Welcome to the Modern Power Rankings. Here are the resources I use to inform all Power Rankings, leaning more heavily on what applies best to the given format:
- Magic Online results. This includes Preliminaries, Weekend Challenges, Super Qualifiers and MOCS Events.
- MTGMelee results. I typically look at all of the events with at least 20 players.
- Large tabletop events. When applicable.
- Untapped.gg stats. These show win rates of various archetypes on the Magic Arena ladder.
- Previous rankings. Just because a deck didn’t make a top 8 over the weekend, doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a bad deck.
- Public opinion. I discuss things with my teammates, and take a look at what’s getting a lot of attention on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts and written content.
- My own instincts and experiences.
Dredge is always lurking on the fringes of Modern, but with a few key upgrades over the past year or two, it might be scarier than ever. Otherworldly Gaze and Thrilling Discovery increase both the consistency and the explosiveness of its openings.
Affinity and Hardened Scales appeal to a lot of players, myself included. Strangely, we haven’t seemed to reach a consensus about the ideal way to build them. This indicates to me that there’s still untapped potential in the archetype, and that it might someday climb even higher on this list. Lately the most common build has been a mono-blue Affinity deck using four copies each of Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor.
The key card of the Elemental tribal deck is Risen Reef, which generates enormous value alongside the “pitch” elementals and Ephemerate. This deck had largely been replaced by more midrangey versions of Omnath, but with a handful of good finishes lately, it’s roaring back onto the competitive scene.
Urzatron stays steady at #12. While decks like Omnath Midrange, Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control and Jund are caught up in the midrange “arms race” of generating value and accumulating small advantages, Urzatron is in a position to go way over the top and crush them all with fast planeswalkers and Eldrazi titans.
Whatever form Jund comes in, you can count on seeing some combination of Mishra’s Bauble, Ragavan, Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil and Wrenn and Six. Saga is particularly good when paired with Wrenn and Six or Elvish Reclaimer, and as an extra card type for Tarmogoyf and delirium. As the quintessential “good cards” archetype, Jund seeks to cram together as many of the best cards in the format as it possibly can.
10. Amulet Titan
Amulet Titan was one of the best non-Lurrus decks in Modern prior to the companion being banned. It may need to contend with a few more Blood Moons and Ashiok, Dream Renders than it did before, but I still think this is a world where Primeval Titan can thrive.
Burn stays steady at #9. Love it or hate it, it’s remarkable to see Burn still in Modern’s top 10 even after all these years. The great thing about Burn is that you hardly need to care about all of these new printings and metagame shifts, so long as your opponents aren’t gaining life. Among many ways to use Modern’s efficient red spells, Burn is still a great one, and is a solid choice for players of any level.
The biggest loser from this installment is Death’s Shadow. A previous #1 deck is now almost nowhere to be found, and is now keeping company with what I would consider to be the “Tier 2” strategies. Grixis Shadow can adapt to losing Lurrus by incorporating Street Wraith, planeswalkers, delve creatures or even Seasoned Pyromancer. However, it seems to have taken a significant hit from the banning and is definitely on the down-swing.
Massive creatures still give Death’s Shadow a fast clock and a good matchup against decks like Temur Cascade. Dress Down is a stone cold killer of opposing Tarmogoyfs, Dragon’s Rage Channelers and Construct tokens. Throw it all in the mixer with Expressive Iteration and the very best removal spells and disruption and, at least in my opinion, you still have a totally solid archetype.
A big winner for this installment is Azorius Control. The archetype had floundered over the last couple of months, but is now back to being a reliable presence in the top 8s of Magic Online events. It isn’t the flashiest strategy in Modern, but it’s still highly effective, with very strong card quality. For those who enjoy a good old fashioned long game with counterspells, this can still be the deck for you.
March of Otherworldly Light was a nice pickup, as it can exile Urza’s Saga for the low price of one mana. Plus, I still think this was a winner from the Lurrus ban, and is generally a good choice right now.
Despite some shakeups in the list, Yawgmoth continues to hold it own in the #6 position. It uses Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and undying creatures to generate tons of value, and eventually assemble an infinite combo to one-shot the opponent. This has been my deck of choice lately, as I find it to be fun, well-rounded and have a positive matchup against the various Urza’s Saga strategies. It remains a very solid choice for all of us Golgari mages out there.
5. Living End
Perhaps the biggest winner for this installment is Living End, which I now consider to be solidly among the “Tier 1” archetypes. Last month Living End held a middle position on the list, but has climbed significantly with each passing week. The game plan is to fill your graveyard by cycling big monsters, then cast Violent Outburst or Shardless Agent, which will always cascade into Living End, resulting in an insurmountable advantage.
Temur Cascade has been a highly effective strategy ever since the release of Modern Horizons 2. It uses Shardless Agent and other cascade spells to hit Crashing Footfalls for a massive, underpriced board presence. It circumvents the “no cheap cards” restriction by playing cards like Brazen Borrower, Fire // Ice and Force of Negation.
Losing Lurrus hurts a little, but Hammer players have successfully adapted to the banning. Colossus Hammer is a mono-white, Orzhov or Azorius Equipment deck which has, in addition to brutal explosive potential, awesome sideboard cards like Sanctifier en-Vec. It’s multidimensional and difficult to attack. Colossus Hammer remains the best home for Urza’s Saga, which is one of the most powerful cards from Modern Horizons 2.
These are the four-color decks that use Omnath, Locus of Creation to win grindy games. One popular version is an 80-card monstrosity featuring Omnath, Locus of Creation, “Pitch” Elementals and Ephemerate, with Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion. These four-color soup decks are here to stay, especially with the multicolor set Streets of New Capenna in the wild.