Modern Horizons 2 hit the shelves recently (the digital shelves, at least), and it’s already revolutionizing Modern. Expect things to change quickly over the coming weeks for two reasons. First, it will take players some time to identify and perfect the best strategies. Second, the cards are quite expensive, and not everyone has them yet! With that said, let’s look at this week’s Modern Power Rankings.
There have been four Magic Online Modern Challenges to date, and they’ve been won by four different decks! (Hardened Scales, Death & Taxes, Jeskai Ragavan and Soulherder). That means we have a lot of new ground to cover. That said, if you were winning with your favorite deck three weeks ago, you can still win with it today–even if it may not be what everyone’s talking about.
15. Colossus Hammer
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.
Modern Soulherder by CFTSOC3
As mentioned above, Bant Soulherder won a recent Magic Online Challenge. Blinking creatures has never been better than it is now, with the cycle of Mythic Rare Elementals from Modern Horizons 2. With Ephemerate, you can evoke these on turn one or two, blink them with the sacrifice trigger on the stack and get an oversized creature in addition to two (soon three) enters the battlefield triggers.
The go-to control deck of the format. Deckbuilding options include going hard on Miracles with Brainstone and Terminus, or splashing red or black for additional removal options. Esper Control was putting up particularly impressive results just before Modern Horizons 2.
Modern Mill by TheEnzym
Mill remains chronically 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.
An old favorite is back, with Humans putting up multiple strong finishes right out of the gates. New additions include Esper Sentinel, General Ferrous Rokiric, Sanctifier En-Vec, Sanctum Prelate and even Shardless Agent.
This creature-based combo deck uses Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and undying creatures to generate massive value and eventually go infinite. It’s a perfect home for Ignoble Hierarch and Grist, the Hunger Tide.
9. Red Prowess
A previous #1 ranked deck is throwing its hat back into the ring in the Modern Power Rankings. Powerful additions include Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. But even old-style Red Prowess decks with no new cards seem to be powerful enough to compete with these Modern Horizons-fueled strategies.
8. Hardened Scales
Modern Hardened Scales by Capriccioso
Hardened Scales was once a powerful strategy, but never fully recovered from the banning of Mox Opal. With the release of Modern Horizons 2, it took first place in a recent Magic Online Modern Challenge. New additions include Urza’s Saga, Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp and Power Depot.
Four and five-color strategies are continuing to thrive, and are now right back in the mix of top tier archetypes. Prior to the release of Kaldheim and a swath of bannings, Omnath held the top spot in the rankings for months on end. Look for Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Bring to Light and Scapeshift as alternative payoffs for this style of deck.
A cool new addition is General Ferrous Rokiric.
This archetype is highly customizable. You can turn the dials to be more aggressive or controlling, with or without the Stoneforge Mystic package. That said, what we’ve been seeing lately is Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Snapcaster Mage backed up by all of the most efficient removal and permission available in Modern. This is highly effective and, to me, resembles a Legacy strategy.
5. Death and Taxes
Modern Death and Taxes by Kiko
Through massive shakeups in the format, Death and Taxes has remained strong, and always overperforms my expectations. It won another recent Modern Challenge. While Sanctifier en-Vec is a nice new sideboard option, the key addition is Solitude, which can be blinked by Ephemerate, Charming Prince and Flickerwisp.
Temur Cascade is a brand new Modern deck with the release of Modern Horizons 2. 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.
3. Living End
Last week’s #1 has dropped to #3 on the Modern Power Rankings, but this is more indicative of the quality of the top two decks, and less about any failings of Living End. I took this for a spin on Magic Online yesterday, had a great experience, 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 is my pick for the most exciting new deck of Modern Horizons 2. It centers around The Underworld Cookbook, which you can find via Urza’s Saga or Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, and then use to fuel Cauldron Familiar and Feasting Troll King.
1. 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 and my Modern Power Rankings. 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.
The Underworld Cookbook & Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar
These are the key cards in the new Food archetype.
Foundation Breaker, Fire//Ice, Endurance, Fury
Useful sideboard cards. They’re particularly valuable in the way they conveniently bypass any cascade restrictions.
Subtlety, Grief, Solitude
While all of the Mythic Elementals are powerful, these are the ones you’re seeing in main decks. They pair well with cascade, with blink effects or simply as standalone, quality cards.
I picked this early on to be a major player from Modern Horizons 2. So far, it’s showing up in both main decks and sideboards of U/W/x control decks.
Counterspell is the very best card for doing a very popular job. It’s appearing in a wide range of strategies, and often in the full four copies.
Another port from Legacy, Shardless Agent is having a huge impact on both existing and new strategies. Living End and Temur Cascade were my #3 and #4 decks on my Modern Power Rankings this week, and I’ve also seen Shardless Agent put to good use in Humans.
Now it’s all about Urza’s Saga, which is a central piece in multiple of the top decks in this week’s Modern Power Rankings. This is the most talked-about card from Modern Horizons 2. Urza’s Saga is appearing as a four-of in everything from Amulet Titan to Colossus Hammer to Food and Hardened Scales.
It seems to me that if you want to be taking full advantage of Modern Horizons 2, you should be doing one of three things right now: (1) playing with Urza’s Saga, (2) cascading with Shardless Agent, or (3) blinking the evoke Elementals.
I asked my teammates what they’d play in a Modern event this weekend.
Andrea – Four-Color Rhinos Cascade
Evart – Izzet Ragavan.
Gab – Temur Living End.
Huey – Humans.
Martin – Merfolk for fun, Jund for Power.
And As for Me (Reid) – My best results have been with Living End, but I’d also really like to try Hardened Scales for some good old fashioned attacking and blocking.