Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 21 2020 1:00pm

 Hello and welcome back to the State of Modern, our 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.

 The series archive is here.
 Let's start a new ride!


 Here's the latest Modern events with at least 200 players, or otherwise of some relevance, ordered chronologically. Find the archetypes below. The pandemic is still relegating every tournament to the digital realm.

 September 21: MTGO Modern Champs
 Players: N/A
 Winner: pootisgodsamongus with RDW
 Top 8: RDW, Jund, Spirit Aggro, Gruul Utopia, Ad Nauseam, UrzaTron, Ad Nauseam, Death's Shadow

 November 2: MTGO Modern Champs Qualifier
 Players: 290
 Winner: Bernas Torres with 4-Color Ramp
 Top 8: 4-Color Ramp, Amulet Titan, Death's Shadow, 4-Color Ramp, Izzet Aggro, Valakut, Amulet Titan, Scapeshift Control

 November 13: Magic Online Championship
 Players: 24
 Winner (12 pts): Matti Kuisma with Temur Control
 Runner-ups (9 pts): 4-Color Ramp, EldraTron, Landless Spy, Creatures Toolbox, Death's Shadow, Burn

 November 29: Magic Online Championship Showcase #1
 Players: N/A
 Winner: Kazuya Takuwa with RDW
 Top 8: RDW, 4-Color Ramp, 4-Color Ramp, 4-Color Ramp, 4-Color Ramp, Landless Spy, Gruul Utopia, Valakut


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, Allosaurus Combo, Bant AggroBant ControlBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), Bridgevine (banned, update: Crabvine), BurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Creatures Toolbox: Heliod, Creatures Toolbox: Lurrus, Creatures Toolbox: YawgmothDeath's Shadow (update), Dredge (update), Eldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, Elves, Equipment StormFaeriesGifts Control, Goblins, Green Devotion Prison (banned), Grixis Control, Gruul AggroGruul UtopiaHardened ModularHatebears, Hogaak DredgeHollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro (aka Izzet Delver), Izzet Phoenix (update), Izzet Pyromancer, Jeskai BreachJeskai MiraclesJund (also feat. Wrenn and Six), Junk, KCI (banned), Lantern Control, LanternlessLiving EndMadcap Gruul, Mardu Pyromancer, Martyr LifeMerfolk, Nahiri Control, Naya Burn, Niv-Mizzet RebornPhoenix Deck Wins, Phoenix Wrenn and SixPonza (update), Pyro Prison, Rakdos AggroRakdos MidrangeRDW, Saheeli Evolution, Scapeshift ControlSelesnya Value, Simic FieldSkred Red, Spirit Aggro, StonebladeStorm, Temur ReclamationTezzeratorThe Rock, Titan BreachTokensTwinless Exarch, Urza EmryUrza FoodUrza Foundry (aka Whirza), Urza OutcomeUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Vannifar PodWalks, Winota Colossification, Yorion Control.

 Update: No new card has been banned in Modern since the summer, when Arcum's Astrolabe left the scene, bringing Whirza with it (is that deck really unplayable without the Astrolabe? Abandoning it altogether feels kind of an overreaction). The meta stabilized around a few foundations: Death's Shadow, RDW, UrzaTron, Amulet Titan and Valakut all kept their shares of the business, joined by a couple emerging forces. The most prominent among those is 4-Color Ramp, a deck that revisits the now-banned Standard builds centered around Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Omnath, Locus of Creation. At the MTGO Championship Showcase that took place at the end of November, five of these lists placed within the Top 8, making the most vivid argument for near future dominance.


 The other big innovation of this end of 2020 is this Landless Spy build, brought about by the Modal Double-Faced Cards from Zendikar Rising.


 It's a very complex dredge-equivalent concoction. Here's how it works. Since all the MDFCs aren't lands while in the library, resolving the trigger from Balustrade Spy or self-saccing Undercity Informer (why did Gatecrash have the same effect on two different creatures?) results in flipping the whole library into the graveyard. This will trigger all the copies of Creeping Chill and at least one Narcomoeba (that little illusionary jellyfish is always smack in the middle of these affairs!), which in turn will return the trio of Sword of the Meek – if one of them is stuck in your hand, don't worry, Phantasmagorian is a discard outlet that works from the graveyard (and if Phantasmagorian is stuck in your hand, you should have taken a mulligan!). Now, exile three random mana rocks and return Salvage Titan to your hand if necessary, then sac the three Swords and cast it for free. Remember, this is still the same turn in which you cast the Spy (or the Informer), so all the Vengevines will trigger. Between those and the Creeping Chills, it should be enough for a kill. In game two, you can respond to the graveyard hate by transforming the win condition into Goblin Charbelcher.


 The failsafes are Nexus of Fate, which ensures the library still has a card in it, and Leyline of Sanctity, for general protection against the opponent trying to mess with our plans.

 The rest of the archetypes are sometimes slightly shifting (for instance, Temur Reclamation mostly abandoned the titular enchantment and reconfigured itself as Temur Control), but there's a sense of wilder things to come, and all seem to revolve around the lands: the MDFCs engender novel dredge shenanigans; the basic land types in Triomes and Mystic Sanctuary have explosive relationships with the fetchlands, making rainbow-colored decks easier than ever.


 Last revised: July 13, 2020 (banned: Arcum's Astrolabe)

 Total banned cards: 41

 By Color: 

  • White: 1
  • Blue: 7 (of which 1 Simic)
  • Black: 4 (of which 2 Golgari)
  • Red: 6
  • Green: 10 (of which 2 Golgari, 1 Simic)
  • Colorless: 16
  • Multicolored: 2 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Simic)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 9
  • Enchantment: 2
  • Planeswalker: 1
  • Instant: 8
  • Sorcery: 10

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, and 1 from Magic 2011)
  • Modern Horizons: 2
  • Mirrodin block: 12 (of which 9 from Mirrodin, 2 from Darksteel, 1 from Fifth Dawn)
  • Kamigawa block: 4 (of which 2 from Champions of Kamigawa, 2 from Betrayers of Kamigawa)
  • Ravnica block: 1 (from Ravnica)
  • Ice Age block: 2 (both from Coldsnap)
  • Time Spiral block: 3 (of which 2 from Time Spiral, 1 from Future Sight)
  • Lorwyn block: 1 (from Lorwyn)
  • Alara block: 0
  • Zendikar block: 3 (of which 1 from Zendikar, 1 from Worldwake, 1 from Rise of the Eldrazi)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 5 (of which 1 from Scars of Mirrodin, 1 from Mirrodin Besieged, 3 from New Phyrexia)
  • Innistrad block: 1 (of which 1 from Dark Ascension)
  • Return to Ravnica block: 1 (from Return to Ravnica)
  • Theros block: 0
  • Khans of Tarkir block: 2 (both from Khans of Tarkir)
  • Battle for Zendikar block: 0
  • Shadows over Innistrad block: 0
  • Kaladesh block: 0
  • Amonkhet block: 0
  • Ixalan block: 0
  • Three-and-One Sets: 2 (both from Throne of Eldraine)

 See you next winter, when we'll see if there's Snow in Kaldheim!