Andy RagleIntroductions are in Order

Hello MTGProTutor! My name is William Ragle, but my friends call me Andy so you can call me Andy.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to write articles and make videos for this growing website. I have been playing the Modern format since its inception, and I can say with absolute certainty that it is my favorite format by far. Modern is quite large and can be daunting  for newcomers to the format. However, with the introduction of the Onslaught fetches to the modern format, and shock lands just rotating out of standard, right now is the best time to jump into Modern!

With that idea in mind, I am going to start out with a series highlighting many of the best decks Modern has to offer- along with some brews at the end so stay tuned! Today’s article is going to be an introduction to Modern.

My future articles will be understanding each deck individually and will be primarily aimed at players that are already interested in Modern but want to know more. That does not mean that the novice or the expert is to turn away, I believe I will have something for everyone each week. This week, I won’t go into any particular deck with significant detail, it will be just enough to whet your appetite.

 Modern at a Glance

Modern includes every core set from 8th Edition to now and every expert set from Mirrodin to now.

That means that there are 45 Magic sets legal in Modern as of Kahns of Tarkir (KTK) for a total of 8451 Modern legal cards, so there are almost endless deck possibilities in this great format! Unfortunately, not all the cards are playable. Everyone loves a good Avenging arrow or Sneaky Homunculus, but there are strictly better options for both.

Learning what makes a card good in Modern will help give you an edge when you brew, and the only way to do that is to find out what the established Modern decks play. Modern includes a fairly extensive ban list that can be found here. If you are planning on building your own Modern decks then I suggest taking a look at this list so you don’t get disqualified for something silly like having a few Preordains in your deck.

Before KTK there were six major tier 1 Modern decks, but that is rapidly changing. Currently there is a huge upswing in a new combo deck called Jeskai Ascendancy combo, and the decks that can beat it (more on that in a week or two). KTK is proving itself to be the most influential Magic set in years for eternal formats.

It is singlehandedly turning the Modern on it’s head and is making large splashes in Legacy, and I am okay with that! Without realizing it, I have grown too accustomed to the old Modern metagame where there are only a few tier 1 decks, some fringe tier 1.5 decks, and little else. Not that there was anything wrong with this, but it was always the same decks that put up the best results with a good show from a well positioned 1.5 deck every so often. At least in Legacy there is a rotation of good decks that keep the other decks in check, we haven’t had that in Modern, at least until now.

One of the major appeals of Modern has always been that you can chose one deck, practice it until you know it frontwards, backwards, and sideways, and you will always have a chance to win any tournament you find yourself in.

I do not think that is changing in any way.

I could be very wrong with this bold statement, but I believe that, assuming Wizards does not ban anything, we will see a new Modern that will have rotations of “the best deck” every so often. One month combo will be the deck to beat so the ones in the know will be playing tempo, next month that will be the one to beat so players gunning for it will play control, then to beat that players will look to attrition, then back to combo. The long and short of this is that there is a lot of positive potential for the new Modern we find ourselves exploring and I am loving every minute of it.

 Where do I Sign Up?

If you haven’t already, to get started in Modern you first have to chose a deck. My suggestion is to pick a deck that you think you will have fun playing.

If Birthing Pod isn’t your cup of tea, then do not play that deck, but if you have dreams of beating down with Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancer then that is the kind of deck you should play. Some of you will have a budget that will prevent you from playing some of the decks and that’s okay, Rome wasn’t built in a day so do not let a budget stop you from playing this exciting format. I will highlight the current cost of each deck as I go over them individually in the coming weeks so look for something in your budget.

Once you chose your deck, you have to practice, practice, practice until you have it down. this includes entering tournaments at your Local Game Store (LGS), practicing with friends, playing online, and anything else that will give you repetitions with your deck of choice. Do not expect to learn the deck in a day or even a few weeks, I made that mistake this past Modern Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) season.

I chose to play Ad Nauseam at the first PTQ of the season with only two weeks of practice. I put up a reasonable 26th place finish but I could have done better if I had played a deck I had more experience with. Don’t let this happen to you. Remember, you will get out of Modern what you put into it, that means that if you put lots of practice into honing your skill you will get results reflecting that investment.

The Coming Weeks

In my next few articles I will be going into detail about the best decks of the new Modern. Maybe cards will be banned, maybe all this hype about all the new cards will die down and the same decks will rise again, I don’t know, but I have my hunch.

If you want to truly get ahead in Modern now is the time to seize this opportunity. I believe this series will be invaluable for those that are just starting out in Modern, and Modern veterans alike. So if you have a passing interest in Modern, or if you already know it is the best way to play Magic, you won’t want to miss what I have in store for you!

Andy Ragle


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