Jun 15, 2017708 views

Breaching into Grand Prix: Las Vegas

Hi everyone! Scott Lipp here again. I’m a Gold level pro and a team member of Massdrop West. I have been playing Magic:the Gathering since 1995. I played in Pro Tours in the mid-late 90’s and started playing competitively again during the last few years, over which I’ve had a lot of success including winning Grand Prix Sydney last year!
Where shall we start? Modern is such a diverse format that in my eyes I believe you should play whatever you love to play. There are so many viable decks and I have a truly spicy one as my favorite. In store for you today are some great tips and tricks to get extra wins and have a fun time doing so. My deck of choice is a Through the Breach and Primeval Titan deck that can kill as quickly as turn three! I have had a decent amount of success with this deck and it has gone through many stages through the years but the core of the deck is still very powerful.
Here is the list that I top 8’d the first Grand Prix of the season with.


For this version of the deck I decided to play Lightning Bolts main deck along with a creature package that consisted of 2 Obstinate Baloth and a Courser of Kruphix. I feel like Lightning Bolt is not in a great place in the metagame right now so I have recently switched that flex slot over to Relic of Progenitus. That list was from when Gitaxian Probe and Infect were important to beat and now you need a more hateful anti-graveyard card against Death’s Shadow , Dredge, Storm, Abzan Traverse, and Living End.
When Chandra, Torch of Defiance got spoiled I was extremely excited to add her to the deck and she has been a great addition. Chandra helps fills holes as a threat against control and also against various aggro decks as removal.
I have also added a very exciting creature in place of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Woodfall Primus has taken over as the huge impact creature for an additional Through the Breach target, and now you can Summoner’s Pact for it! It allows to win games that are mostly unwinnable against permanents other Valakut decks can’t stop. It helps defeat enchantments like Blood Moon and Leyline of Sanctity. It can disrupt Tron decks to no end and also is able to kill Cranial Plating in a pinch. Being able to destroy a Phyrexian Unlife against Ad Nauseam players if you are able to time it just right can stop the combo! Not only that, but Woodfall Primus sticks around from persist to keep attacking your opponent and their permanents!
I’ve also added more Anger of the Gods. Having access to three or four copies of Anger of the Gods can truly be back breaking against a decent amount of the metagame. The new Vizier combo decks, Dredge, Affinity, Elves all get crushed by a timely Anger of the Gods.
I feel that all of these changes are positioned very well in the current metagame. There aren’t a lot of cards to change, but they all matter.
Here is the list that I am most likely going to register in Grand Prix Vegas if I’m not still playing the Limited Grand Prix and get the chance to play Modern.
3 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Stomping Ground
2 Forest
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
2 Cinder Glade
6 Mountain
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Farseek
3 Anger of the Gods
3 Relic of Progenitus
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Search for Tomorrow
2 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Through the Breach
4 Primeval Titan
4 Summoner's Pact
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Scapeshift
1 Reclamation Sage
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Tireless Tracker
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Crumble to Dust
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Anger of the Gods
Sideboard guide:
Grixis Death’s Shadow-
3 Anger of the Gods
-1 Woodfall Primus
+2 Engineered Explosives
+1 Scavenging Ooze
+1 Tireless Tracker
Anger of the Gods is not where you want to be against Death’s Shadow. Their creatures survive the three damage and we would rather have Engineered Explosives. Woodfall Primus has no game breaking targets and Scavenging Ooze or Tireless Tracker will be able to help you have a threat through their discard spells and apply pressure through open mana for Stubborn Denial. I would play my Engineered Explosives as soon as possible to avoid discard but prioritize your ramp spells over it.
The match up against Grixis Death’s Shadow can all come down to top decks on either side. Despite that I tend to really like this matchup. With their discard and Stubborn Denial package they often have to play a little slower to avoid dying to Through the Breach. They can often times stumble and spend the early turns fixing their graveyard to play a threat which gives you the time to get to six mana and from there if you ever draw or have a Primeval Titan they are usually just dead a few turns later.
-3 Relic of Progenitus
-2 Farseek
-1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
-1 Scapeshift
+3 Ancient Grudge
+2 Engineered Explosives
+1 Reclamation Sage
+1 Anger of the Gods
It is pretty obvious that we cut all the Relic of Progenitus, they do very little in terms of slowing down Affinity. I like cutting a couple Farseek against Affinity due to how fast the match up can be. You want to be cracking an Engineered Explosives or casting Ancient Grudge on a Cranial Plating or another threat to slow them down early on.
This matchup evens up post board with three Ancient Grudge and can often just come down to how good the Affinity draw is. I would say the matchup is very close. This is a matchup that saving your saving your instant speed Valakut triggers off fetchlands or Sakura-Tribe Elder can come into play against their Inkmoth and Blinkmoth Nexuses. Save your artifact removal for key cards like Cranial Plating and Steel Overseer because most of their other cards won’t kill you fast enough.
Eldrazi Tron
-3 Relic of Progenitus
-2 Anger of the Gods
+2 Crumble to Dust
+1 Reclamation Sage
+2 Ancient Grudge
Again we are dealing with a deck where Relic of Progenitus is very underwhelming. I like to leave at least 1 Anger of the Gods in against Eldrazi Tron in case they get an aggressive draw with Matter Reshaper and Walking Balista. Crumble to Dust is a strange card against this deck since they can hardcast their Eldrazis with ease without having to have the Tron lands producing extra mana. I do feel like slowing them down, and preventing an early Reality Smasher can give you extra time to get a Primeval Titan to resolve. If you can do that the game is right where you want it to be at.
I feel like we are favored pretty highly in this match up. The only scary cards are Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. Their other cards tend to not matter and we are much faster than them at winning the game.
-1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
-1 Scapeshift
-2 Farseek
-1 Woodfall Primus
+1 Anger of the Gods
+1 Scavenging Ooze
+1 Obstinate Baloth
+2 Grafdigger’s Cage
We are cutting out our slower clunkier cards like Chandra and Scapeshift here, replacing them with Scavenging Ooze and Angers along with a back breaking Grafdigger’s Cage. Woodfall Primus is another low impact card in this match and not a great threat that you would ever want to draw or search for with Summoner’s Pact. Against a good Dredge player Anger of the Gods can be unimpressive. They can play around it with fetch lands for their Bloodghasts and combo kill you with Conflagrate and hasted Bloodghasts. If the situation gets into this stage of the game be mindful and try to preserve your life total as much as possible. This matchup is usually defined very quickly in the early turns based on if you draw your graveyard hate cards or not. They are also at a huge disadvantage due to the fact if you do not draw your graveyard spells early they tend to over commit to the board which means Anger of the Gods will punish them as well. I like this matchup a lot with main deck Relics but be careful because their draws can be super explosive and there may be very few ways to interact with them in some hands.
Tips and Tricks :
  • Against control you can put them in a very tough spot if you hold your Through the Breach until the end of their turn to make them tap out to counter the spell or just get punished by letting it resolve. A smaller note that I have done before against control knowing they can not let a Through the Breach resolve is cast it while having a Summoner’s Pact in my hand knowing they will counter it and I will be able to untap and cast my Pact to grab a Primeval Titan to finish the game. This is a very risky line of play but understanding how these lines of play work, can make you win additional games against control that you might not always win.
  • Hold your Sakura-Tribe Elders against most decks if you have other ramp to use. For instance if you have a Farseek and a Sakura-Tribe Elder in game on turn 2, it is mostly correct to cast Farseek and hold the creature to be able to block with it later on in the following turns to preserve your life total. This small sequence of plays starting from turn two can make a huge impact on the game later on.
  • Both lands you find with Primeval Titan enter the battlefield at the same time, so you can ramp from four Mountains to six Mountains to trigger your Valakuts on both Mountains. There are many situations where you need to sequence your lands so that you when you resolve a Primeval Titan that you are able to maximize the amount of damage you can do. Saving your Sakura-Tribe Elders until after you get additional Valakuts can make or break a match. When you have the option later in a game to trigger Valakuts with Mountains be sure to save your fetchlands so that you are able to trigger your Valakut triggers at instant speed.
  • Using your Relic of Progenitus to fight Surgical Extraction. Any matchup where their plan is to discard your Primeval Titans or destroy your Valakuts be aware that you can exile your own cards in your graveyard in response to a Surgical Extraction.
I hope this article helps anyone that is a fan of this deck and if you plan on playing it in Vegas be sure to say hi or toss me any questions you have below in the article or on Twittter (@spanky_kc) and I will do my best to help answer them. See ya’ll at GP:Vegas and good luck!

Thanks for reading, and please post any questions or feedback below!
We had an exciting reveal of two Amonkhet masterpieces , check out the video here: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1482/scouting-report-massdrop-east-west-on-2-amonkhet-masterpieces
If you are curious about our team, check out our intro: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1117/announcing-team-massdrop-east-west or, read our previous weekly articles:
1. How to Prepare for an MtG Pro Tour by Ben Weitz (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1158/how-to-prepare-for-an-mt-g-pro-tour)
2. Approaching New Magic Drafts by Ari Lax (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1193/approaching-new-magic-drafts)
3. Constructed Testing for Pro Tour Aether Revolt by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1213/recap-of-constructed-testing-for-massdrop-east-west-for-pro-tour-aether-revolt)
4. Breaking into Eternal Formats - Case Study: GP Louisville by Jon Stern (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1240/breaking-into-eternal-formats-case-study-gp-louisville-massdrop-east-west-article-4)
5. In Good Company - Top 8 at GP Vancouver by Eric Severson (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1285/in-good-company-top-8-at-gp-vancouver)
6. Adapting to Full Block Kaladesh Limited by Jiachen Tao (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1323/adapting-to-full-block-kaladesh-limited-massdrop-east-west-article-6)
7. Sorry My Felidar Guardian Ate My Homework by Mark Jacobson (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1364/sorry-my-felidar-guardian-ate-my-homework-massdrop-east-west-article-7)
8. Taking a Mardu Vacation - Top 8 in New Jersey and Heading to an Eternal Extravaganza by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1401/taking-a-mardu-vacation-top-8-in-new-jersey-and-heading-to-an-eternal-extravaganza-massdrop-east-wes)
9. A Guide to the Grind by Pascal Maynard (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1448/a-guide-to-the-grind-massdrop-east-west-article-9)
10. Asking Aggro-vating Questions by Timothy Wu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1493/asking-aggro-vating-questions-massdrop-east-west-article-10)
11. The Meat and Potatoes of Jund by Paul Dean (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1534/the-meat-and-potatoes-of-jund)
12. Hidden Values in Magic: The Gathering for Kids and Parents by Scott Lipp (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1572/hidden-values-in-magic-the-gathering-for-kids-and-parents-massdrop-east-west-article-12)
13. The Importance of Preparation in Competitive Magic: The Gathering by Ricky Chin (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1606/the-importance-of-preparation-in-competitive-magic-the-gathering-massdrop-east-west-article-13)
14. How to Find Amonkhet's Star Players by Ari Lax (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1643/how-to-find-amonkhets-star-players-massdrop-east-west-article-14)
15. Top is No Longer on Top by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1692/top-is-no-longer-on-top-massdrop-east-west-article-15)
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20. Putting down My beloved Bant Eldrazi by Ben Weitz (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1863/putting-down-my-beloved-bant-eldrazi-massdrop-east-west-article-20)
ltopper and MarkJacobson

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