Modern As We Know It

Want the most thorough analysis of nearly every known Modern deck in the game today? Pro Tour Champion gives lists and talks matchups, weaknesses, strengths, and everything in between for #SCGINVI and Grand Prix Charlotte!

Modern since the Pro Tour has followed a trend that is remarkably similar to what happened post Pro Tour Born of the Gods a year ago.

Step 1: Powerful midrange card is banned. Birthing Pod this year, Deathrite Shaman last year.

Step 2: Degenerate decks perform the best at the Pro Tour (Amulet Bloom/Infect/Burn this year, Storm/Ad Nauseam last year), but Twin takes the top 8
spotlight with three in top 8 at Pro Tour Born of the Gods and two and a trophy at Pro Tour Fate Reforged.

Step 3: Immediate reaction is a bunch of Twin against other combo.

Grand Prix Richmond

was slightly more midrange than Grand Prix Vancouver with Pod over Amulet Bloom/Infect.

Step 4: People start playing midrange decks with more efficient answers and things get real durdly, with a bunch of cycles of slower combo filtering into
midrange. See Andrew Boswell’s Jundversus Robin Dolar’s Abzan in the finals of Grand Prix Boston (just
kidding, it’s not Boston) last year.

Gerard Fabiano’s win with

Sultai Control
over Seth Manfield’s fairly stock Twin deck in Baltimore at
the end of February was the start of the shift from step 3 to step 4. We are solidly into the realm of durdly combo versus midrange right now, with the
pendulum swinging very far in the midrange direction right now.

Besides the obvious metagame progression, what else has changed since the Pro Tour?

Tasigur, the Golden Fang may have lost his throne in Tarkir, but he has found it again in Modern. While he immediately found a place in Abzan and was great
there, the big impact of Tasigur was in blue decks. While it seems somewhat obvious that Tasigur would shine with blue cards compared to green cards–the
instant speed activation plays well with counters-since recurring counters or cantrips late is way better than recurring discard, and blue is generally
better at filling graveyards than green; however, the actual reason the card has changed so much is a bit deeper.

Dating back to 2007 the joke has been that Tarmogoyf was a blue card because it was really the only low cost, high impact, splashable threat. Stoneforge
Mystic has stolen a bit of the thunder in Legacy, but with that card banned in Modern it was back to the old standby. The issue with this is that that
meant your blue deck was locked into playing green as one of its two splash colors, which for the most part was a useless color outside Tarmogoyf. Tasigur
allows the blue decks to have a Tarmogoyf-level threat plus two real colors worth of cards.

Honestly, Tasigur might even be better than Tarmogoyf in a lot of situations. While the potential 5/6 body on Goyf might seem appealing as a trump to the
4/5 Banana Khan, the six-drop version is way better against removal. Emphasis on the six-drop part when Abrupt Decay has been the best removal spell in
Modern for two and a half years now. The activation on Tasigur is also a big deal as it is a threat that runs away with a game. Getting hit once or twice
with Tarmogoyf before drawing your out wasn’t great, but it was a very survivable situation. If you let a Tasigur hit you once or twice, you are also down
cards when it eventually dies and are basically already dead.

Beyond Tasigur taking over, Dragons of Tarkir was an absurdly impactful set. Atarka’s Command was the card everyone pegged as the immediate
standout, but it’s barely a blip on the radar compared to Collected Company and Kolaghan’s Command.

has covered
Collected Company by now, so I’ll keep the reasoning here
brief. Collected Company is obviously powerful as it makes two creatures, but the real power in the card is finding specific high power threats like combo
pieces or Elf Lords, being able to play around sweepers or counters at instant speed, and setting up chains of value with persist creatures and Eternal
Witness. If your deck doesn’t want to do one of these three things, or really multiple, don’t play the card. Brian Kibler
found the card lackluster in his style of green decks, which have historically had a lot of interchangeable threats, had good game against sweepers and counters due to individual threat power, and haven’t
really needed value as, again, all of the threats are just so good. Collected Company just homogenizes decks like that where threat or answer diversity
would be better.

Kolaghan’s Command is apparently a little harder to figure out. If you just think
of the card as in the context of Abrupt Decay, it makes a lot more sense. There’s just a lot of random trash people are trying to do in Modern, and having
answers to some of it is a big deal. “Destroy target artifact” on a card that isn’t just Ancient Grudge is a big deal as you suddenly get to beat random
degenerate decks game 1. It also matters a lot in midrange mirrors, which have often looked to trumps like Vedalken Shackles, Sword of Light and Shadow, or
Batterskull that are now basically unplayable as their untouchable status is gone.

Looking at the rest of the card, it provides more than enough value to play even without the Shatter mode. Shock plus Raven’s Crime is pretty close to
Electrolyze, which is already a playable card. The Raise Dead mode was probably the most dismissed, but as I said last week, graveyard recursion is a form of
tutoring. Turns out all of the creatures you can “graveyard tutor” for in Modern are pretty insane. Beyond just bringing back a great threat like Tasigur
or Tarmogoyf, you can chain into Snapcaster Mage for effectively any spell in your graveyard or get real crazy with Fulminator Mage for the full on
resource denial plan. Obviously just a Raise Dead wouldn’t be enough, but even the fairly tame Raise Dead plus Raven’s Crime mode of the card is
backbreaking in Modern. There isn’t enough good card draw to chain in Modern, and there isn’t a single card like Ancestral Visions that lets you bury your
opponent, so the attrition battles are fought one card at a time. If something like a Raging Ravine breaks the parity just by letting you draw more
effective spells a game, even a simple two-for-one like Kolaghan’s Command is backbreaking.

Overall, these cards push the format in the following directions:

-Blue and countermagic is much more prevalent than it has been in a long time.

Lightning Bolt is selected for, as it performs well against small Green creatures with Collected Company.

-Artifacts are on their way out.

-The line for being a “big creature” is basically 4/5, or really 5/5 now, to not be bricked by Tasigur.

The Decks

Enough theory and positioning discussion. These are the tangible results of all of this, presented in same structure as my previous breakdowns of the format. Rather than try to touch every deck, I’m going to focus on the decks that have lead the way since the Pro Tour, some recent upstarts, and explaining why
a few decks that were once great have fallen by the wayside.


These decks play to interact and attack. Their patterns of play look a lot like the most common Standard decks.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

This deck has the same incentives as every other Delver of Secrets deck ever. It’s quick, efficient, and brutal when your opponent isn’t lined up to beat
it. You have countermagic, removal, a quick clock, and sources of card advantage, and every single one of them is mana efficient. Unlike previous Delver
lists, you have Terminate and Murderous Cut as answers to large blockers like Tamogoyf that don’t come with a drawback (Path to Exile).


Despite Tasigur being a little harder to kill than traditional Modern Delver threats, this is still a Modern Delver deck. You are relatively threat-light
and not great going late or playing from behind. Despite me mentioning card advantage above, there really isn’t a big catch up card in this deck. Tasigur
does some work there, but people will be prepared for that card. If your opponent just kills your stuff and then throws good cards at you, leaving you out of position for Remand or other cards that try to
buy time for attackers to deal lethal, things will get rough real fast.

Deckbuilding Notes:

I’m fairly sure there are too many delve cards in this list and too few cantrips, aka not the full twelve. This list is also a bit dated, as the single
copy of Kolaghan’s Command instead of two plus more in the sideboard shows.

Deprive is a card I would try to find room for a copy or two of somewhere. Just having a cost effective hard counter is a big deal.

I would also play at least one Rending Volley. The upgrade to a one mana spell is really big in this deck, where your turns are so modular.

The Takeaway:

I wouldn’t say this is the most important deck in the format, but it’s a good baseline if you are trying to catch up, as it covers a lot of the changes
that have filtered down into other decks.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

This is the immediate next level to Grixis Delver. The mirrors are a bunch of Lightning Bolts and Electrolyzes flying around, so all of the Young
Pyromancers and Delvers just die. Instead of those cards, you have other things that don’t allow them to cast Lightning Bolt in a non-Lava Spike mode.


This deck does a lot of nothing if Tasigur dies. There still aren’t enough counterspells or hard card draw spells to play a real control game, so you play
a crappy aggro-control gameplan if your opponent’s cards aren’t directly trumped by yours and they don’t fold to Blood Moon. This also starts exposing the
deck to weaknesses that Delver can just ignore by bashing, like the card type enchantment.

Also, LOLOLOL Vedalken Shackles LOLOLOL. Kolaghan’s Command, get two-for-one’d. Also nice control deck that can’t play Creeping Tar Pit or any other
manland because it is trying to brick Lightning Bolt.

Deckbuilding Notes:

You can probably make an actual control deck here. Don’t play this as is unless you expect the Grand Prix to be all Level 0 decks.

The Takeaway:

Tasigur has let all the blue decks play red, so bricking Lightning Bolt is a real enough thing to make this a potential contender. I wouldn’t play Grixis
Control as is, but there’s something deeper here to find.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Just play Jund.
The cards are all great. They beat basically anything except decks trying to exploit the narrow holes they don’t cover. It’s like the bizarre version of
the stereotypical Rock deck from ten years ago: Instead of working hard to draw the right half of your deck against everything, your cards are great
everywhere and you are a solid favorite against the world.

Liliana of the Veil is also still crazy good, and for some reason, these are still the only decks that plays her.


There are a lot of ways to metagame against Jund with different linear decks, as has been demonstrated time and time again. You can only cover so many of
them in a given 75 cards. Make a sideboard that can beat Tron and Affinity? Lose to Burn.

That said, I think the biggest issue Jund has right now is that the creature base is actually pretty soft. If Lightning Bolt is the big answer, Dark
Confidant, Scavenging Ooze, and Raging Ravine aren’t the best threats. You can run them out of Bolts over time, but there’s a lot of playing Bob on turn 2
and looking real dumb when it dies for one mana.

The combination of Tasigur and Kolaghan’s Command has also pushed Abrupt Decay to an all-time low. The best threat doesn’t die to it, and a lot of the
things it preyed on are being pushed out of the format by counterspells and maindeck artifact hate.

Deckbuilding Notes:

I don’t really like Olivia Voldaren, or rather I stopped liking it the fifth time I looked at Olivia in hand against an empty board and an obvious
Lightning Bolt. Huntmaster of the Fells may be the creature you want.

While I haven’t provided a list, it may also be time for Abzan to come back. The big push away from it was that a lot of decks exploited the slower removal
base and clunkier of the white version post-Pro Tour, but the metagame is swinging back away from that point due to the saturation of Lightning Bolt.
Lingering Souls and Siege Rhino look a lot more impressive against Lightning Bolt than the Jund options, and you get some serious sideboard muscle in Stony
Silence. I would be hesitant to play Abzan in the more open Grand Prix field, but for the Season Two Invitational, I would really look into it.

There’s also a Phyrexian Obliterator + Dromoka’s Command list floating around. I have no clue how it casts spells, but that’s hot [ CEDitor’s Note: Better sleeve up dem Urborgs.]

The Takeaway:

Jund never really goes away. People just get tricked into not playing it because they want something new and eventually someone wakes up and just beats
everyone with green and black cards.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

I honestly have no clue. Besides Huntmaster of the Fells. That card is great. I guess it’s cute that you put your opponent into a bind with Lightning Bolt
being almost necessary against Delver of Secrets, but bad against your other ten creatures, but that’s a stretch.

There may be a lesson to learn about Blood Moon here. That lesson is don’t get got by it. Assume all of the U/R tempo-ish decks have it and that any red
combo deck probably could as well.


Tasigur still holds all the Bananas against 4/4 Apes.

These Disrupting Shoals are only countering ones and twos.

How do we beat an opposing 4/5 again? No, Roast is not a viable answer.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Curiosity is supposedly there as a way to get Tarmogoyf to a 5/6 (ah, that’s how we beat a 4/5!) that pitches to Disrupting Shoal. I’m not sure I wouldn’t
rather have Aether Spellbomb and just ignore Shoal, or Ior Ruin Expedition, an idea courtesy of Season Two Open Series Leader Kevin Jones.

Please get some Vendilion Cliques in here. Not being able to counter a three with Shoal is really bad. Sower of Temptation in the sideboard is also

The Takeaway:

My gut tells me that this deck winning means something. My brain is saying that it means that sometimes things I don’t understand happen.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t mulligan.

For the real answer, this deck gets to play Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, and Tasigur. That’s all of the good creatures in the format.

You also get to play real control cards like Damnation and Jace, Architect of Thought, giving you big sweeping effects a lot of Modern decks just don’t
have. There aren’t a lot of other decks that get to out muscle people in the same way this deck can.

Serum Visions smoothing your draws also does a lot in the B/G shell. If you are just trying to make exchanges, drawing the right cards to make trades is a
big part of that. Jund sometimes draws hands like two Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, and Thoughtseize against aggro. Serum Visions makes that much less likely.


The removal in this deck is real bad. Or really the removal is really bad against things that fit in the small gap between Mana Leak and Abrupt Decay.
Unfortunately, the most important card from the last two sets does exactly that. At least Abzan has Path to Exile as more ways to clear a Tasigur.

If Abzan’s draw is the highest impact sideboard cards (Stony Silence and similar), this deck’s weakness is the lowest impact ones. Snapcaster Mage
magnifies one-for-ones, but there’s a lot of downgrades. The biggest loss is against Affinity, where Hurkyl’s Recall looks really bad compared to
Kolaghan’s Command, Ancient Grudge, or Stony Silence. This in turn strains your sideboard against other decks as you try to find room to fight everything

Also, nice Creeping Tar Pit, aka Duress targeting your Lightning Bolt on turn 10.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Don’t play Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Just… don’t do it.

The Takeaway:

I’m not sure this is actually better than a Grixis version of the same deck, but this is execution I’m looking for in this style of deck. Sturdy threats,
some big effects to take over, and still looks fluid like the other B/G decks.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

If blanking Lightning Bolt is good, blanking all of the removal is great. Supreme Verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation are also still powerful cards in
a bigger format, and this is the only deck that really gets to play them.


If your Lightning Bolts are bad, then your deck does a lot of nothing. I beat Jeskai Control with Naya Pod by just playing a bunch of creatures that didn’t
die to those cards, and considering everyone is trying to do the same thing to beat Grixis, it seems that Jeskai is at the wrong level to combat the fair

As my tag line for this deck also suggests, it also has issues against linear decks. This is the pinnacle of the whole Abrupt Decay + Thoughtseize issue,
where the deck doesn’t have really good generic answers that allow it to hedge against all of the combo configurations it could face. You might crush the
ones that have issues with red removal like Infect, but what about Amulet Bloom? Or Tron? Or Scapeshift? Pick your poison. You may be able to sideboard
against one of these decks, but you are drawing dead against the rest.

Deckbuilding Notes:

There’s a reason I posted this specific list. I’ve always hated this deck because on top of having a lot of conditional cards, it often stalls on action.
The black cards don’t help with the drawing the wrong things issue, but they help solve the flooding out of action in the way of discard one.

The Takeaway:

I would not play this deck, but if you want to, don’t play the same old list. You need to be more prepared for a midrange world.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Look at all of those nice sideboard cards. White brings a lot to the table in the fifteen-card slots that red really doesn’t. Actual hate cards, more
universal permanent answers, and a bit more value.

Lingering Souls is also a real attrition matchup breaker, and Monastery Mentor is a real nice goldfish card against combo. You have power from a lot of


The three-drop focus here brings back memories of the Geist decks of last year. Sometimes you tap out for your three-drop, and it is just too late or
exposes you. Or you wait to play it with backup, and it takes too long. There’s a reason most of the threats in Modern cost two or are tap out game

There’s also a lot of mismatch potential here with the same cards. Don’t draw Monastery Mentor against Lightning Bolt or Lingering Souls against combo.

To state it twice: Monastery Mentor. Lightning Bolt. If losing a two-drop to Bolt is bad, losing a three-drop is just inexcusable.

There’s also tension between Tasigur and Monastery Mentor. Filling your deck with a ton of one-drops to go off with Mentor means you have more low impact
cards to flip to Tasigur, making the activation significantly worse when you are trying to pull ahead with it.

Deckbuilding Notes:

I really wish the mana here worked for Cryptic Command. That card is so insane in the other blue decks, and not having access to it here is a real

Zero copies of Serum Visions can’t be right.

The Takeaway:

I don’t actually think this deck is fundamentally sound, but it has some good cards.

Classic Linears

These are the goldfish decks, or really just the decks that are historically best in a Step 1 metagame per the description at the top. They are the fastest
and most consistent of the combo style decks, and most importantly, their combo is final in winning the game.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

It’s just really good. It’s Temur Twin, only with the splash color bringing good removal and a threat that doesn’t also look bad against Abrupt Decay.
Discard in Twin has also always been good, dating back to Alessandro Lippi Top 8ing Grand Prix Milan 2012 with Grixis Twin just for hand disruption. Tasigur is at a high
point here, with the instant activation meshing very well with Deceiver Exarch.

There’s also the Lightning Bolt resilience built into your deck. Nice three damage against my 4/5 or 1/4, or one-for-one removal against Snapcaster Mage.
Overloading the relevant removal in opposing decks is a very real thing in this deck.


You have the traditional Tempo Twin bad hands. There are hands like two Splinter Twin, Tasigur, Terminate, three lands that just make you question what
decisions lead you to this point. Lands, spells, and not remotely playable.

That Bitterblossom in the sideboard might also remind you Faeries exists and send you into a spiral of wasted time trying to make it a thing again. I still
remember when candy cost a penny and Mistbind Clique was the scourge of formats far and wide.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Short version from my video two weeks ago: More mana and cantrips, move some sideboard stuff around.

The Takeaway:

If you are looking for a best deck to pit yourself against, this is it. It does all the new things the best plus does the validated broken Splinter Twin

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Amulet Bloom has the most raw goldfish power in the format. If you draw the right seven cards, you just win.


Splinter Twin. Blood Moon.

You aren’t beating the first deck. You aren’t beating the second card.

Your median goldfish is also significantly less impressive than the best case dream scenario, and Primeval Titan isn’t necessarily an instant win or even
an instant stabilize button. Random things like Merfolk can just have too much on board for your turn 4 “win” to handle.

There’s also an inherent instability to match the high end power the deck offers. The full sets of Serum Visions and Ancient Stirrings help here, but
there’s almost as many hands that flounder around as there are autowin hands. The “do nothing” hands still play a Primeval Titan, which might be good
enough, but other combo decks can easily take advantage of this.

There’s also a very high deck specific skill floor for Amulet Bloom. Lots of numbers, lots of tutoring for one-ofs.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Dragonlord Dromoka seems like the hotness. Baneslayer Angel that can’t be countered for when you need to actually play fair Magic, or really just when you
don’t have Amulet of Vigor in play to make Titan go crazy.

The Takeaway:

After being underrated leading into the Pro Tour and then immediately overrated due to a string of results, Amulet Bloom is now approximately where it
belongs. Respectably dangerous, but not consistently broken.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Where Amulet Bloom is fast but shaky, Infect is just consistent and quick. You just kill on turn 3 or 4 pretty much every game your opponent doesn’t
interact with you.

Become Immense is also insane. If you are trying to convert your cards into damage, it’s pretty comparable to an average Treasure Cruise drawing two Lava
Spikes and a land. In Infect, it’s even more.


How many times have I mentioned the card Lightning Bolt?

Not that Infect can’t beat a Lightning Bolt, but the trend of the format is to more interactivity and spot removal. Infect hit a sweet spot at the Pro Tour
where people were generally light on efficient spot removal, allowing it to get in position to attack and protect a creature relatively easily. It’s a lot
harder to do that when everyone’s removal starts at one mana. That said, I have no idea how the deck beat all of the Lingering Souls people had at that
event, so I could be a bit off here.

Also, Splinter Twin being the Lightning Bolt deck makes things even worse. Combo based on the combat step against Deceiver Exarch has never worked out too

Deckbuilding Notes:

With the drop in the aforementioned Lingering Souls and fliers in general, it may be time to go back to Sultai lists of Infect for Plague Stinger. Removing
non-flying blockers from the interaction equation is a pretty big upgrade, and Kolaghan’s Command is hating out a lot of the things you wanted to Viridian
Corrupter. This also means you can play less artifact creatures to avoid Kolaghan’s Command.

Wild Defiance is a pretty solid answer to the red removal now. I chose the list I posted here for a reason, and a third copy in the sideboard isn’t even
out of the question.

The Takeaway:

While this deck currently isn’t the best positioned option right now, it easily could find a hole in the metagame some time soon.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Eidolon of the Great Revel is a great Magic card. It’s hard for opponents to play non-interactive Magic with that card in play, and even against people who
can remove it from the board, Eidolon is still guaranteed damage.

Similarly, Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear are insanely good clocks. On the play, this deck races a lot of the other combo decks as long as it plays
a one-drop.

Searing Blaze is the other really absurd card this deck has access to. While it’s not great against every deck, it’s near unbeatable against anything with
one-drops. The nightmare scenario that happened to me at Grand Prix Omaha was being on the draw against Goblin Guide into Searing Blaze your Noble
Hierarch, at which point you are at thirteen and basically already dead.


If your creatures die or can’t connect, it’s hard to have a really good clock. The prevalence of Lightning Bolt in the format claims another victim.
Similar to Infect, the lack of one-mana removal at the Pro Tour was a big plus for Burn.

Kor Firewalker is also a massive pain, bordering on near unbeatable. I’m pretty sure all of the other hate cards are manageable, but that one is just game

Deckbuilding Notes:

I would play pretty much the stock list with twenty lands and a Skullcrack or two sideboard here. There isn’t a lot of special things you can do with Burn
at this point.

The Takeaway:

I don’t think it’s a time to sleeve up Lava Spikes. The biggest problems the deck has are big parts of the metagame.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Cranial Plating and Arcbound Ravager are still really, really good cards. The metagame is also swinging to the fair side, meaning Etched Champion’s stock
is also rising.


Kolaghan’s Command. Spell Snare. Electrolyze. Shuffling your Ornithopters so hard that they fall apart after almost fifteen years of attacking for nine

Deckbuilding Notes:

I really don’t like Master of Etherium now. Just a big creature that dies easily to all of the random removal people are killing Tasigurs with.

As always I dislike Thoughtcast. One copy might be okay to fudge the numbers. Still not sure if I like Spell Pierce main, but it’s worth noting that
Stubborn Denial might be better.

Your sideboard should look like this pile of one-ofs. With access to all five colors with Glimmervoid, Springleaf Drum, and Mox Opal, you get to pick a
very flexible mix of powerful cards such that all the sideboarding numbers work out. You also aren’t sideboarding a lot in any given matchup as you need a
specific artifact count, so having something like four Rest in Peace isn’t really helping you out except when that card is an autowin.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

If you untap with either of your two-drops, you kill your opponent the next turn the majority of the time. That means a lot of turn 3 kills. The deck is
also pretty good against countermagic between just landing a Pyromancer Ascension before they can stop it, Empty the Warrens sideboard, and the fact that
you can sit back and set up while they have to debate tapping down and dying or waiting and dying to Past in Flames eventually.


Eidolon of the Great Revel is miserable to play against. Not sure you can actually beat it game 1.

Abrupt Decay. If your Pyromancer Ascension can leave the battlefield, things get a lot worse for you. It doesn’t help that the Abrupt Decay deck typically
has a ton of discard and graveyard hate that makes going off normally difficult, and random things like Golgari Charm and Maelstrom Pulse to brick the
Goblin token plan.

The Twin matchup isn’t the best. Whoever is on the play is a pretty big favorite, but their margin on the play is larger than yours, as Spell Snare and
Inquisition of Kozilek or Duress can break serve.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Play Faithless Looting. That card is A) broken and B) way faster than Desperate Ravings when the big draw to your deck is speed.

I would also look at Swan Song and Defense Grid for the sideboard. Both were excellent the last time I played the deck.

The Takeaway:

With the shift to Grixis as the fair deck over Jund and Abzan, it’s very possible the window is opening for this deck. Similar to Infect and Affinity I
don’t know how big the window is, but there will be a week it’s right to Storm people. See the trend yet with these decks?

Creatures and Engines

These are decks that try to exploit some hole in the metagame. Odds are if they were thrown into a tournament full of Classic Linears, they would be
immediately outgunned, but the midrange decks hold off just enough of that nonsense that they can gain a foothold.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

This deck has a lot of similarities to Affinity. You have a certain number of hits and a lot of “misses” that make the hits so good. The difference is that
you aren’t getting on board two-for-one’d by Kolaghan’s Command and get to play a grindy game with Collected Company and Eternal Witness in exchange for a
little bit of explosive power and all of your crappy beaters losing flying.


If your opponent plays Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage, things get bad fast. Getting all of your relevant threats picked off and having a random threat
beat you to death is pretty common in game 1s against the B/G/x fair decks. After sideboard they need a way to stop the Collected Company chain from
burying them with value, which is harder but doable even without resorting to Grafdigger’s Cage.

The deck’s lack of direct interaction is also a problem in a few matchups where your opponent can just race. You have Chord for a hate card as an out, but
most of the above set of linear decks are favorites in the matchup.

Deckbuilding Notes:

See my video last week.
Don’t play Essence Warden.

The Takeaway:

This deck is very real. It’s not far behind the true linear decks in raw power, and the sideboard value plan adds a layer of depth the other decks don’t

Incentives to Play This Deck:

It’s kind of Pod all over again. You are the midrange combo deck that finds the right hate card or plays the right goal every game because you can pick up
your deck and find the right card more than your opponent. Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit lets you play more combo heavy.


This deck is very graveyard centric. Scavenging Ooze or similar cards are a problem.

You aren’t quite Pod. Finding your hate card against combo is a bit harder with just Chord of Calling to lean on, and Collected Company eats a bit into the
number of Thoughtseize and Abrupt Decay you can play.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Listen to the Dizzler.

The Takeaway:

Pretty sure this deck is awesome, but the handful of matches I played with it aren’t really enough to tell.

Incentives to Play The Deck:

You bash anything that tries to play fair Magic. Turns out that tapping the same number of lands to play Wurmcoil Engine as they tap to play a normal
three-drop is messed up.


Looping Fulminator Mage with Kolaghan’s Command is a new issue that didn’t exist before, but it also involves you not just having a Karn in play before
they play their third land.

Fast combo is really hard for Tron to handle. If your Relic of Progenitus or Pyroclasm lines up you can win, and turn 3 Karn Liberated wins a lot of other
games, but Infect, Affinity, and Burn are all issues. Twin isn’t great either, but the issue has always been overstated, as the Twin players tend to dilute
their deck with normal interaction, and Tron tends to overboard because it can.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Skimping on Relics is a bit scary. I’m also pretty sure that Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is a wasted card slot.

The Takeaway:

I actually really like Tron right now. The only thing that would scare me away from it is the chance you run into Burn more than once is a lot higher than
in the past.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Scapeshift has traditionally been solid against Twin, as it plays the “sit around and don’t tap out” game a lot better. It’s all card draw, counters,
lands, and four one-shot kills.


This is really a study in what happened here. I admittedly did hate Scapeshift two years ago, but Gabe Carleton-Barnes and Conrad Kolos cracked the code
last year with their all cantrips list, and
I wrote an article that actually suggested people play it.

Then Pod was banned, which was one of your good matchups. Melira Pod had a real issue with doing anything that mattered against Scapeshift.

Then we entered combo world, where Scapeshift was just outpaced by Burn, Affinity, and Infect that were just a little to resilient to the light resistance
Scapeshift could provide.

And then Tasigur was printed, and suddenly a lot more decks had black cards. Specifically anything that contains the word discard, which really hampers the
combo deck that needs eight actual cards to win (seven lands plus Scapeshift).

Deckbuilding Notes:

I honestly have no idea how I would build this deck now. I chose the Gifts Ungiven list here as at least it is trying something new when everything else
has failed.

The Takeaway:

Things actually do change in Modern. No promises that Scapeshift isn’t good again, but the decks it previously exploited don’t exist or have upgraded to be
much better against it.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

Non-interaction is fun for everyone involved. This is basically a linear deck, but it’s harder to interact with in exchange for a speed downgrade pushing
it into this category. Unlike Elves, it isn’t immune to hate. Getting Back to Natured sucks.


I’ve been told with great play you can outmaneuver Jund, but I haven’t seen it. Abrupt Decay, Liliana of the Veil, and discard is just really miserable to
play against.

The right combo decks can also just play straight through your deck. You can lifelink out Burn, but Storm or Amulet Bloom probably just don’t care. There’s
only so many sideboard cards to make up for this deficit.

Deckbuilding Notes:

I legitimately don’t know a lot here. There have been appointed G/W Hexproof experts leading the way for every event I looked at this deck. I would start
with Harry Corvese’s article from a year ago. It’s
definitely dated, but it has a lot of very important concepts covered. Would you ever think to not board in Rest in Peace against Living End?

The Takeaway:

This is yet another deck that punishes a shift away from Abrupt Decay, and it does so while being pretty reasonable against a lot of the linears.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

I can’t imagine a world where this deck doesn’t demolish the Collected Company decks. Creatures are very bad against Wrath plus make a bunch of creatures.


In my experience, this deck really finds ways to lose. When you “go off,” you aren’t actually winning the game. You are assuming a bunch of creatures is
enough. There are a number of cases where it isn’t and your opponent just goes over the top of eleven or so power of cyclers.

It’s also very possible for the fair decks to shred your hand or counter your Living Ends and win. Your plan isn’t as much of a trump as it should be.

I can now imagine a world where this deck loses to Collected Company, and it involves Viscera Seer. Arcbound Ravager has a similar result, where in
response to your Living End, your opponent ends up with creatures in their graveyard that then return them to play.

Deckbuilding Notes:

The Splinter Twin combo here actually seems worth trying. It doesn’t solve the issue the deck has with sometimes getting Thoughtseized out, but it helps in
a few of the matchups where Living End gets overpowered.

The Takeaway:

I will never win a match with this deck and never win a game against it. I’m struggling to figure out how this is possible.

Incentives to Play This Deck:

This deck takes great advantage of getting a tick ahead on board. With basically everything being a Lord of some kind, the second creature you play is that
much better than the first, and the third basically ends the game.

Spreading Seas also beats quite a few decks and steals games against others that it doesn’t straight up beat. Obviously if you give blue a Stone Rain, you
are supposed to make it draw a card. It wouldn’t be in color otherwise!


Lightning Bolt. Snapcaster Mage. While this deck seemed fine at the Pro Tour in a metagame of slower Abzan removal, Snapcaster Mage and one-drop removal
really make it hard for this deck to establish the board presence it needs to win. Kolaghan’s Command also has a lot of viable two-for-one options here to
make things even worse.

Blue decks becoming a bigger thing also makes Spreading Seas much less relevant. The free wins from that card were a big boost to the deck, and when those
decks are now your bad matchup, the math just doesn’t add up on the deck being well-positioned.

Deckbuilding Notes:

Chalice of the Void is a card a lot of people have forgotten about now that Treasure Cruise is banned, but it is still pretty good against a large number
of combo decks and Delver.

At first glance Monastery Siege looked cool here, but thinking more about it I’m not sure you can afford to spend a turn and a card on not a creature.

This could be another Collected Company deck, but I haven’t seen it tried out effectively yet.

The Takeaway:

This deck is much more powerful than it looks. I’m not a big fan of it right now, but don’t sleep on the Fishes.

As I said at the start, this is still only scratching the surface. I haven’t covered:

Soul Sisters or the similar Norin the Wary deck (both just as bad as Soul Sisters has always been).

Tribal or Naya Zoo (that last list with Atarka’s Command looks pretty sick).

Vengevine Dredge, either fairer lists or the Fatestitcher degenerate ones from before the Pro Tour.

Life from the Loam, including the Unburial Rites Dredge deck Alex West designed for Grand Prix Vancouver.

Blue Tron.

Gifts Ungiven in basically any form.

Goryo’s Vengeance,
the non-Amulet Bloom “Why does this exist” combo deck.

G/R Titan Breach, which is probably great versus Grixis decks without Twin.

Abzan Little Kid, which got much worse as removal aimed at
killing Tasigur also kills Selesnya creatures.

Hatebears, though it’s likely Abzan Company is the better
Hatebear deck just like Pod once was.

W/B Tokens, which is likely a really good Relic of Progenitus deck to attack Snapcaster Mage and Tasigur.


Restore Balance, which has a cool new spin where it plays actual good cards.


Or a huge number of other decks I’ve seen in matches or results. Based on Magic Online results, no deck is more than 10% of the metagame.

The takeaway from this last part? No matter what your matchup is against the top decks, you better play something that can hold its own against the field.