Taking the Modern Challenge with Calibrated Blast: primer and sideboard guide

Lucas Giggs
20/08/2022 · 12 min read

How it started

Hello,

I played in the Modern Challenge on Magic Online for the first time last Saturday. For those who don't know, the challenges are the tournaments that happen on weekends, involving all of the competitive constructed formats (Standard, Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage) with a nice prize pool

 I'm used to playing Standard every Saturday and Sunday, and since I had gone 0-2 in the 10am tournament, I decided to enter the noon one in hopes of getting lucky with a deck that's been giving me some interesting results lately. And it turned out great, because I won the tournament!

The deck used was Calibrated Blast, which appeared more like a meme deck, but which has gradually been showing itself to be a very interesting option, especially in a format where 4C Yorion is one of the tiers. The concept of the deck is very simple: resolve a Calibrated Blast for 15 damage. In a format with so many Fetches/Shocks and Canopy lands, it's usually enough to be lethal. But the deck has a very decent Plan B: make a Scion of Draco 4/4 on turn 2, thanks to the help of the triomes. In addition, it has lands like Sunscorched Desert and Ramunap Ruins, which help finish the game more quickly.

The current list

This is the list I've been using:

Calibrated Blast. Builder: LucasG1ggs.MTGO - Magic Online
1st in MTGO Modern Challenge #12456978 [32 Players] 13-Aug-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [16]
4  Shadow of Mortality   $0.25
4  Scion of Draco   $7.99
4  Emrakul, the Aeons Torn   $20.99
4  Autochthon Wurm   $7.49
Instant [4]
4  Calibrated Blast   $0.25
Sorcery [2]
2  Throes of Chaos   $0.25
Land [38]
1  Spara's Headquarters   $11.99
1  Stomping Ground   $14.99
1  Scavenger Grounds   $3.49
1  Raffine's Tower   $13.99
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $19.99
1  Boseiju, Who Shelters All   $27.99
2  Desert   $0.49
2  Ramunap Ruins   $1.29
2  Mountain   $0.01
2  Boseiju, Who Endures   $42.99
2  Blood Crypt   $19.99
3  Wooded Foothills   $44.99
3  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $3.99
4  Sunscorched Desert   $0.29
4  Scalding Tarn   $27.99
4  Gemstone Caverns   $42.99
4  Arid Mesa   $18.99

Sideboard [15]
1  Bojuka Bog   $1.49
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $19.99
2  Boseiju, Who Endures   $42.99
2  Desert   $0.49
3  Nephalia Academy   $0.25
3  Boseiju, Who Shelters All   $27.99
3  Crime/Punishment   // $23.99
Buy this deck:

$336.11 Tix @cardhoarder   $8.40 / Week @cardhoarder   $1,025.05 @tcgplayer   $1,143.47 @cardkingdom  


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Export & Save: Magic online format Apprentice and MWS .dec


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https://mtgdecks.net/Modern/calibrated-blast-decklist-by-lucasg1ggs-1434016

Card choices

Let's go over the list, starting with the spells:

The big guys

4 Autochton Wurm/4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn/4 Shadow of Mortality: these are the cards you want to reveal in Calibrated Blast. The first two you probably won't ever cast, but Shadow of Mortality you can do quite frequently, as you can see in the picture below:

Scion of Draco

4 Scion of Draco: is a good card to reveal in Calibrated Blast, but the key thing is to actually get him on turn 2. Some decks can't really deal with him very well, leading to a distraction while we prepare for a lethal blast or even serving as a good kill condition.

1.17 Tix
$7.99
$7.96

Throne of Chaos

2 Throne of Chaos: It does a good job as a 5 and 6th Calibrated Blast. One of its most important functions is helping against Force of Negation, where even if your opponent exiles Calibrated Blast, you can recast it the next turn with the help of retrace.

Land choices

Now let's talk about lands for a bit:

2 Desert: It's one of the most important cards against one of the format's main creatures: Ragavan. That alone justifies its use, which is why there are more copies in the sideboard.

2 Tix
$2.49
$3.61

1 Scavenger Grounds: The match-up against Living End isn't great, so it's good to have at least one out in Game 1. But it also ends up being very useful against other decks that use the graveyard, like Murktide.

4 Sunscorched Desert/2 Ramunap Ruins: Some decks, like Tron, Hammer, and Amulet, don't deal a lot of damage to themselves, so a Calibrated isn't usually enough. These lands help a lot with that extra damage. In addition, all the lands mentioned before are deserts, so you can also use them as sacrifice fodder to deal damage with Ramunap.

0.03 Tix
$0.29
$0.25

2 Boseiju/3 Sokenzan/1 Otawara: The channel lands from Kamigawa are of great help to fight against hate. Boseiju is one of the main cards against Hammer, a very tough match for the deck. Otawara gives you a lot of valuable time against Murktide, and Sokenzan provides blockers and surprise attackers when the opponent least expects it.

$44.99
$32.11

$27.99
$15.98

$5.99
$3.88

4 Gemstone Caverns: A deck with 38 lands can't really play without them. Just one observation: Always remember to take them out when you're on the play, because they do absolutely nothing.

2.34 Tix
$54.99
$41.61

Sideboard Guide

The sideboard is also pretty diverse, which I like in the decks I play. I'll talk a little bit about the matchups against the main decks and how I've sided in those games. As mentioned before, always consider taking out the 4 Gemstone Caverns in every matchup you're on the play.

4C YORION PILE

OUT:

- 2 Desert

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

- 1 Boseiju, Who Endures

IN:

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

+ 1 Otawara. Soaring City

One of the main reasons for the deck to be well-positioned is because it has a very good match-up against the 4C. They don't have many answers (usually 4 Counterspells in the main deck or Endurance to take away the possibility of flashback) and they take a lot of damage from fetches and shocks, making our job easier. After sideboarding, 4 Boseijus are very good against eventual Flusterstorms and Dovin's Veto. The versions with Ragavan are a little worse, because they have a clock + ramp for Omnath, which is the best card to take out of our Calibrated Blast range. If you play against this version, I advise you to leave the Deserts and take out Boseiju, Who Endures, because they are not very relevant in this match-up.

UR MURKTIDE

OUT:

- 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

- 4 Sunscorched Desert

- 1 Ramunap Ruins

IN:

+ 2 Desert

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

+ 1 Bojuka Bog

Turn one Ragavan is a disaster for this deck, since he's able to put a decent clock on the table, and through the treasure ramp he's able to develop the game while holding counters. Opening with Desert or Draco on the play is key to having a chance to win the match. So mulligan aggressively for those cards. Post-side Boseiju helps in the war against counters and Otawara is very important to give Murktide bounce and not die so quickly.

HAMMER TIME

OUT:

- 1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

- 4 Sunscorched Desert

IN:

+ 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 3 Crime/Punishment

Another tough match, once again because of the fast clock and, depending on the version, he can still have counters and Teferi to disrupt your game plan. Post-side 4 Boseijus help you not die so early to a creature equipped with hammer, and Crime / Punishment is also very good at clearing the table and having a considerable mana cost when revealed with Calibrated Blast.

LIVING END

OUT:

- 2 Desert

- 3 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

- 4 Sunscorched Desert

IN:

+ 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

+ 1 Bojuka Bog

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 1 Nephalia Academy

This match-up depends a lot on how you mulligan. Game 1 is pretty complicated, we only have 1 Scavenging Grounds as hate, so ideally we want to start with a Draco on turn 2 to apply pressure. A good tip in this match-up is also to mulligan for hands with Wurm and/or Shadow, as the opponent's Grief can end up helping us to ressurect them when they resolve Living End. Post-side we need more hate for Leyline of Sanctity and Boseiju to help us resolve Calibrated Blasts. They usually take some damage from fetches and shocks, so a resolved Calibrated Blast can be lethal. Nephalia is good against Grief effect over your Calibrated Blast, sometimes when it resolves on turn 1 it doesn't help that much, but it's still useful in most cases. A tip that can sometimes work is to try to open with Shadow or Wurm in your opening hand and do nothing on the first turn, so you can discard them. That way when they resolve a Living End, you'll have a big creature that might buy you some time to win.

AMULET TITAN

OUT:

- 2 Desert

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

IN:

+ 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

+ 1 Otawara

This is one of the worst matchups for the deck. They don't take any damage, Arboreal Grazer buys a ton of time by blocking an attack from the Draco and on top of that they have turns where they kill you before you can even get Calibrate Blast resolved. Boseijus are good for dealing with Amulets, Dryads and even occasional bouncelands, and Otawara can give you a bit of a time if you're lucky, but in general it's very hard to win this match.

BG YAWGMOTH

OUT:

- 1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

- 2 Desert

- 1 Boseiju, Who Endures

IN:

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 3 Nephalia Academy

I consider this a favorable match for the deck, since it doesn't have a very fast clock, it needs a lot of table to set up the combo and we can still interact if necessary. Draco turn 2 is very good, because it puts pressure that can turn the race in our favor and when they least expect it, dieing to a Calibrated Blast. After side they will try to discard your key cards, so opening with Nephalia is very good against their plan.

BURN

OUT:

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

- 1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

- 1 Desert

IN:

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+2  Boseiju, Who Endures

I was originally considering this match to be pretty bad, but as I kept playing I realized that, often, Eidolon of the Great Revel actually hurts himself more than he hurts us, since a well-played Calibrated Blast can stop him from playing more than one or two spells. Draco is also really good here. The key is to try and take as little damage from his lands as possible and aggressively mulligan for hands that will allow us to do that. After sideboarding we need to be careful not to get hit by a Deflecting Palm, which can be devastating, so the best plan is waiting for a chance to cast a Calibrated Blast when he is tapped.

UW CONTROL

OUT:

- 2 Desert

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

- 4 Gemstone Caverns

IN:

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Endures

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

It may seem strange, but this is not a match in which being on the play matters more than the versatility of your lands. Boseijus are the most important, both for taking out possible hates like Leyline of Sanctity and Chalice of the Void and also against the many counterspells the deck has. But Sokenzan does a very important job of putting pressure on life points when the game gets to draw / go. As this will probably be a very long game, we value the quality of our lands more than the speed of "being in play".

4C ARCHON CREATIVITY

OUT:

- 2 Desert

- 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

IN:

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

This is another match that I believe is favorable. It's another deck that takes a lot of damage from shocks and fetches, doesn't have a clock, and generally doesn't have many counters. The card that's the most troublesome is Teferi, Time Raveler, because it doesn't let us resolve Throes of Chaos, but we can interact with the combo with Calibrated Blast and Otawara.

DEATH SHADOW

OUT:

- 2 Boseiju, Who Endures

- 4 Sunscorched Desert

- 1 Scavenging Grounds

- 1 Ramunap Ruins

IN:

+ 2 Desert

+ 1 Otawara, Soaring City

+ 3 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

+ 3 Nephalia Academy

Calibrated Blast is hardly ever not going to be lethal here, with Death Shadow being one of the decks that takes the most damage by itself. What can hinder it a bit again is Ragavan turn 1, so we sideboard in our Deserts to put him in defense mode. Their plan also involves discard, and that's why we add  Nephalia which helps a lot against it.

Final words

I hope you enjoyed today's article and that it is useful to you. Calibrated Blast may seem like a meme, but it is very powerful and lethal when you least expect it. See you next time!

Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."

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Published: 2022-08-20 00:00:00

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