While Commander remains the most popular format in the world’s oldest trading card game, Modern is among the most popular competitive formats in Magic: the Gathering. With a card pool dating back to cards released in 2003, Modern has a massive card pool for a competitive format. As such, some of these game pieces can be rather difficult to obtain, making the format’s top decks pretty expensive. In fact, according to mtggoldfish.com, as of the writing of this article, many of Modern’s best decks cost more than a grand to build! For many MTG players, this is a massive barrier to entry that can dissuade someone from picking up the format in earnest. Fortunately, there are healthy budget options for players who want to get in on the action without busting their wallets. Introducing the new budget king of Modern, fresh off a Modern Challenge win on MTGO: Mono White Aggro featuring Shining Shoal!?
Shining Shoal Revisited
In a surprising twist, MTGO user HanktheObese won a Modern challenge last week with Mono White Humans. If this weren’t impressive enough, the MTGO user has returned this weekend to top eight two more Modern challenges with the deck! This aggressive archetype doesn’t come at a price that some MTG players may consider budget, but it is definitely a much cheaper option than many of Modern’s competitive decks. The star of the show is Shining Shoal.
This bizarre X spell allows its owner to redirect damage to any source equal to X. As you may notice, this will likely, require a ton of mana to make work in any functionable capacity. Hence, the Shoal also has an option allowing its owner to pitch a white card to help pay for its cost, making it a free spell. Chancellor of the Annex is fantastic in this role since it allows the shoal to redirect seven damage. Additionally, the Chancellor has a pregame effect that allows it to tax your opponent’s first spell.
While this Shoal combo may be capable of redirecting damage, we need a relevant amount of damage to reflect. Fortunately, between delirious Unholy heats, Evoked Furys, and Murktide Regents, there is a ton of damage being thrown around – meaning there’s a ton of damage to redirect.
As you may imagine, this has not gone unnoticed by the MTG community. Shining Shoal, as a result, has gained some monetary value, making the budget deck a bit less budget. While the card has increased in price by a staggering 500% in some cases, you can still find it for around a dollar if you’re looking hard enough. I would expect to pay about $20 for the pull playset at this point (unless you’re ok with heavily played copies). That said, according to current sales, you could spend as much as $25 for four copies of these. Notably, Shining Shoal only has one printing currently, meaning that if this deck does get popular, it could see a huge price spike.
Chancellor of the Annex
Unfortunately, the other half of this Shining Shoal combo hasn’t gone unnoticed either. Initial spikes are pretty small, suggesting the Chancellor is only starting to rise in price, but this may be setting a trend that continues if this archetype continues getting results. The card is currently going for around the $3.15 range, which is a bit higher than average.
Mono White Humans
The above list by MTGO user HanktheObese is to blame for the Shoal’s sudden rise in price. Astute MTG players will note that, for a budget list, there are some pretty expensive cards in here. Cavern of Souls sticks out like a sore thumb since these tend to cost more than $50 each. Esper Sentinel and Solitude quickly cause the shell to climb in price, sticking it around $700. Fortunately, by removing Solitude and Cavern of Souls, you can create a much more affordable $300 Modern deck that still functions quite well. These cards are needed for the deck to perform at peak potential, but you don’t need these expensive cards for the deck to function.
Besides the crazy Shining Shoal combos with Chancellor of the Annex and Emeria’s Call, this deck is primarily an aggressive creature-based deck that wants to kill your opponent quickly. Fortunately, as pointed out by other content creators who took a look at this deck, many of the creatures that this deck runs also see play in the Mono White Pioneer aggro list, allowing you to play two decks for the price of one effectively.
Is This Any Good?
Well, the results in the tournament do suggest that this is a playable deck. As mentioned earlier, other content creators have also tried this deck after it fell under their radar and have had some success with it. That said, after the archetype’s successful challenge win, the deck has managed to reappear in the top eight of some other challenges. They are all piloted by the deck’s creator HanktheObese. This archetype is, therefore, either not getting enough attention or is pretty difficult to pilot. That said, Hank has topped two of the Modern challenges this past weekend with his humans list and won a challenge the weekend before with it as well. Three results do suggest that the archetype has some real potential in the current Modern metagame. It’s just a shame that this potential is immediately turning into monetary value.