It’s been a few weeks since Modern Horizons 2 hit the Modern queues, and while there’s still a lot to explore, the metagame is starting to take shape. Let’s see what it looks like with this week’s Modern Power Rankings.
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.
14. Jeskai Turns
Modern Jeskai Turns by ManaCymbal
Velomachus Lorehold has made the jump from Historic to Modern and onto the Modern Power Rankings. Jeskai Turns uses Indomitable Creativity, paired with Treasures and Dwarven Mine, to get the Elder Dragon onto the battlefield ahead of schedule. From there, the hope is to chain Time Warps and Savor the Moments long enough to win the game or to create an irreversible advantage.
13. U/R Delver
Modern UR Delver by Booglez
Murktide Regent is an extremely powerful creature, and it was only a matter of time until intrepid deckbuilders found a strong way to use it. U/R Delver uses Murktide Regent, Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Delver of Secrets, backed up by a core of cheap instants and sorceries to form an efficient and disruptive game plan. Compared to U/R Prowess, it’s shifted more heavily towards blue and plays Counterspells.
12. 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 on the Modern Power Rankings. 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.
11. Hardened Scales/Affinity
Modern Hardened Scales by Capriccioso
Hardened Scales and Affinity were once a powerful strategies, but never fully recovered from the banning of Mox Opal. With the release of Modern Horizons 2, Hardened Scales 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. Look for General Ferrous Rokiric, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Bring to Light, and Scapeshift as alternative payoffs for this style of deck.
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.
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.
7. Red Prowess
A previous top ranked deck in the Modern Power Rankings is throwing its hat back into the ring. Powerful additions include Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. Red Prowess can come in the form of Mono-Red, W/R or U/R. Compared to U/R Delver, this archetype is much more about unloading quick damage.
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.
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.
4. Living End
This archetype has dropped a few places in the Modern Power Rankings, but this is more indicative of the quality of the top three decks, and less about any failings of Living End. I took this for a spin on Magic Online last week, 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.
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.
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 a variety of powerful engines.
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. 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 top fourth and fifth decks on this week’s Modern Power Rankings, and I’ve also seen Shardless Agent put to good use in Humans.
Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
These are two of the best one-drop creatures red has ever seen. A variety of strategies center around dropping these on turn one and backing them up by a bunch of efficient instants and sorceries.
Now it’s all about Urza’s Saga. 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.
Evart – U/R Lurrus.
Gab – B/R/U/G Living End.
Martin – U/R Delver.