Modern Power Rankings – 1/13/2021

A new year means… same ol’ Power Rankings! Kaldheim’s still getting spoiled so there hasn’t been much in the way of major shake-ups to the format, but it’s still changing and evolving!



15. Temur

Wrenn and SixUro, Titan of Nature's WrathCryptic Command

Highlights of the Temur deck include Wrenn and Six, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and the Cryptic Command plus Mystic Sanctuary engine. Temur maintains most of the power of the four color Omnath, Locus of Creation decks while sporting a tamer mana base that’s more resilient to Boil


14. Charbelcher

Goblin CharbelcherAgadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the UndercryptBlood Moon

Charbelcher is a one-card combo that seeks to activate Goblin Charbelcher in a deck that uses only Zendikar Rising double-faced cards as lands. Fast mana like Simian Spirit Guide and Desperate Ritual accelerate the combo but can also be used to power out devastating permanents like Blood Moon and Chalice of the Void


13. Burn

Goblin GuideLightning BoltEidolon of the Great Revel

Simple, effective and classic, there’s a lot to like about a strategy that ignores what the opponent is doing. Burn instead dedicates all of its resources to a single game plan – lighting people on fire. 


12. Sultai 

Uro, Titan of Nature's WrathThoughtseizeAbrupt Decay

Amidst many different decks powered by Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Sultai is proving itself as one of the best. Compared to other color combinations, Sultai lends itself to more of a well-rounded, midrange game. The black answer cards like Thoughtseize, Abrupt Decay and Assassin’s Trophy are highly flexible, meaning that Sultai has solid game against just about everything.


11. Mill

Maddening CacophonyHedron CrabArchive Trap

I’ve always considered U/B Mill to be a gimmick deck, something that people played mostly because it’s fun. With Zendikar Rising providing Ruin Crab and Maddening Cacophony, the results are forcing me to reconsider my position. Mill is also one of the few strategies that can boast a solidly favorable matchup against Omnath. It might be time to consider a one-of Gaea’s Blessing in your sideboard!


10. Dredge (or Crab-Vine)

Ox of AgonasGolgari ThugPrized Amalgam

Dredge has been one of the best decks at a number of times in Modern’s history. Most recently, it was a menace in the first half of 2020 after the printing of Ox of Agonas. Well, Dredge is making a comeback, which it has a way of doing when players start forgetting to bring four to six graveyard hate cards in their sideboards. An alternative to the traditional Dredge deck is Crab-Vine, which uses self-mill like Hedron Crab to fill the graveyard instead of the dredge mechanic itself. 


9. Rakdos

Kroxa, Titan of Death's HungerMagmatic ChannelerBlood Moon

Rakdos is cementing itself as the black midrange deck of choice. It has many cards in common with the classic Jund strategy, but cuts green in order to play with Blood Moon and focus on an even heavier suite of disruption. 


8. Death and Taxes

Skyclave ApparitionStoneforge MysticThalia, Guardian of Thraben

Death and Taxes has started falling in the rankings after being one of the huge decks immediately after the release of Zendikar Rising. In my opinion, the main story here is players finding other (sometimes more powerful) ways to use Skyclave Apparition. In particular, a lot of players who might have enjoyed Death and Taxes two months ago are now choosing Heliod/Ballista or Colossus Hammer instead. 


7. Oops All Spells

Balustrade SpyTurntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine WoodVengevine

Along with Charbelcher, this is the other combo deck featuring the double-faced land/spells. It uses Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer to target itself and dump its library into its graveyard. From there, Creeping Chills drain the opponent while Narcomoebas and Swords of the Meek hit the battlefield, which facilitates the casting of Salvage Titan and the returning of Vengevines to deal the finishing blow. 

Compared to Charbelcher, you get eight “I win” cards instead of four and only need to assemble four mana instead of seven.


6. Colossus Hammer

Colossus HammerSigarda's AidPuresteel Paladin

The Colossus Hammer deck uses its namesake card paired with Sigarda’s Aid and Puresteel Paladin to make a massive attacker as early as the second turn of the game. The gameplay resembles that of Infect – you play mostly cheap cards, suit up a lethal creature and sometimes even protect it with Giver of Runes. Puresteel Paladin and Stoneforge Mystic are excellent cards which contribute the combo but can also allow you to win a “fair” game. Lurrus of the Dream-Den provides additional staying power as well.

Colossus Hammer has skyrocketed to the top of the format in the last month. Astoundingly, a recent Magic Online Modern Challenge saw this deck take first, second, third and fifth place! If you’re playing Modern this week, expect to run into this one. 


5. Heliod/Ballista

Modern is home to many creature-based combo decks, including ones built around Devoted Druid plus Vizier of Remedies or Yawgmoth, Thran Physician plus undying creatures. Another combo that’s been making big waves in the past few months is Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Walking Ballista. This combo has gone from a fringe strategy to one of the most successful decks in the format.


4. Red Prowess

Amidst an infusion of new cards from Zendikar Rising and a lot of sweet strategies putting up results, Red Prowess is still a great deck. It even won the trophy in the first installment of the 2020 Magic Online Championship Series. The density of strong red cards that cost one and two mana (or zero mana, for that matter) just makes this strategy so effective. 

While traditional Burn gets a headache from even the first three points of life gain from Uro, the Red Prowess decks unload massive, massive damage when their creatures go unchecked and can sometimes even ignore the Titan. You get out ahead and punish people while they sculpt their hands and play tapped lands. Sprinkle in some well-placed graveyard hate or a Boil off the sideboard and you have a rock-solid deck that happens to be a good choice against the other strategies on this list.

Red Prowess can come in the form of an aggressive mono red, a midrange Rakdos or an Izzet version that’s somewhere in the middle. All three options are very strong, but my personal favorite is Mono Red (as you could tell from the deck guide above).


3. Death’s Shadow

Death’s Shadow is punishing to its opponents. The card quality is high, it’s customizable and it really rewards the skill of its pilot. With the printing of Zendikar Rising, it gained access to Scourge of the Skyclaves to pair with its namesake card. This density of powerful threats makes an already-great archetype stronger than ever. Plain Rakdos is the most played Death’s Shadow deck, but you’ll see Jund, Grixis and even Mardu out there as well. This is likely what I’d be playing if I had a big Modern event coming up. 


2. Primeval Titan (All Forms)

Primeval Titan had a good couple of weeks, and has risen a spot in the rankings. This is one of the defining cards (and decks) of Modern. If your deck doesn’t have a plan for beating turn four Titan then you should probably go back to the drawing board. 

While Primeval Titan still shows up in classic Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Amulet of Vigor decks, lately it’s had yet another home on top of that. This comes in techy creature-based decks that feature some combination of Aether Vial, Eladamri’s Call and Elvish Reclaimer. I suppose having all of those other creatures makes for an effective backup plan if ramping straight to a Titan doesn’t work. 


1. Omnath

Omnath, Locus of CreationField of the DeadGrowth Spiral

I think we can all agree that Uro is one of the strongest cards in the format right now. Modern players can’t agree on where is the best home for it but right now, Omnath is the most popular and seemingly the most successful. 

This deck features four or five colors of mana, powers out Field of the Dead, and uses the legendary elemental for some unbelievably powerful turns.


That’s it for this week’s Power Rankings. I hope you’re all as excited for Kaldheim as I am!

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