You’ve seen my Historic brews — now get ready for me to wander into uncharted territory and brew new Modern decks! Mason Clark offered five new decks with Modern Horizons 2 yesterday, and today, I’m here with four of my own. I haven’t played the format in a while, but this set is sucking me back into Modern quickly! If you’re feeling the same way, get ready — the new cards will be here sooner than you think!
Kiki Exarch Combo
Splinter Twin is probably my all-time favorite Modern deck. While the deck’s signature card is still woefully banned in the format, Kiki Exarch decks have started to pop up here and there in Modern events again. Slowly, this archetype has accumulated new and powerful cards over the years, and Modern Horizons 2 is likely to push it back into the spotlight in Modern.
Let’s start off with Counterspell: one of the best counterspells ever printed in Magic (if not the best). You’ll certainly see this card all over the format in the next few months, and here, it allows Splinter Twin to play more like a control deck. I opted for four copies of Counterspell in this list, alongside Cryptic Command, Archmage’s Charm, and Remand. While some lists will be cutting Remand for Counterspell, I opted to play both; Remand still saves you time, counters an interactive spell from your opponent, and lets you draw a card, all of which is valuable when you’re trying to combo.
But what happens if one of your opponent’s spells resolves? Thankfully, you have a handful of ways to deal with your opponent’s permanents. This deck plays burn spells like Lightning Bolt, Flame Slash, and a new inclusion to Modern: Fire // Ice. The addition of Fire // Ice to Modern is particularly exciting because it gives you more options in a deck that frequently wants them. Do you want to deal two damage to a creature? Or would you rather tap your opponent’s land so you can combo next turn? There are a lot of applications for modal cards like these, and I might even be under-valuing this one. I could see the number of Fire // Ice in this deck increasing as the metagame takes shape in the upcoming months.
As for my favorite new card for Kiki Exarch Combo, I’d have to give it to Imperial Recruiter. Recruiter is a huge upgrade to this archetype because it can tutor for both pieces of your combo, another copy of Imperial Recruiter, or Snapcaster Mage. But the best thing about Imperial Recruiter is that you potentially only need one copy of it to create the combo. You can tutor for Kiki-Jiki, use it to make a copy of Imperial Recruiter, then grab your Exarch to finish out the combo. Mason highlighted this card in his article yesterday as a huge win for Cat Combo decks, and it should be a great addition to creature-based combo decks in general.
Delver decks have been the most popular and strongest choice in Legacy for many years. Many Modern fanatics have tried to port over these lists to Modern, but they were lacking a number of cards they needed to break through. Modern Horizons 2 fills some of those holes, including a powerful new creature to add to the archetype!
Delver decks typically want to cast cheap cantrips while interacting with the opponent with counterspells and removal. They quickly fill up the graveyard with spells, which grows Tarmogoyf and a new creature from Modern Horizons 2 — Dragon’s Rage Channeler. Channeler is one of the most powerful cards in Modern Horizons 2, and it’s almost another Delver in these decks. I built this decklist to maximize Channeler’s delirium clause, which is why I’ve included cards like Tarfire, Mishra’s Bauble, and Seal of Removal.
This is another deck that benefits from the addition of Counterspell to Modern. Along with Counterspell, we have Spell Pierce and Force of Negation to interact with the opponent on the stack. Outside of countermagic, you’ll see burn-based removal like Lightning Bolt or bounce spells like Brazen Borrower.
Another card from Modern Horizons 2 that should help this deck is Abundant Harvest. This card has impressed me in Historic since it was introduced in Strixhaven’s Mystical Archive, and I think it will be just as powerful in Modern. I love this card in Delver decks because it only costs one mana and it’s good in just about any situation. You can grab a land if you need it or a nonland in the late game. It’s also a sorcery, which helps diversify card types in the graveyard for Tarmogoyf and Channeler.
Delver is one of the most beloved deck archetypes in all of Magic, and I expect these decks to spring up in popularity once these cards become available.
Bant Snowblade has had an interesting history in Modern. Despite all the bannings this deck has suffered — Uro, Oko, Arcum’s Astrolabe — this deck keeps coming back over and over again to fight another day. The release of Modern Horizons 2 will be no different — there are a lot of powerful options for this deck in the new set, and you will likely start to see decklists popping up again.
This deck has gone through numerous iterations, and I’m opting for a Stoneforge Mystic package with this decklist for a few reasons. First, Kaldra Compleat is a new powerful equipment that few decks will be able to deal with on turn three. Second, you can cascade into Stoneforge Mystic with another card in the new set: Shardless Agent.
Shardless Agent is going to be a huge player in Modern going forward. Being green and blue makes it more playable than many other cascade spells in the format, like Bloodbraid Elf. In this deck alone, it can hit a few powerful options like Ancestral Vision, Stoneforge Mystic, and Ice-Fang Coatl, while avoiding cards we wouldn’t want to cascade into like Force of Negation or Solitude.
Solitude is another new card I’m looking forward to trying in this deck. If I’ve learned anything in almost ten years of playing Magic, it’s that free spells are BROKEN, and this is one of the best ones I’ve seen. Swords to Plowshares was already deemed too powerful for Modern, but now we have a Swords equivalent that you can play without paying any mana! Play this card while it’s still legal.
Finally, the deck you’ve all been waiting for: an update to Modern Jund! There are so many new cards in this set that will completely revitalize Jund, and I’m excited to play it in Modern again.
The most important addition to Jund in MH2 is Ignoble Hierarch. This card can replace Deathrite Shaman in old Jund lists and help you accelerate into a turn two Liliana of the Veil or a turn three Bloodbraid Elf! This was a powerful tool Jund has been missing since the Deathrite Shaman banning, and it should add power and consistency to the archetype.
Like Bant Snowblade, Jund also gets a new free evoke spell: Grief. This is essentially a free Thoughtseize, and if you combine it with cards like Ephemerate, you get to Thoughtseize your opponent twice and play a 3/2 with menace. That isn’t what we’re doing here (check out Scott Cullen’s article on Grief, if you’re looking for different ways to build around it), but it’s still quite a powerful play on turn one, especially as the deck starts to trim Thoughtseize effects and play Ignoble Hierarch on turn one instead.
The final card I’m excited to play in Jund is Dauthi Voidwalker. I didn’t have this card in mind when I started building the deck, but as I thought about it, it just kept getting better and better. For starters, it’s a graveyard hate piece that you can reasonably play in the main deck as an additional threat. But if you sacrifice it, you get the option to play one of your opponent’s spells for free. This is a powerful ability on its own, but it fits even more perfectly in a Jund shell full of discard spells and removal. This card is a slam dunk in Jund, and I’m extremely excited to try it out!
I had a great time working on these decks, and I’m even more excited to dive back into the format with the release of Modern Horizons 2. Preview season is the best, and I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with this time around!