Modern Metagame Update: December 2020

Michael RappModern

Welcome back for the third monthly Modern Metagame Update here at Card Kingdom! On the second Friday of each month, I’ll be recapping major MTGO tournament results from the month prior. Let’s get right into the tournament results!

Tournament Results

Tournaments and the data they provide paint a clear picture of what decks are succeeding in the Modern metagame. Since we have access to only digital Magic at the moment, I’ll be taking data from MTGO Challenges and Preliminaries, which tend to be more representative of the top of the metagame than Leagues. 

Publication qualifications that Wizards of the Coast uses are as follows:

Preliminary events: 3-2 or better
Challenge events: Top 32
Showcase events: Top 32

Due to the nature of how decklist data is published — and the wide variety of decks in Modern — much of the data has a sample size too small to use. I’ve chosen to put the bar at fifteen or more publications in the last month so that we have some data to actually chew on. While the decks with fewer than fifteen published results are all still valid decks — some of them even winning premier events (I’ll cover that later) — it would simply provide an overload of information.

This month, we had over 70 different archetypes show up in the MTGO results, and if that isn’t emblematic of the Modern metagame, I don’t know what is.

DeckMonthly Change
4-Color OmnathNo Change
Rakdos ShadowNo Change
Heliod Company+4
Mono Red Prowess+4
TronPreviously Unranked
Ad NauseamPreviously Unranked
Amulet Titan-2
HammertimePreviously Unranked
Oops All Spells-3
Jund Death’s ShadowPreviously Unranked

4-Color Omnath and Rakdos Shadow continue to be the best performing decks in Modern, which is no surprise given the increased card quality that midrange decks have access to. However, 4-Color Omnath or Rakdos Shadow both have weaknesses to combo decks, and the rest of the metagame is trying to capitalize. While I think Rakdos Shadow is better against combo decks by virtue of having a fast enough clock to race the opponent when paired with minimal disruption, Omnath decks are genuinely going to struggle without the same speed. That being said, “big mana” decks like Tron and Eladamri’s Toolbox are better against Rakdos Shadow than they are against 4-Color Omnath, as they can go over the top of Death’s Shadow more easily.

4-Color Omnath’s metagame percentage took a sizable hit this month, going from 11.5% to 8.7%. Compared to last month, the top decks have a much more evenly distributed spread, indicative of a more balanced metagame as we get near the top. That being said, things go awry quickly as you descend into the less popular decks, but that’s a common feature of large formats — there are always going to be some lopsided matchups. 

Combo decks like Oops All Spells, Hammertime, and Ad Nauseam benefit from the rise inbig mana strategies. Traditionally, these matchups favor the combo decks: linear, big mana decks don’t always have the right tools to stop combo decks, and they usually aren’t fast enough to drag race them. This means that combo is generally well-positioned in Modern right now.

In last month’s update, we found decks that could race combo and decks that could play Blood Moon at a low cost were both in great shape. The two best decks in this regard are Rakdos Shadow and Mono-Red Prowess, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them surrounded by combo and big mana decks — the exact prey they’re looking for. 

Notably, most of the creature-based decks like Humans and Death & Taxes have fallen off the radar. These decks can’t really hang with Mono-Red Prowess and Death’s Shadow, which are both able to pick off creatures and eventually dominate the board. 

Event Winning Decks

I want to shout out the players that successfully navigated their way through the major MTGO events in order to earn their deck some hardware. 

Dredge by Sodeq

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Eladamri’s Toolbox by Xwhale

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Mono-Red Prowess by Tweedel

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Hammertime by billster47

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Eladamri’s Toolbox by SoulStrong

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Rakdos Shadow by Bayesta_93

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Bant Stoneblade by marcofabrizi

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As usual, any deck listed above is a solid choice, but I do think that we have some outliers. 4-Color Omnath and Rakdos Shadow are still the best overall picks, but if you’re looking for something a little different, I recommend Heliod Company and Ad Nauseam.

Heliod Company by JUJUBEAN_2004

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Heliod Company occupies a nice middle ground in the format. The baked-in combo can thwart non-interactive decks, and against decks with more disruption, it can function as a reasonable aggro deck. 

Ad Nauseam by Selami 

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Ad Nauseam is a combo deck that is strong against the other combo decks. Angel’s Grace will save you if your opponent goes all-in on their combo and has no follow-up. Phyrexian Unlife will provide a similar form of protection against most other combo decks, but offers a great deal of extra effective health against aggro. The downside of Ad Nauseam is that it can be one of the slower combo decks, but despite that, I think it’s a strong pick. 


We’ve made it through another month, and we’ve seen quite a bit of movement throughout Modern as the metagame adapts. Even the top decks don’t have a truly dominant metagame percentage at the moment, so there’s potential for more churn in the coming months. 

Hopefully this guide aids your deck choices for whatever upcoming tournaments you have. Do you think I missed any sleeper decks? Be sure to let me know on Twitter at @RappaciousOne! Until next week, may all your hands be snap keeps, and stay safe.