Modern Horizons 2 is still having a profound impact on the format, with even a brand-new deck nabbing a high spot on this week’s Modern Power Rankings. Let’s take a look!
15. 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. 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.
14. Eldrazi Tron
An old favorite has stayed strong, and even gets a boost from Urza’s Saga. Constructs and Eldrazi make for a quick clock, while heavy disruption can prevent the opponent from enacting their own game plan.
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.
11. Hardened Scales/Affinity
Hardened Scales and Affinity were once 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.
10. 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.
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. I took this for a spin recently, and was impressed with its favorable matchup against a lot of the decks on the Modern Power Rankings.
8. Living End
This archetype continues to drop in the Modern Power Rankings, but this is more indicative of the quality of the top decks, and less about any failings of Living End. I had a great experience when I played Living End, 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.
6. 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.
Rakdos is the hot breakout deck of this week, putting two copies in the Top 8 of a Magic Online Modern Challenge, and being championed by Team CFB member Evart Moughon. It makes excellent use of new cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dauthi Voidwalker as well as existing cards like Lurrus of the Dream-Den.
4. U/R Delver/Murktide
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. Compared to U/R Prowess, this deck is shifted more heavily towards blue and plays counterspells. I’ve seen players cutting Delver of Secrets recently, but the core of Murktide Regent and Dragon’s Rage Channeler backed up by a core of cheap instants and sorceries is always highly effective.
Temur Cascade was the most successful deck of the Magic Online Championship Series Showcase, winning the $20,000 first prize in the hands of Yuuki Ichikawa. 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.
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.
I asked my teammates what they’d play in a Modern event this weekend.
Evart – Rakdos Midrange.
Gab – Living End.
Huey – Storm.
Martin – U/R Delver.
And As for Me (Reid) – My best results have been with Living End, but I’m excited to try out Rakdos Midrange.