Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 22 2021 12:54pm

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

 July 4: Torneo Medio di Magic (Milan)
 Players: 200
 Winner: Andrea Marra with Grixis Food
 Top 8: Grixis Food, Izzet Monkey, Heliod Company, Izzet Murktide, Golgari Food, Boros Prowess, Jund Goblins, Living End


 August 16: MTGO Modern Super Qualifier
 Players: 16
 Winner: Oscar_Franco with Living End
 Top 8: Living End, Azorius Control, Crashing Footfalls, Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Crashing Footfalls, Living End, Burn


 August 27: Paprykarz Open #10 (Warsaw)
 Players: 163
 Winner: Micha Ał Smółko with Izzet Murktide
 Top 8: Izzet Murktide, Grixis Monkey, Orzhov Griefblade, Grixis Monkey, Amulet Titan, Tribal Flames Zoo, Merfolk, Puresteel Hammer


 October 15: Four-Season Tournaments: Autumn (Bologna)
 Players: 266
 Winner: Dario Casati with Dredge
 Top 8: Dredge, Izzet Monkey, Jeskai Control, Jeskai Control, Burn, Ensoul Robots, Valakut, UrzaTron


 October 23: NRG Series Trial (Chicago)
 Players: 211
 Winner: Robert Hayes with Elementals
 Top 8: Elementals, Dimir Mill, Crashing Footfalls, Puresteel Hammer, Blue Moon, Crashing Footfalls, Azorius Control


 October 30: 2021 Magic Online Champions Showcase #2
 Players: 8
 Winner: Nico Bohny with Puresteel Hammer
 Top 8: Puresteel Hammer, Amulet Titan, Crashing Footfalls, Elementals, Jund, Jund, Living End, 4-Color Yorion Ephemerate


 November 20: Paris Championship: Palladium (St. Brice)
 Players: 200
 Winner: Renzo Verkooren with Crashing Footfalls
 Top 8: Crashing Footfalls, EldraTron, Amulet Titan, Heliod Company, Dredge, EldraTron, Heliod Company, Yawgmoth Chord


 November 20: ChannelFireball MTG Las Vegas
 Players: 1436
 Winner: Edwin Colleran with Rakdos Aggro
 Top 8: Rakdos Aggro, Creativity, Infect, Jund, 4-Color Omnath Control, Amulet Titan, Amulet Titan, Hardened Modular


 November 27: Hareruya's 18th God of Modern
 Players: 216
 Winner: Kenji Onoda with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, Gruul Utopia, Izzet Monkey, Storm, Yorion Control, Burn, Crashing Footfalls, Rakdos Aggro


 November 28: NRG Series Trial (Chicago)
 Players: 211
 Winner: Robert Hayes with Elementals
 Top 8: Elementals, Puresteel Hammer, Crashing Footfalls, Rakdos Aggro, Yawgmoth Chord, Death's Shadow, Merfolk, Puresteel Hammer


 November 28: King of Modern (Bologna)
 Players: 158
 Winner: Andrea Fortunati with Jund
 Top 8: Jund, Izzet Murktide, Jund, Jund, 4-Color Ephemerate, Puresteel Hammer, Omnath Scapeshift, Izzet Murktide


 December 5: Torneo Medio di Magic (Milan)
 Players: 174
 Winner: Nikolin Lasku with Izzet Murktide
 Top 8: Izzet Murktide, Lurrus Monkey, 4-Color Yorion Ephemerate, Azorius Control, Amulet Titan, Lurrus Monkey, Jeskai Prowess, Puresteel Hammer


 December 12: NRG Series Trial (Milwaukee)
 Players: 183
 Winner: Jblaze5996 with Infect
 Top 8: Infect, Puresteel Hammer, 4-Color Yorion Ephemerate, Rakdos Aggro, Yawgmoth Chord, Death's Shadow, Purestel Hammer, Azorius Control



 Already covered: 4-Color RampAd NauseamAffinity, 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), Creatures 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, Elves, Equipment StormFaeriesGifts Control, Goblins, Green Devotion Prison (banned), Grixis Control, Gruul AggroGruul UtopiaHardened ModularHatebears, Hogaak DredgeHollow OneHumans, Infect, Instant Reanimator, Izzet Aggro (aka Izzet Delver), Izzet Phoenix (update), Izzet Pyromancer, Jeskai BreachJeskai MiraclesJund (also feat. Wrenn and Six), Junk, KCI (banned), Landless 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 AggroRakdos MidrangeRDW, Saheeli Evolution, Scapeshift ControlSelesnya Value, Simic FieldSkred Red, Spirit Aggro, StonebladeStorm, Temur 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: Nothing has been banned in Modern since February, which is a very long period of peace compared to the troubled times we experienced across the board in the Throne of Eldraine era. Of course, the impact of Modern Horizons 2 is increasing more and more, as those cards find new homes. Looking at the 2021 meta as a whole, we see Izzet Aggro as the definite leader, scoring a massive 9% of all the recorded Top 8 placements of the year, thanks to the combined push from new powerful cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, Murktide Regent, and Expressive Iteration. Izzet aside, the aggro department is grand totaling half of the placements, with classics like Red Deck Wins/Burn, Jund and Death's Shadow still very successful and variously affected by the advent of the two one-drop extraordinaires. Meanwhile, the Crashing Footfalls cascade value list, sometimes known as Temur Rhinos, positioned itself as the relatively new success story.


 Combo decks amounted to 28% of the 2021 field and have Puresteel Hammer as their standard-bearer, the only list in the meta that came close to challenge Izzet Aggro's dominance this year. Other successful builds from this area include timeless archetypes like Amulet Titan, Living End and Dredge, as well as two iterations of the broader Creatures Toolbox family, one using Collected Company to enable the combo between Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Walking Ballista, the other going the original Birthing Pod-like route of Chord of Calling and Eldritch Evolution, in search of Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and a couple of undying creatures.


 The least successful mega-archetype is Control, which can count on the meta resilience of tried and tested lists like Azorius Control and UrzaTron. These grandpas of the Modern meta maintain some relevance but have lost a bit of steam compared to previous years. The sexier control decks at the moment  are four-color builds with Yorion, Sky Nomad as companion and Omnath, Locus of Creation as centerpiece. The powerful Elemental, already banned in Standard, Brawl and Historic, is clearly a very influential presence in the Modern meta, and even shows up in aggro builds. One that's been quite successful is a tribal concoction that emphasizes the ETB triggers of many of the most recent members of the tribe, including the evoke cycle from Modern Horizons 2.


 Access to different mana in Modern has become an afterthought, and cards like Omnath and Prismatic Ending encourage builds that get close to the maximum of possible colors. Even a relatively straightforward combo deck like this one based on Indomitable Creativity and Transmogrify ends up easily splashing colors that are otherwise far from its core concept. This combo was fueled by the printing of Hard Evidence in Modern Horizons 2, by the way. Now a single one-drop provides two targets for Creativity.


 If we reduce the colors, while still acknowledging the influence of the latest Modern Horizons set (is the plan to have Modern refreshed every other year now? It could be), we find that Rakdos Aggro is in severe need of an update. The archetype boasts a 3% presence in the 2021 meta and took first place at the largest event of the season. It's now populated by an army of efficient creatures that entirely replaced the old generation of Abbot of Keral Keep, Monastery Swiftspear and Soul-Scar Mage. The front row is taken by the Monkey & Channeler duo, the way it is in every red deck of this era. But here we also find Tourach, Dread Cantor and Dauthi Voidwalker pulling their weight alongside Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. It's very much a build that's focused on attacking the opponent's hand and extracting value from it, but the delirium subtheme is also skillfully exploited by Unholy Heat and supported by Mishra's Bauble.


 Last but not least, here's a solid example of the meta's current protagonist, Izzet Aggro, here in its Murktide Regent variant. What will it take to dethrone Izzet from the top of the Modern world? The printing of a lot of extremely effective new cards that don't share any of its colors, probably.


 Last revised: February 15, 2021 (banned: Field of the Dead, Mystic Sanctuary, Simian Spirit Guide, Tibalt's Trickery, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath)

 Total banned cards: 46

 By Color: 

  • White: 1
  • Blue: 8 (of which 2 Simic)
  • Black: 4 (of which 2 Golgari)
  • Red: 8
  • Green: 11 (of which 2 Golgari, 2 Simic)
  • Colorless: 18 (of which 10 lands)
  • Multicolored: 4 (of which 2 Golgari, 2 Simic)

 By Type: 

  • Creature: 5
  • 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: 5 (of which 3 from Throne of Eldraine, 1 from Theros Beyond Death, 1 from Kaldheim)