Hello fellow cardsmiths!

Is anyone going to attend the Las Vegas Grand Prix for Modern in June 17-18 this year? I am and it's gonna be my first GP. As most of you probably know, I am thirteen years old so you might be thinking, "A thirteen year old kid going to the biggest GP in the year?!?" Yes, exactly :)

I was wondering if I could have some support on what you think the meta will be like there. I will probably come across all that Affinity, Abzan, Infect, Delver, Dredge, and Delver stuff but does anyone know any other large decks players will use at the GP?

Here are some I know of:

Abzan Junk
Abzan Control
Ad Nauseum
UR Delver
UR Prowess
Death's Shadow Aggro
Burn Variants
UW Control
Jeskai Midrange/Control
Jeskai Prowess
Jeskai Mentor
... and many more...

I will be playing Restore Balance. I like to play stuff that not many people will expect to see.
Here is the TappedOut Page of what I will be playing:

Comments and Feedback appreciated :)


  • Predicting the metagame and preparing for it is one of the biggest parts of tournament preparation. Check out for the latest decklists and their performances heading into the event. Whatever happens, though I hope you have a fun experience. Just don't take a backpack or binders of cards, sadly theft is a common occurrence and I've had friends lose some valuable stuff that way. Just take cards you want signed when you're not playing so you can keep it in your hands. Good luck!
  • I wouldn't suggest playing something like restore balance at a Grand Prix. I went to Grand Prix London once, where I played standard. Even though I was playing one of the best decks (mono black devotion) I still went crashing out. If you do play it net deck.
  • In the words of Saffron Olive: "'s still a bit of a glass cannon. If an opponent can overload on Boarderpost removal or counter your Restore Balance it's really difficult to win." I haven't even won a FNM with restore balance, and I;ve played it quiote a bit.
  • Honestly, go with what suits you. If you play what you love to play instead of playing what others love to play, you will have an edge. As for me, I really like Jeskai Pyromancer/Mentor because I enjoy policing the board. Use cards like Young Pyromancer, PTE, Spell Snare, Mentor, Snapcaster, Mana Leak, and the like.

    Then again, what I first said contradicts my second statement about choosing the deck you love.

    Then again, if you follow my previous advice, you shouldn't be asking people for advice and should close this discussion.

    Which I don't think you should do. Oh well. I am a sucker for things that don't make sense.
  • @Gelectrode and @KJMartin

    I am going to go with this deck and I am playing the Mardu Green build but I added Nihilith for more pressure and ditched the Nahiri/Emrakul package for some more walkers. I watched gameplay videos on youtube and apparently this kind of build does well against most of the meta. The videos I watched had this deck beating Jund, Ad Naus, Affinity, Abzan Junk and some more popular decks.
  • edited January 2017
    Be prepared for less common decks such as Mono-black infect and Jund midrange, along with enduring ideal, 8 rack, and 8 whack. Hopefully Dredge is less of an issue with the recent banning of Golgari Grave-Troll.
  • @TheFriendlyGeek
    The only trouble with it is how inconsistent it is. When I played against my friends, once or twice I won against all of them, but then most of the time I lost horribly (getting balance countered or just getting destroyed). The main problem with it is how so many decks just beat it.
  • @KJMartin What beats it is Game 2. Stony Silence and countermagic are pretty big against this deck. But, we run less borderposts than usual, and Restore Balance is not our only win con. Obviously Greater Gargadon is sweet, but Nihilith can come down pretty aggressively thanks to the removal we have.
  • @TheFriendlyGeek
    Nihilth and Greater Gargadron still aren't very good. Both of them get removed too easily and nihilth is way too slow.
  • edited January 2017
    Restore Balance has bad matchups against most top 8 modern decks. That list also has some really non-optimal choices, particularly with the walkers and Nihilith. The mana base is also way, way underpowered. When you are counting on borderposts, you simply can't have most of your land drops be Terramorphic/Evolving.

    So first, there are some cards that really shouldn't be in the deck at all. Lingering Souls comes to mind because while it might be nice to have a blocker or two sometimes, it totally negates the point of your payoff, Restore Balance. If you leave your opponent with two creatures, there's a very good chance you simply lose. Sure you might have a tiny mana advantage but in your best case scenario you're doing Restore Balance turn 4 with that and you're probably already dead on board.

    I understand why you might put Nihilith in this deck since there's a halfway decent chance you might get him after most of a board wipe but if you're casting your restore turn 3 or 4, he's has a pretty good chance of not hitting the board that turn/the following turn. It's also entirely possible for him to be removed with 1 mana using mainboard spells.

    The Mardu Charms are too slow and not powerful enough. Honestly, give the fact that you pretty much need to cast Restore turn 3/4, it would probably be much better to replace them with spot removal, particularly Path to Exile since it synergizes so well with Restore.

    Now the walkers. The Ajanis do nothing in this deck. You're probably not keeping mana sources tapped because you are, you know, destroying them. Same goes for creatures. Even if you get one out it will just be a mild distraction that can Lightning Helix. Sarkhan also is really just under value at 5cmc, even if he swings well. The two standard Chandras (Torch of Defiance and Flamecaller) might be good replacements. Flamecaller puts out heavy damage and has nice utility though Torch of Defiance has pseudo-draw/damage, mana (important once your lands are dead), spot removal and a win condition ultimate (which goes really well with the borderposts).

    So the main problem with this deck is that you need a really good hand and even then, it's all-or-nothing on turn 3/4. If your opponent has any kind of response, you likely lose. Modern is a 'turn 4 format' with many decks capable of winning on turn 3 with some regularity so the fact that this deck literally can't cast anything until at least turn 3 means you have to hope and pray Restore Balance totally disables your opponent for 2-3 turns. If it doesn't, you lose. Even if you win game 1 or game 2, you opponent will have plenty of value to sideboard in against you. If they play Stony Silence, you lose. If they play turn 0/1/2 Duress (or Thoughtsieze), you probably lose. If they hold up a counter, you lose. If they Abrupt Decay, Pithing Needle, Nature's Claim, Kolaghan's Command, Collective Brutality, Ancient Grudge, Destructive Revelry or Wear/Tear, you lose. The deck simply has all of its eggs in one very fragile basket.

    Edit: Your best case scenario is also pretty much turn 8 lethal. That's 5 more draws and 5 more land drops for your opponent to recover and since they have plenty of 1, 2 and 3cmc cards, they will likely do against the single Gargadon you got off and the maybe 1 walker you got off turn 4 or 5.
  • @strongbelieves I see what you mean and I thank you for the well thought out suggestions. The Lingering Souls I am going to keep in because it can help us in some bad matchups if we are taking some beats from infect and affinity. The flashback is good to for more value. I can always sac them to the Gargadon if I am about to go off with Restore Balance.

    The mana base is definitely under construction. I know that by the time June comes around, I will be using a much better mana base with the necessary lands that are not the slow fetches I have now.

    Nihilith is a creature that I don't have to save in my hand until I resolve a Restore Balance. If I play something like a better alternative, and it doesn't have suspend, then I would have to keep it in my hand waiting until I can resolve Restore Balance. Nihilith has suspend so I can suspend it and not have to be limited to when I cast it if I played a different creature.

    Also, if you didn't realize it, Path to Exile is 1 cmc which means I might cascade into it when I only want to cascade into Restore Balance. Mardu Charm is my alternative because it keeps me from cascading into it (being 3 cmc) and it has multiple options and it is good to have multiple options for multiple situations.

    Ajani Vengeant is used for slowing down the opponent while increasing my position on the game. Its +1 slows down opponent's board state, -2 lightning helixes to gain some life back that I have lost by being slow, and deal some damage in the meantime. -7 is not necessarily crucial, but it is a nice addition if I run out of Restore Balances, even though that does not occur that often.
    The other walkers on the other hand are a problem. I like Gideon and maybe Sorin, but I agree with you on the Sarkhan. I will probably switch the Sorin and Sarkhan for singles of both Chandra Flamecaller, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

    I do recommend you watching these videos and please do because as bad as the deck does look, it actually is better than expected: He does fairly well.

  • You can't always sac them to Gargadon if you are going to restore, you can only do it if you have a Gargadon suspended which you would likely need to have done specifically on turn 2. If you don't have a Gargadon suspended, of which there are only 4 in your deck, that exact matchup you described (infect) will get to keep its creatures when you Restore Balance instead of losing all of them.

    You're also right about PTE, I missed that when I made the suggestion even though I later talked about how the deck is disabled before turn 3.

    Ajani Vengeant will slow you down by 1 turn because you will need to cast it. Best case, it will slow your opponent down by 1 turn by keeping a land tapped.

    I have a Restore Balance deck in MTGO and playtested your version 4-5 times and the best I could do, assuming opponent durdled, was scrape out a turn 9 win after a turn 3 Restore Balance with a Gargadon suspended. It took me another two turns to awkwardly get Gideon out and then start swinging soon after. I know it would add blue but Ardent Plea would leave you with Exalted on the battlefield after you wipe.

    Having dual fetches to get your basics instead of terramorphic/evolving adds a full turn of speed to your deck in a lot of cases. Replace the slow fetches with 7-8 dual fetches and you will have a much better chance of getting a turn 1 borderpost in addition to a land of the color of your choice. If you t1 evolving into two t2 borderposts I suppose it isn't the worst thing but it's much safer to simply hit your curve properly.
  • @strongbelieves thanks for testing and helping out. Fetches will be bought and brought in once all of the nonland cards are acquirred. Also, I did not want to add blue because it would be an extra color that I would have to deal with, and if I added blue, then I would probably have to increase my borderpost count which I am keeping at low because even though Stony Silence would be annoying, it would not be a MAJOR blowout.
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