Modern is in a place of constant innovation right now. The release of Modern Horizons 2 has shaken the format up so much and every week we are seeing people try new and exciting things. Today, we’ll go over three decks that have been flying under the radar, but that have a ton of potential in the format.
If you’re looking to out-grind the rest of the Modern format, Naya Yorion is the deck for you. While it doesn’t have as many reactionary tools as a deck like Esper, it can lean on creatures to provide a board advantage or lock opponents out. Creatures like Magus of the Moon and Eidolon of Rhetoric look to slow other decks down, while Skyclave Apparition and Solitude answer problematic threats. This deck also has a backdoor combo of Kiki-Jiki and Restoration Angel to threaten a win out of nowhere while also contributing to our massive amount of blink effects.
These sorts of decks are often written off as “just for fun,” but Naya Yorion might just have enough tools to become a real player. Modern is a format where you can play what you love, and while some players always come with the most tuned decks, even they are often ill-equipped to handle decks like this. My biggest concern about this deck is that it’s a Yorion build; it may turn out that we want the extra cards and the payoff Yorion provides, but I would like to explore a 60-card version of this deck, too. That said, this deck has a vast set of available tools, and it’ll be easy to iterate on it and customize it for any expected metagame.
Much like our last deck, this one is looking to grind out games, but with a much more conservative approach. Instead of stretching our colors and trying to fill the board with creatures, this deck tries to clear the way for just a handful of creatures that generate value by attacking.
Since it was previewed, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer has been touted as one of the best one-drops of all time, and it’s maintaining that reputation so far. The play pattern of “play your Ragavan, then kill everything in your way” seemed obvious, but it took time to understand just how hard it can be to kill Ragavan if you’re dashing him in a deck like this. It’s very easy to spend your early turns answering your opponents’ threats, then dashing Ragavan over and over again to dodge sorcery-speed removal. While this line of play is stronger in decks like Jeskai that have access to Counterspell, it’s still one that shines in this deck.
Dauthi Voidwalker initially got mixed reviews, but as more people have played with it, it’s turned out to be a complete powerhouse with Lurrus. Voidwalker doesn’t just shut off some strategies (including some that are typically quite good against fair decks) — it’s also a threat that is hard to answer, given that it’s almost unblockable in the Modern format. Voidwalker has been taking Modern by storm, and this is one of the best Voidwalker decks I’ve seen yet.
The last and final new card this deck got was Dragon’s Rage Channeler, which is doing so much for this archetype. In addition to being a reliable Delver of Secrets after turn three, it also helps enable graveyard synergies and prevents flooding out (which is always a huge problem for midrange decks). Don’t sleep on this card!
Each of these new creatures generates some form of card advantage, and that’s what makes this deck so strong. Rakdos Midrange easily clears the way and looks to take over the game, all while having a very condensed curve. This deck recommendation might age poorly — not because the deck will turn out to be bad, but because it might not be underrated for long.
Mostly Mono-Red Prowess
I’ve been a big fan of Prowess decks for a while now. They’ve always been able to grind a bit more than traditional Burn decks, but they’re typically just as fast.
Recently, Izzet has become the dominant build of Prowess. For a while, Prowess decks could do large chunks of damage like their Burn counterparts, but they are much more susceptible to clogged board states. Going into blue provides access to Sprite Dragon — a two-mana, evasive play that can quickly clock opponents.
The other big reason to play Izzet recently has been Expressive Iteration. Iteration allows Prowess decks to stay stocked up on gas throughout the game. It’s like Light up the Stage, but you’re able to cast it pre-combat much more easily to get some bonus prowess triggers.
Dragon’s Rage Channeler has also been a huge upgrade for this deck, has allowed the deck to have another flyer and a much lower curve. As we mentioned earlier, Channeler helps prevent flooding, which is pivotal in a deck like Prowess, and it also doubles as another one-drop, increasing your range of keepable hands.
While Stormwing Entity was often an easy turn three play that could shore up this deck’s weakness to Chalice of the Void, it slowed the deck down significantly; having just a few more one-drop creatures we can deploy will help this deck quickly take the board and keep pushing damage. You still get access to the same powerful spells that other Izzet builds have, but a much lower curve — which is super appealing for a deck like this.
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.