Lessons From The Kitchen Table: A Fond Adieu

It wasn’t that long ago (about a month) when I was singing the praises of Modern MTG. Since then real life has stepped in and the time I had to go to Modern on Monday nights has stepped out. Admittedly, this “cooling off” period happens this time every year. It’s usually driven by work and Shawn’s family obligations and prevents our nerdy nerd nights from happening, which in turn causes my decks to collect dust. This year is different however. I’m actually not upset about my decks collecting dust.

So what happened? Well I won’t recycle Shawn’s thoughts in his article “I’m on a Boat”, but his assessment of Modern is essentially spot-on. It is basically a format of unoriginal ideas and mechanic abuse. I play against Tier One decks like Jund, Grixis, Dredge, ..etc, where I see the same cards over and over again. Your opponent splashed white? Path to Exile is coming. Multiple times. First turn Swamp? Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek will make an appearance in a second. Blue? Remand. Baby Jace or worse, JTMS. You get the point. The games are predictable. The guys in my group tend to stick with Tier One decks, so there isn’t much that catches me by surprise anymore. It has slowly turned me to other formats that offer a more intriguing experience. As Shawn pointed out in the aforementioned article, we have drafted a couple of times and it is now my format of choice. Standard, once considered a money pit to me, has me actually reading daily articles about deck strategies. Although, it does seem like a slight waste of time as no one in my group plays standard. They are firmly embedded in their modern world. To each their own, and who am I to say what format is better or worse? I just know that my Modern days are behind me at this point. Drafting puts Shawn and I on equal footing, instead of him trying to deal with Modern decks, or more accurately, not wanting to play at all. It makes every game more interesting and even more strategic.

It hit me a few weeks ago. After writing my “Modern Night” article, I said “eff this” and decided that my losing days were over. It was time to brew a broken deck. After going back and forth between building Infect or Mill (both of which are in the shallow end of the proverbial strategy pool) I decided that I was going to build a B/U mill deck. I had gone to the dark side. Suddenly I was very focused on having a strong showing at the next Modern Night. This wasn’t about a game. Or even about having fun. I wanted to win. I was tired of losing to my friends. I bounced my deck list off of one of my friends and he took the deck to task, not because it essentially craps on the spirit of the game but because he felt like it wasn’t built right. It wasn’t a top 8 deck essentially. I had added my own creative twist to the deck which made him believe that it was no good. After going back and forth on it via text, I realized that the debate had gone from if my deck was competitive or not to me saying that I didn’t care if it was a Mill deck, I just wanted it to be fun and my idea, not a net deck. And that’s when I realized that it’s tough to build a creative deck in modern and hope to be competitive.

So, where does that leave me? The bimonthly drafts as well as the collecting aspect of the hobby are what keep me going. I often find myself watching videos of drafts and of Standard games in general. I’m also a big fan of Tiny Leaders. So, even though my Modern days are over with for the foreseeable future, the game is not over for me. I do not regret my time dabbling in competitive Modern tournaments. I met some really cool people, built up a huge collection, improved my game and well, that’s good enough for me.

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