Strixhaven is just around the corner, but until then, let’s see what Modern’s looking like before a new set comes in.
I’m still somewhat in disbelief about how successful Modern Mill is, since it’s never been more than a fringe strategy until recently. That said, this deck is actually very good with recent upgrades of Ruin Crab and Maddening Cacophony from Zendikar Rising.
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.
13. Living End
Living End is now the primary deck to abuse the cascade mechanic. This deck is structured so that every nonland card has mana value of three or greater, and thus Violent Outburst will always hit Living End. The rest of the deck is powerful cycling creatures with which to stock your graveyard. The beauty of the strategy is in its simplicity: cycle, cycle, cycle, cast one spell, win the game.
12. Colossus Hammer
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.
11. Tron (Classic)
Classic Urzatron is also beloved by many…although it’s reviled by many more. Turn 3 Karn Liberated or Wurmcoil Engine is such a dominant start that some games involving Tron feel completely one-sided.
10. Eldrazi Tron
Eldrazi Tron had a good couple of weeks and is back on the Rankings. 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.
It gives me great pleasure to bring my favorite archetype 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 is back on the menu. Both Jund and Golgari Rock have put up solid finishes lately.
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 lifegain to your sideboard to prepare for it.
7. Death and Taxes
Through massive shakeups in the format, Death and Taxes has remained strong. This disruptive creature deck always overperforms my expectations, and this remains true in the post-Uro era.
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. 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.
Prior to the release of Kaldheim, Omnath, Locus of Creation held the top spot in the 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.
3. Red Prowess
Amidst an infusion of new 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.
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. Previously, I listed this as “Valakut,” but it now seems that Amulet Titan will be the more popular shell for Primeval Titan.
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. I ranked it #1 after the bannings sort of as a placeholder while the 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.