin deck in three games in their quarterfinal match.

    The first game did not go well for Ogreenc, who was on the draw and promptly died, despite having a fast start, to Berni's unforgiving turn four combo of Deceiver Exarch into Splinter Twin.


    Robert Berni

    In the second game, things changed, as Berni pulled the trigger a little early on a Boomerang targeting one of Ogreenc's two Blood Crypts.

    "I probably should have waited until I had five mana so I could Boomerang one black source and then Pestermite the other, so my play was a little greedy," said Berni after the match. "At the same time, if I wait then he could also get me with Skullcrack, Bump in the Night, Lava Spike, or other spells I can't redirect, so I was under pressure too at my low life."

    Pressure was indeed what Berni was under. Before Berni got to the point where Boomerang felt like the right play, he was already sitting at 5 life. While he had a Spellskite in play, which would serve to protect his combo if he assembled it, Ogreenc was able to get through the 0/4 creature with effects like Bump in the Night. Ogreenc, sighing and looking back as he passed the turn after replaying his Blood Crypt untapped.


    Greg Ogreenc

    Berni, out of options and time, used Pestermite to tap one of the Crypts. However, when he went for his combo of Splinter Twin on Pestermite, and as he began to make a lot of 2/1 tokens, Ogreenc slowly cast Rakdos Charm. With Berni tapped out, his arbitrarily large enough looked stagnent as he took an arbitrarily large amount of damage to the face.

    In the third game, Ogreenc was on a similar plan, but it was his own spells that starved him for mana. His black and white sources were divided, and the Rift Bolts that he had were causing him to lose turns and time. What's worse was Berni's Spellskite, which was protected when Ogreenc attempted to Hide it with Hide & Seak with Mizzium Skin.

    With no options, and forced to act when Berni attempted a Pestermite the turn before he assembled his combo, Ogreenc used Skullcrack to drop Berni to 2. But 2 was not 0, as Berni untapped, cast Splinter Twin on his Pestermite, and proceeded to knock Ogreenc out of the Quarterfinals with a very large faerie army.

    After the match, I talked to Ogreenc about his third game tech of Hide. "Seek [on Hide & Seak] is incidentally relevant in certain combo matchups. Otherwise, you're playing it for the Hide portion to put Wurmcoil Engine and other artifacts on the bottom." In this case, its use was to get rid of troublesome Spellskites, or Splinter Twin in response to an activation from Berni.

    "It's unfortunate. I certainly didn't want to play against Twin," he said, feeling much more confident about playing against any of the other decks in the Top 8. Despite having some cards to help the otherwise rough matchup, Ogreenc's burn deck would have no chance to play against anybody else in the Top 8.

    Berni, meanwhile, advanced his already impressive record through the weekend. Having started the day undefeated, Berni hasn't slowed down.




     

  • Quarterfinals – Casey Swanson (UWR Twin) vs. Scott Hoppe (Scapeshift)

    by Nate Price

  • In Modern, one of the most important descriptors about a deck is its turn.

    In this Quarterfinals match between Casey Swanson's UWR Twin deck and Scott Hoppe's Scapeshift, Hoppe was just a turn faster than Swanson, taking him out 2-0 in this flashy quarterfinal match, despite Swanson having a complete combo in both of his opening draws.

    Game 1 found Hoppe building his mana early, suspending a Search for Tomorrow before casting and sacrificing a pair of Sakura-Tribe Elders. While a Remand forced him to re-suspend the Search, he still had all the time in the world. Swanson was sitting on a complete combo in his hand, as well as the mana to cast it, but it was unfortunately the slower, more vulnerable Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, half. He just needed to get to five mana and hope that Hoppe didn't have an Izzet Charm to kill Kiki-Jiki when he tried to go off. This line looked much safer when Hoppe cast an Izzet Charm and discarded a second copy.


    Scott Hoppe

    Yet by Hoppe's turn five, the hope had gone. With six mana already in play, a Search for Tomorrow bumped him up to seven, and a land from his hand gave him eight. In response to the Search for Tomorrow, Swanson used one of his two Deceiver Exarchs to tap down one of Hoppe's green sources, but Hoppe just floated the mana. The Scapeshift that followed fetched out a pair of Valakuts and six Mountains, totaling up to a more-than-lethal thirty-six damage.

    "I seem to be sweating a lot," Hoppe said between games. "This appears to be my body's physiological response to stress."

    Swanson held another perfect draw for the second game. He delayed Hoppe's efforts to increase his number of lands by using a Deceiver Exarch to tap down his Forest during his upkeep. This had the dual effect of giving him the perfect target for his Splinter Twin the following turn. Hoppe saw it coming though, saving the mana to cast Remand when Swanson made his move.


    Casey Swanson

    Interestingly, Swanson chose not to attempt the Splinter Twin again on the following turn, simply attacking for one and passing the turn with the same four mana available. He held a Negate and a Vendilion Clique, content to ensure that the path was clear. When he tried to cast the Clique, Hoppe responded with a Remand. Once again, Swanson chose to let him have a chance. This time, he aimed a Clique at Hoppe's hand during his draw step. Hoppe could do nothing other than purse his lips and nod, revealing Izzet Charm, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Primeval Titan. Swanson chose to wash away the Izzet Charm, reducing the chance that Hoppe would draw into a way to win the game. The fifth land that Swanson played allowed him to cast the Clique in the draw step and keep Negate mana up, something he was unable to do on the previous turn, likely the reason he held his Clique until the end of turn.

    Hoppe cast Primeval Titan. This gave him the ability to fetch a second Valakut and the Mountain he needed to fling two triggers at Deceiver Exarch and Vendilion Clique, finishing off the Exarch with a Sakura-Tribe Elder's ability. This left Swanson in desperate need of something good. He found a Spellskite, something that would allow him at least keep himself alive for one more turn. When Hoppe sent his Primeval Titan, Swanson used his Pestermite to tap it down, keeping him from just dying on the spot. Hoppe held one card in his hand, and it could not have been more perfect. Sakura-Tribe Elder fetched out a Mountain, killing the Pestermite and Swanson's chance to kill Hoppe. Swanson needed two perfect cards off the top of his deck to pull the game out, but they weren't there.




     

  • Semifinals – Robert Berni (UR Twin) vs. Seth Manfield (Melira Pod)

    by Nate Price

  • The right spell at the right time can do a lot for a player in the past-paced world of Modern.

    Thanks to timely appearances by Spellskite and Thoughtseize, Seth Manfield and his Melira Pod deck were able to stop Robert Berni's UR Twin deck from assembling his combo, comboing him out with an endless loop of Murderous Redcaps in two games.

    Spellskite's big moment came in the early stages of Game 1. After powering out an early Kitchen Finks and Birthing Pod off of a Deathrite Shaman, Manfield dropped a Spellskite into play. This happened on his fourth turn, just before Berni was going to be able to untap and cast Splinter Twin on his Deceiver Exarch to steal the first game. Instead, Berni found himself scrambling to find a way to either break through the Spellskite, or at least prevent Manfield from going off on the following turn.


    Robert Berni

    Berni did make things interesting when Manfield made his move. Manfield had just enough creatures in play that, after Podding into a Murderous Redcap, he would be able to convoke a Chord of Calling into a Melira, Sylvok Outcast. Berni never let that happen. In response to the Pod activation, he aimed a Boomerang at the Spellskite. This put Manfield one mana short of a kill. This would have given him one more chance at a win, but Manfield brilliantly grabbed Phyrexian Metamorph with his Birthing Pod, copying the Deceiver Exarch to untap one of his own lands. That let he tap out to recast the Spellskite, sealing Berni's fate. Berni failed to draw another removal spell for the Spellskite and made Manfield go through the motions on the next turn, seeing the game to its conclusion.

    Thoughtseize was the next timely card to steal a game away from Berni. As Twin decks can't win until turn four, most decks tend to wait until turn three before playing their Thoughtseize, giving them the maximal chance of hitting a key combo piece. That's precisely what Manfield did in the second game of the match, waiting until the last possible second before stripping him of his Splinter Twin.

    Just as things began to look down for Berni, the redundant card drawing spell of his deck sprang forth to save him. Serum Visions gave him the ability to scry a second Splinter Twin to the top of his deck, giving him the perfect way to skirt another potential Thoughtseize. After drawing it, though, Berni found himself unable to pull the trigger. Knowing that Manfield had both Abrupt Decay and Dismember after sideboarding, he didn't want to pull the trigger until he was sure that his creature would survive. The turn before the Mizzium Skin that would have sealed the game arrived, a secondThoughtseize just demolished Berni's hand, taking his previously protected Splinter Twin and sealing the match.


    Seth Manfield

    "I feel like we've done this before," Berni said glumly, placing the second half of his killing combo into the graveyard.

    It was just salt in the wound that Berni's next card was the Mizzim Skin that he needed to win outright, further emphasizing the fact that Manfield's cards were just perfectly on time, while his own were just a step behind the curve.

    Berni still made things interesting, posing a very real threat to simply finish the game out with Pestermite attacks. Between the pair of Thoughtseizes and Manfield's own lands, Berni had him dead in five attacks. He would have been able to do it, too, if it weren't for a clutch pair of Birthing Pods, each upgrading a creature in play before dying. The combination of the two Pods set up the combo, and Manfield once again looped his Murderous Redcaps, taking the match thanks to perfect cards at the perfect times.




     

  • Finals - Joe Hemmann (Living End) vs. Seth Manfield (Melira Pod)

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Seth Manfield's tight play in the first game, alongside an unexpected outcome involving a concession from Hemmann that came a few moments too early, paved the way for Manfield to win his second Grand Prix title.

    The first game was a constant uphill battle for Manfield, who started out on the draw, but at least with access to Deathrite Shaman. The Shaman immediately was put to work, exiling the creatures that Hemmann began to cycle into his graveyard on the first turn.

    Hemmann, however, was also hard at work keeping Manfield off of mana, as a third-turn Fulminator Mage knocked out Manfield's Razorverge Thicket. On the next turn, Hemmann cast Demonic Dread which cascaded into Living End, bringing back the Fulminator Mage and a Monstrous Caratid all while binning Manfield's Deathrite Shaman and Wall of Roots. Left with only a Forest, Manfield did what he could, playing a second Forest and Melira, Sylvok Outcast.


    Seth Manfield

    Hemmann had the disruption, but at that point he needed a way to close the door on Manfield's chances. Attacks put pressure on Manfield, and a Spike Feeder gave him another form of pressure. However, Manfield continued to find mana, using a Chord of Calling for one to fetch up Birds of Paradise. Four mana got him to Murderous Redcap, which took out the Spike Feeder.

    Eventually, Hemmann ran out of gas, and despite shutting down possibilities of Manfield comboing off with Melira thanks to a timely Beast Within after Murderous Redcap jumped in front of one of Hemmann's creatures, Manfield finally had time to resolve and activate Birthing Pod, which traded in Murderous Redcap for Reveillark.


    Joe Hemmann

    After that, it was elementary. Reveillark blocked an incoming attacking, bringing back the dead Melira and Redcap. Birthing Pod traded in the 3/3 token that Manfield got from Hemmann's Beast Within for Viscera Seer, and Hemmann lost to a very brutal sequence of recurring Murderous Redcaps.

    In the second game, Manfield never got off the ground, as Hemmann's continuous land destruction kept him mana starved until Hemmann eventually cleaned things up with some of the creatures recurred by his Living End.

    The third and final game opened up some other options. When Manfield used Thoughtseize, he saw the following hand while Hemmann had only a Blackcleave Cliffs in play:


    "I wanted to keep him from cycling into a third land, so I took the Street Wraith," explained Manfield, who agonized over the choice when it was given to him in the third game. Discarding Fulminator Mage was a possible option, as that would save one of his lands in the long run.

    Taking the Faerie Macabre, he noted later, would have protected his combo...although surprisingly, that didn't come up when Manfield's plan came together.

    When Manfield took the Street Wraith, his planned worked, as Hemmann struggled to find a third land on the third turn. He cast Melira, Sylvok Outcast on the second turn, and Chord of Calling at the end of Hemmann's third turn let him find up Viscera Seer. Manfield untapped and cast Kitchen Finks, ready to go off whenever he deemed it appropriate to pull the trigger.

    However he didn't need to. Hemmann promptly offered the concession to the millions of life that Manfield could gain...

    ...and then shortly after doing so, realized that the Faerie Macabre he had in his hand could interrupt said combo.

    "I just threw away a potential $1200!" exclaimed Hemmann, who could only laugh at his misstep. While he was not dead to Manfield's combo, the board that his opponent assembled would be difficult to topple even with Faerie Macabre. The creature Hemmann had in hand could stop the combo, but Viscera Seer would also let Manfield keep the two key creatures around after a resolved Living End by sacrificing them away to the Seer. That said, the ending came a little earlier than everyone anticipated.

    Sometimes, the pressure of a match of Magic where thousands of dollars are on the line, alongside seventeen rounds of Magic throughout the weekend, can cause you to make some unexpected and unfortunate plays. In Hemmann's case, the only thing he could do is laugh it off.

    As for Manfield, the weekend was still hard-fought for him, and the resulting second Grand Prix title that he earned was the best result that he could hope for here in Kansas City. Manfield proved once again why Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Birthing Pod is not to be underestimated in Modern.




     

  • Top 5 Cards of GP Kansas City 2013

    by Mike Rosenberg



  • 5. Beast Within

    Green's fun take on Vindicate served Joe Hemmann all weekend as the versatile all-in-one card that doesn't cost less than three mana for cascade purposes. It was pivotal in Hemmann's Semifinal match against Scott Hoppe, where a well-timed Beast Within caused Hoppe to fall short on the damage his Scapeshift would have dealt after fetching up Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and some Mountains.

    Hemmann's instantaneous land destruction got him into the Finals, but Beast Within's greatest strength is that it hits anything. The 3/3 is largely irrelevant when the caster is capable of shaking up the battlefield with a card like Living End, and in most purposes, Beast Within is taking out a problematic card that stands in the way of its user winning the game.





    4. Birthing Pod

    It's hard to argue with Birthing Pod's place in Modern. After being the key piece that makes the Melira-Pod deck tick, a deck that has won the last two Modern Grand Prix events, Birthing Pod has cemented itself as the format's most defining card.

    Birthing Pod's ability to search up anything from creatures that combine to form a game-winning combo to one-of utility creatures that are the right tool for the job (such as our top card of the weekend) are what make Birthing Pod the powerful combo-enabler that it is. The decks that it is in are fast, resilient, and very versatile. And again, it's really hard to argue with a card that has led to back-to-back Modern Grand Prix wins.





    3. Fulminator Mage

    Modern is a format that has access to tons of powerful nonbasic lands that enable spectacularly complex mana bases. Fulminator Mage is a creature that preys on people that try to get a little too greedy with their mana bases, making it a crucial part of the Modern metagame.

    It's a key card in Joe Hemmann's Living End deck as a source of mana denial that works brilliantly with the deck's key card, but Fulminator Mage has also served a purpose as a powerful sideboard option for a variety of decks, including Jund, as a way to control decks that try to get out of hand with their nonbasic lands. Pod decks also make good use of Fulminator Mage, and the archetype has the ability to not only tutor it up, but clone it and recur it as well with effects like Phantasmal Image and Reveillark!

    Fulminator Mage, despite being good at keeping players off of their colors, also keeps decks like Scapeshift and Tron in check, by being able to blow up the key lands that these decks operate on at the right time. Combine this with instant utility on a 2/2 creature, and you get a creature that does a very good job of keeping players honest in a format that has far from honest mana sources.





    2. Deathrite Shaman

    Deathrite Shaman has made its triumphant return to the Top 5 cards of a Modern Grand Prix! Long considered one of the strongest cards in the format due to each of the modes being incredibly relevant, Deathrite Shaman took a bit of a vacation, as decks that keyed heavily off of the graveyard fell in and out of favor over the past few events. True, Eggs used the graveyard, but it got hit hard by the banning of Second Sunrise. And true, Melira Pod, winning deck of both Grand Prix Portland and here in Kansas City, uses the graveyard as a key component of its loop. It's actually this latter fact that is one of the driving forces behind the resurgence of Deathrite Shaman in Modern.

    Here in KC, the Shaman did work. Dealing with Melira Pod was one thing, but it also served as an important card against decks like UWR Control and Living End. In fact, Champion Seth Manfield made great use of his Deathrite Shamans in controlling the graveyard of Joe Hemmann's Living End deck in the finals. He also used it to great effect in his semifinal match, using it to accelerate into early Kitchen Finks and Birthing Pods, all before eventually being Podded up to a key combo piece: Melira, Sylvok Outcast.





    1. Spellskite

    Behold, a card so versatile that its interactions can leave anyone befuddled...even the coverage team!

    Spellskite has been causing migraines for opponents since it was first printed in New Phyrexia across multiple formats. Its main use has been as a lightning rod for removal that combo decks have used in order to protect its key creatures, and is one of the main reasons why the Splinter Twin decks have always made use of it.

    However, its uses go far beyond that. What about the Bogle Auras deck? Spellskite can be suited up if your opponent attempts to give its hexproof creatures any of its own enchantments, making its redirect effect brutal. This also makes Spellskite crucial in the mirror match; Spellskite absorbs wayward Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch activations, and it also picks up opposing Splinter Twins, which prevents opponents from completing the combo of Pestermite/Deceiver Exarch and a token-generator effect.

    Spellskite's far-reaching applications make it one of Modern's most multi-purpose creatures.






    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator