Welcome back for the April 2022 edition of the Modern tier list! Since the last update SCGCON Dallas, and NRG Fort Wayne took place. These events combined with the normal MTGO challenges give us a fair bit of data to analyze. A couple more decks have made their way to S-tier this month as the metagame solidifies. As usual we find ourselves with a pretty even spread of A- and B-tier decks, with the remainder falling into C-tier.
Before we dive into the list, here’s a quick refresher on the tier list grading criteria:
S-Tier: Decks that are above the rest. This is normally the default “best deck in the format” and the deck(s) you should have in mind when building or picking your deck.
A-Tier: Decks that are great. These decks are knocking on the door of S-tier, but they may have a small weakness that keeps them out of the upper echelon.
B-Tier: Good, solid decks. You wouldn’t be surprised if a B-tier deck takes down an event, but they have bigger weaknesses or liabilities than the decks in A-tier.
C-Tier: Decks that are totally fine, but not notable. These decks aren’t exactly tearing up the tournament or ladder scene, but you should expect to face them every now and then.
D-Tier: Decks with strong elements, but that generally aren’t great choices compared to the rest of the format.
April brings a growing S-tier, Murktide and Four Color Yorion return, while Temur Rhinos, Living End, and Yawgmoth join the ranks. Izzet Murktide lists are still pretty close to the stock lists, occasionally Seasoned Pyromancer and Fury will show up, but more or less the same things are going on.
Four Color Yorion still has a lot of variation when it comes to individual card choices. However, there are still two distinct styles when it comes to building Four Color Yorion. The more controlling builds have Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Versions with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Eladamri’s Call also show up to be more proactive.
Temur Rhinos has had a good looking stock list for a while, but recently a version with main deck Archmage’s Charm finished in the top four of SCG Dallas, piloted by Brittney Davis. Archmage’s Charm seems to be on plan for Temur Rhinos. Flexible interaction that costs three or more—and can draw cards when interaction isn’t needed—sounds good to me!
Living End won the NRG $20k in Fort Wayne at the beginning of April, along with a handful of MTGO results, earning its slot in the S-tier as it pulled away from many other decks in Modern. Colossal Skyturtle is a new tool for Living End from Neon Dynasty. Not only is Colossal Skyturtle a large flying creature that goes to the graveyard easily, it also beats hate pieces. Skyturtle can make your opponent pick up their Thalia, or other problematic creatures with the blue channel ability. The green channel ability is a Regrowth, which is most useful in interactive matchups to rebuy.
Yawgmoth has been steadily climbing the ranks over the last couple of Months. Recently Yawgmoth players have found quite a bit of success, the above version won the Modern 10k at SCG Dallas in the hands of Steven Yean. Yawgmoth also won both MTGO challenges last weekend, with one of them being a Yawgmoth mirror in the finals.
Yawgmoth is particularly well positioned right now given its strength against Ragavan and other small creatures. Attacking with Ragavan looks much worse when Young Wolf is on the other side of the table. Grist, the Hunger Tide is a powerful way to clean up singular large creatures, such as Murktide Regent, Primeval Titan, Death’s Shadow, and Omnath, Locus of Creation all while leaving a planeswalker behind. The real strength of Yawgmoth is that it can combo kill, but it also just has a reasonable beat down plan if the combo route isn’t feasible. Yawgmoth is powerful, resilient, and has multiple angles of attack, all signs of a S-tier deck.
Getting into the A-tier we see some familiar faces. Hammer disappeared for a bit after the Lurrus ban, but has been making its way back to prominence. Most Hammer decks at the moment are Azorius, splashing for The Reality Chip, Spell Pierce, Teferi, Time Raveler, and often Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. Yawgmoth, Living End, and Rhinos make it hard for Hammer to join the pantheon of S-tier decks given the murderer’s row of bad matchups there.
Amulet has been hanging around A-tier for a couple of months now. Amulet has some undeniably powerful draws, but Murktide, Death’s Shadow, and various Solitude decks keep Amulet in check. Unless something big changes with Streets of New Capenna, I’d expect Amulet to stay in the A-tier for the foreseeable future.
Death’s Shadow, much like Hammer, took a hit with the banning of Lurrus, and it is still trying to figure itself out. Lists cropped up playing Jegantha and Kaito around the end of March, and those versions have been doing fine. A rough matchup with Yawgmoth, and Four Color Yorion, and a close matchup with Murktide keep Shadow in the A-tier. One thing to be on the lookout for is Shadow players experimenting with Shadow of Mortality in coming weeks.
Burn is the perennial A-tier deck, it is rarely great, but also rarely bad. Burn pops up more when midrange decks are popular, because those decks don’t often have the speed to keep up with Burn. Four Color Yorion is good for Burn, and Murktide is generally a favorable matchup as well.
Elementals may look a bit odd here, given Four Color Yorion is also high on the list. After falling off the Modern radar for the last few months while players opted for Four Color Yorion, Elementals has come back. Elementals is functionally the proactive version of Four Color Yorion, focused on more creatures, Eladamri’s Call, Ephemerate, and Risen Reef. Elementals punish opposing creature decks, while generating tons of value, making it hard for other midrange decks to go over the top. At the same time four copies of Solitude and Fury also make it tough for decks trying to go under Elementals. However, spell based decks tend to be quite good against Elementals.
B-tier is largely the tier for good Modern decks of the past. It isn’t that these decks can’t win tournaments, just that they probably won’t do so consistently. Azorius Control shows up here, every now and then it’ll put up a couple good results before going quiet again. Four Color Yorion just plays the control game better than Azorius Control at the moment.
Tron pops up every now and then to beat up on Four Color Yorion, Rhinos, and other slower midrange/control decks. However, Hammer, Burn, and other proactive decks are enough to keep Tron from ascending any higher than B-tier most of the time.
Jund Saga fluctuates between A- and B-tier. Given that both Cascade decks are in S-tier, along with Yawgmoth, that puts Jund in a rough spot. Jund Saga’s calling card is grinding opponents to death with Urza’s Saga and Wrenn and Six, but the Cascade decks just don’t care much about that. Jund has little recourse outside of discard spells to beat the Cascade decks in game one, and even then Chalice of the Void, and Void Mirror aren’t particularly tough for Living End and Rhinos to deal with in games two and three.
Dredge is another deck that has been consistently rising through the ranks recently. As players continue to play Four Color Yorion, Murktide, Living End, and Hammer, Dredge just keeps getting better. Fair decks have basically always fallen prey to Dredge, as it shrugs off opposing removal and counterspells. If you’re going to beat Dredge you’ll need graveyard hate or a fast clock. Combo strategies like Yawgmoth and Belcher are also strong against Dredge. As long as the S-tier looks the way it does, I’d expect Dredge to keep showing up to play those matchups, while hoping to dodge combo.
C-tier decks just aren’t there, either on power level or positioning. I still wouldn’t be surprised if one of these decks showed up in a top 8 or even won an event, but they wouldn’t be my pick to do so. These decks include Hardened Scales, Eldrazi Tron, Indomitable Creativity, Mill, Reanimator, and Grinding Station.
Izzet Breach, or Grinding Station, is a combo deck that has been making the rounds lately that seems to have some promise. Grinding Station combined with Underworld Breach does a pretty convincing Splinter Twin impression. In fact Grinding Station is even built like Splinter Twin was. Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, Unholy Heat, Expressive Iteration, this is just a real Izzet deck that just happens to have the combo slotted in. This means that opponents not only have to respect the combo, but they can’t go too lean on answers for Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, and Urza’s Saga. If they commit to beating one plan too heavily, the other one should be effective.
That is all I have for today. Streets of New Capenna releases today, so I’m excited to see what if anything changes in the Modern landscape. I know as always I’ll be keeping a close eye on things as they develop, so that I can bring you the hottest trends as they happen! As always you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions, comments, and feedback. I’m off to Pittsburgh for the team sealed open, if you see me feel free to stop by and say hello! I’ll see everyone here next week!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.