Modern Power Rankings – 4/22/21

Strixhaven has just been released, and while its impact on Modern isn’t currently apparent, there’s still some newcomers and changes on this week’s Power Rankings. Let’s take a look!



15. Yawgmoth

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician (Timeshifted)Zulaport Cutthroat (Timeshifted)Geralf's Messenger


Yawgmoth makes its first ever appearance on the Modern Power Rankings. This creature-based combo deck features undying creatures alongside Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. Sacrificing an undying creature to Yawgmoth’s ability means it comes back with a +1/+1 counter. Sacrificing a different creature means you can remove that counter and reset back to square one. Thus, two undying creatures makes a loop and you can win the game by repeatedly triggering Geralf’s Messenger or Zulaport Cutthroat. Once you get a little bit of traction, assembling the full combo is easy because you draw so many cards and generate so much value along the way. 


14. Mill

Hedron CrabRuin CrabMaddening Cacophony


I’m still somewhat in disbelief about how successful Modern Mill is, since it’s never been more than a fringe strategy before this year. That said, this deck is actually very good with the upgrades of Ruin Crab and Maddening Cacophony from Zendikar Rising


13. Colossus Hammer

Colossus HammerStoneforge MysticSigarda's Aid


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 can also allow you to win a “fair” game. Lurrus of the Dream-Den provides additional staying power. 


12. Jund/Golgari

While it might not be “top tier,” my favorite archetype remains in the conversation. These decks are well-rounded, customizable and can be tailored to take on almost any metagame you expect to face. Both Jund and Golgari Rock have put up solid finishes lately. 


11. Dredge/Crab

Prized Amalgam (Timeshifted)Hedron CrabOx of Agonas


Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is banned and Oops All Spells took a major hit 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. 


10. Death and Taxes

Elite SpellbinderFlickerwisp (Timeshifted)Aether Vial


Through massive shakeups in the format, Death and Taxes has remained strong. This disruptive creature deck always overperforms my expectations, and Elite Spellbinder makes for a positive new addition.


9. Tron (Classic)

Urza's TowerUrza's MineUrza's Power Plant


Classic Urzatron is beloved by many… although it’s reviled by many more. Turn three Karn Liberated or Wurmcoil Engine is such a dominant start that some games involving Tron feel completely one-sided. This deck has been putting up a lot of strong finishes lately.


8. Eldrazi Tron

Eldrazi TempleThought-Knot SeerReality Smasher


Eldrazi Tron has likewise proven itself a strong option over the last month or so. This is an alternative take on the colorless Urzatron strategy which also uses Eldrazi Temple, Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher for more chances at explosive hands.


7. Burn

Goblin GuideEidolon of the Great RevelLava Spike (Timeshifted)


Burn is a classic and is arguably the single biggest winner from the Uro ban. You can’t go too wrong choosing Burn right now. Nor can you go wrong adding a little extra life gain to your sideboard to prepare for it. 


6. Azorius Control (or Esper, or Jeskai)

Azorius Control has always been good, but lost metagame share when many blue mages switched to Uro decks. Now it’s back as the go-to control deck of the format. Splashing red or black for additional removal options can work also, and Esper Control is putting up particularly impressive results. 


5. Niv-Mizzet/Omnath

Niv-Mizzet RebornOmnath, Locus of CreationBring to Light


Prior to the release of Kaldheim, Omnath, Locus of Creation held the top spot in the Modern Power Rankings for months on end. While the legendary Elemental remains legal, several of its cronies (Uro, Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary) have made an abrupt exit. Still, rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, as four and five-color strategies are picking up steam again. Now they’re right back in the mix of top tier archetypes. Look for Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Bring to Light and Scapeshift as alternative payoffs for this style of deck. 


4. Death’s Shadow

Scourge of the SkyclavesDeath's ShadowThoughtseize (Timeshifted)


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. 


3. Red Prowess

Monastery Swiftspear (Timeshifted)Soul-Scar MageLightning Bolt


Amidst an infusion of cards from Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim 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) continue to make this strategy effective.

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.


2. Primeval Titan (All Forms)

Primeval Titan (Timeshifted)Valakut, the Molten PinnacleDryad of the Ilysian Grove


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. Amulet Titan is the most popular shell, but Primeval Titan can also appear in classic Valakut, or even alongside Invasion of the Giants.


1. Heliod/Ballista

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 right now, particularly as it excels against red decks. I started out by ranking it number one in my Modern Power Rankings sort of as a placeholder while the post-banning format took shape. That proved to be a good decision, as a bevy of strong results has now solidified this as the deck to beat.

The most common version is Selesnya and uses Collected Company and Eladamri’s Call to assemble the combo. However, you can also play a heavier disruption version centered around white.


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