Black Moon - what on earth is that?
I used to play Skred Red; it’s the only modern deck I completely own. This deck died with the printing of Fatal Push and the emergence of Death's Shadow and Tron as Tier 1 decks. It can’t kill X/5s on turn 3.
I had resigned myself to borrowing Grixis Shadow for the tournament, but then this deck showed up on Efro’s deck of the day.
Demigod of Revenge has been a pet card of mine since Shadowmoor Standard, so I was keen to test this list. I didn’t like it at all – it was threat light, and if your Demigods ever got exiled, you had no way to close the game.
This is the list I played at the weekend.
Originally, the Gifted Aetherborns were in the sideboard and in the main were two Chandra, Torch of Defiance and two Pia and Kiran Nalaar. But after getting rolled 1-4 at a PPTQ I realised that playing that many four drops with no mana rocks was a little too fair for Modern.
Gifted Aetherborn is an interesting card when you compare it to the ‘usual’ two drop of the format, Tarmogoyf. It always trades with threats from Eldrazi and Death's Shadow, and the lifelink is relevant in the aggro matchups. Not getting hosed by graveyard hate is another small bonus. What it doesn’t do is provide a fast clock.
Here’s a brief recap of my games
Round 1 vs Skred Red
G1 – I draw more Demigods and removal than my opponent draws dragons and Skreds.
G2 – Platinum Emperion shows up unanswered on turn four.
Round 2 vs Jeskai Midrange
G1 – I played basic Swamp on turns one and two, meaning my opponent had no idea Blood Moon was showing up on turn three. He didn’t cast any relevant spells afterwards, and I did twenty points of damage eventually.
G2 – I had turn three Blood Moon again, but my opponent had a couple of basics and played spreading seas on his own lands. A Geist of Saint Traft almost got there, but I drew enough creatures with lifelink to stabilise, and drew a Demigod before he found enough Lightning Bolts to finish me off.
Round 3 vs Eldrazi Tron
G1 – I traded removal/Aetherborns against Eldrazi for quite a few turns. Eventually he drew his third Tron piece before I drew Blood Moon, and Ugin did his thing.
G2 – Turn one discard, turn three Blood Moon, turn four Emperion. End of story.
G3 – Similar to game one: lots of attrition. Blood Moon stops Tron going off, but Wastes allows him to still cast spells. A topdecked All is Dust is immediately followed by a topdecked Demigod to bring back his friend. This was a very close game, where different lines of play could have led a different result.
Round 4 vs Grixis Shadow
G1 & G2 – Both games were similar and indicative of how the match up is supposed to go. They have nine threats, you have fourteen answers, and both players have discard spells. Eventually they run out of threats and you kill them with something.
Round 9 vs Bant Coco
G1 & G2 – I went discard, discard, Blood Moon against a three colour deck that didn’t draw any fetches to find basics. Not much more to say.
Round 10 vs UW Control
G1 – I get to discard Spreading Seas into a turn three Blood Moon, but I don’t have any threats. My first creature shows up on turn nine and it's a Gifted Aetherborn. This doesn’t fight well vs Jace, Architect of Thought. By the time I draw Demigod, my opponent has access to three blue mana, and I concede when he finds a basic Plains.
G2 – I Thoughtseize him and see a hand with three basic lands. I draw all 4 Gifted Aetherborns, which don’t provide a fast enough clock and a Gideon backed up by four counterspells ensures the game isn’t close.
Round 11 vs Breach-Titan
G1 – This match further showcases the issue with Aetherborn only having two power. I get stuck on three lands, and despite playing four discard spells, my opponent eventually draws six lands and a Titan off the top of his deck. I had attacked eight times by this point, and he was still alive.
G2 – Similar to game one, I get stuck on three lands and can’t provide a clock. He gets to five mana with no ramp and Breach/Titans me, making my Dreadbore and Liliana of the Veil look rather useless.
I probably wouldn’t play the deck again. The threat composition isn’t right, and you are mostly relying on Blood Moon or Platinum Emperion to be game-winning. They are a lot weaker if your opponents know about them. Thankfully, that was not the case for this tournament and along with some help from Hazoret and Glorybringer I followed up last year’s win with a 3rd place.
Thanks again to Mani, the rest of the MTG Adept team, and the players and the judges for a great weekend of magic. Well done to Hayden for taking home the Title Trophy and I hope to see you all again in Christchurch next year.