Since playing in the SCG Open in Charlotte earlier this year, I have been fighting to find my correct deck to play in Modern. I showed up to the event with Grixis Death Shadow and was wholly unprepared for the wide variety of decks. I dropped from the event at 4-3. My four wins were versus decks I had tested against. My 3 losses were against decks that I had never even seen before; I simply had no idea how they worked. My lack of experience in the format was quickly made evident to me.
That Saturday I sold off some key pieces of the deck and built Burn in an attempt to learn the format. As I learned the deck and the format, I started using my profits from local events to build out cards to play Humans in modern. As some of my long-time readers know, Thalia’s Lieutenant is one of my favorite cards to play. I built out a binder of human cards to test and finally settled on Human Knightfall. I found quite a bit of success with this deck and really started to groove with it. Having the Retreat to Coralhelm and Knight of the Reliquary combo in a human shell seemed really good to me. A week before the 2nd SCG Open in Charlotte this year Joel Larsson posted ‘The Complete Humans Company Primer‘; his 4c Humans list was only 4 cards off from my own. His list looked better, so I registered it.
Much to my chagrin, I went 0-3 in the Main Event. I lost to Burn, Affinity, and Infect. Long story short, I was too slow versus these decks and just got stomped. I felt embattled and down on myself for a poor performance. I spent the remainder of the weekend playing side events and having fun with friends. I ended up with a group of players who were all fans of Humans, discussing new tech ideas. We were all discussing ideas for pushing the deck to tier 1. I got pulled away by some friends as they started talking Aether Vial, and left it there.
The following weekend, as I was preparing my plans for GP Atlanta, I started receiving Tweets, DMs, and Text messages about the current Open that was in progress. Apparently, Collins Mullen was making huge waves with his Humans list. He ended up going undefeated at this event. As speculation about the viability of this deck sticking around was being debated, I started to acquire the cards I needed. I expected a spike, and spike the cards did.
The major changes he made to this deck were the removal of Collected Company and the addition of Aether Vial, along with the use of 12 lands that could produce 5 colors when casting humans/creatures. Collins took the toolbox idea of the humans to the next level and I was super excited to test it out. Adding Kitesail Freebooter and Unclaimed Territory from the newest set also had some appeal, as I love playing with brand new cards in Modern.
I went into battle at GP Atlanta side events with Collins’ winning list. I promptly started taking down events and grinding out tickets. I was in heaven; he had unlocked the added tech I needed for this deck to be viable. At the end of the weekend, I walked away with a couple booster boxes and fat packs from the prize wall and was extremely pleased with myself. I am still refining my list with cards that I like, and am excited to implement some of the new year’s new technology into this very new list.
My current 5c Human list can be seen here and I will do my best to keep it up to date. I will be following this article up with some deeper dives into the deck, centered around specific interactions I have seen. In addition, I will include some discussion on card choices.
As always, thanks for hanging out. Good luck and have fun.
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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com