Yesterday's main event, due to the limitations of Vintage, had only featured 57 players. However, yesterday's main side event, the appropriately named “Grand Modern Trial,” had 142 players battling for free entry plus two byes for today's tournament.

That turnout meant eight rounds of Swiss and the aforementioned prize being awarded to the Top 5. (There even was a clean cut to 19 points at this threshold.) Naturally, their decklists were of particular interest as an early indicator of what decks we might expect to see at the top tables today.

Only looking at five lists, one would expect to see a lot of diversity. But two of the winners had chosen Urzatron strategies, in red-green and mono-blue, and even more noteworthy was the success of Ad Nauseam. Tobias Pohlmann and Julian Knab had been the only two players at 6-0, agreed to an intentional draw in the penultimate round, and both ended up in the Top 5 with the deck. Why Ad Nauseam? What makes the deck so strong in the current environment?

142 players showed up for the Modern event, but in the end, Julian Knab was still able to secure some Byes for today!

142 players showed up for the Modern event, but in the end, Julian Knab was still able to secure some Byes for today!

“To be honest, I first started playing the deck simply because Rodrigo Togores, a friend of mine who's also had some success on the MKM Series, told me to, said the deck was too strong for the format,” first-place Julian Knab recalled. “So I tried the deck and found all the praise to be absolutely true. The deck really only has one bad matchup in Infect. Decks with a lot of discard are problematic too, but there aren't many of them around at the moment.”

Knab explained that, curiously enough, all the blue decks were excellent matchups. “Not only can the full combo [of Ad Nauseam plus Angel's Grace with the eventual kill provided by Lightning Storm] be cast at instant speed,” he said, “thanks to Boseiju, Who Shelters All and split second, both parts can't even be countered at all.”

He also mentioned that blue decks in modern Modern hardly included any hard counterspells anyway, and could definitely not compete with the power of his own Pact of Negation.

Even a decklist error which led to a game loss—below you'll see Leyline of the Void in his sideboard which should have been Leyline of Sanctity—couldn't stop him. Knab remained undefeated till the very end.

Julian Knab – Ad Nauseam

Main Deck:
  • 4 Ad Nauseam
  • 4 Angel's Grace
  • 4 Serum Visions
  • 4 Sleight of Hand
  • 4 Lotus Bloom
  • 4 Pentad Prism
  • 3 Pact of Negation
  • 3 Phyrexian Unlife
  • 2 Lightning Storm
  • 3 Spoils of the Vault
  • 4 Simian Spirit Guide
  • 4 Temple of Deceit
  • 4 Gemstone Mine
  • 4 Seachrome Coast
  • 4 Darkslich Shores
  • 2 Dreadship Reef
  • 2 Plains
  • 1 Temple of Enlightenment
Sideboard:
  • 3 Darkness
  • 2 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
  • 1 Patrician's Scorn
  • 1 Duress
  • 1 Slaughter Pact
  • 1 Echoing Truth
  • 1 Pact of Negation
  • 1 Laboratory Maniac
  • 4 Leyline of the Void
txt version

Julian Knab – Ad Nauseam
Main Deck:
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel's Grace
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism
3 Pact of Negation
3 Phyrexian Unlife
2 Lightning Storm
3 Spoils of the Vault
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Darkslich Shores
2 Dreadship Reef
2 Plains
1 Temple of Enlightenment
Sideboard:
3 Darkness
2 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Patrician's Scorn
1 Duress
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Echoing Truth
1 Pact of Negation
1 Laboratory Maniac
4 Leyline of the Void

Tobias Pohlmann

Main Deck:
  • 4 Ad Nauseam
  • 4 Angel's Grace
  • 1 Lightning Storm
  • 3 Spoils of the Vault
  • 2 Pact of Negation
  • 1 Slaughter Pact
  • 4 Serum Visions
  • 4 Sleight of Hand
  • 4 Pentad Prism
  • 4 Lotus Bloom
  • 4 Simian Spirit Guide
  • 1 Laboratory Maniac
  • 3 Phyrexian Unlife
  • 3 Gemstone Mine
  • 3 Seachrome Coast
  • 2 Darkslick Shores
  • 4 Temple of Deceit
  • 1 Tolaria West
  • 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
  • 1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
  • 1 Dreadship Reef
  • 2 Temple of Enlightenment
  • 1 Swamp
Sideboard:
  • 3 Duress
  • 4 Leyline of Sanctity
  • 3 Ethereal Haze
  • 1 Disenchant
  • 1 Patrician's Scorn
  • 1 Pact of Negation
  • 2 Echoing Truth
txt version

Tobias Pohlmann
Main Deck:
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel's Grace
1 Lightning Storm
3 Spoils of the Vault
2 Pact of Negation
1 Slaughter Pact
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Pentad Prism
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Laboratory Maniac
3 Phyrexian Unlife
3 Gemstone Mine
3 Seachrome Coast
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Tolaria West
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Dreadship Reef
2 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Swamp
Sideboard:
3 Duress
4 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Ethereal Haze
1 Disenchant
1 Patrician's Scorn
1 Pact of Negation
2 Echoing Truth

Lennart Klein – Blue Urzatron

Main Deck:
  • 4 Urza's Mine
  • 4 Urza's Power Plant
  • 4 Urza's Tower
  • 9 Island
  • 1 Sanctum of Ugin
  • 1 Academy Ruins
  • 4 Condescend
  • 4 Remand
  • 4 Thirst for Knowledge
  • 2 Talisman of Dominance
  • 3 Repeal
  • 2 Mindslaver
  • 3 Treasure Mage
  • 1 Ancestral Vision
  • 1 Perilous Vault
  • 1 Sundering Titan
  • 1 Cyclonic Rift
  • 4 Expedition Map
  • 1 Spell Burst
  • 1 Thought-Knot Seer
  • 1 Solemn Simulacrum
  • 2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
  • 1 Platinum Angel
  • 1 Wurmcoil Engine
Sideboard:
  • 3 Negate
  • 1 Hurkyl's Recall
  • 2 Ratchet Bomb
  • 1 Perilous Vault
  • 1 Thought-Knot Seer
  • 1 Solemn Simulacrum
  • 1 Wurmcoil Engine
  • 2 Dispel
  • 1 Echoing Truth
  • 2 Pithing Needle
txt version

Lennart Klein – Blue Urzatron
Main Deck:
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
9 Island
1 Sanctum of Ugin
1 Academy Ruins
4 Condescend
4 Remand
4 Thirst for Knowledge
2 Talisman of Dominance
3 Repeal
2 Mindslaver
3 Treasure Mage
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Perilous Vault
1 Sundering Titan
1 Cyclonic Rift
4 Expedition Map
1 Spell Burst
1 Thought-Knot Seer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Platinum Angel
1 Wurmcoil Engine
Sideboard:
3 Negate
1 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Perilous Vault
1 Thought-Knot Seer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Dispel
1 Echoing Truth
2 Pithing Needle

Martin Zimmermann – Red-Green Urzatron

Main Deck:
  • 4 Grove of the Burnwillows
  • 4 Urza's Mine
  • 4 Urza's Power Plant
  • 4 Urza's Tower
  • 2 Forest
  • 1 Sanctum of Ugin
  • 1 Ghost Quarter
  • 4 Chromatic Sphere
  • 4 Chromatic Star
  • 4 Sylvan Scrying
  • 4 Karn Liberated
  • 2 World Breaker
  • 2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
  • 2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Dragon
  • 2 Spellskite
  • 2 Wurmcoil Engine
  • 3 Oblivion Stone
  • 3 Firespout
  • 4 Ancient Stirrings
  • 4 Expedition Map
Sideboard:
  • 4 Nature's Claim
  • 3 Warping Wail
  • 3 Thragtusk
  • 2 Lightning Bolt
  • 2 Relic of Progenitus
  • 1 Spellskite
txt version

Martin Zimmermann – Red-Green Urzatron
Main Deck:
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
2 Forest
1 Sanctum of Ugin
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Karn Liberated
2 World Breaker
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Dragon
2 Spellskite
2 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Oblivion Stone
3 Firespout
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Expedition Map
Sideboard:
4 Nature's Claim
3 Warping Wail
3 Thragtusk
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Spellskite

Benjamin Farnung – Merfolk

Main Deck:
  • 4 Cursecatcher
  • 4 Harbinger of the Tides
  • 4 Phantasmal Image
  • 4 Lord of Atlantis
  • 4 Master of Waves
  • 4 Master of the Pearl Trident
  • 3 Merrow Reejerey
  • 4 Silvergill Adept
  • 2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
  • 4 Spreading Seas
  • 4 Aether Vial
  • 2 Cavern of Souls
  • 9 Island
  • 1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
  • 4 Mutavault
  • 1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
  • 2 Wanderwine Hub
Sideboard:
  • 2 Dismember
  • 4 Hurkyl's Recall
  • 1 Negate
  • 2 Relic of Progenitus
  • 2 Echoing Truth
  • 2 Tidebinder Mage
  • 2 Unified Will
txt version

Benjamin Farnung – Merfolk
Main Deck:
4 Cursecatcher
4 Harbinger of the Tides
4 Phantasmal Image
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of Waves
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
3 Merrow Reejerey
4 Silvergill Adept
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
4 Spreading Seas
4 Aether Vial
2 Cavern of Souls
9 Island
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
4 Mutavault
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
2 Wanderwine Hub
Sideboard:
2 Dismember
4 Hurkyl's Recall
1 Negate
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Echoing Truth
2 Tidebinder Mage
2 Unified Will