Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 08 2022 12:17pm

 Hello and welcome back to the State of Modern, our periodical 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 250 players or otherwise relevant for the meta, ordered chronologically. The end of the pandemic meant that the paper tournaments played in person are returned in full force: in addition to those listed, several events with 150-200 playes have been held during the past three months. Find the archetypes below.

 July 30: NRG Series Trial: Chicago
 Players: 272
 Winner: Zach Dubin with Yorion Control
 Top 8: Yorion Control, Amulet Titan, Elementals, Izzet Murktide, Amulet Titan, Yawgmoth Chord, Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control


 July 30: IMPACT Returns 2022 at Narón (Spain)
 Players: 251
 Winner: Diego Mayo with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Creativity, Amulet Titan, Crashing Footfalls, Creativity, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Murktide


 August 14: MTG SEA Championships Open at Oracle Events (Philippines)
 Players: 252
 Winner: James Joash Primicias with Crashing Footfalls
 Top 8: Crashing Footfalls, Crashing Footfalls, Living End, Yorion Control, Amulet Titan, Death's Shadow, Glimpse of Tomorrow


 August 20: Grand Open Qualifier for Legacy European Tour (Copenhagen)
 Players: 477
 Winner: Gianluca Boaretto with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, Elementals, Puresteel Hammer, Living End, Creativity, Glimpse of Tomorrow, Puresteel Hammer, Izzet Murktide


 September 10: 4Seasons Tournaments in Bologna (Italy)
 Players: 279
 Winner: Manuel Ferraro with Tameshi Bloom
 Top 8: Tameshi Bloom, Monoblue Aggro, Crashing Footfalls, Izzet Murktide, Yorion Control, Creativity, Lotus Twiddle, Rakdos Aggro


 September 17: Grand Open Qualifier for Legacy European Tour (Paris)
 Players: 497
 Winner: Francisco Sanchez with Azorius Control
 Top 8: Azorius Control, Living End, Death's Shadow, Puresteel Hammer, 5-color Domain, Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Rakdos Aggro


 October 8: SCG CON: Dallas ($30k)
 Players: 325
 Winner: Brian Shiels with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Yorion Control, Yawgmoth Chord, Creativity, Burn, Puresteel Hammer, Puresteel Hammer, Rakdos Aggro

 October 20: NRG Series: Newark (Team Constructed)
 Players: 171 trio teams
 Winner: Derrick Davis with Heliod Life
 Top 8: Heliod Life, Yawgmoth Chord, Jeskai Breach, Puresteel Hammer, Creativity, Rakdos Aggro, Titanless Valakut, Azorius Control



 Already covered: 4-Color RampAd NauseamAffinity (update), Allosaurus Combo, Azorius ControlBant AggroBant ControlBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), Bridgevine (banned, update: Crabvine), BurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Crashing Footfalls (aka Temur Rhinos), CreativityCreatures Toolbox: Heliod (aka Heliod Life aka Heliod Company), Creatures Toolbox: Lurrus, Creatures Toolbox: Yawgmoth (aka Yawgmoth Chord), Death's Shadow (update), Dredge (update), Eldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, ElementalsElves, Equipment StormFaeriesGifts Control, Goblins, Golgari FoodGreen Devotion Prison (banned), Grixis Control, Gruul AggroGruul UtopiaHardened ModularHatebears, Hogaak DredgeHollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro (aka Izzet Delver), Izzet MurktideIzzet Phoenix (update), Izzet Pyromancer, Jeskai BreachJeskai MiraclesJund (also feat. Wrenn and Six), Junk, KCI (banned), Landless CharbelcherLandless SpyLantern Control, LanternlessLiving EndMadcap Gruul, Mardu Pyromancer, Martyr LifeMerfolk, Nahiri Control, Naya Burn, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Orzhov EphemeratePhoenix Deck Wins, Phoenix Wrenn and SixPonza (update: Prison Ponza aka Gruul Karn), Puresteel HammerPyro Prison, Rakdos Aggro (MH2 update), Rakdos MidrangeRDW, Saheeli Evolution, Scapeshift ControlSelesnya Value, Simic FieldSkred Red, Spirit Aggro, StonebladeStorm, Tameshi BloomTemur ReclamationTezzeratorThe Rock, Titan BreachTokensTwinless Exarch, Urza EmryUrza FoodUrza Foundry (aka Whirza), Urza Outcome, Urza's Kitchen (aka Grixis Food), UrzaTronValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Valki Cascade (obsoleted), Vannifar PodWalks, Winota Colossification, Yorion Control (update).


 The big news in the last season of Modern play is not as much the entering of Dominaria United into the pool, as is the banning of Yorion, Sky Nomad, announced last month on October 10. Following the nixing of Lurrus of the Dream-Den back in March, this confirms how Ikoria's companions were the real design blunder of the past few years. People usually see Oko, Thief of Crowns as the biggest offender, but that was just one card with bad number implementation, which was almost immediately removed from nearly every format where it was legal. On the other hand, the companions represented an entire mechanic declined throughout a cycle of ten different cards, several of which caused issues in multiple formats – even after the mechanic itself was severely nerfed, which is an unprecedented fact in and of itself. Granted, by reading the announcement for Yorion, it sounds like the specific concerns for Modern took mostly the form of the headache, on both players' part, for having to shuffle or watch the opponent shuffle a large deck in a format where searching the library is a frequent action. Now that tabletop Magic is back on the table, so to speak, 4-color Yorion decks had to go. So long, weirdly elongated feathered friend.

 The lists running Yorion, mostly 4-color concoctions featuring Omnath, Locus of Creation, have been a definite presence on the meta since 2020 (last summer we were still talking about their latest incarnation). However, they never were the dominant force, if such a thing even exists in Modern, gravitating at best around a 5% of the metagame. At its core it was, after all, a control deck, a broad archetype that has rarely been "the one to beat" in the format. The current success stories are combo builds like Creativity and Puresteel Hammer, combo-adjacent like Crashing Footfalls, or pure aggro decks running the dynamic Modern Horizons 2 duo of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon's Rage Channeler – lists like Izzet Murktide and the up-and-coming Rakdos Aggro. The latter held a 3% of the meta the last time we checked on in less than a year ago; now it's grown to a whopping 8%, at least if we lump together a number of variations on the basic formula. Some Rakdos lists dropped Mishra's Bauble and, consequently, the delirium cards (i.e. Channeler and Unholy Heat). They instead chose to pack a stronger punch with Lightning Skelemental supported by Unearth, while disrupting the opponent's mana base with Blood Moon. Other versions, nicknamed Rakdos Scam, run the evokers Fury and Grief paired with Feign Death and Undying Malice. Some more recent decks skew more midrange with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and the just reprinted Liliana of the Veil.


 A deck that emerged at top levels in the past season and we never talked about before is Glimpse of Tomorrow. It's a very simple cascade build that use the namesake card as payoff, being a zero-cost spell along the same lines as Living End. The goal is cheating into play a bunch of Elementals (it's indeed secretly a tribal deck), including Omnath and various evokers. Repeating the Glimpse of Tomorrow routine with Chancellor of the Forge already on the battlefield is particularly effective.


 We're also seeing sporadic but conspicuous appearances of a strange monoblue tempo-ish deck that runs Svyelun of Sea and Sky but no other Merfolk, instead populating its large creature base with different subtypes.


 To stress how little Dominaria United has affected Modern so far, yes, a 5-color Domain build does exist in the format (although black is relegated to the sideboard), and yes, it did score a Top 8 at the Paris qualifier. But the only card it borrows from the latest set that implemented its titular mechanic is Leyline Binding.


 One major Modern archetype in severe need of an update is classic Azorius Control. Last time we talked about it was, believe it or not, more than five years ago. And while the gist of its strategy is still the same, the cards it contains are very different. It's not the same force to be reckoned with as it was in the past, with only 2% of the meta currently to its name, but it managed to end on top of the largest Modern tournament in recent memory, so it's not fading away into obscurity anytime soon.


 Another update that's due regards Jeskai Breach. The deck today looks a bit different from the version that used to run Arcum's Astrolabe when it was still legal. The centerpiece is still the namesake self-milling combo between Underworld Breach, a zero-mana artifact, Grinding Station, and Thassa's Oracle. But now the proceedings have speeded up with the incorporation of fast burn, Expressive Iteration (it has always been more of an Izzet list, with a white splash strictly for sideboarding purposes), Ledger Shredder, and of course Ragavan. Because in this day and age, if you're running red, there's really no reason not to run Ragavan.



 Last revised: October 10, 2022 (banned: Yorion, Sky Nomad)

 Total banned cards: 48

 By Color: 

  • White: 3 (of which 1 Azorius, 1 Orzhov)
  • Blue: 9 (of which 2 Simic, 1 Azorius)
  • Black: 5 (of which 2 Golgari, 1 Orhov)
  • Red: 8
  • Green: 11 (of which 2 Golgari, 2 Simic)
  • Colorless: 18 (of which 10 lands)
  • Multicolored: 5 (of which 2 Golgari, 2 Simic, 1 Azorius)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 7
  • Land: 10
  • Artifact: 9
  • Enchantment: 2
  • Planeswalker: 1
  • Instant: 9
  • Sorcery: 10

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 3 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, 1 from Magic 2011, 1 from Core Set 2020)
  • 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: 4 (of which 2 from Time Spiral, 1 from Planar Chaos, 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: 7 (of which 3 from Throne of Eldraine, 1 from Theros Beyond Death, 2 from Ikoria, 1 from Kaldheim