Modern’s started to solidify, and Modern Horizons 2 is clearly a huge hit in the format. Let’s see what’s new on this week’s Modern Power Rankings!
15. U/W/x Control
Modern Jeskai Control by bobthedog
While other strategies get more attention, U/W-based control decks picked up a lot of nice upgrades from Modern Horizons 2, including Counterspell and Prismatic Ending. Teferi, Time Raveler matches up well against several top strategies including those based on cascading and those based on Ephemerating creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities.
Team CFB member Gabriel Nassif won a Modern Challenge with Jeskai Control, which featured plenty of burn spells including the new modern addition of Fire // Ice.
An old favorite is holding strong, with Humans fairly consistently putting up solid finishes. New additions include Esper Sentinel, General Ferrous Rokiric, Sanctifier en-Vec, Sanctum Prelate and even Shardless Agent.
If you like killing creatures and making people discard, Rakdos is the deck you should be playing right now. It has a streamlined mana base and creature base which facilitate Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion, while also making great use of the powerful new Dauthi Voidwalker and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.
12. Death and Taxes
Death and Taxes is a disruptive White creature deck (sometimes splashing a color) that takes advantage of mana denial and “Blinking” of creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities like Solitude. I recently took W/r Taxes for a spin on Magic Online and wrote a Deck Guide about it which you can find above.
11. Jeskai Ragavan
A major player from last month, Jeskai Ragavan can still perform well based on its overall card quality. However, I think most players are starting to cash in their white cards and choose the more streamlined Izzet versions of the Ragavan tempo strategy.
10. Hardened Scales/Affinity
Hardened Scales and Affinity were once powerful strategies, but never fully recovered from the banning of Mox Opal. With the release of Modern Horizons 2, Hardened Scales took first place in a Magic Online Modern Challenge. New additions include Urza’s Saga, Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp and Power Depot.
There’s a lot you can do with four- and five-color strategies in Modern. You can use Bring to Light, you can combo Scapeshift with Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, or you can simply out value people with Omnath, Locus of Creation or Niv-Mizzet Reborn.
Mill remains underrated because it went from a purely casual deck in the old days to something that’s actually highly competitive today. This deck packs a punch, and circumvents most of Modern’s common defensive measures. I took this for a spin recently, and was impressed with its favorable matchup against a lot of the decks on this list. Look out for Tasha’s Hideous Laughter as a new addition from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
7. Living End
I had a great experience when I played Living End, and can attest to its power.
Living End is beautiful in its simplicity. Cycling creatures comprise most of the deck, allowing you to fill your graveyard while finding your key cards with impressive consistency. Because the namesake card is the only nonland with mana value less than three, cascade spells like Violent Outburst, Ardent Plea or Demonic Dread will always find it and leave you with a dominant board position.
Food was one of the most exciting new decks of Modern Horizons 2, but has started to slip a bit in popularity. It centers around The Underworld Cookbook, which you can find via Urza’s Saga or Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, and then use to fuel a variety of powerful engines.
5. Red Prowess
A previous top ranked deck remains strong. Powerful Modern Horizons 2 additions include Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. Red Prowess can come in the form of Mono-Red, W/R or U/R. Compared to Izzet Delver and Murktide Regent decks, this archetype is much more about unloading quick damage.
4. Amulet Titan
Primeval Titan doesn’t like to stay down for long. And when supercharged by Urza’s Saga finding Amulet of Vigor, it’s back on top of the format. This has historically been one of the defining cards (and decks) of Modern. In the past I’ve listed this as “Primeval Titan (All Forms)” in order to encompass classic Valakut and other Titan strategies. But these days, it’s all Amulets.
After playing a variety of Modern decks, teammate Andrea Mengucci boiled down his Tier 1 to Amulet Titan and Izzet.
Temur Cascade was the most successful deck of the Magic Online Championship Series Showcase, winning the $20,000 first prize in the hands of Yuuki Ichikawa. 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, Bonecrusher Giant, Subtlety and Foundation Breaker.
Colossus Hammer has had some insane results lately, punctuated by a Magic Online Modern Challenge where there were four copies in the Top 8, including the winning deck!
This is an existing archetype that got some big upgrades from Modern Horizons 2. The biggest of these is Urza’s Saga, which can find Colossus Hammer directly. Saga is also simply a supercharged card that’s extremely powerful in an artifact-based creature deck.
The lines begin to blur between U/R Prowess, Murktide Regent decks, and more streamlined versions of Izzet Ragavan. But one thing is for sure: playing lots of cheap spells in these colors is a great place to be.
Murktide Regent is an extremely powerful creature, and it was only a matter of time until intrepid deckbuilders found a strong way to use it. Compared to U/R Prowess, this deck is shifted more heavily towards Blue, and plays counterspells. Delver of Secrets isn’t a staple anymore, but the core of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler backed up by a ton of cheap instants and sorceries is always highly effective.
I asked my teammates what they’d play in a Modern event this weekend.
Evart – Rakdos Midrange.
Gab – Jeskai Control.
Huey – Storm.
Martin – Grixis Ragavan.
And As for Me (Reid) – Rakdos Midrange.