Arguably Magic: The Gathering's most beloved format, Modern has seen many changes to its metagame in recent years. The format has become considerably faster with one-mana creatures like Dragon's Rage Channeler and Esper Sentinel running rampant across many decks. As a result, many longtime Modern favorites like Affinity, Humans, and Infect have fallen to the wayside.
In their place stand a number of decks that contain incredibly cheap removal and threats as well as a handful of decks featuring nearly impossible-to-beat combos. As the Modern format gets older and older, decks playing so-called "fair" strategies become less and less effective as can be seen in Magic's older eternal formats. All that being said, let's take a closer look at the format's current metagame champions.
Despite so-called "fair" decks struggling more and more as the format ages, Jund continues to prove its playability thanks to its flexibility. The ability to answer the cards in your opponent's hand through Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Liliana of the Veil still holds up to this day, and Tarmogoyf remains to be an impressive threat.
However, Jund's continued success in the format is largely thanks to the new planeswalker Wrenn and Six. This card allows you to continue to build your manabase despite Liliana forcing you to eventually discard your hand. More importantly, its minus ability is a surprisingly perfect answer to the format's ever-increasing number of one-mana threats. Long live Jund.
9 Death's Shadow
Death's Shadow completely dominated the Modern metagame in 2016 with the printing of Temur Battle Rage in Fate Reforged. When used in combination with Become Immense and Death's Shadow, these three cards provided a reliable turn three kill that shook the format to its roots. Since then, Death's Shadow decks have completely changed though due to the welcome banning of Gitaxian Probe in 2017.
Without this life loss sorcerery, losing as much life as was necessary simply became too difficult for the deck to accomplish. Furthermore, the ability to know when your opponent had removal was huge when your deck's whole strategy is to kill in a single combat step by going all in. Nowadays, Death's Shadow decks play a much more traditional strategy of playing cards that lower your life total, sticking a big Death's Shadow, and then churning through any blockers in the way thanks to removal spells and the incredible size of your Death's Shadow. Most recently, Dimir Death's Shadow decks making use of important blue cards like Murktide Regent and Archmage's Charm have been the next evolution in this deck's storied history.
8 Amulet Titan
Speaking of storied histories, Amulet Titan is another deck that once ruled the Modern world back before Summer Bloom was banned. After this devastating blow, Amulet Titan went largely unseen for many years all the way up until early 2020. Since then, the deck has slowly taken up more and more of the Modern metagame, and now impressively boasts an around four percent metagame share.
One of the reasons this deck has been so slow to regain its prominence is the high difficulty of effectively piloting it. However, those who do take the time to understand Amulet Titan's intricate land-based lines are sure to have an advantage in the format both with and against the titan.
7 Crashing Footfalls
As is the case with many Modern decks, Crashing Footfalls is named after its namesake card. This is a sorcerery with suspend that players are able to cast immediately thanks to the well-used cascade mechanic. As a result, players are able to play two 4/4 green rhinos with trample as early as turn three. As you might imagine, these rhinos are then quickly capable of ending the game.
The deck also leans on Force of Negation and Archmage's Charm in order to protect its rhinos once they come down. As far as cards being abused with cascade go, it's nice to be able to say that Crashing Footfalls isn't all that bad.
6 4c Living End
There are some other cards being abused with cascade that are so bad though, and it's namely Living End. This deck uses the same strategy as Crashing Footfalls, but looks to go the more controlling route of cascading into a Living End after filling its graveyard.
While it usually takes some time to build up this combo, the deck is capable of going off as early as turn three as well. All things considered, resolving a Living End with this deck is often a game-ending line, making it one of the least interactive matchups in the format.
As the newest tribal deck to break onto the Modern scene, Elementals has most tribal lovers jumping for joy. Modern Horizons 2 saw the printing of many powerful new elemental creature cards, including Endurance, Fury, and Solitude.
These cards have been put to use alongside the already incredibly powerful Omnath, Locus of Creation to create a powerful shell that's capable of interacting with all kinds of strategies thanks to the evoke keyword.
4 Hammer Time
When Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned, many players were convinced the card would immediately make its presence known in the Modern format. However, it's only fairly recently that the well-remembered mystic has emerged in the mainboard of the funnily named Hammer Time deck.
This deck makes incredible use of equipment by combining equipment-relevant creature cards like Ingenious Smith and Puresteel Paladin, the ridiculously undercosted Colossus Hammer, and abuse of the enchantment Sigarda's Aid.
Whether you're familiar with Modern or not, chances are you're familiar with the infamous Burn deck. This is a deck that seeks to play Magic for as little amount of time as possible by reducing your opponent's life to zero as early as turn three.
The deck features a handful of aggressive and cheap creatures including Monastery Swiftspear, Goblin Guide, and Eidolon of the Great Revel, and leverages their aggression to the max by filling the rest of the deck with nearly 30 cheap burn cards that deal face damage. Burn has been a part of the Modern metagame since the format's inception, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. If you're wondering if a deck has a chance at making it in the Modern format, a good litmus test is to see if it can consistently beat Burn.
Yawgmoth is the newest combo deck to break into the Modern scene. Combo decks have a long history throughout Modern, and Yawgmoth is simply the newest iteration of this both beloved and despised strategy. The idea here is to use the undying keyword on cards like Young Wolf, Strangleroot Geist, and Geralf's Messenger in combination with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician's activated ability, as well as sometimes Blood Artist, in order to kill your opponent with an infinite loop.
The combo works if you have Yawgmoth, Blood Artist, and two Young Wolves on the field, or a Yawgmoth, Geralf's Messenger, and one Young Wolf on the field. Alternatively, the deck also plays perfectly fine without winning via the combo. Lastly, cards like Eldritch Evolution and Chord of Calling provide the consistency of draw that combo decks like this need.
1 Murktide Regent
Last but certainly not least, Murktide Regent is the current king of Modern with an overwhelming near 15 percent metashare. This is a classic blue-red tempo deck with aggressive threats like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, the newly printed Ledger Shredder, and the namesake Murktide Regent providing cheap, evasive ways to bring your opponent's life total to zero.
Combine these powerhouse threats with classic interaction such as Lightning Bolt, Counterspell, and the incredible draw card Expressive Iteration, and you're left with a deck that can successfully handle anything that's thrown at it. Like Jund but better, it's Murktide Regent's versatile and flexible list that makes it the current best deck in the format.
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