The Best Color In The Modern Rainbow!

Pro Tour Champ Shaun McLaren loves to learn Magic in new and interesting ways! That’s why he’s forced himself to mess with mono-color Modern decks to get an idea of what he’s missing by not having to jump through hoops for his mana! What is your favorite Modern color at the moment?

What’s the best color in Modern?

What about when you can only play with that one color?

I’ve been playing plenty of Modern lately, and I’m always looking for fun decks to try while streaming, which has led me down the rabbit hole of trying out every color of mono-colored deck Modern has to offer.

I’ve always liked mono-colored decks. There’s something nice about not needing to worry about your manabase or fetchlands. This article isn’t quite fetchland-free, but it comes close for Modern at least.

Mono-colored decks also come with the benefit of usually being a little more linear and focused strategy-wise, which makes them easier to pick up and pilot. Modern is a difficult format to master, so making things easier doesn’t hurt.

Today I’m going to go over the red, white, green, black, and blue decks that I’ve been trying out in Modern, discussing the specific card choices I’ve favored, and their place in the Modern metagame.

Let’s get to it!

Simian Spirit Guide is one heck of a drug. If you check out the first few moments of me playing the deck here, you can see why.

I think casting turn 1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance accurately summarizes the best reason to play the deck, so what are some reasons why wouldn’t want to play All-in Red?

The main reason is that where RNG giveth, RNG taketh away.

Sometimes you drop a turn 1 Chalice of the Void for one against Infect and just win, but it’s also easy to draw hands that do absolutely nothing or draw the wrong part of your deck for the matchup you’re up against.

The holy trinity of hate cards in Modern are Chalice of the Void, Ensnaring Bridge, and Blood Moon, and All-In Red plays them all. Whether or not you want to pick up the deck depends on how good you expect those cards to be in the current metagame.

If you expect plenty of Dredge or Bant Eldrazi, your core cards are going to do well; if you expect Lantern Control, Ad Nauseam, or Affinity, they won’t be as effective.

Modern used to be about what sideboard hate you had to bring in against the degenerate decks. All-In Red brings that concept right into the maindeck. You’re essentially saying you think your hate is going to be good against the majority of the metagame, while hoping you draw the correct hate cards against the right matchups.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance continues to prove itself in Modern and really makes it so the deck has a powerful win condition with plenty of uses.

Explosive, random, hateful, and all-in:

10/10 in terms of flavor.

Squadron Hawks will once again rule the skies!

Sometimes right below the surface are a bunch of hidden gems that don’t quite see play in the top-tier decks. When you have access to just one color, you’re incentivized to dig up those forgotten gems.

Squadron Hawk is definitely one of these gems, especially when you’re able to recycle a Squadron Hawk to the bottom of your deck with Mistveil Plains and then search it up again when you resolve another Squadron Hawk.

Mono-White Martyr is half control deck and half looking to enable Martyr of Sands and Serra Ascendant. Martyr decks in the good old Soul Sisters days used to also have Ajani Pridemate and Soul Warden and be focused on swarming the opponent.

Proclamation of Rebirth and Ranger of Eos also help enable the Martyr of Sands and Serra Ascendant combo. Then Emeria, the Sky Ruin and Proclamation of Rebirth’s forecast ability set you up for the super-late-game grind.

Nowadays the deck is more focused on disrupting the linear aggressive decks to buy enough time to make a giant Serra Ascendant or two.

Ghostly Prison is the perfect example of a card that is either excellent or does essentially nothing, once again exemplifying a trend that seems to be fairly prevalent throughout Modern and also once again pushing it from the sideboard into the maindeck.

Often, picking a deck comes down to what you expect to be popular, and that seems to be even more important for these mono-colored decks.

Somehow Mono-White Martyr has weenie creatures smooshed together with a lifegain control deck:

10/10 in terms of flavor.

Mono-Green Devotion is capable of some truly busted openings while still being able to play a nice value game.

Any start can generate a lot of mana within a few turns if it involves Arbor Elf and Garruk Wildspeaker abusing Utopia Sprawl; multiple Burning-Tree Emissary into Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; or a mixture of all of the above.

Primeval Titan is a nice card to ramp into. Not only is it a solid body, it will be able to search up Kessig Wolf Run and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to pump up your creatures. Horizon Canopy is also a nice search target if you’re low on resources.

Eternal Witness has been doing a solid Snapcaster Mage impression for many years now.

Primal Command searching up Eternal Witness, which then returns Primal Command, is also a nice little way to spend a bunch of mana. Add in the “Put target noncreature permanent on top of its owner’s library” part and you may have just locked your opponent out of the game. This is particularly relevant against Tron or combo decks, less so against aggro decks where you’re probably too busy getting smacked in the face for such fun.

Woodland Bellower acting as a tutor target that’s effectively a gigantic Eternal Witness doesn’t seem bellow average.

Primal Commanding for Woodland Bellower for five mana and then the next turning casting Woodland Bellower, getting Eternal Witness which gets back Primal Command, which gets another Eternal Witness… seems completely reasonable.

My version isn’t focused on Tooth and Nail, Craterhoof Behemoth, or Genesis Wave. I’ve just been happy to cast a bunch of random green cards and I’ve been trying to reduce the fail rate of the deck. It’s actually rare that you need anything else, and just streamlining the deck to have more explosive starts and play better scrappy games is what I want right now.

I mean, you could win with a giant Craterhoof Behemoth, but is it really winning if you don’t put all your opponent’s lands on top of their deck first anyway?

Ramp into big muscled beasts:

10/10 in terms of flavor.

8-Rack has been around for some time but isn’t that prevalent at the moment largely due to the rise of Dredge, which is certainly a challenging matchup, since you don’t want to be purely attacking the hand of a graveyard deck. If you’re looking for an in-depth guide, check out the guide by Tom Ross.

In the best-case scenarios, Shrieking Affliction and The Rack are a permanent and hasted three damage to your opponent every turn, which makes it possible to race your opponent even if they manage to keep a threat alive after you’ve hit them with all your discard.

There aren’t too many decisions you can make during deckbuilding, since the strategy is very linear and already playing all the best discard spells.

I like the full four Wrench Minds, since there aren’t that many artifacts running around and the deck is otherwise lacking a way to get your opponent to discard two from one shot of a card. I’m fine cutting a Raven’s Crime, since the second one is almost always bad.

Death’s Shadow seems great, but really only against Burn, and the Burn matchup actually feels surprisingly reasonable despite looking bad on paper.

Ensnaring Bridge is terrible if you expect Ancient Grudge from your opponent, but I don’t think Ancient Grudge is that prevalent at the moment, and Ensnaring Bridge is otherwise a unique and powerful effect that can win games by itself.

Stripping your opponent of everything they have until they succumb to torture and madness:

10/10 in terms of flavor.

Finally we have Mono-Blue, which has the most traditionally competitive mono-color deck of the bunch in the form of Merfolk, AKA Fish.

Merfolk is a reel solid deck but hasn’t exactly made major waves in Modern. It depends on Aether Vial to do truly ridiculous things, and Aether Vial wouldn’t be able to do such ridiculous things if it weren’t so dependent on it. Catch-22 of the day.

Slapping your opponent in the face with fish:

3/10 in terms of flavor. 7/10 if you add a squeeze of lemon juice.

All right, the Merfolk deck was a test. This is the real mono-blue deck that at least fits with the other mono-colored decks firmly down in Tier 4 land.

Can this deck actually work?

This is certainly the least commonplace version of all the mono-color decks I’ve tried, and there’s probably good reason you usually see this style of deck paired with other colors.

Our main benefit of serving the one true color so devotedly, beyond having great mana, will be easy access to Disrupting Shoal and Mutavault.

Thing in the Ice pairs nicely with Disrupting Shoal, as do all free spells, but it’s also nice to bounce a creature and then be able to catch it with Disrupting Shoal later on. Don’t forget Mutavault is a Horror and doesn’t get bounced by Thing in the Ice for some almost irrelevant synergy.

Counters, card advantage, tempo, and trickery:

10/10 in terms of flavor.

You’re the Best Around

So what is the best color in Modern? Well, that’s not for me to say, because the true answer has been inside your heart all along. Every color in Magic has strengths and weaknesses and it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves what they most want to play with, and no one can tell them they’ve decided wrong. After all, it’s not a competition.

Just kidding, let’s vote on it: