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.
We’re only a few days into the companion rules change, so expect these rankings to change a lot as players begin to quantify how much spending three mana might hurt their Lurrus, Obosh, or Yorion, and what non-companion decks might be winners from the change.
Falling Off the List
Naturally, companion decks are big losers from the rules change. You start to feel those deckbuilding costs a lot more when you don’t have effortless access to your companion each and every game.
The notable absences for this week are “Big Blue” (Scapeshift, Bring to Light, Niv-Mizzet, etc.) and Urza. these decks were built heavily around Yorion, and I think a classic Bant Snow might be a more efficient way to play a 60-card deck with Arcum’s Astrolabe and Mystic Sanctuary.
10. Primeval Titan (All Forms)
I’ve been a little bit down on Primeval Titan decks lately, but they’re definitely a go-to archetype now that the companion decks are weakened. Casting Primeval Titan remains one of the most direct and reliable ways to win a game of Modern.
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. They often use companions, but they’re not essential to the gameplan, and are therefore not significantly weakened by the rules change. Since these decks have mana acceleration, it’s also a bit more reasonable to find that extra three mana to put Lurrus into your hand.
I was absolutely loving Jund Lurrus before the rules change. Now I’m not sure whether I want to fight the good fight with the weakened companion version, or turn back to my old Lilianas and Bloodbraid Elves. Either way, it’s certain that the archetype is still playable, yet also certain that it’s taken a hit.
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.
7. Ad Nauseam
Ad Nauseam is a strong metagame deck that preys on many popular archetypes right now. It’s one of the top strategies that doesn’t use a companion, and is therefore a natural choice after the rules change.
6. Eldrazi Tron
A reliable presence in the Modern tournament scene, Eldrazi Tron has had a higher than normal rate of top results recently. It looks like this old favorite has found effective ways to deal with the companion decks, and that advantage should be magnified now. In particular, Chalice of the Void is a powerhouse against the Burn and Red Prowess decks.
Along with Ad Nauseam and Primeval Titan decks, Eldrazi Tron is a top archetype that never used a companion anyway. This will be a go-to choice for companion players looking to jump ship to a safe, intact deck.
5. Bant Snow
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.
While some Snow players had been starting to use Yorion as a companion, it’s not essential to the gameplan. Sixty-card versions of Snow have held strong during the reign of companions, I predict Snow will once again be a popular choice among elite Modern players.
Also known as Gruul, Ponza is a midrange deck that seeks to accelerate its mana, disrupt the opponent with cards like Pillage and Blood Moon, and utilize single potent threats like Seasoned Pyromancer and Klothys, God of Destiny.
Ponza can either be built around Obosh, the Preypiercer, or in a more classic way with no companion. Either way, I think this will be one of the top midrange decks in Modern now.
3. Death’s Shadow
Death’s Shadow was really coming into its own just before the companion rules change. I’m not exactly sure what form this deck will take now, but there’s no denying that it’s powerful, customizable, and rewards tight play from its pilot.
2. Red Prowess
Red Prowess has put up an astounding number of top results over the last three weeks. It maintains many of the strengths of traditional Burn, but has even more explosive power, and utilizes Lurrus more effectively. You lose out on Eidolon of the Great Revel, but the combination of Monastery Swiftspear, Soul-Scar Mage, Abbot of Keral Keep, Mishra’s Bauble, Lava Dart, and of course Lurrus of the Dream Den makes for a well-oiled machine that you can count on for deadly consistency.
Unfortunately, being built more around Lurrus means that Red Prowess loses more than Burn with the companion rules change. Still, I think it will survive and thrive.
While based in Red, Prowess players can choose either White or Black as a secondary color to support Lurrus. The White versions resemble more classic Burn decks, except with Soul-Scar Mage and Abbot of Keral Keep in place of Goblin Guide and Eidolon of the Great Revel. The Black version goes slightly more midrange with discard spells, graveyard hate, and slightly more card advantage and removal.
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 benefited a lot from Lurrus, but it’s always been more of a bonus than something that’s essential to the gameplan.
As mentioned, expect these rankings to change in the coming weeks, as players are still digesting the Companion rules change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see five or six different archetypes rounding out the top ten list by the end of June.