Modern Tier List: September 2022
Welcome back for the September 2022 edition of Card Kingdom’s Modern Tier List! In September, we have all of the normal MTGO challenges, a Modern Showcase on MTGO and the Grand Open Qualifier in Paris.
Dominaria United has settled in now, and we’re beginning to see Modern shift along with those new additions. This has caused some shake ups on this month’s tier list compared to previous months. Before we get into the tier list, I’d like to take a second to remind everyone of the 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.
As always, S-Tier decks are the best of the best and have separated themselves from the rest of Modern in terms of power and results. I would expect to see these decks at the top tables of any given Modern tournament, and would have a plan for them when selecting and building your deck.
Four-Color Yorion is a mainstay in S tier and has been talked to death at this point. But just to be complete, I’ll say it is still a cohesive pile of all of the most powerful cards in Modern.
Izzet Murktide is, at least in my opinion, the worst it has been in months. I actually almost bumped it down to A tier, but Murktide is still good enough at punishing many of the A tier and lower decks that I think it can stay in S tier for now.
The driver for this decline is actually Leyline Binding. The strength of Izzet Murktide came from how difficult it was to interact with Murktide Regent, given its high toughness and high mana cost, putting it out of range of most commonly played removal spells. Leyline Binding easily answers the frightening dragon, and on the cheap!
OK, so there is a new removal spell. That shouldn’t mean much, right? The answer is normally no, but decks like Creativity, Rhinos and Glimpse combo can now actually answer the fast clock that Murktide Regent presents with ease.
The cost associated with playing a Murktide Regent, especially early, puts quite a strain on your graveyard. And if it gets easily answered, you can end up floundering.
Indomitable Creativity, in multiple flavors, has been performing incredibly well as of late, putting up tons of finishes. The archetype won both Modern challenges on MTGO in the same weekend a couple of weeks ago.
Archon of Cruelty decks were around for a while before Creativity found actual success, but since then, something happened in Modern. For some reason, players just aren’t ready to deal with Archon of Cruelty anymore.
Part of it could be that more players picked up the deck, which means it ended up more streamlined — but it could also be that Murktide and other, similar tempo decks are on the decline, and Creativity beats up on the slower midrange decks. Whatever the reason may be, Creativity, whether it be Temur, Four Color or Grixis, has been doing well. I expect that to continue with Murktide on the decline.
Meanwhile, Jeskai Breach has been dominating paper tournaments, but for some reason it hasn’t shown up much on MTGO recently. I think it has to do with the combo requiring a lot of clicking, so players may be worried about timing out. Traditionally, decks like Heliod combo were underrepresented online for a similar reason.
Jeskai Breach made the finals of both events in a recent NRG weekend, and it won a SCG 10k. As time goes on, Jeskai Breach picks up more traction in paper tournaments. I imagine we’ll start to see it bleed into the online metagame. But as things stand, the deck is doing powerful things playing a strong, fair game and a strong combo game, making it difficult to defeat.
A Tier has a number of returning favorites. It is also affectionately the Cascade tier for this month as well, since all three of the Cascade decks are here.
I anticipate Living End or Glimpse Combo possibly moving up, in time, to beat up on Creativity and Four-Color Yorion. Yawgmoth and Hammer are both still solid decks that can play strong, fair games while threatening a combo kill if opponents don’t respect it. Burn perennially floats between A and B tier as it often functions as a litmus test for Modern, and having a good matchup Four-Color Yorion, and Creativity bodes well for Lava Spike.
Grixis Death’s Shadow has been resurfacing as Murktide declines. Part of the reason is that Leyline Binding isn’t nearly as bad for Shadow as it is for Murktide. Additionally, Murktide declining is good for Shadow, as Murktide was a slight favorite in that matchup.
As Murktide keeps declining, we’ll see more Cascade and combo decks to combat the rise in Four-Color Yorion, Grixis Shadow will have more good matchups showing up in the coming weeks.
The scam in Rakdos Scam isn’t perhaps the same scam from before, but the results speak for themselves. It feels like I can’t look at an MTGO top 8 lately without finding the deck among the lists. After all, the double Grief or double Fury results in the most powerful turn one in Modern.
Rakdos Scam absolutely annihilates creature decks, and it has a reasonable amount of game against synergy decks, as the mountain of discard can easily rip apart their plan.
B Tier decks tend to have somewhat fallen out of favor while still being completely reasonable. Amulet fell largely due to the high popularity of Izzet Murktide, but as Izzet Murktide declines a bit, we could see more Amulet Titan in coming weeks.
Goblins has found success winning a challenge recently with the addition of Rundvelt Hordemaster, giving the deck both the ability to grind more with the fair decks and making the combo easier.
Tron beats up on Four-color Yorion better than most decks in the format, though unfortunately it isn’t great against much else.
Azorius Control suffers from a bad Four-Color Yorion matchup, but its solid Murktide matchup has kept it afloat.
It has been exciting to see Modern shift more than it has in recent memory after the release of Dominaria United. As things continue to develop, I’ll keep an eye on things to keep everyone informed. As always, you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions, comments or feedback. I’ll see everyone back here for more Modern content soon!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.