Welcome back for the January 2022 edition of Modern Tier List! Over the last month, we’ve seen three decks really separate themselves from the field, making for a much smaller A Tier than we’re used to. That means that several of the heavy hitters are getting relegated to B Tier this month, while some combo decks are starting to fight their way up the ranks.
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.
Modern has had plenty of S tier de Modern has had plenty of S-Tier decks in the past, but I don’t currently believe that is the case. Modern is fairly open as far as what decks are competitive, and as such, we don’t have anything in S Tier this time. Similarly, I don’t believe that there are any decks currently in D Tier; most Modern decks are cohesive enough that they land in C Tier.
If you want to see how I ranked things last month, you can find that here.
This is the smallest group of A Tier decks that we’ve seen in a while. Grixis Death’s Shadow, Hammer Time and Four-Color Yorion have separated themselves from the pack over the last month. A tempo deck, an aggro-combo deck, and a value midrange deck making up the A Tier is a sign of a balanced and healthy metagame.
All three of the A Tier decks are well-established at this point, so this week, I’m going to focus on decks that have seen recent movement. If you’d like more information on any of these decks, you can check out our deck guides below:
This month, we saw a handful of decks fall from A Tier into B Tier, most notably Izzet Murktide, Amulet Titan, and Temur Footfalls. Those decks are still solid options, but they haven’t put up the same results as the A Tier decks recently and aren’t positioned quite as well.
While Izzet Murktide is still a strong contender in any Modern tournament, it’s simply outclassed by Grixis Death’s Shadow at the moment. Both decks occupy a similar space as disruptive tempo decks, but subpar Hammer Time and Four-Color Yorion match-ups continue to be thorns in Murktide’s side. That being said, Izzet Murktide has plenty of good match-ups across the rest of the field. Should players begin to move back toward Archmage’s Charm and away from Spell Pierce, the Grixis Death’s Shadow and Hammer Time match-ups may get closer to even.
Jund Saga is still in B Tier this month, but things are looking up for the deck with the addition of Elvish Reclaimer. Recently, Jund Saga players have moved away from Dragon’s Rage Channeler in favor of Reclaimer, which comes with an important second point of toughness to dodge Wrenn and Six. Elvish Reclaimer has a couple other perks, including the ability to tutor Urza’s Saga, which will make your own Wrenn and Sixes slightly better. Plus, it finally gives Jund Saga enough green cards to justify playing Force of Vigor in the sideboard, which is a huge pickup against Hammer Time.
Like Murktide, Jund isn’t performing at the same level as Grixis Death’s Shadow, despite having a similar game plan. But if that changes, it could climb back out of B Tier next month.
Living End has started to make a comeback over the last month, thanks to some good match-ups against A-Tier decks. Living End has a solid Hammer Time match-up because the latter deck needs to commit a lot of resources, leaving them vulnerable to an instant-speed Living End. Against Four-Color Yorion, Living End can apply more pressure than a few Solitudes can overcome, and the Yorion deck doesn’t have many good ways to reset the board once they’re behind.
As more fair decks dominate the format, Living End and other graveyard combo decks tend to creep back into the picture. I’d keep an eye on this one in the next month or so.
It may seem surprising to see Amulet Titan in B Tier this month; it tends to perform well in fair metagames. However, this fair metagame isn’t exactly Primeval Titan-friendly. There are Unholy Heats as far as the eye can see, and Dress Downs hiding around every corner. And thanks to the success of Four-Color Yorion, we’re also seeing more Blood Moons in sideboards.
Amulet still beats most other Modern decks on the axis of raw power, but the current environment is just too hostile for it. Barring a significant metagame shift, I’d expect to see this deck in B Tier for a bit.
I always like to highlight one deck to watch from C Tier, and this month’s pick is certainly on the upswing.
It’s been a while since Dredge has had any real competitive relevance. The deck didn’t get worse per se, so much as it failed to keep up with the world around it. Both Modern Horizons sets were incredibly impactful for many Modern decks, but Dredge never gained anything of substance from them. However, that isn’t stopping players from picking up Dredge again to punish the highly interactive decks at the top of the ladder.
Good news for Dredge players: You don’t need new cards to target the fair decks if the new cards in the fair decks still don’t beat Dredge. You can expect favorable match-ups against both Four-Color Yorion and Grixis Death’s Shadow from A Tier, as well as other popular decks like Jund Saga, Izzet Murktide, Azorius Control, and Elementals. None of these decks are great at interacting with the graveyard, and they also don’t deal with recursive threats well. As long as Modern is fair and interactive, Dredge will have a fighting chance, but will suffer if combo decks pick up steam.
I find it exciting that there is still movement happening in Modern this far out from a major set release. I know for many players SCG Con Philadelphia is on the horizon, so keeping an eye on the Modern metagame will be a key to success that weekend. I know that I’ll be keeping a close eye on the results for the next couple weeks to make sure I’m up to date going into the event.
As always, you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions and comments. See you next week!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.