Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 02 2023 11:42am

 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.

 November 5: Relic Fest 2 at Tolouse
 Players: 266
 Winner: Ambroise Berthe with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Urza's Kitchen, Azorious Control, Zoo Domain, Amulet Titan, Amulet Titan, Death's Shadow, Living End


 November 19: MTGO Showcase Challenge
 Players: 16
 Winner: WaToO with Azorius Control
 Top 8: Azorius Control, Rakdos Aggro, Goblins, Landless Belcher, Hardened Modular, Rakdos Aggro, Calibrated Blast, Rakdos Aggro


 December 6: 4 Seasons Main Event at Bologna
 Players: 484
 Winner: Paolo Calisse with Crashing Footfalls
 Top 8: Crashing Footfalls, Merfolk, Elementals, Yawgmoth Chord, Merfolk, Rakdos Aggro, Izzet Murktide, UrzaTron


 December 10: Legacy European Tour Grand Open Qualifier: Barcelona
 Players: 534
 Winner: Marco Caputo with Amulet Titan
 Top 8: Amulet Titan, Creativity, Crashing Footfalls, Stoneblade, 5-color Domain, Valakut, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Murktide


 December 12: Manatraders Series: $30,000 Invitational
 Players: 8
 Winner: Capriccioso with Amulet Titan
 Top 8: Amulet Titan, Izzet Murktide, Dredge, Izzet Murktide, Creativity, Creativity, Puresteel Hammer, Izzet Murktide

 December 26: MTGO Super Qualifier
 Players: 8
 Winner: txepi with Izzet Murktide
 Top 8: Izzet Murktide, Creativity, Izzet Murktide, Rakdos Aggro, Izzet Murktide, Jeskai Breach, Yawgmoth Chord, Izzet Murktide


 January 14: SCG CON: New Jersey
 Players: 430
 Winner: David Nunez with Izzet Murktide
 Top 8: Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control, Puresteel Hammer, Rakdos Aggro, Devoted Vizier, EldraTron, Rakdos Aggro, Rakdos Aggro

 January 14: Legacy European Tour Grand Open Qualifier: Trieste
 Players: 396
 Winner: Simon Nielsen with Puresteel Hammer
 Top 8: Puresteel Hammer, Izzet Murktide, Jeskai Breach, RDW, Zoo Domain, Crashing Footfalls Creativity, Merfolk


 January 14: German Modern Championship at Maintal
 Players: 220
 Winner: Marcel Bux with Creativity
 Top 8: Creativity, Obosh Big Red, Amulet Titan, Amulet Titan, Jeskai Breach, Crashing Footfalls, Crashing Footfalls, Elementals 

 January 15: SCG CON: New Jersey
 Players: 200
 Winner: Adam Snook with Rakdos Aggro
 Top 8: Rakdos Aggro, Azorius Control, Creativity, Rakdos Aggro, Elementals, Amulet Titan, Puresteel Hammer, Izzet Murktide


 January 21: Magic Online Champions Showcase Season 3
 Players: 8
 Winner: Bart Van Etten with Izzet Murktide
 Top 8: Izzet Murktide, Zoo Domain, Zoo Domain, Jeskai Breach, EldraTron, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Aggro, Jeskai Breach


 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), BurnCollected Chord (aka Creatures Toolbox), Crashing Footfalls (aka Temur Rhinos), CreativityCreatures 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, Orzhov 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).

 Update: The results are in and we have a confident winner of the virtual "2022 Best Modern Deck" award: Izzet Murktide. In the short period the explosive blue-red concoction is even more successful, currently owning a 15% of the meta – which is definitely territory where in Modern we start using adjectives like "dominating". It's the combination of burn, powerful card advantage spells like Expressive Iteration, and creatures that benefit from us just playing the game. One of them is the namesake Murktide Regent, which might well drop as a two-mana 8/8 flyer in the mid-game. But there are versions of Izzet Aggro that don't even bother with the Dragon, focusing on always-cheap beaters with Monastery Swiftspear, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and/or Sprite Dragon. And of course, the card that most impacted Modern in the last year and a half, since the release of Modern Horizons 2: the one and only Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Which is a main engine of another very successful list at the moment, Rakdos Aggro. Who would think a simple, flavorful callback to Kari Zev's pet monkey would prove so meta-shattering?


 This said, the Modern meta is always robust. Old decks never really stop scoring placements at major events. So in the last quarter we see elderly citizens like Amulet Titan and Azorius Control still asserting themselves like it's 2015, while more recent, but firmly established combo decks like Puresteel Hammer and Creativity reclaim a sizeable share of the meta in face of all that hyper-efficient monkey-fueled aggro. The cascading quirkiness of Crashing Footfalls is also still well positioned, as is Jeskai Breach, which is enjoying  a resurgence.

 Among the latest introductions, Domain is shifting a bit. Now it's basically a Naya Aggro list based around Territorial Kavu and Scion of Draco but also Nishoba Brawler and its glorious ancestor Wild Nacatl. Of course Ravavan is there, too. Why shouldn't he be?


 Conversely, one of the most ancient Modern residents is the family of lists that descend from Birthing Pod and are collectively known as Creatures Toolbox. They usually feature a way to access such toolboox, plus a creature-based combo to end the game. This two-color variant reduces the former angle to a bare minimum, just employing Eladamri's Call as a tutor to hand, and Postmortem Lunge as a non-conditional Unearth, in case some combo piece ended up in the graveyard. There are different wincons in the list, including a Stoneforge Mystic package, but the main plan involves the well-oiled infinite mana machine generated by Devoted Druid in the presence of Vizier of Remedies. The Druid also comboes well with Extraction Specialist, as it turns out. These plans have a lot of contingencies.


 Exploring the depths of the Modern meta. Here's a rare combo deck centered on obscure Modern Horizons 2 spell Calibrated Blast and a lot of creatures with high mana value, including playsets of all three 15-ers available in the format (both the 16-er Draco and the remaining 15-er Earthquake Dragon aren't legal in Modern. Draco is represented by its Scion, though). Throes of Chaos is an extra way to cascade into Blast. The plan is likely not consistent enough to make a real dent in the meta, but it looks like a fun build for sure, if perhaps too much one-note.


 Another unusual deck is this Big Red with Obosh, the Preypiercer as a companion. Big Red, by which we mean a "monored beats" list with a taller curve, has not really been a thing in the meta in a long time, if ever. To be fair, it still isn't, but smashing at a more midrange pace and disrupting the opponent with classic Blood Moon always feels different enough to be intriguing. But of course, Ragavan is also there. That damn monkey's inescapable.


 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