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Modern Power Rankings – Week of 5/4/2020

Welcome to the Modern Power Rankings! This is a list of top Modern decks, which we will maintain and periodically update here on Channelfireball.com. The criteria is a mix of metagame share, frequency of top results, and author’s personal opinion. You can use it for inspiration if you’re looking to pick up a new deck, or to give you an idea of what decks you’ll need to take seriously if you want to go deep in a big Modern tournament. 

Modern is home to easily over a hundred established decks. In many cases, these archetypes blur together, plus there’s limitless opportunity to customize and brew. Don’t be discouraged if your favorite deck doesn’t make the list–it doesn’t mean that it can’t be a winning strategy! Additionally, I’ll try to be as precise as possible in my deck classifications, but there will be times when I have to lump a variety of decks into one broader archetype. 

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated these rankings, largely because I wanted to see how things shook out with the new cards from Ikoria; Lair of Behemoths. Sure enough, Modern has been revolutionized with the printing of the companions, and in particular Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Most top archetypes from before Ikoria have managed to survive, but fringe decks need to find ways to adopt companions or beat companions, or else go extinct.

10. Ad Nauseam – Most Common Companion: None

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

Ad Nauseam is one of the decks that can prey on companions. While Lurrus and other companions encourage players to jockey for small influxes of card advantage, Ad Nauseam can ignore all of that and simply combo off. More specifically, Lurrus has made burn and discard strategies more popular than ever, so a deck that makes excellent use of Leyline of Sanctity out of the sideboard is highly appealing. 9

9. Humans

Most Common Companion: None or Jegantha, the Wellspring 

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

I’m consistently impressed by humans. Being fast, disruptive, consistent, and highly punishing to an opponent who misses a beat means that Humans can always score wins even in hostile metagames. This isn’t a deck that makes great use of companions, but at least you know that opponents with Lurrus won’t be packing Plague Engineers.

8. Bant Snow

Most Common Companion: None

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

Snow is a beautiful recipe. You get a solid, consistent, and nearly painless mana-base that isn’t vulnerable to Blood Moon. From there, you get to play any cards of your choosing from among three (or possibly more) colors. The highlight, of course, is Ice-Fang Coatl, which is a hyper-efficient flash threat that can hold an equipment, or be a stone-cold killer of anyone foolish enough to try attacking with creatures. It’s also worth mentioning the Cryptic Command + Mystic Sanctuary engine, which makes it almost impossible to keep up with this deck in the long game. 

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath allows the non-companion Snow decks to keep pace with Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and then some!

7. Hardened Scales

Most Common Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den 

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

I didn’t think Hardened Scales would ever make its way back to the top 10 after the banning of Mox Opal. However, it remains one of the most powerful and resilient creature strategies available in Modern, and also makes fantastic use of the most powerful companion.

6. Jund & G/B Rock

Most Common Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den 

Jund has changed a lot with the printing of Ikoria, but I actually think it’s one of the biggest winners from the new cards. I’ll always have a soft spot for Liliana of the Veil and Bloodbraid Elf, but cards that you shuffle into your deck and hope to draw on a key turn simply cannot be compared to the value of a free companion that you get as an extra card every single game. Lurrus fits perfectly with the Jund gameplan: Spend the early turns dismantling the opponent, and then transition into resilient card advantage-based threats in the mid-game. 

Jund has its work cut out for it in combating the big mana decks of the format, but the card quality is through the roof, and it’s still primed to beat up on opposing creature decks. As always, the sideboard cards exist to shore up just about any weakness, provided you know where to look.

5. Devoted Druid Decks

Most Common Companion: Lurrus, with various other choices possible 

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

I’m grouping all of the green creature-based combo decks together. One common version uses Lurrus as a Companion and focuses on assembling Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies before winning with Walking Ballista, Finale of Devastation, or any of a number of different ways. Another common version pairs Heliod, Sun-Crowned with Walking Ballista and Spike Feeder–this of course precludes the use of Lurrus. 

The point is that these decks are very powerful, very customizable, and very skill-testing, which also means that they have a high ceiling in terms of potential.

4. Primeval Titan Decks (All Forms)

Most Common Companion: None 

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

Primeval Titan decks set the bar for Modern. If you don’t have a plan that can contend with a turn 4 Titan, you’d better go back to the drawing board. The most common version is Amulet Titan, but you’ll also run into the more traditional Valakut decks as well as non-Amulet Titan ramp decks. In all of these cases, the strategy is a big winner from recent printings like Field of the Dead, Castle Garenbrig, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

This is the established archetype that’s held the strongest without adopting a companion.

3. Urza

Most Common Companion: Yorion, Sky Nomad or None

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

Our previous #1 still holds pretty strong at #3. Yorion can’t match the speed or efficiency of Lurrus, but it’s still a game winner when it goes unchecked, and when it slots perfectly into an already-great archetype, the results are excellent. 

Second to Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis (which was promptly banned), Urza, Lord High Artificer is the strongest card to come out of Modern Horizons. He has a remarkable ability to stabilize the board, drive a mana engine, and provide limitless card advantage, and now makes a great pairing with Yorion, Sky Nomad. 

While many varieties exist, these days you’re most likely to see Urza decks centered around blue and green, utilizing Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

2. Blue Lurrus

Most Common Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den (Duh…) 

(Deck Guide Coming Soon)

I’m casting a wide net here. All decks that utilizes blue cards and Lurrus of the Dream-Den–while not obviously fitting into a different established archetype–come together in what I’m calling “Blue Lurrus.” These can be Delver of Secrets decks, but they can also be non-Delver midrange decks, sometimes touching into Snow for Ice-Fang Coatl. 

The success of these decks is proof of how perfectly Lurrus of the Dream-Den fits into the Modern format. Low mana curve, disruption, and a guaranteed resilient threat makes a great recipe. I’ve also noticed that Mana Leak’s stock is at an all-time high since it’s one of the cleanest answers to companions you’re likely to find.

1. Burn

Most Common Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den

A classic that’s as old as the format itself. This is a top archetype that’s able to slot in a companion effortlessly, with no restructuring required. Burn didn’t need a massive upgrade to keep putting up results, but it got one! 

I sometimes see Burn get a bad rap as a deck for beginners, or a choice for players on a budget. I start to reject these ideas when I see it putting up more top finishes than any other deck in the format. Burn is here to stay, and has taken such a large metagame share that you should consider targeted hate cards like Weather the Storm, Dragon’s Claw, and Leyline of Sanctity

Welcome to a new world of companions. You don’t have to use them to be successful, but you should sure be ready to play against them. In terms of non-companion cards from Ikoria, the ones making the biggest splashes seem to be General Kudro of Drannith in Humans (#9) and Sprite Dragon in Blue Lurrus (#2). 

Has the format settled into a new equilibrium? Or are players still finding their way with the new Ikoria cards? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’ll be keeping my eye on them and updating these power rankings frequently over the coming months. 

Discussion

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