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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jul 27 2017 12:00pm
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 Hello and welcome to the State of Modern. I envision this series as a monthly rendez-vous with all things Modern, including big tournament reports, the decklists and prices for the archetypes that are currently the most successful in the meta, and an up-to-date ban list. If you never tried your hand at Modern, this is the right place to know everything you need to know in order to begin; and if you're already into it, it can still be a good way to make sure you know everything that's happening in the format. And by the way, if you seek a nice free online tournament, I run Modern Times every Thursday at 7:00 PM UTC.

 This said, let's start the ride!


 Here's the last 5 Modern events with more than 200 players, ordered chronologically.

 June 10: StarCityGames Modern Open: Charlotte
 Players: 741
 Winner: Todd Stevens with EldraTron
 Top 8: EldraTron, Living End, Death's Shadow, Dredge, Death's Shadow, Death's Shadow, Death's Shadow, EldraTron

 June 17: Grand Prix Las Vegas 2017 – Modern
 Players: 3264
 Winner: Mani Davoudi with Affinity
 Top 8: Affinity, Hatebear, Affinity, Affinity, Burn, EldraTron, Hatebear, Time Walks

 June 30: StarCityGames Invitational: Roanoke
 Players: 547
 Winner: Brian Coval with Hatebear (NOTE: the participants were also competing with Standard decks)
 Top 8: Hatebear, Death's Shadow, Death's Shadow, EldraTron, Burn, EldraTron, Junk, Lantern Control

 July 4: MTGO Modern PTQ
 Players: 291
 Winner: mRichi with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, Eldrazi Aggro, Red Deck Wins, UrzaTron, Affinity, Death's Shadow, Dredge, UR Storm

 July 16: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Cincinnati
 Players: 248
 Winner: Josh Shields with UR Storm
 Top 8: UR Storm, Valakut, Affinity, Death's Shadow, Affinity, Burn, Eldrazi Aggro, Gifts


 Here's the top 5 most played decks in the Modern competitive meta from the last two months, ordered by meta relevance.

 Price (online): $625.02
 Colors:Grixis (UBR)
 How does it work: Control a lot, loot yourself a bit, and then win via a gigantic iteration of the namesake creature or with one of the delve guys. Sometimes Kolaghan's Command is also played. A more budget version can go as down as $400-ish.
 Results: Death's Shadow is the most popular deck among competitive players right now (taking up 16% of the meta alone), but not the most successful, having no first places to its name in major events, Fourier's second place at Roanoke being the archetype's best placement as of late.

 Price (online): $444.08
 Colors: Bant (WUG)
 How does it work: Ramp with your mana dorks, swing with your highly tactical Eldrazi, count on Ancient Stirrings to find more threats exploiting devoid. Dismember is an alternative to Stubborn Denial in the answer suite.
 Results: The best aggro deck in the meta (although an argument can be made that Affinity is still more explosive), Eldrazi Aggro makes up to 10% of the total, but collects even less than Death's Shadow where major event results are concerned, with just this Top 8 ending and dm95's final placement in the Modern PTQ as the most notable accomplishments.

 Price (online): $397.50
 Colors: Colorless with a Grixis splash
 How does it work: Arguably the fastest aggro deck in the history of Magic, this archetype doesn't really use the affinity mechanic anymore (I don't think it ever did in Modern). A more correct moniker would be "Artifacts Matter", because it's all about artifacts that hit the battlefield early on (Ornithopter, Memnite, Mox Opal, Welding Jar, Darksteel Citadel, Signal Pest, Vault Skirge and Springleaf Drum are all 1-drops, adding up to almost half the deck) plus things that care about artifacts (a few key cards have metalcraft), make them bigger (Steel Overseer, Cranial Plating), or get bigger because of them (Arcbound Ravager, Master of Etherium). The archetype is not changed much since its first inception. The most recent additions are Spire of Industry in place of the riskier Glimmervoid, and Ghirapur Aether Grid.
 Results: Affinity is one of the oldest archetypes in Modern, and it's not just still viable, it's still winning major tournaments! Grand Prix Las Vegas was properly ravaged by Affinity, which took three of the four top spots. And the list still places high in pretty much any event. There's no wear and tear for these robots.

 Price (online): $314.51
 Colors: Monowhite
 How does it work: A descendant of the classic Death & Taxes, Hatebears plays like a typical white weenie list, but one that doesn't rely on the aggressive pumping of "Human matters" cards like Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant; instead, the watchword here is efficiency and, like the deck's name suggests, hosing and hating. Like in the case of its predecessor Aether Vial is key to drop your guys on the battlefield, especially Flickerwisp, which protects from removal and exploits Blade Splicer and Thraben Inspector. The same does Restoration Angel, which also gives the deck more reach. A full suite of 8 land-destructing lands completes the disruption. It's not as easy to play as some of the other aggro lists, but it's probably the most rewarding.
 Results: One of the reasons for the current decline of combo builds (well, along with the bans), Hatebears has an answer to everything, making life hard to pretty much every list it meets (and utterly destroying any graveyard-based deck. Just look at that sideboard!). Some of its other recent achievements include both a second place and a Top 8 finish at Grand Prix Las Vegas.

 Price (online): $504.26
 Colors: Colorless
 How does it work: Ramp with the Urza lands, cast big control cards like Karn Liberated and All Is Dust, survive the fast aggro assaults thanks to Chalice of the Void, and in the end try and win with a gigantic Walking Ballista (the main innovation of this particular build), or just very efficient midrange Eldrazi, a few of which are the same already seen in the Eldrazi Aggro deck. Compared to its big brother UrzaTron, EldraTron chooses not to bring in any color splash, so the Tron-fetching entirely falls on Expedition Map's metaphorical shoulders.
 Results: Either in this reworked version or the more typical monoblue and Gruul ones, UrzaTron doesn't reap a lot of first places or anything, but it still pulls its weight and makes its presence felt in the meta by placing a Top 8 in almost all major events. After all, it might just be the most characteristic deck in Modern, considering it doesn't exist in any other format.


 Last revised: January 9, 2017 (out: Gitaxian Probe, Golgari Grave-Troll)

 Total banned cards: 35

 By Color: 

  • White: 2
  • Blue: 7
  • Black: 2 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Red: 6 (of which 1 Gruul)
  • Green: 8 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Gruul)
  • Colorless: 12
  • Multicolored: 2 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Gruul)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 4
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 5
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Planeswalker: 1
  • Instant: 7
  • Sorcery: 9

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (9th Edition*: 1, Magic 2011: 1) *originally from Visions
  • Mirrodin block: 10 (Mirrodin: 9, Darksteel: 1)
  • Kamigawa block: 4 (Champions of Kamigawa: 2, Betrayers of Kamigawa: 2)
  • Ravnica block: 1 (Ravnica: 1)
  • Ice Age block: 2 (Coldsnap: 2)
  • Time Spiral block: 2 (Time Spiral: 2)
  • Lorwyn block: 1 (Lorwyn: 1)
  • Alara block: 1 (Alara Reborn: 1)
  • Zendikar block: 5 (Zendikar: 1, Worldwake: 3, Rise of the Eldrazi: 1)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 4 (Mirrodin Besieged: 1, New Phyrexia: 3)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • Return to Ravnica block: 1 (Return to Ravnica: 1)
  • Theros block: 0
  • Khans of Tarkir block: 2 (Khans of Tarkir: 2)
  • Battle for Zendikar block: 0
  • Shadows over Innistrad block: 0
  • Kaladesh block: 0
  • Amonkhet block: 0

 See you next month, when we'll examine other major archetypes like Valakut, UW Control and the heir to the Birthing Pod. In the meantime, don't be ancient, play Modern!


I'm not really into Modern, by ricklongo at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 12:03
ricklongo's picture

I'm not really into Modern, but there's a Modern GP next month in my city and I intend to play it. This will certainly be a nice resource, so thanks!

Thanks, Rick! I just realized by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 09:10
Kumagoro42's picture

Thanks, Rick! I just realized I borrowed the starting "hello and welcome" from your videos. :)
What do you plan to play in Modern?