Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 23 2023 9:10am

 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 200 players or otherwise relevant for the meta, ordered chronologically. Find the archetypes below.

 February 5: SCG CON: Indianapolis ($10K RCQ)
 Players: 225
 Winner: Connor Mullaly with Emry Breach
 Top 8: Emry Breach, Living End, Emry Breach, Aggro Breach, Amulet Titan, Emry Breach, Jund, Izzet Murktide


 February 5: MTGO Super Qualifier
 Players: 16
 Winner: marcoshadow with Crashing Footfalls
 Top 8: Crashing Footfalls, Amulet Titan, Crashing Footfalls, Creativity, Aggro Breach, Creativity, Amulet Titan, Azorius Control


 March 1: ManaTraders Series
 Players: 253
 Winner: Arrias with Elementals
 Top 8: Elementals, Creativity, Crashing Footfalls, Rakdos Scam, Creativity, Elementals, Azorius Aggro


 March 4: BIG MAGIC Open at Yokohama
 Players: 748
 Winner: Yosuke Mochizuki with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, Amulet Titan, Creativity, Jund, Crashing Footfalls, Jund, Merfolk, Rakdos Aggro


 March 4: SCG CON: Charlotte ($20K RCQ)
 Players: 503
 Winner: Daniel Buchanan with Living End
 Top 8: Living End, Emry Breach, RDW, Izzet Murktide, Amulet Titan, Crashing Footfalls, Elementals, Izzet Murktide


 March 5: SCG CON: Charlotte ($10k RCQ)
 Players: 283
 Winner: Robert Stanley with Rakdos Scam
 Top 8: Rakdos Scam, Izzet Murktide, Puresteel Hammer, Izzet Murktide, Amulet Titan, Amulet Titan, Creativity, Creativity


 March 5: 4Seasons Winter Main Event at Bologna
 Players: 490
 Winner: Marco Caputo with Amulet Titan
 Top 8: Amulet Titan, Elementals, Creativity, Creativity, 4-Color Omnath, Burn, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Murktide


 March 18: Hunter Burton Memorial Open
 Players: 442
 Winner: Ernesto Taylor with Yawgmoth Chord
 Top 8: Yawgmoth Chord, Landless Charbelcher, Hardened Modular, UrzaTron, Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Rakdos Scam, Azorius Control


 March 25: NRG Series: Chicago ($10k Trial)
 Players: 281
 Winner: Greg Pino with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Creativity, Emry Breach, Izzet Murktide, Crashing Footfalls, Crashing Footfalls, Crashing Footfalls, Izzet Murktide


 April 1: Grand Open Qualifier Prague
 Players: 1055
 Winner: Markus Leicht with Elementals
 Top 8: Elementals, Creativity, Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Crashing Footfalls, Creativity, Living End, Rakdos Scam

 April 1: MXP Oakland at Laughing Dragon (20k RCQ)
 Players: 386
 Winner: Daniel Digiacomo with Valakut
 Top 8: Valakut, Yawgmoth Chord, Bring Valakut, Crashing Footfalls, Aggro Breach, Creativity, Living End, Azorius Control


 April 15: SCG CON: Richmond ($20k RCQ)
 Players: 264
 Winner: Robert Stanley with Rakdos Scam
 Top 8: Rakdos Scam, Puresteel Hammer, Crashing Footfalls, Creativity, 4-Color Omnath, Rakdos Scam, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Murktide

 April 22: Arcanis Infinity at Suances (Spain)
 Players: 367
 Winner: Eduardo Novoa with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Izzet Murktide, EldraTron, Death's Shadow, Creativity, Rakdos Scam, Crashing Footfalls, Puresteel Hammer

 May 20: MTGO Champions Showcase
 Players: 8
 Winner: Bernardo Torres with Infect
 Top 8: Infect, Puresteel Hammer, EldraTron, Infect, Creativity, Creativity, Instant Reanimator, Dimir Mill


 Already covered: 4-Color Ramp, 5-color DomainAd NauseamAffinity (update), Allosaurus Combo, Azorius Control (update), Bant AggroBant ControlBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), Bridgevine (banned, update: Crabvine), Burn, Calibrated BlastCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Crashing Footfalls (aka Temur Rhinos), Creativity, Creatures Toolbox: Devoted VizierCreatures 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, Glimpse of TomorrowGoblins, 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, Monoblue AggroNahiri Control, Naya Burn, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Obosh Big RedOrzhov 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), Zoo Domain.

 Update: In a season that saw the return of a large number of in-person events (the pandemic era seems definitely behind us now), Creativity has emerged as the combo deck to beat, and currently sits at the top of the meta with a 12% share, followed by more established builds like Izzet Murktide and Crashing Footfalls. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has mostly taken the place of Hard Evidence in Creativity lists, confirming that the Kiki-Jiki tribute Saga is a powerhouse in Modern as well, basically a must-play card in every deck running red, regardless of strategy (and format).

 But at this point it's well-known that everything is always game for a top placement in Modern. In some of the most recent big events, former star decks like EldraTron and Death's Shadow came back into the spotlight, and the Top 8 at the Hunter Burton Memorial Open last March were all different archetypes – including some less usual ones, such as Landless Charbelcher.

 A deck that has enjoyed success and popularity this Spring is Rakdos Scam – as evidenced by Robert Stanley's double win in Charlotte and Richmond. It's a variant of Rakdos Aggro and Rakdos Midrange lists, characterized by explosive first turns – the titular "scam" being the use of Feign Death or Undying Malice (or even Undying Evil and Malakir Rebirth; we're seeing a lot of instances of this effect for one black) to have an evoked Grief or Fury stick around. Alternatively, just casting Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer qualifies as a strong start. Modern Horizons 2 is still home of the format's best cards.


 And speaking of Ragavan, a novel way to employ the wily Monkey is to exploit his legendary status to power up both Mox Amber and Springleaf Drum. That's what the evolution of Breach decks is doing, so that it can generate extra mana as early as turn one. This allows for a turn-one Emry, which might mill herself a Grinding Station, resulting in a turn-two win via the titular Underworld Breach: bringing back the Station ensures we can mill ourselves infinitely by saccing and then recasting the Mox from the graveyard using the cards we milled through the Station. Ultimately, Thassa's Oracle is bound to appear and seal the deal.


 There's even an aggro version of this routine, which ignores the grinding combo and just runs cards like Dragon's Rage Channeler and the overlooked Third Path Iconoclast from The Brothers' War.

 As for other cards from latest sets that immediately impacted Modern, we can see Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines showing up in several lists, particularly in 4-Color Omnath decks (formerly known as 4-Color Ramp, back when Uro was still legal) as well as in its closely related variant, Elementals, which won the season's largest event. Doubling down on Omnath, Locus of Creation, Solitude and Risen Reef's ETB triggers, while negating those the opponent is likely to pack, is a big deal.


 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