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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 10 2019 11:00am
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 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. It's a Hogaak-less world!

 September 1: Mythic Championship Qualifier at Hareruya (Japan)
 Players: 215
 Winner: Toshikazu Matsumura with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, UrzaTron, UrzaTron, UrzaTron, Burn, Whirza, UrzaTron, UrzaTron

 September 1: StarCityGames Modern Open: Dallas
 Players: 645
 Winner: Harlan Firer with Whirza
 Top 8: Whirza, Burn, Death's Shadow, Valakut, Burn, Burn, UrzaTron, Rakdos Midrange

 September 2: MTGO Modern MCQ
 Players: 409
 Winner: jakedurshimer with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, Whirza, Stoneblade, UW Control, Dredge, Jund, Death's Shadow, Whirza

 September 6: Mythic Championship Qualifier at MagicFest Indianapolis
 Players: 200
 Winner: Michael Anthony Killberry with Burn
 Top 8: Burn, Burn, Burn, Dredge, Whirza, Burn, Merfolk, Spirit Aggro

 September 7: Mythic Championship Qualifier at Júpiter Juegos (Spain)
 Players: 207
 Winner: Víctor Ortiz with Burn
 Top 8: Burn, UrzaTron, UW Control, Stoneblade, Eldrazi Aggro, Whirza, UrzaTron, Stoneblade

 September 7: MCQ Dutch Open Series at Bazaar of Magic (Utrecht, Netherlands)
 Players: 225
 Winner: Wouter Noordzij with Whirza
 Top 8: Whirza, Creatures Toolbox, Burn, Stoneblade, Dredge, Whirza, Whirza, Whirza

 September 8: Mythic Championship Qualifier at MagicFest Indianapolis
 Players: 300
 Winner: Adrian Trogler with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, Stoneblade, Burn, Naya Zoo, Hardened Modular, Stoneblade, Spirit Aggro, Stoneblade

 September 8: Team Modern at MagicFest Indianapolis
 Players: 990
 Winner: Kevin Brown with Burn, Joseph Karani with Stoneblade, Mohamad Qadi with Whirza
 Top 4: Burn/Stoneblade/Whirza, Burn/Stoneblade/Humans, Death's Shadow/Eldrazi Aggro/Jund, UrzaTron/Whirza/Whirza

Pictured: Brown on the left, Karani at the center, Qadi on the right.

 September 8: Mythic Championship Qualifier at Bologna (Italy)
 Players: 220
 Winner: Stefano Vinci with Humans
 Top 8: Humans, Hardened Modular, Humans, Valakut, Burn, Death's Shadow, Jund, Whirza

 September 9: MTGO Modern PTQ
 Players: 411
 Winner: Volollo with Death's Shadow
 Top 8: Death's Shadow, Stoneblade, EldraTron, Whirza, Burn, Creatures Toolbox, Whirza, UrzaTron

 September 13: Mythic Championship Qualifier at MagicFest Ghent
 Players: 318
 Winner: Lev Ducenko with Humans
 Top 8: Humans, Death's Shadow, Burn, Stoneblade, Amulet Titan, EldraTron, Infect, UrzaTron

 September 15: Mythic Championship Qualifier at MagicFest Ghent
 Players: 404
 Winner: Jan Stadler with Dredge
 Top 8: Dredge, Death's Shadow, EldraTron, Whirza, Bant Soulherder, Monored Flame, Valakut, UW Control

 September 15: Team Modern at MagicFest Ghent (Belgium)
 Players: 1440
 Winner: Esther Trujillo with Jund, Joel Calafell with Whirza, Ruben Perez with Whirza
 Top 4: Jund/Whirza/Whirza, Dredge/Stoneblade/Whirza, UrzaTron/UrzaTron/Whirza, Burn/Death's Shadow/Stoneblade

Pictured: Perez on the left, Trujillo at the center, Calafell on the right.

 September 15: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Syracuse
 Players: 243
 Winner: Anderson LeClair with UrzaTron
 Top 8: UrzaTron, Death's Shadow, Amulet Titan, Creatures Toolbox, Amulet Titan, Whirza, UrzaTron, Valakut

 September 16: MTGO Modern PTQ
 Players: 402
 Winner: asnook with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, Whirza, Creatures Toolbox, Dredge, EldraTron, Stoneblade, Whirza, Stoneblade

 September 20: Mythic Championship Qualifier at MagicFest Atlanta
 Players: n/a
 Winner: Sean Belisle with Whirza
 Top 8: Whirza, RDW, Burn, UrzaTron, Death's Shadow, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, RDW, Valakut


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, Allosaurus ComboBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), Bridgevine (banned), BurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow, DredgeEldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, Elves, FaeriesGifts Control, GoblinsGrixis Control, Hardened ModularHatebears, Hogaak DredgeHollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro (aka Izzet Delver), Izzet Phoenix (update), Izzet PyromancerJeskai MiraclesJund (also feat. Wrenn and Six), Junk, KCI (banned), Lantern Control, LanternlessLiving EndMadcap Gruul, Mardu Pyromancer, Martyr LifeMerfolk, Nahiri Control, Naya BurnPhoenix Deck Wins, Phoenix Wrenn and SixPonza (update), Pyro PrisonRDW, Saheeli EvolutionSelesnya Value, Skred Red, Spirit AggroStorm, TezzeratorThe Rock, Titan BreachTokensTwinless Exarch, Urza Foundry (aka Whirza), UrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Vannifar PodWalks.

 Update: So, how does the Modern meta look like in a post-Hogaak world? As varied as ever, I'd say, but with considerably less Dredge at the top. The new buzzword has to be "Urza", a name that recurs many times within the lists of the most successful archetypes, be it through his Tron lands, or as the great artificer himself.


 With the departure of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, indeed, it's time for Urza, Lord High Artificer to take up the mantle of most impactful card from Modern Horizons. But of course we're also starting to see the consequences of Stoneforge Mystic being now free to roam the meta for the first time.


 It's perhaps too early to tell if the September scenario is in any way indicative of the form the meta will assume going forward, but we've had 16 major tournaments since that pivotal August 26 announcement, and those provide a good chunk of high-profile data throughout their 136 Top-8 placements. It's therefore worth compiling them and have a look at the numbers, even just to see for how long they'll hold. Keeping in mind that two of those tournaments (the main event, or "Grand Prix", at MagicFest Indianapolis and MagicFest Ghent) were three-man team competitions, here's where we land right now.


  • Whirza: 6 (3 in team)
  • Burn: 3 (1 in team)
  • Jund: 3 (1 in team)
  • Humans: 2
  • Valakut: 2
  • Death's Shadow: 1
  • Dredge: 1
  • Stoneblade: 1 in team
  • Tron: 1


  • Whirza: 25 (7 in team)
  • Tron: 20 (3 in team)
  • Burn: 19 (3 in team)
  • Stoneblade: 15 (4 in team)
  • Death's Shadow: 10 (2 in team)
  • Valakut: 7
  • Dredge: 6 (1 in team)
  • Jund: 6 (2 in team)
  • Creatures Toolbox: 4
  • Humans: 4 (1 in team)
  • Amulet Titan: 3
  • UW Control: 3
  • Eldrazi Aggro: 2 (1 in team)
  • Hardened Modular: 2
  • RDW: 2
  • Spirit Aggro: 2
  • Bant Soulherder: 1
  • Infect: 1
  • Merfolk: 1
  • Naya Zoo: 1
  • Niv-Mizzet Reborn: 1
  • Rakdos Midrange: 1

 Whirza is the name that more widely established itself for all the decks with Urza, Lord High Artificer, which also usually run Whir of Invention. I had called them "Urza Foundry" so far (since a lot of reports referred to them as just "Urza", which was both dull and confusing), because their most common endgame is the infinite combo between Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek, which has caused some of these lists to start running Stoneforge Mystic) as well, to have more consistent access to the Sword. They are sometimes called "Whir Prison" when they incorporate Karn, the Great Creator fetching Mycosynth Lattice from the graveyard to shut down the opponent. Here's as an example the list with which Sean Belisle won the PTQ at MagicFest Atlanta. You can appreciate how these are stealthily five-color decks, since they run red sources for Goblin Engineer, Galvanic Blast and Pyrite Spellbomb, black sources for the Foundry and the activation of Nihil Spellbomb, and even green sources for Assassin's Trophy and Tireless Tracker off the sideboard (which also contains more black cards). White is actually only present on the Foundry, and not strictly needed.


 Tron decks never stopped thriving in Modern, and mostly come in classic monogreen form, but EldraTron still makes the occasional appearance.

 Burn is the dominant force in the meta by overall impact, amounting to at least 11% of the Top-8 lists, if we include all of the recorded events, not just the major ones. Burn is increasingly hard to tell apart from RDW – my rule of thumb is, if it just features Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear as creatures that are meant to connect (as opposed to Eidolon of the Great Revel and Grim Lavamancer, which are merely burn enhancers), then it's Burn. But we also get new related designs like this Monored Flame list, trying to go all-in during a big turn that coincides with the third chapter of The Flame of Keld.


 This Rakdos build could also be considered a member of the RDW family, even if it takes it into the midrange area by sort of cross-pollinating with The Rock's disruption elements – except the resident "The Rock" here is the very goddess of whacking, Hazoret the Fervent.


 Stoneblade is a collective moniker for all the builds that coalesced around the advent of Stoneforge Mystic into Modern, minus those that follow a more focused artifact route with Urza and Whir of Invention. They Stoneblade lists are more commonly Azorius or Jeskai. They're sometimes called "Geistblade" because Geist of Saint Traft is often the designated blade carrier.


 Among the archetypes that seem to endure the meta changes and clinging to their positions: Death's Shadow, Valakut, Jund. Humans keeps declining, while the once influential UW Control has almost disappeared, suggesting that the UW Control players might have just flocked to join the Urza bandwagon. In spite of everything, Dredge is still somewhat around and winning events, which goes to show the dogged determination of its aficionados (although it must feel sad to be such a devoted Dredge player these days). Here's what a current Dredge list looks like.


 In this time of meta turmoil, a few peculiar brews are showing up in unexpected places (that Niv-Mizzet Reborn list that Top-8-ed MCQ Atlanta needs to be properly investigated). One that seems destined to carve out its own niche is Bant Soulherder, which revolves around the namesake creature from Modern Horizons. Once again, I'll let LegenVD explain and demonstrate it to you in this video. It's a pretty rad deck.


 Last revised: August 26, 2019 (banned: Faithless Looting, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis; unbanned: Stoneforge Mystic)
 Next announcement: October 7, 2019

 Total banned cards: 36

 By Color: 

  • White: 1
  • Blue: 6
  • Black: 4 (of which 2 Golgari)
  • Red: 6
  • Green: 8 (of which 2 Golgari)
  • Colorless: 13
  • Multicolored: 1 (of which 1 Golgari)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 6
  • Enchantment: 2
  • Planeswalker: 0
  • Instant: 7
  • Sorcery: 10

 By Set:

  • Core Sets: 2 (of which 1 from 9th Edition, originally from Visions, and 1 from Magic 2011)
  • Modern Horizons: 1
  • 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: 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: 4 (of which 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: 0

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