Welcome back to another week of Modern Power Rankings! We’ve got some new decks breaking the top 15, so let’s get started.
Hardened Scales and Affinity were once powerful Modern 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 Magic Online Modern Challenge, while Affinity shows up as a home for Urza’s Saga and some of the other powerful artifact payoffs.
If you like killing creatures and making people discard, Rakdos is the deck you should be playing right now. It has a streamlined mana base and creature base which facilitate Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion, while also making great use of the powerful new Dauthi Voidwalker and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.
There’s no denying that the cycle of mythic rare “pitch” Elementals are among the most powerful cards from Modern Horizons 2. It was only a matter of time before players started to mash them all together in the same deck, complete with tribal synergies like Risen Reef, plus Ephemerate to make all of the enters-the-battlefield triggers work overtime.
12. Indomitable Creativity
Indomitable Creativity is a powerful card which has more or less spawned its own archetype. Using Treasures and creature tokens as fuel, you can build a deck where the only actual creature card is a game-winning threat, which Creativity will put onto the battlefield for you each and every time. Once the shell is in place, you can take this deck in whatever direction you please, with some players using something simple and deadly like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, while others seek to combo off with Velomachus Lorehold repeatedly casting Time Warps.
Prior to the release of Modern Horizons 2, I frequently ranked Heliod/Ballista as the best deck in Modern. It had been strangely quiet for a few months, but now that Modern is dominated by red creature decks with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler, this deck is making a comeback. It uses resilient creatures to build a battlefield, and has various combos with Heliod, Sun-Crowned which can fatally punish any opponent who puts their shields down at the wrong time.
10. Grixis Ragavan
I resisted putting Grixis Ragavan in the Modern Power Rankings last week because the lines blur so much between the Izzet, Rakdos and Grixis versions of this midrange strategy. That said, it’s becoming clear that Grixis is an appealing choice for experienced Modern players, and deserves a spot on the Modern Power Rankings all of its own.
There’s a lot you can do with four and five-color strategies in Modern. You can use Bring to Light, you can combo Scapeshift with Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, or you can simply out value people with Omnath, Locus of Creation or Niv-Mizzet Reborn.
Mill remains 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 this list. Look out for Tasha’s Hideous Laughter as a new addition from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
7. Red Prowess
A previous #1 ranked deck remains strong. Powerful Modern Horizons 2 additions include Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. Red Prowess can come in the form of MonoRed, W/R or U/R. Compared to Izzet Delver and Murktide Regent decks, this archetype is much more about unloading quick damage.
6. 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.
Food was one of the most exciting new decks of Modern Horizons 2, but has started to slip a bit in popularity. 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.
4. 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.
After playing a variety of Modern decks, teammate Andrea Mengucci boiled down his Tier 1 to Amulet Titan and Izzet.
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.
Colossus Hammer has had some insane results lately, punctuated by a Magic Online Modern Challenge where there were four copies in the Top 8, including the winning deck!
This is 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.
The lines begin to blur between U/R Prowess, Murktide Regent decks and more streamlined versions of Izzet Ragavan. But one thing is for sure: playing lots of cheap spells in these colors is a great place to be.
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. Delver of Secrets isn’t a staple anymore, but the core of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler backed up by a ton of cheap instants and sorceries is always highly effective.
I asked my teammates what they’d play in a Modern event this weekend.
Evart – Elementals.
Gab – Four-Color Omnath Midrange.
Huey – Storm.
Martin – Izzet Ragavan.
Luis – Izzet Ragavan. (But a slightly better list than Martin).
And As for Me (Reid) – Rakdos Midrange.