Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Mar 19 2020 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. You can see how the number of big Modern events is dwindling. This list includes all the tournaments of that category that were held since December 16, and barely manages to put together four events (for one we couldn't find the attendance; another is just a few players short of 200). In the future, we might have to review the threshold for "big event" where Modern in concerned. Events being canceled due to coronavirus won't help the spring total either.

 January 5: StarCityGames Modern Classic: Columbus
 Players: N/A
 Winner: Kevin Jones with Snow Bant Control
 Top 8: Snow Bant Control, Humans, Death's Shadow, Snow Bant Control, Jund, Snow Bant Control, Urza Foundry, Urza Food

 January 11: StarCityGames Modern Open: Knoxville
 Players: 382
 Winner: Aaron Barich with Creatures Toolbox
 Top 8: Creatures Toolbox, Bant Control, Green Devotion Prison, Urza Food, Amulet Titan, Urza Food, Urza Food, Urza Food

 January 11: Grand Prix Austin 2020
 Players: 801
 Winner: Chris Candreva with Titan Field
 Top 8: Titan Field, Urza Food, Jund, Urza Food, Temur Aggro, Urza Foundry, Urza Food, Urza Food

 February 8: MKM Series: Paris
 Players: 197
 Winner: Arnaud Hocquemiller with Stoneblade
 Top 8: Stoneblade, Jund, Abzan Company, Stoneblade, Amulet Titan, Stoneblade, Eldrazi Aggro, Humans


 Already covered: Ad NauseamAffinity, Allosaurus Combo, Bant AggroBant ControlBogleBlue MoonBloomless Titan (aka Amulet Titan), Bridgevine (banned, update: Crabvine), BurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Death's Shadow (update), Dredge (update), Eldrazi Aggro, Eldrazi & TaxesEldraTron, Elves, Equipment StormFaeriesGifts 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 Burn, Niv-Mizzet RebornPhoenix Deck Wins, Phoenix Wrenn and SixPonza (update), Pyro Prison, Rakdos MidrangeRDW, Saheeli EvolutionSelesnya Value, Simic FieldSkred Red, Spirit Aggro, StonebladeStorm, TezzeratorThe Rock, Titan BreachTokensTwinless Exarch, Urza FoodUrza Foundry (aka Whirza), Urza OutcomeUrzaTronUW ControlValakut (aka TitanShift), Valakut Control, Vannifar PodWalks.

 Update: At the beginning of the year, the alarm bells were already ringing, and two months later, Modern appears to be losing more and more steam. Events with large participation have become few and far between, and the latest streak of bans, if somewhat necessary, didn't help motivating players whose favorite deck was nerfed into caring for Modern anymore, when Standard is surprisingly healthy and Pioneer is right there.


 Yeah, Oko the Broko has left this particular building, too (less than three months after his release, he was legal only in Vintage, Legacy and Commander. Must be some sort of record). On January 13, Oko, Thief of Crowns was removed from the Modern meta, alongside Mox Opal, thus putting an end to the reign of Urza Food, and severely hindering other Oko-friendly lists like Bant Control. We also got rid of Mycosynth Lattice, which wasn't particularly meta-warping, but had certainly become an annoying, unfun option for UrzaTron builds when fetched by and used in conjunction with Karn, the Great Creator. It won't be missed.

 And then, on March 9, the banhammer stroke again, aligning Modern with all the other formats that thought necessary to accompany the ban of Oko with an equal treatment for the other problematic child of Throne of Eldraine: Once Upon a Time. The ultimate green opening move was already giving birth to successful Pioneer-looking Modern lists like this one.


 A Stompy/Nykthos Ramp hybrid shell with the mad consistency provided by Once Upon a Time and the inescapable endgame created by Karn and Lattice? Yeah, this is a list that had the sonic boom of a jet and the lifespan of a butterfly.


 A few other recently emerged decks ran both Oko and Once Upon a Time, mostly because they could, and perhaps they'll survive the loss, not being strictly dependent on that dangerous pair. Simic Field is one of those, one that took another page from Standard's expired book of tricks by building around Field of the Dead. I personally count the zombieland among the worst design mistakes of the 2019/2020 season (here's hoping Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths will just prove to be a dumb, fun Timmy/Tammy paradise). It tends not to get banned as much as the others, but it seems to have taken roots in every possible format. In Modern, it could even count on the partnership with an improved Golos: none other than Primeval Titan.


 What's going to happen in the future of Modern, with so many lists having to redefine their centerpiece, or at least their best tools of the trade? For the moment, RDW is back on top, as it always does when its enemies scatter, while evergreen classics like Jund, Creatures Toolbox and Amulet Titan, which were mostly unaffected by the bans, are profiting from the chaos. Something more meta-defining is probably looming on the horizon. We'll check back in a couple of months to report on any changes. Stay tuned!


 Last revised: January 13, 2020 (banned: Oko, Thief of Crowns, Mox Opal, Mycosynth Lattice), March 9, 2020 (banned: Once Upon a Time)

 Total banned cards: 40

 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: 15
  • Multicolored: 2 (of which 1 Golgari, 1 Simic)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 3
  • Land: 8
  • Artifact: 8
  • 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: 1
  • 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 in May, when behemoths will be walking the multiverse!