NBL Modern looked great. I’d heard of a few people trying to create regular tournaments online and decided I wanted to have a go. I also knew I wanted to brew, since that’s what I enjoy doing. If you’re reading this, I hope you share that passion! This isn’t a “my deck is Tier 0” article, so go away Spikes. Johnny is welcome for Article No.1!
So I’ve decided I want to play NBL Modern, and decided I wanted to brew. What next? Well, there’s very little tournament history to go from, that netdecking is pretty tough. The last event was June 2018, and there’s been a bunch of powerful printings since then. So, I started with the Banlist! I don’t want to just register Grixis Shadow with no upgrades, after all.
And I start scrolling… the Modern banlist is a pretty reasonable size, but it’s also got a tonne of different things in there. There’s fast mana, cantrips, bombs, and even interaction (mental misstep, I’m looking at you).
The simplest part of the brewing process was actually just saying “which of those broken things do I want to mess around with”. It’s not for me to say “card X is the most fun” or even “card Y is the most powerful”. Play what you want! For the most part, the cards on the ban list are there because they were doing something broken in modern (not necessarily true for cards that have never been unbanned). As a result, you can start brewing around nearly any of them and you’re going to create something reasonable. Might not be the best, but you’re going to steal wins and do something degenerate at least some of the time. Now if you’re a Spike, that’s not good enough. But if you’re a brewer or casual-ish gamer, then the most important part here is to pick something you enjoy.
So let’s get to the meat of the article. What did I pick?
Birthing Pod is the most fun, and if you’re not playing Birthing Pod, you’re doing it wrong. I played Pod back when it was good, but I made sure I did it the hard way (with Kiki-Jiki). I never loved Melira Pod, but loved Kiki-pod. So, that’s where I started.
There were 2 more stages from here. First, check old kiki-pod lists. Luckily I didn’t have to spend too long on this, since I already play Prime Speaker Vannifar in Modern. Second, check if there’s anything else on the ban list that fits in my Pod deck. As luck would have it, there’s a few options!!!
Deathrite Shaman – check
Green Sun’s Zenith – check
Umezawa’s Jitte – check
Skullclamp – check
Black Lotus – not this time
But there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. Pod decks always wanted a combo finish, and that cements some card choices. But it also has a bunch of flex slots to attack a meta game. With so little information about the meta, I jumped into the discord group and looked at what people were talking about.
I checked my mana sources, looked at my curve, and threw together a first draft of the deck.
The deck wasn’t bad, as predicted! But also as predicted, it wasn’t quite right. The numbers were a bit of a mess, and I’d missed a banned card that could easily fit into our list – Punishing Fire. On top of that, the silver bullets I’d added couldn’t be found from Green Suns Zenith (GSZ)!! Too much Chord of Calling in my life had blinded me.
The good news was that I had the occasional turn 3 win (T1 Bop, T2 POD, T3 combo chain). It also had good consistency with its mana dorks and lands, and had some mid game plans too (Stoneforge and Resto give you a reasonable grindy game).
So, I went back to the drawing board. The GSZ were great at being extra mana sources on T1 (or on T2 under a chalice of the void), and could also find a prime speaker vannifar later in the game, to give us another combo opportunity. But, it didn’t find key bullets, especially postboard. On top of that, some of the hate-cards I ran weren’t relevant. I expected storm, dredge and infect, and instead found Cloudpost, Delver and Mox Opals. Although tweaks are on-going, this is the current list:
So that’s that! The next event is happening soon, and I hope to have some videos of the deck in action at that point. This article isn’t supposed to be a match report or a glowing rant about a pet deck, but more how to get started with your brew. There’s people in discord looking to chat about stuff, and events coming up each week. Get your thinking caps on, and I’ll see you on the battlefield!