Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jul 03 2019 12:00pm

 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, ordered chronologically. Find the archetypes below. New archetypes incoming!

 June 1: Cardmarket Series 2019: Paris
 Players: 280
 Winner: Théau Mery with Hardened Scales
 Top 8: Hardened Scales, Humans, Abzan Value, Phoenix Deck Wins, Dredge, Dredge, Creatures Toolbox, The Rock

 June 3: MTGO Modern MCQ
 Players: 271
 Winner: Kadoonyec with UrzaTron
 Top 8: UrzaTron, Dredge, Humans, Phoenix Deck Wins, EldraTron, Merfolk, UW Control, Allosaurus Combo

 June 7: StarCityGames Invitational: Roanoke (Standard + Modern)
 Players: 475
 Winner: Collin Roundtree with Humans (and Esper Superheroes in Standard)
 Top 8: Humans, Burn, Humans, Izzet Phoenix, Amulet Titan, Dredge, EldraTron, EldraTron

 June 24: MTGO Modern MCQ
 Players: 358
 Winner: bladede with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, UW Control, Hogaak Dredge, Izzet Phoenix, The Rock, Hogaak Dredge, Esper Midrange, Affinity

 June 29: Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth
 Players: 1257
 Winner: Austin Bursavich with UW Control
 Top 8: UW Control, Hogaak Dredge, EldraTron, UW Control, Hogaak Dredge, Humans, Urza Foundry, Walks

 June 30: StarCityGames Team Modern Open: Pittsburgh (team of three playing Modern)
 Players: n/a
 Winner: Jeremy Bertarioni with Death's Shadow, Dominic Harvey with Hogaak Dredge, Jonathan Hobbs with Humans
 Top 8: Death's Shadow/Hogaak Dredge/Humans, Izzet Phoenix/Izzet Phoenix/Urza Foundry, Izzet Phoenix/Izzet Phoenix/Humans, Burn/Infect/Urza Foundry, Hogaak Dredge/Hogaak Dredge/Eldrazi Aggro, Hogaak Dredge/Humans/Infect, Izzet Phoenix/Izzet Phoenix/Izzet Phoenix, Creatures Toolbox/Humans/Phoenix Deck Wins

Pictured: Hobbs on the left, Harvey at the center, Bertarioni on the right.


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, Allosaurus ComboBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), BridgevineBurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow, DredgeEldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, Elves, FaeriesGifts ControlGrixis Control, Hardened ModularHatebears, Hollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro (aka Izzet Delver), Izzet Phoenix (update), Izzet PyromancerJeskai MiraclesJundJunk, KCI (banned), Lantern Control, LanternlessLiving EndMadcap Gruul, Mardu Pyromancer, Martyr LifeMerfolk, Nahiri Control, Naya BurnPhoenix Deck WinsPonza, Pyro PrisonRDW, Saheeli EvolutionSelesnya Value, Skred Red, Spirit AggroStorm, TezzeratorThe Rock, Titan BreachTokensTwinless ExarchUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Vannifar PodWalks.

 Update: So, two high-powered sets like War of the Spark and Modern Horizons hit the Modern pool in quick succession. Did the meta crumble under such hefty weight? Not really. It was less of an earthquake and more of a required adjustment, but it sure impacted all the archetypes to some extent.

 For instance, as anticipated last monthUrzaTron and EldraTron got some fancy new toys in War of the Spark, especially with Karn, the Great Creator allowing to immediately fetch Mycosynth Lattice from the sideboard, then use it to lock the opponent out of their mana sources (and every other activation).


 Blast Zone and Ugin, the Ineffable were also well received by the big mana archetype, though the latter is a bit of a nombo with the Lattice. Still, this didn't lead to any particular spike in the archetype's success, which started at the top tier and quietly remained there, just with different power plays.

 Similarly, UW Control decks gave a warm welcome to Modern Horizons' Force of Negation, as was easily expected. Why spend mana to counter stuff during the opponent's turn when you can do it for no mana at all?

 Narset, Parter of Veils and Teferi, Time Raveler have also become staples of Azorius-colored control decks, but once again, these have been just tweaks in the list composition, not major shake-ups.

 And then, of course, there's Hogaak.

 Arclight Phoenix has a new rival for the title of Modern meta signature creature, though the firebird didn't quite give up the throne, as the most recent large event, the SCG Team Modern Open held in Pittsburgh on June 29-30, shows a day 2 metagame with 24 Phoenix decks and 19 Hogaak decks. Still, the big Golgari dude is up-and-coming, and while it still has to put a major tournament win under its belt, the number of Top 8 placements for such a new entry is impressive. The main advantage of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis over other emerging techs is that the 8/8 trampler's rule text  immediately screamed which archetype it wanted to be a part of, and it happened to be an archetype already well-established in Modern. In fact, all the instances of "Hogaak Dredge" in the event lists above should more correctly fall under the Bridgevine classification, because Hoogak simply took over those Bloodghast/Gravecrawler/VengevineBridge from Below lists, replacing less impactful fatties like Greater Gargadon.


 The hidden engine of the deck and Hoogak's partner in crime from Modern Horizons is the reprint of Altar of Dementia, which introduces the old milling artifact into Modern for the first time. And we shouldn't forget the similar treatment given to Carrion Feeder, which is an excellent one-drop in a deck that can easily return sacced critters from the graveyard and needs Zombies in play for Gravecrawler.


 It's to nobody's surprise, then, that Leyline of the Void became overnight the most played sideboard card in the meta – and sometimes even maindecked, as you can see in Harvey's list.

 In other news, the trophy of second most popular centerpiece from Modern Horizons has to go to the great Urza himself.


 Urza, Lord High Artificer is a mix of Grand Architect ramp and the old Temporal Aperture's random card advantage, all packaged within a solid defensive body with a bonus Karn-struct. Alas, the list that's currently and successfully running the master artificer doesn't feature Karn, Scion of Urza (flavor be damned), and it's instead an artifact combo deck based on the timeless interaction between Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek. What Urza does to this classic combo is turning it infinite, since with his help you can tap the Sword for the generic mana required to sacrifice it to the Foundry, return it to the battlefield and create a Thopter that also gets tapped, so at each cycle you net one extra mana. You then dump all this infinite mana into the Temporal Aperture ability, exiling your entire deck and casting everything you want for free, and that's it, Urza's god mode unlocked.


 Incidentally, you'll end up with infinite life and infinite Thopters, plus no cards in your library, so you have different angles of victory with this combo (including recasting Spine of Ish Sah infinite times). The bulk of the deck is composed of ways to draw into the combo or tutor its pieces up, most notably with Goblin Engineeer and the Snow-based Arcum's Astrolabe, two other Modern Horizons innovations.


 As we can see, MH1 wasn't perhaps a full-blown earthquake, but definitely created some subterranean movements, possibly destined to create more and more ripples as time goes by and new decks are brewed and let loose into the meta. Plus, Core Set 2020 seems to have every intention to not play like your average core set and have a say on the matter. Exciting times.


 Last revised: January 21, 2019 (banned: Krark-Clan Ironworks)
 Next announcement: July 8, 2019

 Total banned cards: 34

 By Color: 

  • White: 2
  • Blue: 6
  • Black: 2 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Red: 5
  • Green: 7 (of which 1 Golgari)
  • Colorless: 13
  • Multicolored: 1 (of which 1 Golgari)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 6
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Planeswalker: 0
  • Instant: 7
  • Sorcery: 9

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, and 1 from Magic 2011)
  • Mirrodin block: 11 (of which 9 from Mirrodin, 1 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: 2 (both from Time Spiral)
  • Lorwyn block: 1 (from Lorwyn)
  • Alara block: 0
  • Zendikar block: 4 (of which 1 from Zendikar, 2 from Worldwake, 1 from Rise of the Eldrazi)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 4 (of which 1 from Mirrodin Besieged, 3 from New Phyrexia)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • 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: 0

 See you next month, when we'll keep exploring the Modern meta. In the meantime, don't be ancient, play Modern!