I've become a huge fan of this deck. Started with the Metallic Mimic version (no Vials) and then I started watching Matt Nass after Click5 turned me on to him (thanks again). At this point I've seen about 90% of his videos where he's playing Hardened/Scaled Affinity; still not an expert but I feel very comfortable with how his version runs and generally how he'd sideboard.
Quick rundown of my own stats, with more detail I can fill in later if there's interest:
86 matches played on MTGO, 54 in Competitive Leagues. Small sample size but enough to play most decks a couple times and get a feel.
Overall 66% win rate.
Match-ups with an even better win rate (great): Humans, GDS, Hollow One, Affinity, Elves, Ponza
Match-ups with a ~ 66% win rate (good): Tron, Burn, Counter Company
Match-ups with a much worse win rate (bad): Mardu Reveler, Jeskai/UW/UR/Grixis Control, Living End, Valuetown
Match-ups without enough games to get a feel: Titanshift, KCI, Bogles
Like Click5 says above, Gut Shot is for small creature decks especially those that side in Kataki. There may be room to improve the SB overall for those bad match-ups; I've been playing an extra Leap MB in place of a Throne, but I'm not sure that's the solution. A lot to be said on sequencing, when to push, etc. but this is a great deck that can turn 4 or 5 non-interactive decks while grinding against other creature decks and not getting completely stomped versus control.
I think the only real problem is hitting metalcraft for mox opal, and 1 drops don't help that. Memnite is a contruct so you can drop it as a 2/2 or 3/3 after mimic. Welding jar + spellskite + shaper's sanctuary for all those grindy match ups (mardu pyro, jeskai). Inkmoth > blinkmoth, it's easy to get to 10 damage with an inkmoth, and it's another enabler for turn 2 win. Karn hasn't been pulling his weight for me. At 4 he's often stuck in my hand because I have so much I can do with mana. Whenever he's drawing me cards I'm usually getting something really bad. I've been playing a lot of FNM and MNM, the deck does very well unless I keep 1 landers. I don't want to spend 700 for the deck on mtgo right now, but I'd like to play it more.
Not running Arcbound Worker is a mistake, in my opinion. Having an extra source of Modular enables you to go off more regularly, and being a 1 drop is meaningful in my experience.
Often my games go something like drop Worker turn 1 (or a Sparring Construct), turn 2 drop Overseer play Mox and cast Stirrings to dig for a win con. It plays differently from Affinity in a sense then, where enabling metalcraft early isn't as big of deal. You aren't generating your explosiveness from the number of bodies you cast, but rather by how many counters you are generating.
The deck is overloaded at the 2 drop slot. Overseer, ravager, hangarback, ballista (throne and mimic depending). Accelerating to 3 mana isn't as good as getting to 2. Removal is starting to get to insane levels. If you're playing creatures on curve they're just going to die eot. By your own thinking mox has zero synergy with the deck since it does nothing for the explosivness of 1/1 counters. Zyrnac has 4 leagues he uploaded before las vegas, and he was thinking about cutting the mox because it wasn't getting him any mana against removal until turn 3-4, and wasn't getting metalcraft on turn 1 or 2 consistently. I'll keep worker in mind.
I'm not being dismissive but I don't think you understand the difference between HS and normal affinity. HS avoids the need to build a critical mass of artifacts to win quickly. 2 or 3 will do. Normal affinity on 2-3 artifacts would take multiple turns of combat to win. HS can completely avoid combat (ballista) or get in all at once ( really big inkmoth, hangarback tokens). You're pretty much never going to see a 10/10 inkmoth from affinity, but in HS it's an easy task. But just generating counters isn't enough, you need to be able to move them. I've let a game play out 7+ turns without attacking once, and then my opponent is dead after tapping out. That's something affinity can't do. You never know when HS is going to go linear, or non linear. HS has a lot more top decks that can end the game on the spot.
Are you replying to me? It's hard to tell, because your second paragraph is basically agreeing with what I wrote above.
Mox Opal is still good because with a Hardened Scales in play it's a force multiplier. In Affinity Opal is giving your Plating +1, while with a Scales out Opal is +3 minimum.
If moving counters is paramount as you say (I agree), then you would understand why the Worker is good.
In my opinion Zyrnac's deck sucks, and his videos and play are not indicative of the actual potential of Hardened Scales
Edit: Also, what makes this deck interesting, especially compared to Affinity, is how resistant to spot removal you are. If my opponent want to kill my 1 drop... Great! That's one less piece for a Steel Overseer. They don't kill my worker? Great! It's going to enable a busted kill turn.
Ramping into a Metallic Mimic with bad cards like Memnite seems much, much worse against a removal heavy meta.
Having played both versions, I have to agree with Click5. Arcbound Worker (and Sparring Construct, much to my earlier chagrin) often make a full turn difference in when you can have lethal. There's an art to sequencing a turn 4 kill where you drop Ravager or Ballista and your tapped out opponent can only watch; usually it relies on a 1 drop to round your curve/add the last couple counters. Then you can leverage the threat of winning on the spot to edge ahead on value when needed.
I'm also not a big fan of Metallic Mimic because it's so susceptible to spot removal compared to the alternatives. In a nutshell it's a weaker choice because it's not an individual threat, further jams your 2 spot, and encourages you to take less threatening lines to maximize its value. I was introduced to this deck through Zyrnak's videos and tried Magic Aids' version with Mimics. Matt Nass and company have it right, or at least very close to it (see the 9th place finisher at GP Barca).
For what it's worth, I'm up to a 68.5% win rate through 111 matches and just put up my first 5-0. Net winnings are roughly 210 tickets.
I'm not 100% my changes were for the better. Horizon Canopy can be a mixed bag in the grindier matches and the extra forests make Blood Moon a nonstarter; occasionally miss the extra draw though and probably should be playing the Pendelhaven.
I haven't felt short without the extra Sphere. Nissa is probably a good addition, although I've pondered new Karn in her place. Shapers' Sanctuary looks great in theory but it's just not helping enough against control or midrange. Maybe they should be additional copies of Nissa/Karn? Not sure. My first few lists ran Animation Module in the main but it was challenging to use because the deck runs so tight on mana for the first dozen turns. Perhaps it's the grindy SB card I'm looking for?
Although perhaps I'm looking for answers without really having a problem. 4-1, 2-3, and 5-0 today. No complaints here!
In grindy matchups, Animation + Ravager is an "I win" button. Or Overseer.
I'm definitely feeling like Geth is the weakest card in his list. But maybe I'm not using it right. It seems to want 3+ things sticking around, and that can be tricky with all the spot removal. Animation seems better
I tried Spellskite, but it was NEVER a card I wanted to see over another 2 drop.
The challenge in the really grindy match-ups (e.g. Jeskai, UW Control, Mardu Reveler) is removal picking off your threats 1:1 and ignoring the pawns (Worker, Consruct) until it's easy to clean them up or outclass them. In the games I lose, I'm not getting to untap with more than one non-pawn. That makes Module hard to utilize, although maybe the strategy is to really slow down when you have it. Play threats out in ones and twos to get the servo token each time.
Throne of Geth is probably the most situational card in the deck. It can shine as a pseudo-Ravager late game to pump the team or a guarantee that Walker will get popped rather than exiled by Path. Other times it's pretty useless. Typically I'll play it last unless there's a specific reason not to. When sideboarding I consistently drop one or both that I play since it's the weakest card in the deck in most match-ups.
I feel you on Spellskite -- it further clogs the two drop spot and it misses a lot of what I want to protect against. More Welding Jar would be my choice if we're looking for additional protection, but I think we need a more repeatable 2 for 1 effect. Honestly, I'd love copies 5 & 6 of Walker if I could. But back in reality, maybe it's a planeswalker.
Against Mardu. I've specifically played to maximize Module tokens. I think that's the strategy. Just keep pumping out bodies and pump them as you can. Synergies PERFECTLY with an Inkmoth when you drop Ravager.
Blink is DEFINITELY a weak card. It's only real advantage is a good place to stash counters against removal.
Consider Animation Module instead of the Constructs. It solves that "I drew an Arcbound, what do I do with 3 mana?" issue that Affinity has once it's hand is empty.
Definitely agree that the mainboard is very tight as is. There are maybe 3-4 slots I'd consider swapping around -- the 4th Opal, the 3rd Throne/2nd Leap, the 2nd Blinkmoth, maybe the 2nd Sparring Construct. You definitely don't want to cut a green source from the manabase, but maybe a 3rd Welding Jar for Blinkmoth helps enable Opal early more regularly so you don't miss the land? I'd say that and Animation Module/Nissa/Karn in the sideboard are changes I'm considering.
I've tried Shaper's Sanctuary and the primary problem is how dead it is later in the game. Like, if you don't draw it early in the matchups you want it, it might as well be an emrakul for all the good it does. Overall, it'd have to like cantrip oro something before being playable.
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Modern UWUW ControlUW UGWSpiritsUGW GHardened ScalesG WGRUKiki PodWGRU [RIP]
Played in my local FNM last night, almost decided not to post anything because I'm still feeling pretty salty, but anyway...
Overall 0 - 1 - 2
Red Prison 1 - 1
Played against my friend, in previous testing the day before he hadn't been able to take a single game off me.
Game 1: Game went kinda slow because he kept playing Anger of the Gods early on, eventually get enough counters onto ballista for the win.
Game 2: Same kinda deal, this time he landed multiple bridges and a Witchbane Orb with Chalice on 2 preventing me from escalating my counters, didn't draw any of my Nature's claims so... Game dragged on a very long time. I really should have conceded so that I would have enough time for the next round but I felt if I could draw Nature's Claims I would be able to pop chalice or bridge and find an out.
Game 3: Draw. Went to time. Not happy about this because he had no board state and I would have accelerated to lethal in a few turns.
In the future I'm gonna go up to 4 Nature's Claims. Absolutely needed here.
Amulet Titan 1 - 2
Having never played against titan I didn't know what to expect, two games he goldfished for crazy fast stomps.
Game 1: Loss, he pulls of some land bouncing craziness in the fourth turn, ghost quarters my inkmoth, attacks with hasty titans.
Game 2: He mulligans, ends up with a slow hand, I dismember his early ramp creature. Attack with 2 inkmoths early for the win.
Game 3: Loss, slower than game one, I have to mulligan. Keep a reasonable but not fast hand. He assembles Titan tron too quickly however and gives it double strike mid-combat for the win. Spellskite manages to slow him down, but he drew abrade and got rid of it before I could use it to stop his land combo.
My problem here is I don't know how to sideboard against titan, or play against it at all really. Would love to be able to run thoughtseize. Opponent is a nice guy and knows his deck very well however, so I don't feel too bad.
UR Through the Breach 1 - 2
Played this guy a few times before, he's very good, always plays a control heavy deck.
Game 1: Loss. Good start, but eventually he lands a blood moon preventing me from getting lethal with Inkmoth. Bounces my stuff with cryptic to prevent me getting enough counters, eventually snapcaster mage-bolts me to death
Game 2: With hardened scales, Ravager and Inkmoth out am able to get lethal poison on turn 4 for the win.
Game 3: Loss, had to mulligan, a reasonable but slower hard is too slow as he lands Emrakul on turn five.
Future changes; well I'm definitely buying the last Inkmoth Nexus. Previously have been too lazy to buy it.
Most of my wins seems to depend on Inkmoth so my bad really. Will bring in another Nature's Claim for the sideboard.
The first match really should have been mine, the other two are against very pro player's so I'm not too sure what I could have done. Although ended up with many loses this deck really feels like it is packing a lot of power. Hardened Scales with a Ravager normally leads to lethal in a few turns. Cards that did well for me are Animation Module, Throne of Geth, and Evolutionary Leap. I think the sac plan is definitely the way to go, animation module helps provide unlimited sac targets for throne and ravager, or targets for leap to draw more cards. Have been kinda unimpressed with Opal since it rarely enables a quick start, doubt i'd cut it though.
I would like some advice on what to take out when sideboarding, so far i'm usually cutting Sparring Construct plus a hangarback walker or two, but to be honest I'm not sure what's ideal here. Deck feels so tight there's not much choice on what can be moved in / out.
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Decks - Modern Currently active
- Evolve Zoo
Oona's Blackguard (I use a Mac so my ' is different so it might not accept the card tag) is 1B Faerie Rogue 1/1 Flying Each other Rogue creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card.
(with the Scales the second Prowler would be a 3/3 Flyer for 2 that makes them discard upon hits for synergy, first just benefits your other creatures with counters)
With +1/+1 counter aggro plan going on Prowler the turn you swing and you can make them discard their hand. Phrexian Scriptures would likely be a one sided board wipe after a small pump (which if you run both can give the Blackguard a counter and make it an Artifact), before a somewhat irrelevant wiping of their graveyard.
A couple notes since I've continued to grind this deck:
Animation Module is solid in the grindy match-ups. I've swapped in 1 MB for my 2nd Leap to avoid drawing multiples since they're good against the same opponents.
Generally, going B isn't worth it because it means sacrificing your value colorless lands (Inkmoth, Citadel, etc.) which are critical to quick wins. You could potentially cut the 2x Blinkmoth and then swap in 8 dual G/B lands for G sources, but that only gets you to 10 B sources. Opal helps; still inconsistency though. One reason to like Oona's Blackguard -- it seems good against grindy decks.
For those playing on MTGO, there are A LOT of grindy decks in the meta as of the last three days. UR, UW, Jeskai, Mardu...bah. Those matches aren't awful, but they're not the creature decks I'd been destroying. 6/26 matches against great MUs, 10/26 against not so great, 2 mirror matches, and more in the uncertain or in between category.
Not sure if that means it's time to buy new Karn/Nissa for the MB as a hedge against the grind? Or maybe time to jam something like (ugh) Scapeshift for a few days until aggro returns.
I really like Animation module, it really helps to protect our main creatures against liliana. I took this list to a FNM and went 3-1 this past Friday. Fun thing, the one lost was due to mill and he had nuts draw against me. We played after he 2-0 me and I beat him every time but oh that's how the games goes. I will say there are a few changes I think that should be made. I really think the deck should be ran as G/W deck instead of Mono Green. I think Leap should be a sideboard card and not in the deck. I rather have animation module game 1 then side in leap depending on the deck.
Here was my list and I will post my changes for next weeks FNM.
I was close to the list that did well at the Worchester classic but I don't have a mini karn for the deck. I agree with the mana base that the deck run, blinkmoth is not very good. I don't think it is really needed but it is a flyer that can block and a artifact. I am not a big fan of leap and would rather have that in the sideboard. I have never really had a chance to play it and use it's potential. I also think Leyline should be in the sideboard, our rough match ups are hand control, burn, and liliana.