Welcome to What We’d Play! With the consistent shifts in the metagame, many are unsure what they’d play in Modern. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Modern event and be sure to vote for what deck you’d play at the end!
Cedric Phillips — Selesnya Company
- 4 Spike Feeder
- 4 Auriok Champion
- 4 Arbor Elf
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 2 Walking Ballista
- 4 Ranger-Captain of Eos
- 4 Heliod, Sun-Crowned
- 4 Conclave Mentor
- 3 Skyclave Apparition
While covering the Magic Online Champions Showcase Season 2 and Season 3 Finals this past weekend, I was keeping my eyes peeled for something that impressed me that wasn’t Selesnya Company. My thought process here was pretty simple — given the stakes of the event, the quality of the competitors, and the public knowledge that Selesnya Company was the best-performing Modern deck after the February 15th bannings, someone(s) would have something to shut down a green and white creature-combo deck, right?
The Season 2 Finals was won by the above list and the Season 3 Finals runner up was Toru Saito with the same archetype (who lost in Game 3 of the finals after, in my estimation, keeping a very bad hand in a very good matchup). For me, there’s really nothing else I need to see now.
Does Modern have a bevy of options? Of course.
Are some of them bad matchups for Selesnya Company? Absolutely.
But are any of them as consistent and flexible in deckbuilding as Selesnya Company? Nope.
That’s all you need to know. Play this deck until you’re not allowed to anymore. You, like so many others playing Selesnya Company in Modern right now, will be glad you did.
Dom Harvey — Esper Control
Modern seems both quite settled and more open than it has been in a while. There are clear top dogs in Selesnya Company, the Prowess decks, and Jund Death’s Shadow, but beyond that you can play what you want. It’s been a tough year — if you’re keen to dust off your Jund Midrange deck and grind like it’s 2015, I can’t blame you.
I’m not usually drawn to hard control decks and Modern has validated that choice in the past. Despite that, a similar Esper Control deck that won a Modern Challenge in the hands of control expert TSPJendrek caught my eye.
Archmage’s Charm is a phenomenal card and hijacking a one-drop is more important than ever when Monastery Swiftspear, Death’s Shadow, and Hexdrinker are everywhere. Kaya’s Guile is the best card you could hope for against most of the aggressive decks in the format while giving you maindeck hate for linear graveyard decks that generally exploit control as well as other decks like Selesnya Hexproof (even through Leyline of Sanctity!).
Having these modal cards (as well as Esper Charm and Cryptic Command) alongside four Snapcaster Mages gives you incredible flexibility in the mid-game and addresses the classic control problem of drawing narrow answers that line up poorly against a given opponent. I’m also quite impressed by Teferi, Hero of Dominaria right now as a finisher that rewards you for having this many cheap spells and dodges Skyclave Apparition.
Spreading Seas is the main sideboard standout — many of the faster aggro decks like Jund Death’s Shadow, Burn, or Selesnya Hexproof rely on casting multiple one-drops in a turn, making an off-colour land largely useless and punishing the land-light draws that they’re built to maximize. It also gives you much-needed help against Mono-Green Tron (though it mostly just delays the inevitable).
Corey Baumeister — Five-Color Control
Competitive Modern has finally started to settle down since the banning of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Mystic Sanctuary. The big decks that have been doing well are Selesnya Company, Death & Taxes, Amulet Titan variants, Monastery Swiftspear decks, and Omnath piles. Out of all those decks, I don’t really see a bad matchup. A few of them are really close — especially the Monastery Swiftspear matchups and of course the mirror — but outside of that I really love my matchups against the field. Five-Color Control just has game against everything by design. You get to play a highly proactive gameplan with well-rounded answers to a ton of threats among Teferi, Time Raveler; counterspells; and our one-mana removal spells.
The other appeal for this masterpiece of a deck is the high-impact sideboard. Every card I’m playing can be interchanged based on the specific numbers of an archetype you expect to play in a given metagame. Right now I’m expecting a ton of Selesnya Company so I basically have every card I want for that matchup in the maindeck. Outside of Engineered Explosives and Anger of the Gods. If you expect more Azorius Control, you can exchange some cards for Veil of Summer; same with more Celestial Purge for Prowess decks, etc.
The point I’m trying to make is, by playing all five colors, you really get to play the best sideboard cards in the format!
Shaheen Soorani — Azorius Control
The Celestial Colonnade stock is soaring as Modern continues to stabilize after the recent bannings. The same haters will never see the strength of Azorius Control, even as it continues to put up finish after finish. A variety of Magic Online events, including the usual 5-0 lists, contain this traditional-style list that we have seen compete for years in the format.
Teferi, Time Raveler is not legal in many competitive formats these days for good reasons. It shuts down opposing disruption, casts sorcery-speed cards on the opponent’s turns, provides relief from a problematic permanent, and is a source of card advantage. All these abilities packaged in a three-mana planeswalker are far too strong, especially when paired with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. This planeswalker package has survived the test of time, leading control pilots to victory after victory.
The format is a bit aggressive; however, Oust, Path to Exile, and Supreme Verdict work well together to thwart the early-game rush. The rest of the disruption is standard-issue and the sideboard follows a perfect structure to tackle the less volatile Modern format. I really like this list and plan on using it for competitive play, alongside Jeskai Breach, which is a close second place.
Ari Lax — Selesnya Company
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Spike Feeder
- 4 Auriok Champion
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 2 Archangel of Thune
- 1 Walking Ballista
- 2 Ranger-Captain of Eos
- 4 Heliod, Sun-Crowned
- 4 Conclave Mentor
- 4 Skyclave Apparition
Listen, if a green creature combo deck is going to put up the best results in the format over a long period, I’m not going to be the person who tells you not to play it.
I’ve said this many times over the last few months, but Selesnya Company is just brings Birthing Pod levels of resilience and maindeck hate with more modern Collected Company-style redundancy of finding pieces and doing things. Skyclave Apparition is a literal pillar of Modern that’s at its best here, as so many of the hate cards people could pack to deal with your deck just get cleaned up by your Collected Company target. Whatever the inverse of Kor Firewalker is, they would need that, and instead they have Leyline of Punishment or Rain of Gore or Blightbeetle that all get cleanly exiled.
Magic Online user Good_Game is Josh McClain, Grand Prix Detroit 2013 Champion with Melira Pod, so he also has an extensive background in these decks. This specific list capitalizes on a downturn in Lava Dart decks recently, allowing Selesnya Company to turn Utopia Sprawl and Arbor Elf back into more traditional mana creatures. That lets it turn Forests into Gavony Townships and Plains for double-white spells, hit on Collected Company a bit more, and find room for noted Collected Company-miss Archangel of Thune as more effective copies of Heliod, Sun-Crowned. That seems like a worthy upgrade to me, and if Monastery Swiftspear shows up in a match, you can always just draw your Auriok Champions.
Patrick Sullivan — Boros Prowess (Lurrus)
I had to put all manner of red aggro on the shelf during the reign of Uro, but with that out of the picture, red aggro decks look more appealing. I started off with Burn but lots of people are trying to gain infinite life these days, and maindeck Auriok Champion is no picnic either. Boros Prowess, however, matches up very well there and against all manner of other creature decks, which are broadly more popular now that Uro is out of the format.
This deck has a deceptive amount of play to it. It can hang in long games with Lurrus of the Dream-Den and Sunbaked Canyon, while still getting many of the Turn 3.5 kills associated with Burn. Related, many of the cards that are problematic for Burn (Auriok Champion, Timely Reinforcements, Weather the Storm, etc.) range anywhere from “modest” to “worse than whatever they cut from their maindeck for it,” but people bring them in anyway.
The only strike against Boros Prowess (Lurrus) is a not-great matchup against most Fatal Push strategies and an especially bad matchup against decks featuring Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, but for a format as broad and diverse as Modern, a few tough matchups are unavoidable. Boros Prowess is fast, powerful, consistent, and much better-positioned against the popular sideboard cards of Modern than Burn.