Fresh off a wave of bannings and rules changes, Modern is seemingly in a healthy and fun spot. The beloved decks that have been around awhile are playable again, while there also seems to be room for brewing.
Modern Omnath by McWinSauce (4-0, Modern Preliminary)
How the mighty have fallen. Prior to the release of Kaldheim, Omnath held the top spot in the rankings for months on end. While the legendary Elemental remains legal, several of its cronies (Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary) have made an abrupt exit. Today, this strategy is desperately clinging to its Top 15 slot. McWinSauce’s deck above is an example of how you can choose your supporting cards in this four-color combination.
With the format’s most degenerate cards being hit by the ban hammer, combo players are looking elsewhere. Jeskai Ascendancy Combo uses its namesake enchantment with mana dorks and a flurry of spells to churn through its deck and make arbitrarily large creatures.
Hate it or love it, Bogles is still out there. This deck has some very lopsided matchups, and can sometimes hit a metagame just right – particularly when red decks are popular.
It gives me great pleasure to bring my favorite deck back into the conversation. Jund struggled to outgrind Uro, Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary, but with those out of the picture, classic midrange may be back on the menu.
Ponza (or Gruul) is another disruptive midrange deck. It uses Utopia Sprawl and Arbor Elf to power out the best three, four and five-mana threats available in the format. Along the way, it disrupts opposing mana with any combination of Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Pillage and Stone Rain.
Spell Queller, flash threats and permission spells are in a good place to beat up on clunkier decks. It seems like Azorius Spirits with Aether Vial is the most common build, but you can still dip into green for Collected Company if you want a little extra power.
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is banned and Oops All Spells took a major hit by losing Simian Spirit Guide. A natural consequence is that players have less incentive to pack their sideboards (and main decks) with graveyard hate. Dredge is a strong deck that’s positioned to capitalize on this trend. An alternative is to use Hedron Crabs and other self-mill to fill your graveyard instead of the Dredge mechanic itself.
Through massive shakeups in the format, I’ve kept Death and Taxes steady at the eighth spot in the rankings. This disruptive creature deck always overperforms my expectations. It’ll be strong in a world without Uro.
Field of the Dead was banned, but paradoxically, Primeval Titan may have been an overall winner from the bannings. This has historically been one of the defining cards (and decks) of Modern, and things slowing down bodes well for its prospects. Titan decks will shift back to old-style Valakut and Amulet Titan.
The Colossus Hammer deck uses its namesake card paired with Sigarda’s Aid and Puresteel Paladin to make a massive attacker as early as the second turn of the game. The gameplay resembles that of Infect. You play mostly cheap cards, suit up a lethal creature and sometimes even protect it with Giver of Runes. Puresteel Paladin and Stoneforge Mystic are excellent cards which contribute the combo, but they can also allow you to win a “fair” game. Lurrus of the Dream-Den provides additional staying power.
5. Death’s Shadow
Death’s Shadow is punishing to its opponents. The card quality is high, it’s customizable and it really rewards the skill of its pilot. With the printing of Zendikar Rising, it gained access to Scourge of the Skyclaves to pair with its namesake card. This density of powerful threats makes an already-great archetype stronger than ever. It can come in the form of Rakdos, Jund, Grixis or Mardu.
Burn is a classic, and it’s arguably the single biggest winner from the Uro ban. You can’t go wrong choosing Burn right now, nor can you go wrong with adding a little extra life gain to your sideboard to prepare for it.
3. Azorius Control
Modern UW Control - Gabriel Nassif
Azorius Control has always been good, but it lost metagame share when many blue mages switched to Uro decks. Now it takes back its throne as the go-to control deck of the format.
2. Red Prowess
Amidst an infusion of cards from Zendikar Rising and a lot of sweet strategies putting up results, Red Prowess is still a great deck. The density of strong red cards that cost one and two mana (or zero mana, for that matter) just makes this strategy so effective.
You get out ahead and punish people while they sculpt their hands and lay tapped lands on the battlefield. Sprinkle in some well-placed graveyard hate and mana disruption like Boil or Blood Moon off the sideboard and you have a rock-solid deck with game against a wide range of strategies.
Red Prowess can come in the form of mono-red (most aggressive), R/B (more midrangey) and R/U (in the middle). All three options are very strong, but my personal favorite is mono-red. Red Prowess will be a top deck in a world without Uro.
Modern is home to many creature-based combo decks, and one of the best is Heliod, Sun-Crowned with Walking Ballista. This is a great place to be in the early stages of the new format, particularly as it excels against red decks. The most common version is Selesnya that uses Collected Company and Eladamri’s Call to assemble the combo. However, you can also play a heavier disruption version centered around white.
I checked in with my teammates about what they would play in Modern right now.
Andrea: Humans. I like to play something I know very well when the metagame is new and unknown.
Gab: Azorius Control 🙂
Luis: Jund Death’s Shadow.
Martin: Put me down for Humans. Aether Vial didn’t get banned!
As for Me (Reid): Classic Jund. I love revisiting this deck any time there’s a shakeup in the format.
If your interests extend beyond the Modern format, be sure to watch the MPL and Rivals League Play Weekend this Saturday and Sunday, which will be Kaldheim Standard.