Emeria Control is a tapout control deck, you will be playing your spells on your turn. The main gameplan is to survive while getting seven plains into the battlefield for Emeria, the Sky Ruin to be active. An active emeria will outgrind many decks in modern. The deck has a great game against most aggro decks. Stall them with wall of omens and lone missionary. Force the opponent to overextend, then you verdict them. This deck rebuilds much more quickly than the opponent mid to late game, with the help of sun titan and emeria. Against certain combo and control decks, this deck struggles. Sometimes a full set of Dovin's Veto in the sideboard is needed against these match ups. For more information against these, please refer to the matchup section.
This primer is written by me with the help of Fincown and GerantDePhares. Thanks to ktken for passing to me the thread. Big thanks to Metalraptor for the main banner - and he also created the history, card choices, and matchup banners. Just tell me if you have any suggestions, matchup data, or something useful you want to add to the primer. Thank you for reading.
Stoneforge Emeria by GerantDePhares. This list has been tested. To see it perform, please see the tournament report section at the bottom of the primer.
1 Teferi, Time Raveler
2 Detention Sphere
The list here by Fincown is a recently updated version.
1 Kami of the False Hope
4 Wall of Omens
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Charming Prince
4 Ranger-Captain of Eos
3 Sun Titan
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
2 Detention Sphere
And here is Fincown's older decklist. For those who like to try the classic version with Flickerwisp, Court Hussar, and Spreading Seas.
3 Lone Missionary
4 Wall of Omens
1 Phantasmal Image
3 Court Hussar
3 Sun Titan
2 Gideon of the Trials
The deck started it's life as a mono white contol deck more than 7 years ago.
4 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Baneslayer Angel
2 Emeria Angel
1 Kor Sanctifiers
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Sun Titan
3 Elspeth Tirel
Entry into modern
One of the earliest known succesful lists of the version belongs to TurboG73. We credit him as the creator of the modern version of the deck. He piloted it succesfully to a 4-0 finish in Modern Daily.
3 Lone Missionary
4 Wall of Omens
2 Court Hussar
4 Pilgrim's Eye
4 Sun Titan
3 Detention Sphere
Wall of Omens - this creature is our best two drop. Protects you and replaces itself. Play 4 copies.
Charming Prince - a recent addition from Eldraine. Versatile card that replaces lone missionary. Play 2-4 copies.
Stoneforge Mystic - was once considered as one of the strongest 2 cmc creatures in legacy, and for a long time has been banned in modern. Adding her to the deck gives us a backup plan of attack that does not use the graveyard. Not for every list, as you need to dedicate slots for her and batterskull which she will tutor for you.
Court Hussar - fine card selection to help our deck at all stages of the game. This card is amazing when Emeria the sky ruin is active. Don't forget, an opponent's Narset, Parter of Veils does not stop Court Hussar ability to get a card, because the ability does not say "draw". Play 2-4 copies.
Pilgrim's Eye - early versions of the deck used this artifact as a throw-away blocker, and for finding more plains for Emeria. Has mostly been outclassed by other cards. However, there is a recent winning decklist that used three of these to go all-in on the Emeria strategy. Play 0-3 copies.
Flickerwisp - the weird flying creature is the bread and butter of our strategy. Always a decent follow up to the turn 2 wall of omens, to draw an extra card. He has amazing synergy with the comes into play nature of many cards in the deck. Also has a neat trick with Detention Sphere. For example, you cast detention sphere on an opponent's tarmogoyf. Opponent plays a second goyf - you can cast a Flickerwisp to exile your detention sphere, and when the sphere comes back it will exile the two tarmogoyf! Play 2-3 copies.
Soulherder - being a 1/1, it dies to a stiff breeze. However, it provides serious card advantage if you could keep it alive together with a wall of omens. Competes with flickerwisp for slots, so test carefully if you will include it.
Sun Titan - the top of our curve. When entering the battlefield, and when attacking.. this guy returns our creatures to gain a lot of value. Together with Emeria, the titan would eventually overwhelm the opponent if not dealt with. Play 2-3 copies.
Path To Exile - our main spot removal. In a pinch, it can also be used on our own creature for fetching a plains to complete the lands for Emeria. Play 4 copies.
Spreading Seas - although path to exile seems like a nonbo with this card, the seas is still effective. This card, can work together with Ghost Quarter and Crucible of Worlds to really mana screw opponents. Play 2-4 copies
Batterskull - highly recommended for builds with stoneforge mystic. Play 0-2 copies
Mortarpod - early versions of the deck used to run this card. The trick is equipping it to Sun Titan, to protect titan from exile effects. Remember how good mogg fanatic was? This is him turned into a repeatable cannon. However, these days the card seems to have been mostly outclassed by other cards. A few lists still use it though. Play 0-3 copies.
Detention Sphere - our secondary spot removal. The maelstrom pulse of . This card has a good synergy with Flickeriwsp. Remember that it can also be returned with Sun Titan from the graveyard. Play 2-3 copies.
Blessed Alliance - this is seen in a few lists, it has flexibility both as lifegain and removal. Play 0-1 copy.
Supreme Verdict - uncounterable board wipe. Although be careful when there are plenty of Humans deck in the meta, as Meddling Mage can ruin your plans if you run 3 verdicts. It is better to run 2 verdicts together with one of something else.
Wrath of God - diversify your board wipes. Particularly good against Elves, as it shuts down the regenerate ability of Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Play 0-1 copy.
Settle the Wreckage - diversify your board wipes. Being an instant gives it the surprise factor, it also exiles which is another thing to consider if your meta is infested with creatures that keep coming back like Bloodghast. Play 0-1 copy.
Winds of Abandon - can be used early when you are under pressure. Or overloaded later for a one-sided board wipe. Play 0-2 copies.
Cleansing Nova - diversify your board wipes. Costs 5, but has the added utility of being able to remove sideboard cards that the opponent might bring in game 2, like Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, and Ensnaring Bridge. Play 0-1 copy.
Gideon of the Trials - this card is amazing against Burn. Play 0-2 copies.
Gideon Jura - usually present along with Gideon of the Trials, as the emblem of the trials has synergy with any Gideon planeswalker. Play 0-1 copy.
Dovin's Veto - an upgrade to Negate.
Crucible of Worlds - this card is sometimes seen as a single in some builds of Emeria Titan. Allows us to reuse fetch lands, and also reuse Ghost Quarter to mess up the opponent's mana. Play 0-1 copy.
Flooded Strand - we are a deck. No exceptions, play 4 copies of this fetch land.
Emeria, the Sky Ruin - our strategy revolves around this card. Once active, it gives us amazing card advatage. Note, when you return court hussar from the graveyard with Emeria.. the hussar will be sacrificed, and you can use it again to filter cards next turn. Play 2-3 copies.
Plains - why yes, we have planty of basic plains. Makes the deck resistant to blood moon effects, as well as feeding Emeria the Sky Ruin the plains it needs to activate. Play 6-7 copies.
Hallowed Fountain - counts as plains for Emeria while also providing blue mana. Play 3-4 copies.
Prairie Stream - another source of blue mana that also counts as plains for Emeria. We have plenty of basics, so there's a good chance this land is entering the battlefield untapped. Play 0-1 copy.
Irrigated Farmland - another source of blue mana that also counts as plains for Emeria. It's main disadvantage is coming into play tapped no matter what you do. However, the disadvantage is negated by the fact that it can cycle itself during the times we don't need anymore land. Play 0-1 copy.
Island - most lists have a lonely island. This is to make sure you don't get cut off from blue when the opponent is using Ghost Quarter or Field of Ruin. Play 1 copy.
Field of Ruin - use mana screw strategy by combining this land with Crucible of Worlds. Play 0-4 copies.
Ghost Quarter - use mana screw strategy by combining this land with Crucible of Worlds. Play 0-1 copy.
Blast Zone - a useful utility land. Play 0-2 copies.
Mistveil Plains - can sometimes be seen in mono white versions of the deck. Play 0-1 copy.
Alternate card choices
Restoration Angel - has flash and a large body that can clock the opponent. However, she cannot do the Detention Sphere trick that we can do with Flickerwisp. Also being cmc 4 means she cannot be brought back by Sun Titan. Generally, you would want to run her only if you want extra blink effects and have already maxed out on Flickerwisps.
Sea Gate Oracle - an alternative card if you don't have Court Hussar.
Champion of Wits - an alternative card if you don't have Court Hussar.
Geist-Honored Monk - a potentially large creature not affected by graveyard removal.
Elspeth, Sun's Champion - a win con that does not care if the graveyard is empty.
Baneslayer Angel - although she seems to be outclassed by titan, the angel still sees play in some lists.
Watcher for Tomorrow - costs one less than hussar and digs four cards deep. At first glance this guy feels like a better Court Hussar. However, coming into play tapped and not giving the card right away are serious drawbacks.
Ranger-Captain Eos - can be used to fetch utility cards like Kami of the False Hope and Giver of Runes.
Amulet Titan - is a ramp focused toolbox combo deck focused on dealing lethal damage through a buffed Primeval Titan or an alternate win condition in the form of Hive Mind. They can also grind fairly well by searching for a Tolaria West and a bounceland, upon Primeval Titan's enter the battlefield trigger and repeating this process.
sideboard strategy by Fincown:
2 Dispel, 1 Sorcerous Spyglass, 1 Gideon of the Trails, 2 Damping Sphere
2 Lone Missionary
4 Spreading Seas
Spreading Sea's is unreliable because your opponent will just play a bounceland to pick up the land enchanted by it and the lifegain provided by our Lone Missionary is largely inconsequential because our opponent tends to deal damage in massive chunks.
Countermagic for Pact of Negation and Summoner's Pact, Sorcerous Spyglass for Slayers' Stronghold, Engineered Explosives, or Tolaria West transmute. Gideon of the Trials for Hive Mind or fogs a threat. Damping Sphere to slow down the opponent by cutting off extra mana added by bouncelands.
Keep in mind, Flickerwisp can be used to kill Walking Ballista or reset a bounce land. Detention Sphere should be used to take out Amulet of Vigor ASAP. Sometimes you can win a match by destroying the correct bounce land while your opponent has pact triggers at upkeep. Make sure to destroy the bounceland upon entry so it's etb still forces your opponent to pick up another land. Our Emeria, the Sky Ruin gameplan is largely unreliable because of their one Bojuka Bog and thier ability to easily reset it multiple times. I would suggest holding a Court Hussar until you can use a Ghost Quarter / Field of Ruin to destroy it.
Other great cards in this match up Runed Halo, Disdainful Stroke, possibly Surgical Extraction.
Basic Land count: 3
In game 1, we have a fair amount of interaction for the one-shot Primeval Titan kills in Path to exile plus Ghost Quarter, and later on withField of Ruin and Settle the Wreckage, so they are on their backup plan very early on. This is the more threatening avenue, and involves grinding card advantage by continually bouncing Tolaria West with Simic Growth Chamber to set up a stream of Titans that continuously trigger Field of the Dead. Their manabase is very greedy, so games can often hinge on which lands they are forced to play to get up and running. If they expose their 1 maindeck Field of the Dead too early, that is a huge piece of their gameplan to eliminate. Slayers' Stronghold and Vesuva are also high-priority targets, and Bojuka Bog can also eventually be relevant, but the real calculations only begin with those if they manage to get a Tolaria West back to their hand. This opens up Pacts, and therefore more Titan triggers, which leads to even more decision trees which all depend on the board state. Try to prioritize an active Ghost Quarter effect to prevent this by killing the Transmute land while the bounce trigger is on the stack, but know that they are also playing the Ghost Quarter game (both mentally, and with their own literal copy). They typically have 3 or fewer basics, though, so be aggressive with these where you can.
Post board, things are just as murky, if not more so. Pithing Needle has an abundance of targets, but common ones are both the Transmute on their 2 or 3 Tolaria West, and the 1 or 2 Engineered Explosives which they are often sent to fetch. Tectonic Edge or Ghost Quarter are also possible names (the latter remembering that the effect is symmetrical), and Sakura-Tribe Scout is again, not a mana ability. Note that they will probably have access to 1 more Field of the Dead after sideboarding. Generally, ignore their snake if you can, since their explosiveness is usually much less relevant post-board, but instant-speed bouncelands can be a headache for Field of Ruin so at least 1 Mortarpod always stays in. Damping Sphere is excellent in many ways here since it often cuts them off of several colours in their bounceland manabase in addition to severely inhibiting the quantity of mana they can produce. Aven Mindcensor is the nearest thing to an "easy mode" card for Emeria in the matchup, and it is often difficult for them to deal with flying creatures, so it is almost realistic to expect the bird wizard to go all the way on his own. Generally, he needs some support and so this is not true, but the fact that he sometimes pecks for the full 20 unassisted should tell you how valuable his effect is.
The Disenchant effects are generally aimed at Amulet of Vigor, but Aura of Silence also has very strange interactions with Engineered Explosives. They can announce X (as a cost) to be 0, but they must pay at least 2 mana for it due to the tax effect of the Aura. This is sometimes added to by Damping Sphere such that they literally have to spend 3 or more mana to get it into play, and at that point it may not be able to kill the Pithing Needle they are aiming for. Killing colourless mana sources makes this especially tricky for them to play around, but since Damping Sphere gives them several free sources in the first place, that is often inadviseable. The trick with Detention Sphere and its ETB ability is relevant here as well, since they often have Krosan Grip or Beast Within to get their cards back, but having the Aura sit in play is quite valuable in this matchup. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade is also very good here, even in the lategame, since she first forces them to play somewhat fair, then counters Pacts for the remainder of the game. (This is unless they are able to awkwardly play a spell into an onboard Damping Sphere first, using its tax effect to spend at least one mana on their "free" Summoner's Pact, but this makes their tutored Titan cost a minimum of 8 mana, in addition to the 1+? they already paid. Because of this interaction, though, I would try to use Teferi to bounce the Damping Sphere if I was starting to rely on Lavinia.)
There are also sometimes openings to knock them off of the ability to pay for Pacts for free wins, which means I pay exceptionally close attention to their lands. Usually, their diverse array of land-based threats makes this a challenging prospect, but as mentioned before, their manabase is built about as sturdily as a Jenga tower. The most common feature of all these games is that you must keep track of a great deal of variables, including the numbers of each Pact and Titan you have dealt with. Knowing how many threats are left to them is very important, since once their Titans are gone the deck is just a pile of random land-based synergy which Crucible of Worlds and Sun Titan will eventually grind away to powder. Ramunap Excavator is an avenue for them to rebuild, but Path to Exile steps in there as well to shut the card down relatively easily if that is their only plan. Mistveil Plains does a lot of work in the longer games here by recycling non-permanents in between shuffles, leading to a higher density of interactive spells as the manabase begins to expand out of the 2-4 mana "danger" range. Settle The Wreckage is a very important effect to keep access to through Bojuka Bog with Mistveil, because it is virtually always a clean answer to both a single Titan and a horde of zombies. A huge advantage over Scapeshift is that they have no fetchlands, so it is possible to see everything coming once Slayers' Stronghold is under control.
Jund - The existence of this kind of strategy is precisely the reason for Emeria's viability in Modern as a format, and they should be the primary bellwether by which any new inclusion to the deck is measured, since they will be Emeria's main competition in metagames where attrition is rewarded. The disruptive midrange decks which emphasize the sweet spot of power and efficiency on the 1-4 mana curve are at a distinct strategic disadvantage in the head-to-head comparison, though, since Emeria is far more consistent in its draw steps and can cleanly go over the top of their best endgames if left to its own devices.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
Dark Confidant seems to be getting less popular than it was, which is a pity for Jund because it was sometimes able to take over games in which Mortarpod did not make a timely appearance. Speaking of the Living Weapon, it is an important tool for controlling loyalty, and the 0/0 germ can either provide a layer of defense from sacrifice effects, or simply chump-block the Tarmogoyf which frequently becomes large enough to threaten a quick clock. The current alternative card draw for them appears to be a mixture of Wrenn and Six and Tireless Tracker, which are both far less likely to provide a steady stream of new threats. The animated lands which are such a huge part of Jund's lategame are easily controlled by Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter, and the card Emeria itself is a countdown to a game loss for them whenever it appears without the opposition of their best card in the matchup; Scavenging Ooze. This creature should be killed on sight whenever possible, since it reduces the ability of Sun Titan to build a commanding lead, shuts down recursion, and grows into a lethal threat surprisingly quickly.
Jund is a 70% matchup or better for the Stoneforge Mystic version of the list, since so many of the cards replace themselves. If I could choose to play this deck into a field full of Jund, I would jump at the chance. The topdeck wars which define the matchup are heavily skewed towards Emeria, which is exemplified in one of the defining cards of their strategy: Liliana of the Veil. The card quality that she and Jund's natural draws provide is much more difficult for them to press when lower on resources, and the lack of an overwhelming clock combines with this such that it is vital to be aware of the importance of Mulligans. Keeping any reasonable hand is imperative, and Liliana is also much more frequently beatable if she is made to discard their resources early, which means that choosing to draw against the deck is often a valid choice.The card quality that she and Jund's natural draws provide is much more difficult for them to press when lower on resources, and the lack of an overwhelming clock combines with this such that it is vital to be aware of the importance of Mulligans. Keeping any reasonable hand is imperative, and Liliana is also much more frequently beatable if she is made to discard their resources early, which means that choosing to draw against the deck is often a valid choice. If not complemented by a draw engine, using her +1 ability is a liability for them in the attrition battle, since they have to choose between holding up removal or throwing it away. A quick ultimate is possible, but not decisive. The matchup is so strongly tilted towards what Emeria wants to do that I have even recovered from several of these in the same game. In the sideboarded games Fulminator Mage leaves them down a card for no advantage unless they are already winning, and Celestial Purge covers the rest of the common issues.
The trick to sequencing here is to continue to focus on your manabase. Playing one new land per turn is the goal, since casting the curve smoothly is so strong. At the point where they are trading down cards by using their removal on cantrip creatures just to press an advantage, the game is almost over. Once the topdeck war has begun, Bloodbraid Elf can be good at compounding these advantages, but Wall of Omens is excellent at holding the body back, so their Cascades have to be very strong to gain ground on stable boards. Batterskull is a must-answer threat for them which their K-Command can hit cleanly, but most other ways to deal with it leave them concerned about the possibility of re-equipping on any given turn. In sideboarding, I would remove the Settle the Wreckage and the Crucible of Worlds because they can be liabilities to hold for value if they keep in some amount of discard, and I would bring in two Celestial Purge to replace them.
Grixis Shadow - is another positive matchup for Emeria control in its current form, with several comparisons to Jund being possible, beginning with overall win rate. Other important similarities include a reliance on hand disruption and multiple copies of Fatal Push or other situational removal. These combine with Stubborn Denial to create a clear disadvantage in topdeck wars, but there the similarities end. Being far less versatile, less value-focused, and far less threat-dense, the critical aggressive exchanges of the matchup are often forced much earlier in games than against Jund. Card selection is far more reliable here as well, which allows Grixis to sculpt strong sequences in the midgame. The matchup is consequently much more volatile, and tends more towards emphasizing tempo plays, which Emeria is far less adept at defusing, so break points that would not be game-ending against other decks quickly become pivotal. The win percentage remains relatively high due to Emeria the Sky Ruin attrition being well-suited to throwing up obstacles, but losses are much more convincing overall here.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares::
Stabilization which will first force and second invalidate a double-striking Trample attack is therefore at a premium, and the good news on this front is that Shadow is far less likely to punish an extra land from Path to Exile or to be able to remove a Detention Sphere if these can be cast while they are tapped out, but the presence of countermagic is always a possibility requiring delicate risk management. Kolaghan's Command is also a concern anytime Batterskull is involved, though if lethal damage is not presented it can be important to encourage its casting while there are no Shadows/Anglers to return, since running the Grixis player out of significant threats is easier to accomplish when this value is denied. Mistveil Plains can also return dead equipment to the library for re-tutoring later on, so baiting out removal while gaining free value blocking with Germs is an important tactic.
Since there is generally no lifegain on the Grixis side (and their life totals are necessarily low whenever Shadow is involved), games tend to end quickly in both directions, so the third copy of Emeria, The Sky Ruin is less valuable. Settle the Wreckage is similarly very difficult to successfully cast through both discard and countermagic, so it is also worse, and these two cards therefore make room for two Celestial Purge as extra removal which can interact with potential enchantments or other odd strategies once the board is stable. Crucible of Worlds is too likely to be damaged by either graveyard hate or artifact removal, so it may also be removed for Blessed Alliance, which can prevent an early Death's Shadow from hitting the table with targeted lifegain (just remember to save this for when the card is on the stack, if you can, otherwise Ferocious might enable a crippling hard counter rather than an irritating Force Spike). Removing Wrath of God is also possible to bring in Lavinia, Azorius Renegade as a relevant method of containing Gurmag Angler, but using sweepers as clean 1-for-1 removal on big threats is a useful enough play pattern that it is worth the risk of potential countermagic if game one is already in hand.
Where countermagic is concerned, Teferi, Time Raveler is a fantastic resource which also happens to line up exceedingly well with the more powerful threats, buying extra turns and card velocity while denying unexpected interaction whenever it can hit play. On the subject of things put into play, be aware that Surgical Extraction will likely have the chance to remove a card or two post-board if your plan is to recur anything with Sun Titan, so be aware of the contents of your hand and/or your outs when you try to accrue value with the 6/6 giant. Mistveil Plains again becomes useful here given time, since its ability can fizzle the Lobotomy effect. Overall, their topdecks are still the important question in terms of finding threats in games 2 and 3, but in these cases it is much more likely that their middling draws will contain a more relevant mixture of spells than their frequent "removal and discard flood" in game one. Temur Battle Rage versus Supreme Verdict is essentially the name of the major battle here, so try to attack their Red mana while they work on buying themselves an open turn to resolve a significant threat. They typically only have three or four sources of that colour, so it is the most vulnerable in any case. Remove their Anglers and Shadows, however, and they are at a severe disadvantage.
Dredge - the way that Dredge is played as of the printing of Ox of Agonas makes the pre-sideboarded games difficult, but currently winnable. If Emeria can manage to take game one, the matchup is excellent, and the sideboarded games bring enough improvement that winning games two and three is still a legitimate plan. For game one, then, the key factor is up to what kind of permanent advantage their deck can threaten before the third land hits the table on either side. This more or less means Narcomoeba or Bloodghast enabling some number of Prized Amalgam to attack on or before turn three. Their deck is very consistent, so Wall of Omens or Path to Exile will almost certainly be required to keep pace with their average draws, and multiple of these backed up by Detention Sphere might be necessary just to stay in the game against their better Dredges. The bad news is that their very best sequences are literally overwhelming on the play, but these are extremely rare (3+ Amalgams in play on turn 2, for example). Compounding this issue is that Creeping Chill and Conflagrate go from almost totally useless in their early phase to outright stealing games in their later angles, either by turning on the haste on Bloodghast when stabilization is near at hand, or by representing literal lethal damage.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
The best cards, the ones which Court Hussar and Wall of Omens are digging to find as soon as possible, are Stoneforge Mystic or the real heavy hitters in Batterskull and Settle the Wreckage. Since it preserves whatever pressure Emeria has managed to muster by being one-sided, the mass exile effect is frequently devastating, and a premium should be placed on recycling it with Mistveil Plains before a shuffle effect if it has already been cast once. Where the equipment is concerned, it is extremely difficult for Dredge's creatures to beat a 4/4 vigilant lifelinker on most boards, and they will often be forced to spend their Conflagrate on it just to get back to even footing. Due to Dredge cards quickly replacing explosive plays in their hand by the nature of how their strategy functions, the later game will favour Emeria more and more, but although Emeria, the Sky Ruin does still sometimes matter, it is frequently the case that the game is over (either for better or for worse) before it can trigger profitably.
Life From the Loam makes it tricky (although not impossible) to attack their manabase, but its more important function is to build up cards in hand for their 7-12 point Conflagrate as a finishing blow, which - barring odd Dredge circumstances - they will always have two Basic Mountains to fuel. Harassing their green sources is therefore the primary goal of Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter, but Crucible of Worlds is almost completely irrelevant before this happens, and I often abandon this plan outright as soon as two ways to find Green mana are available. Post-board, they can sometimes have a Blast Zone, which is usually a more relevant target in any case. WARNING: always make certain you have a plan for Bloodghast every time you think about giving Dredge a free landfall trigger.
During sideboarding, I remove the Crucible, the four Wrath effects, the Teferi and and one Emeria to bring in three Remorseful Cleric, two Celestial Purge, a Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and a Lone Missionary. Their only important gains are made by trimming a mixture of cards (typically starting with one or two Creeping Chill) to gain access to Ancient Grudge and maybe Nature's Claim. The Grudges are a concession to the power of Batterskull to close the door on their lategame, so the Missionary and the Lavinia join the party to help with controlling Conflagrate. Purge is essentially a better Path to Exile for stopping early Amalgam aggression, and also breaks free of any potential Leyline of the Void or Magus of the Moon once the game is well in hand.
Apart from these subtleties, the play patterns are virtually identical between maindeck and sideboard games except that both players are better prepared. This is excellent for Emeria, since their deck does not significantly improve. On the other side of things we gain a much higher density of relevant draws, plus the ability to interact with the graveyard in Remorseful Cleric, which can often be brought back with Sun Titan as a crippling soft-lock typically set up soon enough to matter. The timing on the first Cleric activation requires situational awareness once again, but the threat sitting in play is already enough to slow games down a great deal for them. Equip it with Mortarpod whenever possible to play around Darkblast, and watch for potential Lightning Axe, but the Spirit is frequently the nail in the coffin (Sorry!) allowing Emeria to win comfortably given a nominal amount of pressure.
Burn - Emeria's stance in the matchup is much more subtle than it would at first appear. Emeria, the Sky Ruin triggers rarely occur early enough to matter in the absence of significant low-curve help, and I will typically sideboard one copy out if I have enough to bring in. Field of Ruin and Ghost quarter are on the lookout to cut off any splash colour if they have not yet cast a spell that their nonbasic land could represent, and Ghost Quarter in particular should be used on your own fetchlands aggressively to save a point of life. Otherwise, both pre- and post-sideboard, the puzzle is solved the same way; if they draw creatures, the odds of winning the game go up dramatically when blockers can turn them into blank draws. When their creatures have dealt ZERO damage by the final turn of a game, I am satisfied that I have put myself in the best possible position to win the match.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
Post-sideboard on our end, I take out Crucible of Worlds and all of the Wrath effects other than Settle the Wreckage (and maybe a single Wrath of God if I see them keep Eidolon of the Great Revel in for game two) for Celestial Purge, Blessed Alliance, Lone Missionary, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and Stonecloaker or Glen Elendra Archmage if I have them. The gameplan is the same as above: stop the haste creatures from getting in every single point of combat damage you can, and give them every incentive to use their burn on anything other than life total. I also take out all the gold 3-drops other than a lone Teferi, Time Raveler, if I have it, as a hedge against Ensnaring Bridge. Aura of Silence can also hit Eidolon while being recurred with Sun Titan, so if I don't happen to have a Teferi, an Archmage, or a D-Sphere, this is the most reasonable singleton to replace the already suboptimal Wrath of God mentioned above, but a random creature is better than everything but Teferi if I see nothing strange.
This is generally one of the matchups where I will sideboard in either Aven Mindcensor or Remorseful Cleric to get the Wraths out of my deck, since they have the option of stopping haste damage, and can also threaten to end the game if the opponent tries to stop interacting with the board. In this matchup, Emeria is still an excellent attrition deck, but they can sometimes choose to ignore the value we generate. It is therefore incumbent on the Emeria player to do everything possible to trade card-for-card. Lone Missionary is an absolutely invaluable tool on this front, because 4 life gains traction over their average draw of output of 3 damage, and forces them to have Boros Charm or Skullcrack to trade with it evenly. Even when they do, it still leaves behind a 2/1 body that can help your calculations on whether to try locking them under their own Eidolon of the Great Revel. This last strategy is a viable one to look out for if they do leave that card in, since its symmetrical effect leaves them powerless to remove it when it is opposed by a Wall of Omens or a Court Hussar. Given infinite time, either a Pilgrim's Eye or Mortarpod discarded to maximum hand size is sufficient to close out such a game when Emeria eventually gets online to recur a Sun titan, and Mistveil Plains will typically prompt a concession if two white permanents are already in play.
Blessed Alliance is (eventually) functionally identical to Lone Missionary, but offers both sideboard and timing flexibility. I am a fan of some amount of burst lifegain to bridge the gap before Batterskull hits, but one of these should be creature-based to force them to have Skullcrack in response to Sun Titan. If I were playing in a field where I expected Geist of Saint Traft out of Jeskai, plus a lot of Burn, I might choose to run 2 Lone Missionary and a Blessed Alliance in the sideboard. There was also a time when I ran 3 Lone Missionary in the maindeck, which turned Burn into as good a matchup as Jund, and maybe even better, but this was a heavy concession to make unless the rest of the field was decidedly aggro-centric. My current build has been good enough against burn generally that I would be willing to cut the Blessed Alliance at the moment, but since I have yet to play the matchup against a really good GP-level opponent while relying on the various Stoneforge Mystic dynamics, I have it included as extra coverage.
The importance of the mana curve is revealed since our deck replaces a land, two 3-drops, and five 4-drops, with five 2-drops and three 3-drops here. The net effect is to go up to sixteen 2-mana plays from eleven, and up to nine 3-mana plays from eight. The instant-speed interaction also jumps from five to eleven cards, of which all but the Path to Exile effects can cleanly trade with a lethal Goblin Guide after allowing its trigger. Speaking of Path to Exile, the moment I feel that the ground is locked up with enough blockers that their path to victory is through direct damage alone, these should be used as Rampant Growth on every extra Germ token or irrelevant blocker to accelerate the lategame. Settle the Wreckage is harder to do this with, but can also have this mode with proper timing. Holding Lavinia, Azorius Renegade until a Rift Bolt is in suspend can be backbreaking, but must sometimes be weighed against delaying Skewer the Critics or blocking.
If room is required for one more advantageous component not mentioned here, a Sun Titan can also be trimmed to lower the curve even further, but Titan is typically good enough to provoke desperation plays from Burn. As a final tip, Emeria wants to encourage Burn to spend its removal on potential blockers, so if I do have an extra flash sequence to mess up combat, I try to make attacks and plays that appear to leave me exposed to an on-board Soul-Scar Mage or the like so that I can tempt them to kill the apparent lone line of defense. An infrequent interaction illustrating this is if I Path to Exile my own Wall of Omens to leave me with just a Court Hussar on defense, which might allow me to Celestial Purge their attacker if they spew a Shard Volley on it along with other spells with the expectation of recouping their losses in combat. Other examples of this philosophy occur when Celestial Purge and other ways to remove creatures are used to fizzle Searing Blood, although the same trick does not work with Searing Blaze. With no card selection, they can do no more than hope that their draws line up well with yours, so respect their bluffs and expose your curve to their hand judiciously, taking whatever extra seconds you need to think. Consider the possible consequences of your plays! The clock is your ally in this matchup; you will almost never go to time.
Bant Snowblade - is a strategy currently gaining popularity, ever since the printing of Arcum's Astrolabe opened up an important new paradigm for fixing manabases in Modern. There exist several three and four-colour combinations of a similar shell possible, largely basing themselves in Blue and Green for Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Ice-fang Coatl, then adding white for board control and threats like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Stoneforge Mystic. Due to the wide selection of cards available to the strategy, however, every version is highly likely to display customization, and can therefore be difficult to plan against effectively. The lists are still relatively new as well, and are still refining themselves. Despite this variability there are a few general commonalities to their control plans, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin grants a marked advantage to the player with access to it in complex attrition battles, which this pairing can very often become.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
As an extension of this fact, the games are often determined by the quality of the draws on both parts. Here again, Emeria control has a slight advantage, since the consistency of its draw steps is quite high and very good at ensuring deck velocity and a full hand well into the lategame, but this is paired with the disadvantage of a relatively flat power level. A Court Hussar is generally going to be a consistently good draw, for example, whether it is facing a topdecked Teferi, Time Raveler or a Force of Negation. This is excellent in the second case, but mediocre in the first. The upshot of these considerations, when Mana Leak and Path to Exile are thrown into the mix, is that the midgame is often reached with several creatures in play on Emeria's side, making pressure on Planeswalkers a given. The next important set of cards now begins to become noteworthy: the sweepers.
Regrettably, Emeria now has another disadvantage in that it contains more of these effects. These are very poor draws, on both sides, and typically irrelevant unless a planeswalker is threatening its ultimate. Using Settle the Wreckage to ramp is an important tactic to turn the card into a contributing piece here, but Supreme Verdict and Wrath of God have no such alternate mode. Their most useful function is likely to re-stock the graveyard if recursion targets are running low, which is a task better suited to Mortarpod in the first place. The presence of lifegain and copious removal on both sides makes winning through combat damage academic, and only a symptom of a losing battle and not the root cause; consecutive relevant draw steps. The key to the matchup lies in punishing Bant for every failure on this front. The most important feature of drawn-out topdeck wars here is that Emeria is perfectly happy to turn its copies of Path to Exile on itself, while Bant is sometimes forced to be the one spending a card providing its opponent with a Rampant Growth to protect its Planeswalkers.
Speaking of these, Detention Sphere is an important weapon both here and against Uro (who will die if ever released from it due to Escape's wording), and it is important to clear the way for it by baiting Force of Negation with Crucible of Worlds and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. These cards are very strong against Bant when resolved, but less relevant to lose access to when setting up a Sun Titan to turn the corner. Their Ice-Fang Coatl is a moderate concern where the Giant's attacks are concerned, but the threat of it should not prevent attacks in most cases - its value will frequently pale in comparison to an extra recursion trigger. The other significan finisher in the matchup, Batterskull, should not be prioritized over Mortarpod to enable plays around their 1/1 deathtouching flier, or their copy of the lifelinking Germ. It also stands a much better chance of connecting meaningfully when drawn naturally as a surprise after the Mystic sets up a value target for redundant Paths (or an extra point of damage on a faltering Planeswalker). Pilgrim's Eye also shines in both these respects, and like Wall of Omens can eventually serve as fodder for the Mortarpod.
Crucible of Worlds bears more discussion, as it brings about the third phase of sub-battles in that it is tied to the ability to leverage Field of Ruin. Although Bant's manabase is built on Snow lands, they are typically well short of all the basics they need to keep themselves on certain double-colour combinations. Many Islands (up to 6) can be expected, but Ghost Quarter can be activated on a basic Plains or Forest to cut down their outs if the game begins to tilt in Emeria's favour. Likewise, any dual lands can be downgraded to basics while thinning the deck for Emeria and ticking up towards its namesake card. At some point, sometimes forced by pre-emptive strikes when setting up Emeria, the Sky Ruin, Bant will have to start using its own Field of Ruin to prevent recursion, and will swiftly begin to restrict its own plays in the face of opposing activations. No matter how tempting it may be, though, the presence of Cryptic Command should prevent any momentary illusions of removing Astrolabes with Detention Sphere. Unless tubocharged by a Titan or Crucible, mana disruption comes naturally, or not at all.
Post-sideboard, the most relevant upgrade is found in their useless Supreme Verdict turning into Ashiok, Dream Render, but the balance of the post-board games goes towards Emeria Control, which can remove its five sweepers for the Pithing Needle effects plus an Aura of Silence, and two Aven Mindcensor (or Glen Elendra Archmage). On top of this, three Path to Exile and a Pilgrim's Eye can be removed on the play to make room for three Remorseful Cleric as extra evasive pressure which disrupts Uro, plus the occasional Snapcaster Mage or Mystic Sanctuary. On the draw, one extra Path to Exile stays in and a second Pilgrim's Eye is removed instead to reduce the chances of Ashiok disrupting early sequencing. Apart from this specific extra wrinkle, the dynamics remain the same as pre-sideboard. Maintain pressure, and punish every Mana Leak, Path to Exile, and Force of Negation they left in, while working up to Emeria. As a final note, be cautious of Archmage's Charm on Germ tokens when declaring attackers. The Batterskull itself will still belong to you, but might suddenly find itself equipped to a very good blocker on the other side of the battlefield if you do not have three mana available to return it to your hand.
Infect - Infect is one of the best match-ups this deck has. It is very difficult for them to win through 4 colours' worth of creatures (counting Pilgrim's Eye), five functional Ghost Quarter effects, flying blockers, 1-mana instant-speed removal, Teferi, Time Raveler, on-board pings, and Supreme Verdict. If I make it past turn 4, I believe I have never lost a single game. Their best way to win is by going all-in on a turn-2 Glistener Elf attack, which we should discourage by representing Path to Exile with any untapped white source on turn one. The times when they have exactly 10 Infect damage line up a non-zero amount with the times we DO have the answer at the ready, but one of the only official match losses I have had to the deck was a "good beats" story from back when they had Gitaxian Probe, and had the turn 2 kill in both games after a free Peek. These days, it takes a good bit more bravery to pull the trigger.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
Inkmoth Nexus and Pendelhaven are ways for them to work around Supreme Verdict and Mortarpod, respectively, so Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter are important to find with Court Hussar. Their activation should follow the same principles as above, except when you would like to force them to expend extra mana by having to animate their nexus again when they might have Vines or Defenses. The wasteland effects can team up with other cards against Inkmoth Nexus to act as a "double removal spell" when you want them to dump their hand on an attack that is doomed to fail. They will invariably build up many cards between threats, but none of them have haste so you can safely ping, Path, or Wasteland their new attacker on their turn, then untap and Supreme Verdict if it survived.
I have removed both Batterskull, the Wrath of God, an Emeria, the Sky Ruin, and a Sun Titan for two Pithing Needle, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Blessed Alliance, Disenchant, and Aura of Silence. If they are not on the Become Immense plan, one of the two Batterskull can stay in over Lavinia to give a faster option for closing the game, but in any event Stoneforge Mystic is mostly just a way to get access to the best card in the matchup: Mortarpod. Blocking their creature, then pinging it after you are certain it cannot get through for damage is good enough on its own, but after that it turns every creature you draw into almost a free Terminate. If you like, you can also bring in 2 Aven Mindcensor for 2 Detention Sphere, but I like making sure to cover my bases against strange sideboard plans when almost nothing else can go wrong. We have over three times as many answers as they have threats, and so choosing the best one to cut off their best outs to the current situation is likely your most difficult decision.
Their countermagic is generally completely outclassed by Supreme Verdict and Teferi, Time Raveler, and so you should use this recommended sideboard plan to be ready for them to bring in literally anything they have access to in a desperate bid to win any post-sideboard games. Teferi in particular is almost unfair, as a safety blanket made of reinforced titanium in a matchup that is already abysmal for them. Disenchant can kill both Inkmoth Nexus and Spellskite, while covering against Shapers' Sanctuary or graveyard hate. I believe they can also do the trick with two Spellskite where they bounce the target of a spell between the two to draw a dozen or more cards, so make sure they are not trying to set that up. Aura of Silence is simply a better Disenchant that they can't even counter, but mind that you use Ghost Quarter and not it if you want to kill a Nexus. They can redirect Shatter effects to their 0/4, but not Strip Mine.
Pithing Needle should start by stopping them from animating Nexi so that Supreme Verdict does not open the door to a counterattack, but you should still use Field of Ruin to get them off the table in case they draw a Nature's Claim. Speaking of Disenchant effects, you should avoid giving them any value on theirs by stacking the ETB trigger of Detention Sphere, then killing it with Aura of Silence to trigger the "leaves the battlefield" ability so that their cards are permanently exiled. This is best used with a Sun Titan in hand to bring back the Aura of Silence tax effect as soon as possible. Finally, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade counters each Mutagenic Growth that they pay life for, but you will probably never get more than one this way. Her true purpose is to make Become Immense completely unworkeable, although she also counters the rebound of Distortion Strike.
Humans - is one of the bread-and butter pairings for Emeria control in any variant, and this list is no exception. Because of a combination of playing to the board with multiple x-1's, very little haste or evasion, a near-total lack of card advantage, and a manabase reliant on Gold lands and dreams, this is almost as good a matchup as Infect, and ranks alongside the far less popular B/W tokens in terms of decks that I am hoping to be paired against in any round. Wall of Omens is as good as advertised, and Pilgrim's Eye performs at above-average rates to encourage the overextended boardstates that they are so desperate not to be caught in. At this point, the sweepers take over, and can lead to blowouts beginning from a minimum of 3-for-1 rates and going all the way to my current record of 14-for-1.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
Additionally, their primary interactive pieces in Deputy of Detention and Reflector Mage are downright embarrassing in the face of mass removal and ETB creatures, giving W/u supplemental value in the lategame, which then becomes completely backbreaking. From the sideboard Collector Ouphe does virtually nothing, while Sin Collector and Knight of Autumn are slow and weak to Mortarpod at 3 mana, so their most significant upgrade is found in Gaddock Teeg. Unfortunately for them, the card is a Kithkin Advisor, which is almost totally monopolizing on their Cavern of Souls and Unclaimed Territory. This usually leaves them struggling to provide the necessary pressure to follow up, and exposes their manabase even more to Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter. Speaking of which, the basic land count in most Humans lists is sometimes 0, often only 1 or 2, and generally 3 at maximum, so the Jeskai colours needed for the hasty flier that is most important for them to cast post-Wrath of God are highly susceptible to disruption on their Red source.
Nevertheless, the Mantis Rider and Kitesail Freebooter interactions are important enough that Celestial Purge is a desireable effect to have access to post-sideboard. Crucible of Worlds is unnecessary here, and Teferi, Time Raveler is mediocre in wide board states, while a single Batterskull is all that is needed to win. These three cards therefore come out to make room for the Purges and a single Pithing Needle. The Needle is because Humans makes excellent use of Aether Vial in perfect draws, and the primary angle that tribal decks without reach can use to outmaneuver Emeria is by controlling their exposure to play around Wrath effects. Against Humans the only real threat is their ability to play a "flash" game, and Needle is therefore a very effective card to draw in many midgame situations as insurance that can also disrupt, since if they can choose what to commit and when they can sometimes steal games that would be locked up otherwise.
Beyond that logic, a turn-one Vial can sometimes grow Champion of the Parish fast enough on the play that a single Meddling Mage or Kitesail Freebooter can be used to put off a sweeper for the one turn they need to win. Their normal goldfish gets pushed back by half a turn or more for every weak soft-lock creature they play, though, which means this is rarely possible unless they accelerate. Aether Vial counts as acceleration for this purpose, since it can essentially tap for 6 mana or more in their best draws, and so access to more than four pieces of 1-mana interaction is important for the greatest operational threat they can leverage.
One last relevant question is why in normal circumstances only a single copy of this effect is good against them. The answer is because Aether Vial is a poor topdeck, and can be sideboarded out by some opponents. Creature-centric decks are frequently desperate for either pressure or space post-board against Emeria, and they sometimes will conclude that Vial is to be cut, but until this is certain, the Pithing Needle does its job very well. A single card can turn 4 of theirs into completely dead draws unless they choose to slow themselves down again, creating positive strategic dynamics for Emeria. The risk that they might win the staring contest over whether Needle can name Vial profitably leads one copy only being brought in until the presence of their artifact is confirmed, since after the backup target of Horizon Canopy, they may literally have no other activated abilities to prevent.
Tron - Tron is the cost that is paid for the advantages gained by playing a slow strategy in Modern, and appears to be an irrevocably bad matchup as of 2020. Since its inception, the deck has been composed of an almost unadulterated mixture of lands, card velocity, and enormously powerful topdecks. There are a few rare exceptions in certain metagames where there is a hope that the occasional maindeck Dismember and/or Pyroclasm will grant some small reprieve from the general pattern, but by and large the deck plays the attrition war exceedingly well against Emeria as long as it has its mana. Winning game one is possible, at which point the match is indeed up for contention, but this is a very rare occurrence, and the number of times Tron manages to win both games post-board makes the true count a depressingly lopsided 70-30 matchup in their favour. Every mistake will be punishing for Emeria eventually, and several draw steps must line up in sequence for there to be any real doubt as to the outcome.
sideboard strategy by GerantDePhares:
The bad news does not end there, however, because even through multiple copies of the best interactive spells on-colour to prevent this in Spreading Seas, closely followed by Damping Sphere (which are conveniently enough all very neatly countered by their sideboard Nature's Claim), the deck can still play a slower version of their strategy by simply casting Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on-curve. It is often only academic whether these are less devastating on turn 7 and 8 than on turn 3 and 4; they will still win many games regardless unless a clock can be established while they are being delayed. Even worse is that Oblivion Stone is a backbreaking play which requires only a three-mana investment, and immediately breaks free of any lock pieces to unleash an immediate horrorshow as of the turn it can be activated. Breaking apart their manabase synergy is still the key, but the fact that they can often win regardless of that fact is what makes this pairing an unavoidable death sentence for Emeria in well over half the games played against it.
Understanding this humbling disadvantage, and accepting it, leads to finally grasping the tightrope that must be walked to come out victorious by your own hand in an encounter with the colourless monstrosity that is Tron. The matchup is NOT unwinnable, merely close to it, and the greatest care must be taken not to become bitter or discouraged at that fact. They will have more than their fair share of improbable and frustrating wins no matter what, but if you remain diligent and alert your reward will be the fact that you have won a game that you can unequivocally say that you have earned. Daring and cold calculation are required when building a very narrow bridge towards the lategame is the only reliable path forward, and it is the tightrope walk along this tenuous path which should not be compromised; even facing the full fury of the Blind Eternities.
The threats are consistent and oppressive, and the spells Emeria musters against them are underwhelming, but the key is found in the lands. Not the Tron player's manabase, but its own. The only significant change in the matchup percentages across the seven-year history of my battle against turn-three Karn Liberated was heralded by the printing of Field of Ruin. Ghost Quarter was a longtime temporizing play in the matchup, but unless (and sometimes despite) being backed up by a true desperation play in sideboard Surgical Extraction, the effect was never enough unless it had a chance to become a Strip Mine. This usage became orders of magnitude more viable when manabase disruption could happen before its first activation, and after the thought of recurring it with Sun Titan became more than a vague pipe-dream. Herein lies the secret. Unless it is protecting a chance to deal lethal damage, setting Emeria's curve back by a land is a horrible play. Closing out the game is impossible if a premature Wasteland effect prevents Crucible of Worlds or a Titan from hitting the table. Field of Ruin, Crucible of Worlds, Ghost Quarter, and Sun Titan. These four cards are what every Wall of Omens and Court Hussar should always be seeking to find, pre- and post-sideboard, nearly always in that order.
Pressure is not unimportant, and the deck-thinning provided by Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull is also not negligible, but it is the chances of drawing the previous four-card package which should always be kept in mind when sequencing. Do everything in your power to avoid wasting the digging potential of the Anticipate trigger on your 1/3 by using as many search effects as you can afford to before you cast it. Life totals are simply a distraction from the true battle in most cases, so do not spend any Path to Exile on speculative offense through a Wurmcoil Engine if you can afford to use them to build up your own manabase towards an early Titan. When you draw the 6/6/ Giant on turn six, be aware that you might at this point have the option of playing a sandbagged Ghost Quarter, tapping five mana, playing and using the search effect on yourself, and tapping the land you searched up to make mana number six, which will return the Quarter to play for immediate usage on a Tron piece. This often goes against what Emeria, the Sky Ruin wants to do, but in this matchup nothing but early and frequent Titan triggers are relevant to our most relevant endgame. The play just described requires true discipline in order to set up, but is rewarded because they might not see the first Ghost Quarter until it is too late to dig for their ubiquitous maindeck copies of Relic of Progenitus until after a 6/6 recursion engine is already gaining relevant value.
The timing and targeting on the manabase disruption is also very important. Whenever they do not enable the only maindeck instant-speed threat in Oblivion Stone activations, Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter should be used only after they have an additional chance of drawing their last Basic Forest. This is often shortcut to mean "during their draw step" to prevent them from reaching a mainphase with Tron assembled, but every extra percentage point of the best-case Strip Mine scenario should be taken, even though they commonly run at least two to four Basic Forests (and up to seven, in one notable extreme). Pointing these cards at the same named Tron piece is the priority, in order to reduce their odds of drawing them naturally as the game goes long, but try to avoid destroying Urza's Tower unless you have already broken up the set. When Tower is the last land they play to re-connect Tron, it can allow them to resolve a key Oblivion Stone (which will eventually disrupt recursion loops) before they pass the turn. Fetch out Mistveil Pains as early as possible, it can permit victory despite the threat of decking if they are able to attack multiple times with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger before the board is stabilized with the otherwise useless Settle the Wreckage. Nerves of steel are necessary at times, since on the draw it is suicide to use Ghost Quarter against the threat of Karn Liberated off of three consecutive Urza lands; the best hope in such a situation is to pretend they do not have it, or less realistically hoping to use Detention Sphere on it.
The sideboard is currently a massive improvement, but layered just as precariously as in game one - on the back of Field of Ruin. The only exceptions are Pithing Needle (typically first for Karn Liberated and then for Oblivion Stone) and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, which sometimes steal a few critical turns of tempo on the draw. Karn, the Great Creator is a very good target for Needle, but unlike its seven-mana incarnation from New Phyrexia it can be beaten by a normal array of creatures. Aura of Silence and Disenchant are important answers to several threats here, can be timed on an ETB to reduce the blowout potential of removal on Detention Sphere, and contribute to locking out access to Karn's often unpredictable wishboard. Sideboarding begins with removing all five of the 4-mana sweepers, and then continues by trimming an Emeria, the Sky Ruin and two Pilgrim's Eye. They make room for every version of Pithing Needle, the two Disenchant effects, the Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and the crucial copies of Glen Elendra Archmage (or Aven Mindcensor, if these are used instead). All the equipment and copies of Path to Exile remain in place for their deck-thinning value, and to support as much aggression as can be spared around the battle to keep the lands within reach of a semi-fair contest.
Eldrazi Tron - is a colorless midrange beatdown strategy that takes advantage of accelerated mana via Eldrazi Temple and Tron lands. You'll often see creatures such as Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher but are likely to also see high impact top end cards like Karn Liberated and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Eldrazi Tron doesn't play much removal but keep in mind Dismember, Walking BalLista, and most importantly All is Dust. Post sideboard you should expect some number of Ratchet Bomb.
sideboard strategy by Fincown:
Side out: 5
1 Path to Exile
2 Lone Missionary
Side in: 5
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Gideon of the Trials
1 Settle the Wreckage
Scapeshift - is a combo deck that tries to get 7 lands into the battlefield, then they will cast Scapeshift to search for any six mountains and a Valakut from their deck for 18 points of damage. If they sacrifice 8 lands to scapeshift, the combo will deal 36 damage instead.
Storm - Storm is an all in semi graveyard based combo deck looking to cast multiple spells in a turn to increase their 'storm' count and kill you with either Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens. A storm players first priority is to resolve a Goblin Electromancer or Baral, Chief of Compliance. Once that is accomplished they will start netting mana with Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual and drawing cards with Opt, Slight of Hand, Serum Visions and Manamorphose. They can run all this back with a Gifts Ungiven for Past in Flames, and once they have cast enough spells in a turn they will cast their win condition Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens.
sideboard strategy by Fincown:
4 Spreading Seas, 1 Crucible of Worlds, 2 Sun Titan, 1 Wrath of God, 2 Supreme Verdict
Graveyard Hate, Countermagic, Disruption, Threats
3 Tormod's Crypt, 2 Dispel, 2 Negate, 2 Damping Sphere, 1 Gideon of the Trials
Tips and Tricks
1 Use Path to Exile on a mana bear in response to the first ritual effect
2 Be mindful that some Storm list play Blood Moon, if your opponent is play fetch lands like Scalding Tarn they are more likely to be playing Blood Moon than lists that play Shivan Reef
3 Be mindful that some lists also like to pivot into a transformational sideboard of Madcap Experiment and Platinum Emperion
Basic Land count: 5
2 Snow-Covered Island
Ad Nauseam - is an all in instant speed combo deck that is looking to draw their entire deck and win the game with either Lightning Storm or Laboratory Maniac. They do this by ramping into Ad Nauseam using artifact mana like Pentad Prism or Lotus Bloom and setting up their combo with either Phyrexian Unlife or Angel's Grace so they do not lose the game from the life loss given by Ad Nauseam. .
sideboard strategy by Fincown:
4 Path to Exile, 2 Supreme Verdict, 1 Wrath of God, 3 Sun Titan
countermagic, disruption, and threats
2 Dispel, 2 Negate, 2 Stony Silence, 2 Damping Sphere, 1 Sorcerous Spyglass, 1 Gideon of the Trials
Tips and Tricks
1 Be mindful that a Gideon of the Trials at 3 loyalty can still be killed by a Lightning Storm without any lands pitched
2 Be mindful that a Flickerwisp can exile a Phyrexian Unlife in a pinch to deal lethal combat damage when needed.
Basic Land count: 2
All lists that are not go here.
Things will be stagnant if we don't test, so just pm or quote me if you have something to share.
Mono Emeria by Fincown. This list achieved a 5-0.
1 Kami of the False Hope
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Remorseful Cleric
4 Wall of Omens
4 Ranger of Captain Eos
3 Sun Titan
1 Gideon Jura
Locâtum El Perello - Juli Terrats - 10/20/19 Tournament Reports
Tournament write-ups go here. Note, these go to posts in mtgsalvation. It's fine, I also own the primer there.
GerantDePhares 2/3/20 https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the ... mment=1558
Starstorm 11/17/19 https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the ... mment=1498
treesgobark 7/3/19 https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the ... mment=1256
fincown 7/7/19 https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the ... mment=1270