Modern Horizons 2 has been fully previewed, and it’s time to jump right into the best part of any set release: brewing decks! Today, we’re going to go over five new or significantly upgraded decks for Modern. We’ll cover everything from beatdown to draw go, and even some combo to spice up your life.
Domain Zoo is an archetype that saw play in the early days of Modern. It leans on the power of cards like Tribal Flames in combination with powerful early creatures to win the game quickly. The trick is making sure your cards benefit from all the different land types in your mana base; this is why early versions of this deck relied on creatures like Kird Ape and Wild Nacatl.
Modern Horizons 2 gives us two new creatures to play with: Scion of Draco and Territorial Kavu. These two creatures are early threats that immediately take over the battlefield, out-scaling every threat at their mana cost. Both creatures make it incredibly hard for your opponent to stabilize — even with cards like Tarmogoyf, which have historically been the best at blocking early.
Domain Zoo decks have historically had a large amount of one-drops to build that pressure up quickly. However, that’s changing now that the Triomes have joined Modern. The Ikoria land cycle allows us to easily assemble the full five basic land types as early as turn two, provided that you fetch one up on turn one. We do have Noble Hierarch in the deck, but since our three-drops don’t care about land types, you can simply curve out, then play your Triome on turn three for the full effect.
Blue-Black Control is an archetype that has always had potential in Modern, but it often lacks the tools to win. You can have complete control over the game, but it will often slip through your fingers while you try to attack with your Snapcaster ten times. The addition of Counterspell with MH2 makes it easier than ever to avoid losing the game, but the question remains: how do we win?
Fortunately, Modern Horizons 2 has supplied a few more cards that can help. A Reanimator package is just what this archetype needs, and Unmarked Grave and Persist are the new Entomb/Reanimate. The “nonlegendary” clause on both of these cards means you can’t reanimate something like Griselbrand, but it does open the door to so many cards that never saw play before.
I’ve opted for three main targets for Persist in this deck. Wurmcoil Engine and Grave Titan are two threats that take over games in specific match-ups, with a small amount of overlap. Unlike some targets in other Reanimator decks, they have the added benefit of being easily castable, in case you need to maneuver around graveyard hate. Our last target is Archon of Cruelty, a new-to-Modern card that is looking to be a big player in the format. It was seemingly designed to be a target for Persist, and it’s a nice catch-all that can completely drain an opponent of resources. You also have the ability to Persist a Snapcaster if you need a certain spell back from the yard, but that’s not the main game plan here.
This deck will benefit more as the metagame narrows, and over time, you can start exploring more powerful silver bullets. Until then, I like having a more broad range of threats so our cards will be as impactful as possible.
This deck is one you might remember from the Field of the Dead days. If you’re new to Modern, this deck’s aim is to win with Valakut triggers with some help from Primeval Titan, Elvish Reclaimer, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. But even if you’re a Valakut aficionado, the deck may have changed since you last played it, and it’ll be getting a boost with Modern Horizons 2.
The biggest addition to the deck is Titania, Protector of Argoth. The deck was really missing the fair game plan it had with Field of the Dead; sometimes, you just need to put pressure on the opponent on the board. Titania does that while working with cards like Reclaimer and Knight of the Reliquary that we’re already interested in playing. Titania also gives us some built-in protection from cards like Stone Rain. Once you get her in play, it will become clear very quickly why she is such a powerhouse in this sort of deck.
Cat Combo is one of my favorite Modern decks to play for fun. It does a powerful Splinter Twin impersonation while being proactive and playing to the battlefield instead of on the stack. The deck has also benefited from some recent innovation pre-MH2 and now has a way to gain infinite life. With an Auriok Champion in play, you can have a Felidar Guardian and Glasspool Mimic flicker each other back and forth until you gain all the life you want. This allows us to build even more synergy into the deck and have back-up combos, forcing opponents to respect this deck even more than they had to previously.
With Imperial Recruiter joining Modern from Modern Horizons 2 this deck finally has a way to consistently find these pieces. Recruiter can tutor for every combo piece the deck has outside of Saheeli — but typically, if we assemble infinite life, finding Saheeli is a small ask. We also got the powerful new evoke spell Solitude, which allows us to have a zero-mana answer to any creature. Add in Skyclave Apparition, and now we have a small flicker subtheme to push this deck over the edge. Charming Prince and Ephemerate are two additional ways to accrue extra value and make each of our creatures a must-answer.
Hollow One is an old fan favorite from late-2018 Modern that was phased out a bit when the original Modern Horizons hit the format. This time around, thankfully, the deck got a few new toys to up the power level.
First up is Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar — which, besides being an easy name to write on your deck registration sheet, is a nice addition to this deck. Asmor (as I’ll be calling them for the rest of the article) plays like a budget Hollow One, so you’ll have far fewer turns where you’re just spinning your wheels discarding cards. Asmor also offers another turn-one play, assuming you can draw a Street Wraith, so it can also fill the same role as Flameblade Adept. While Asmor doesn’t do any one thing incredibly well, they do fill a lot of holes in this deck.
Asmor also gives us access to The Underworld Cookbook, and we can unlock the full potential of this deck by maximizing its impact. For starters, the Cookbook is a discard outlet; any additional copies of Asmor that we draw will be very easy to cast, and it will also allow us to consistently cast our Hollow One for three mana. While that’s not the most exciting proposition on the surface, veterans of Hollow One will tell you how often your high-cost cards can get stuck in your hand if you don’t have enough lands in play. You can also cash in your Cookbook for a Hollow One or a Gurmag Angler in your graveyard, which is great if the game goes long and you need another threat.
Rakdos Headliner is the last big get for this deck. At first glance, its ability may seem like a drawback, but in this deck, discarding to pay the echo cost allows you to very easily curve into a turn three Hollow One. When you factor in the obvious Asmor implications, this card easily earns its keep in a Hollow One deck. It’s just so efficient and does everything you need it to do so perfectly.
Modern is a vast format, and there are so many new decks you can explore. Hopefully this was a great starting point for you to get started brewing and playing! If you’re looking for even more Modern decklists to try with MH2, read Part 2 of this article by Ally Warfield!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.