Welcome to the Modern Power Rankings. Here are the resources I use to inform all Power Rankings, leaning more heavily on what applies best to the given format:
- Magic Online results. This includes Preliminaries, Weekend Challenges, Super Qualifiers, and MOCS Events.
- MTGMelee results. I typically look at all of the events with at least 20 players.
- Large tabletop events. When applicable.
- Untapped.gg stats. These show win rates of various archetypes on the Magic Arena ladder.
- Previous rankings. Just because a deck didn’t make a top 8 over the weekend, doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a bad deck.
- Public opinion. I discuss things with my teammates, and take a look at what’s getting a lot of attention on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts and written content.
- My own instincts and experiences.
Dredge is always lurking on the fringes of Modern, but with a few key upgrades over the past year or two, it might be scarier than ever. Otherworldly Gaze and Thrilling Discovery increase both the consistency and the explosiveness of its openings.
Affinity and Hardened Scales appeal to a lot of players, myself included. Strangely, we haven’t seemed to reach a consensus about the ideal way to build them. This indicates to me that there’s still untapped potential in the archetype, and that it might someday climb even higher on this list. Lately the most common build has been a mono-blue Affinity deck using four copies each of Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor.
Urzatron has stayed fairly steady in the #11-#15 range. While decks like Omnath Midrange, Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control and Jund are caught up in the midrange “arms race” of generating value and accumulating small advantages, Urzatron is in a position to go way over the top and crush them all with fast planeswalkers and Eldrazi titans.
Jund Sagavan relied heavily on the Lurrus companion. However, the archetype is evolving, with a number of versions both with and without Urza’s Saga looking good lately. Riveteers Charm and Ziatora’s Proving Ground both appear to be positive additions to the archetype.
Whatever form Jund comes in, you can count on seeing some combination of Mishra’s Bauble, Ragavan, Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil and Wrenn and Six. Saga is particularly good when paired with Wrenn and Six or Elvish Reclaimer, and as an extra card type for Tarmogoyf and delirium. As the quintessential “good cards” archetype, Jund seeks to cram together as many of the best cards in the format as it possibly can.
Love it or hate it, it’s remarkable to see Burn still winning Modern events even after all these years. The great thing about Burn is that you hardly need to care about all of these new printings and metagame shifts, so long as your opponents aren’t gaining life. Among many ways to use Modern’s efficient eed spells, Burn is still a great one, and is a solid choice for players of any level.
The biggest winner for this installment is Elemental Tribal. Like all Omnath decks, Elementals spans four colors, and generates massive value off of creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities. The key card of the Elemental Tribal deck (and the way I distinguish between “Omnath Midrange” and “Elementals” for the purposes of these Rankings) is Risen Reef, which is truly awesome alongside the “pitch” elementals and Ephemerate. This deck had largely been replaced by more midrangey versions of Omnath, but with a number of good finishes lately, it’s roaring back onto the competitive scene.
Death’s Shadow continues to slide lower and lower on the Rankings. A previous #1 deck is now almost nowhere to be found, and is now keeping company with what I would consider to be the “Tier 2” strategies. Grixis Shadow can adapt to losing Lurrus by incorporating Street Wraith, planeswalkers, delve creatures or even Seasoned Pyromancer. However, it seems to have taken a significant hit from the banning and is definitely on the down-swing.
Massive creatures still give Death’s Shadow a fast clock and a good matchup against decks like Temur Cascade. Dress Down is a stone cold killer of opposing Tarmogoyfs, Dragon’s Rage Channelers and Construct tokens. Throw it all in the mixer with Expressive Iteration and the very best removal spells and disruption and, at least in my opinion, you still have a totally solid archetype.
This archetype had floundered over the last couple of months, but is now back to being a reliable presence in the top 8s of Magic Online events. Azorius Control isn’t the flashiest strategy in Modern, but it’s still highly effective, with very strong card quality. For those who enjoy a good old fashioned long game with counterspells, this can still be the deck for you.
March of Otherworldly Light was a nice recent pickup, as it can exile Urza’s Saga for the low price of one mana. Plus, I still think this was a winner from the Lurrus ban, and is generally a good choice right now.
7. Amulet Titan
Another big winner this week is Amulet Titan. I think everyone knows this archetype is quite good, yet it had been relatively quiet lately. Now it’s back, with a healthy handful of top 8 finishes across the Magic Online Modern Challenges.
6. Living End
I now consider Living End to be solidly among the “Tier 1” archetypes. Last month Living End held a middle position on the list, but has climbed significantly since then. The game plan is to fill your graveyard by cycling big monsters. Then cast Violent Outburst or Shardless Agent, which will always cascade into Living End, resulting in an insurmountable advantage.
Temur Cascade has been a highly effective strategy ever since 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, Fire // Ice and Force of Negation.
Yawgmoth continues its meteoric rise! While it still doesn’t have quite the frequency of play that the cascade decks do, I decided to give Yawgmoth a higher ranking this week because of how often it actually wins – we’re talking first place – in tournaments. According to the informal count I’ve been keeping, I believe the only archetype that’s won as many Magic Online Modern tournaments as Yawgmoth this year is Omnath Midrange. To me, that indicates that these decks are highly respected by the format’s elite players, and can be extremely dangerous in experienced hands.
This deck uses Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and undying creatures to generate tons of value, and eventually assemble an infinite combo to one-shot the opponent. This has been my deck of choice lately, as I find it to be fun, well-rounded, and have a positive matchup against the various Urza’s Saga strategies.
Losing Lurrus hurt a little, but Hammer players have successfully adapted to the banning. Colossus Hammer is a mono-white, Orzhov or Azorius Equipment deck which has, in addition to brutal explosive potential, awesome sideboard cards like Sanctifier en-Vec. It’s multidimensional and difficult to attack. Colossus Hammer remains the best home for Urza’s Saga, which is one of the most powerful cards from Modern Horizons 2.
These are the four-color decks that use Omnath, Locus of Creation to win grindy games. One popular version is an 80-card monstrosity featuring Omnath, Locus of Creation, “Pitch” Elementals, and Ephemerate, with Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion. These four-color soup decks are here to stay, and you should expect to face them virtually every time you queue up for a Modern event.
There’s still nothing that can overtake Izzet Murktide for the number one position. The Murktide Regent decks have been a huge winner from the Lurrus banning and now stand at the top of the format. Izzet remains the cleanest way to make use of the outrageously powerful Dragon, but a variety of versions and color combinations are possible.