Modern Horizons 2 is just around the corner and it’s definitely going to make a huge impact in Modern. Until then, the format is still as is, but that hasn’t stopped some decks from moving up or down on the Modern Power Rankings.
15. Living End
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.
13. Tron (Classic)
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.
12. Colossus Hammer
This 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.
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
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 addition.
Ponza was a huge winner for this installment, climbing five spots in the Modern Power Rankings. This is a red/green midrange deck that focuses on card quality and a couple of well-placed disruptive cards like Blood Moon and Pillage. It can be built with Obosh, the Preypiercer as a companion, but many players prefer to skip it in order to access cards like Wrenn and Six or Scavenging Ooze. Karn, the Great Creator and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast are interesting options which I’ve seen show up recently.
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.
7. Eldrazi Tron
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.
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.
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.
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. Red Prowess
Finally, Red Prowess overtakes Heliod/Ballista and earns the number one spot. 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 is heavily played, and if you add all of the flavors together, this is the strategy you’re most likely to face at the top tables of a Modern tournament right now.
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. My personal favorite is Mono-Red, but U/R Prowess has shown up in force this month.