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! 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.
Modern is still shaken from the recent banning of Arcum’s Astrolabe. Two of the archetypes that invariably topped this list in the past–Snow and Urza–took significant hits. We’re just now starting to get a glimpse of the strategies that might be most successful in replacing them.
10. Titan Ramp (All Forms)
An old favorite that’s a winner from the Astrolabe banning, and has solidified its spot in the Top 10. Primeval Titan is a pillar of the Modern format, and having a plan against a turn 4 Titan is one of the most basic tests that a Modern deck needs to pass in order to be tournament-ready. This is a tried-and-true strategy that players can default to if their favorite deck got hit by the ban-hammer.
*Deck Coming Soon
Urzatron was a defining force at both of the Modern Pro Tours of 2019. In London, it was the most played deck, and in Barcelona it took the trophy when Hogaak came up short. Since that time, it’s fallen out of favor a bit, but there’s no denying the power of this deck.
*Deck Coming Soon
8. Wilderness Reclamation
It’s not just for Standard anymore!
It’s not just for Standard and Historic anymore.
It’s not just for Standard, Historic, and Pioneer anymore…
Yes, Wilderness Reclamation is breaking into Modern in a significant way. It usually takes the form of a Control deck that uses Wilderness Reclamation as a value card. You can sweep the board with something like Dead of Winter, and then pass with the ability to play Cryptic Command or Fact or Fiction on the opponent’s turn. You’ll typically see one copy of Nexus of Fate for the late-game lock out.
Check out Shorak123’s 3rd place decklist in the Modern Challenge for reference: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mtgo-standings/modern-challenge-2020-07-26
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.
Formerly one of the top decks, I demoted Ponza after I had a couple of bad leagues with it. Weirdly, this strategy could actually be a slight loser from the Arcum’s Astrolabe banning, as sideboard cards Choke and Boil won’t offer as many free wins.
*Deck Coming Soon
Jund seemed like a popular default deck in the period right after the Astrolabe banning. I saw a number of players use Jund to good effect in Magic Online challenges and preliminaries. Since then, it’s cooled off and settled into a modest metagame share. 6th place feels about right for this old favorite.
One interesting take on Jund features Mishra’s Bauble alongside a few copies of Lurrus of the Dream Den in the main deck. (This means you don’t lose out on Bloodbraid Elf, Liliana of the Veil, or any other goodies). However, old-fashioned builds of Jund are alive and well also.
*New Jund Guide coming soon
Dredge attacks Modern from a different angle than the rest of the decks on this list. The goal is to dump cards into the graveyard and use free spells and abilities like Narcomeba, Bloodghast, Prized Amalgam, and Creeping Chill to win the game. Normal defensive measures like permission, discard, and removal are ineffective against it.
4. Red Prowess
Red Prowess topped the rankings last week, due to its power and variability. It lost a couple of places in this installment. Nevertheless, we all know that Lightning Bolts and Monastery Swiftspears win matches. I find Red Prowess to be a fun and effective alternative to the more traditional Burn decks.
While Mono-Red is the most common build, it’s not impossible to splash a color. Red Black Prowess can be a more mid-rangey alternative. (Often still using Lurrus of the Dream Den as a Companion). Additionally, Red Blue Prowess is picking up steam. Check out this cool take on the archetype which utilizes Stormwing Entity.
*BSK_Hercules 8th place decklist
3. Eldrazi Tron
Eldrazi Tron hops on and off these rankings more than any other deck. The reason is that while it’s probably not the best deck in Modern, it’s always a safe and stable option that tends to survive most changes in the metagame. It seems to have been a major winner from the Astrolabe banning, as this is the highest I’ve ranked Eldrazi Tron in quite some time.
One specific strength worth highlighting is Chalice of the Void. Not many decks can afford to play with it, but it’s an incredible card in a format that’s based so much on efficiency and cheap spells. Karn, the Great Creator also gives Eldrazi Tron game-one access to specific tools that it needs to dissect some of the unusual strategies you’ll find in Modern.
2. Death’s Shadow
Although it’s not typically one of the most popular decks in Modern, I’m never surprised when Death’s Shadow puts up results. It’s punishing to its opponents; the card quality is high; it’s customizable; and it really rewards the skill of its pilot.
Death’s Shadow won a Modern Challenge recently, and is one of the decks I’d personally work on if I had a big Modern event coming up. Grixis, Jund, and four-color Shadow decks have all been popping up lately.
1. U/W Control (or U/W Stoneforge)
Blue White Control is the best deck that nobody’s been playing with. The reason is that there was really no incentive to play straight U/W when playing with Snow lands and Arcum’s Astrolabe was basically free. (And from there, playing more colors was basically free!). However, with Astrolabe out of the picture, Classic U/W is the heir apparent as the control deck of the format.
Note that U/W Stoneforge is a strong alternative if you’re looking for something just a tiny bit more proactive.
Expect a lot more shake-ups as Modern players figure out the best things to do in the absence of Arcum’s Astrolabe. In the meantime, choosing any of the ten decks on this list will serve you well as a starting point.
*Deck Coming Soon
*Previous rankings on 7/20/2020 included Storm.