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First Neon Dynasty Modern Power Rankings – 2/17/22

Welcome back to the first Neon Dynasty Modern Power Rankings. Two important things have happened since the last installment. The first is the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. The second was SCG Philadelphia which featured two large in-person Modern 10K events. 

 

 

15. Living End

Living EndShardless AgentStreet Wraith

Living End still clings to the #15 rank in this installment. There was a time, shortly after the release of Modern Horizons 2, where I thought Living End might be the best deck in Modern. I still think it’s great, although it has suffered from the popularity of Teferi, Time Raveler, which shuts off cascade.

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. 

14. Hardened Scales/Affinity

Neither Hardened Scales nor Affinity is the most popular way to use Urza’s Saga. Still, Saga is one of the best cards in the format, and these decks make spectacular use of it. I find both of these decks highly appealing in that you get explosive draws, interesting combat steps, and a deck that’s not always on everyone else’s radar. 

13. Indomitable Creativity

Indomitable Creativity uses token generation like Dwarven Mine and Hard Evidence to enable its namesake card and power out some of the most powerful creatures in the format. Lately I’ve been seeing Archon of Cruelty more often than the other options, and trust me that when two of those things hit the battlefield, the opponent has a hard time coming back. 

12. Boros

At #12, I’m lumping together two slightly different archetypes which have both broken out over the last few weeks. The first is a Boros Stoneforge Mystic which focuses on great removal and high card quality. The second is a disruptive low-curve Boros deck featuring Esper Sentinel, Mana Tithe, Crack the Earth and Boom // Bust. I’m a huge fan of the creative deckbuilding that can still lead to breakout strategies like this!

11. Red Prowess

Monastery Swiftspear (Timeshifted)Lava DartSoul-Scar Mage

I’m also a long-time fan of Red Prowess, and am thrilled to see it back in the competitive mix. It can appear in a variety of forms including Mono-Red, Boros, Izzet and Jeskai. Key cards include Monastery Swiftspear, which grows deadly when paired with cards like Lava Dart, Light Up the Stage and Reckless Impulse

10. Jund Sagavan

Ragavan, Nimble PilfererUrza's SagaWrenn and Six

Jund Sagavan uses Urza’s Saga, Mishra’s Bauble, Ragavan, Wrenn and Six and Lurrus as a companion. Saga is particularly good when paired with Wrenn and Six, and as an extra card type for Tarmogoyf. As the quintessential “good cards” archetype, Jund has finally found a way to cram all of the most important, format-defining Modern cards into one deck!

Jund Sagavan remains a great deck, but has lost some ground as a result of some of the top decks being able to out-value it in the midgame. Omnath Midrange, Azorius Control and Grixis Death’s Shadow aren’t unwinnable matchups, but they each pose their own set of problems that Jund needs to fight through. 

9. Amulet Titan

Primeval Titan (Timeshifted)Amulet of VigorSimic Growth Chamber

Amulet Titan never stays down for long, and it won a recent Magic Online Championship Series event. This deck uses Amulet of Vigor (which can be found via Urza’s Saga) and “bounce lands” like Simic Growth Chamber to power out Primeval Titan and bury the opponent in value. 

8. Charbelcher

Goblin CharbelcherRecross the PathsTurntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood

Goblin Charbelcher is the second combo deck on the list which takes advantage of Zendikar Rising’s double-faced land-spells. All you have to do is cast Goblin Charbelcher and activate, and since the double-faced cards won’t register as lands while in your library, you deal an amount of damage equal to your library size, which is typically about three times your opponent’s life total.

7. Burn

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. 

6. Azorius Control

Teferi, Hero of DominariaTeferi, Time RavelerArchmage's Charm

Azorius Control 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. 

5. Temur Cascade

Temur Cascade has been a highly effective strategy throughout 2021, and you can’t go wrong choosing it in the new year. 

This deck 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.

4. Izzet Murktide

Izzet Murktide is both popular and successful, and if it didn’t have the disadvantage of dividing its metagame share with all of the other versions of cheap-spells-and-Ragavan strategies (think Grixis, Rakdos, Jund, Mardu, Red Prowess and Burn), it might be even more dominant.

Murktide Regent is an extremely powerful creature, and is one of the most compelling reasons to give up on Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion for this type of strategy. Two mana for an 8/8 flying is a real card that exists in Modern. You can do a lot worse than to play with it. 

3. Omnath Midrange

Next we have the four-color decks that use Omnath, Locus of Creation to win grindy games. One popular version is a monstrosity featuring Omnath, Locus of Creation, “Pitch” Elementals and Ephemerate with either Kaheera, the Orphanguard or Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion. 

2. Colossus Hammer

Colossus HammerUrza's SagaSigarda's Aid

Colossus Hammer remains a big deck to beat in the new year. This is a mono-white or Orzhov 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 is the best home for Urza’s Saga, which is one of the most powerful cards from Modern Horizons 2

I had thought that Colossus Hammer had been on the decline lately, especially relative to close competitors Omnath Midrange and Izzet Murktide. But recent results have it standing strong, and it’s even retaken the #2 position.

1. Grixis Shadow

That said, Grixis Shadow is still king. It seems like you can’t click on a Modern event these days without seeing one or more copies of Grixis Death’s Shadow in the Top 8. 

Massive creatures 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 the very best removal spells and disruption, plus a Lurrus companion and you have a very, very scary deck. 

 

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