With Modern Horizons in and Bridge from Below out, Modern has once again become a wild west of deck choices and matchups. But what does that mean for the upcoming Mythic Championship? More than a few decks have risen to the top of the metagame; here are the ten that are poised to make the biggest splash.
10. B/R Skelemental
Fresh from Modern Horizons and M20, Lightning Skelemental, Seasoned Pyromancer, and Thunderkin Awakener are packing quite a punch. Add early hand disruption and Unearth, and you get some explosive creature-based kills.
9. Eldrazi Tron
Eldrazi Tron has seen a major resurgence in the last month. This deck can establish an early board presence and outsize other creature-based strategies with creatures like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. Eldrazi Tron also got a new toy in War of the Spark with the addition of Karn, the Great Creator. Karn’s ability to tutor up Mycosynth Lattice and other hate cards enables the deck to press its advantage and close out games.
8. Grixis Urza
Urza, Lord High Artificer has been enabling more artifact strategies in Modern, from Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek to Whir of Invention prison archetypes. Grixis Urza combines all of these moving parts into one synergistic deck. Recent lists have been splashing white for Teferi, Time Raveler, and taking advantage of cards like Goblin Engineer, Tribute Mage and even Arcum’s Astrolabe. While the deck is difficult to master, it pays incredible dividends if you can play it well.
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis may have been set back by the banning of Bridge from Below, but he is rising once again. In addition to finding a home as a one- or two-of in more traditional Dredge lists, the original Bridge from Below style decks are now finding success playing cards like Hedron Crab and Hollow One. If competitors cut back on their graveyard hate because of the Bridge from Below ban, they could be in for a nasty surprise.
6. UW Control
UW Control gained a powerful addition in Force of Negation, and with more fair decks gaining popularity, it is poised to rise to the top of the meta. More importantly, this is one of the decks that can benefit the most from both the London Mulligan and open decklists. UW Control is the most reactive deck in the format, and it should be able to react well to whatever it faces this weekend.
Seemingly back from the dead, Humans has also benefited from the return of fairer strategies to Modern. Though the deck has only gained a single new card from recent sets (Unsettled Mariner), it still has access to some of the most disruptive creatures in the format: Reflector Mage, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Meddling Mage. However, because the deck relies on amassing a critical board presence, it can be weak to the board wipes or bounce spells (we’ll get to Thing in the Ice later).
With decks like Jund, Tron and UW Control gaining popularity, it’s only logical for Burn to see an uptick as well. Preying on decks that take awhile to set up – or decks take damage from their own manabases – Burn is a great choice to punish greedy strategies.
No, this metagame breakdown is not from five years ago. Jund’s recent increase in popularity can be credited to Modern Horizons’ Hexdrinker, Seasoned Pyromancer, and Wrenn and Six. Jund’s ability to play an attrition game, with powerful creatures and hand disruption, makes it a frontrunner in deck popularity.
As players tested the London Mulligan at Mythic Championship II, it seemed that Tron – a deck that rewards consistency – saw the greatest benefit. I don’t anticipate this changing as we head into Barcelona. With the addition of Karn, the Great Creator – and the accompanying suite of sideboard cards – Tron can find the answers it needs more consistently than ever.
1. Izzet Phoenix
Izzet Phoenix has risen from the ashes again! (See what we did there?) Aria of Flame has been a welcome addition to help close out games in a deck that traditionally fell to having too few threats. While Aria is similar to Thing in the Ice in function, it’s much more difficult to remove.
While they may not be the most popular choices going into Barcelona, there are a few more decks I’m keeping an eye on. I’ve written about Neoform combo before, and it still has the potential to win on turn two. There’s the new “Snowshift” deck, which takes advantage of Snow lands to fuel early Ice-Fang Coatls before snowballing(!) into Bring to Light and Scapeshift. Plus, Mono-Red Phoenix, a more aggressive Arclight Phoenix deck, has also been gaining popularity, and so has Goblins, with new additions Sling-Gang Lieutenant, Goblin Matron, and Pashalik Mons!
This may be the healthiest Modern has ever been heading into a Mythic Championship, with a variety of strategies looking to attack the meta in different ways. If players are able to optimize their builds to prey on this slower and fairer metagame, they are setting themselves up for success as they head into Barcelona.
One thing’s for sure: I’m excited to see how this format shakes out. The decks we see coming out of Mythic Championship IV will affect the upcoming Modern MCQ season, and the Modern format as we know it.
A Spike at heart, Chantelle spends her free time prepping for tournaments, working toward the ever-elusive Mythic Championship, and championing other competitive ladies. She’s a combo aficionado and seasoned aggro deck player, and Standard and Modern are her preferred formats. Growing and improving as a player, both technically and in her mental game, are of the utmost importance to her.