Welcome to the Modern Power Rankings. This is a list of top Modern decks, which we will maintain and periodically update here on Channelfireball.com. The criteria is a mix of metagame share, frequency of top results, and author’s personal opinion. You can use it for inspiration if you’re looking to pick up a new deck, or to give you an idea of what decks you’ll need to take seriously if you want to go deep in a big Modern tournament.
Modern is home to easily over a hundred established decks. In many cases, these archetypes blur together, plus there’s limitless opportunity to customize and brew. Don’t be discouraged if your favorite deck doesn’t make the list–it doesn’t mean that it can’t be a winning strategy! I’ll try to be as precise as possible in my deck classifications, but there will be times when I have to lump a variety of decks into one broader archetype.
We’re already seeing M21 make splashes in this format. Keep your eye out for #6 on today’s rankings–an archetype I wasn’t sure we’d ever see as a top deck in Modern!
In a vacuum, I find Humans to be one of the strongest and most appealing decks in the format. I’d never be disappointed to bring Humans to a Modern tournament, regardless of what the metagame happened to look like. Humans is fast, disruptive, punishing, and consistent. This means that even if you run into a bad matchup, you can have a great draw on the play and win anyway. Even if you run into a bad matchup, they can miss a beat and you can pummel them. That’s not even to mention your good matchups–like the ones where Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is particularly effective.
8. Eldrazi Tron
A reliable presence in the Modern tournament scene, Eldrazi Tron is capable of producing a number of different high-powered draws. Chalice of the Void is a powerhouse against the Burn and Red Prowess decks. Karn, the Great Creator gives you reliable access to a variety of potent tools for different matchups and situations.
Storm is one of those ever-present decks in Modern. Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in the metagame–or a couple of talented players innovating on the deck–to make it a deadly threat. Storm preys on non-interactive decks like Dredge, Tron, and Valakut. It’s also a great choice when players come with the wrong types of interaction, like the Pillages and Blood Moons out of Ponza.
I also believe that a Storm player who really understands the matchup can be a favorite against the Urza and Snow decks, even in spite of their permission spells.
Historically, Goblins is one of the best tribes in MTG. I grew up in an era where Goblins was the best deck in Legacy by a mile. It helps that most of the Goblins are cheap, with abilities that give you control over the battlefield. (Think Munitions Expert, Goblin Trashmaster, etc.). Over the past few years, we’ve been slowly introducing to Modern those powerful Goblins that made the Legacy deck so strong: Goblin Warchief, Goblin Ringleader, Goblin Matron.
Now, M21 brings Conspicuous Snoop, which might just be the best tribal card ever printed. This card lends itself to winning fair games. (You get to unload value from the top of your library every turn that it sticks on the battlefield). It also supports an infinite combo if you can get Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on the top of your library, which you can easily do via Boggart Harbinger. Snoop taps to make a copy of itself, the copy copies itself, and you repeat until you have sixty million goblins on the battlefield. They’ll be tapped and unable to attack, but a single Sling-Gang Commander or Pashalik Mons makes them more than lethal. You can even use your last activation to copy Boggart Harbinger and set Sling-Gang Commander on top of your library.
Modern Goblins - SebastianStueckl - 1st place Modern Challenge
A classic that’s as old as the format itself. This is a top archetype that’s able to slot in a Companion effortlessly, with no restructuring required. Burn benefited a lot from Lurrus, but it’s always been more of a bonus than something that’s essential to the gameplan.
Urza has all of the strengths of the more traditional Snow decks: Arcum’s Astrolabe, Ice-Fang Coatl, Uro, and permission spells with Mystic Sanctuary. On top of that, it also has a built-in artifact theme in order to facilitate Emry, Lurker of the Loch and the namesake Urza, Lord High Artificer.
Urza decks can be built in a variety of color combinations and may or may not use Yorion, Sky Nomad as a Companion.
Also known as Gruul, Ponza is a midrange deck that seeks to accelerate its mana, disrupt the opponent with cards like Pillage and Blood Moon, and utilize single potent threats like Seasoned Pyromancer and Klothys, God of Destiny.
With so many blue decks rounding out the Top 10, I’d be very excited to pilot a midrange deck that can make use of Choke, Boil, and Veil of Summer as sideboard cards.
Ponza can either be built around Obosh, the Preypiercer, or in a more classic way with no Companion. Either way, I think this is one of the top midrange decks in Modern now.
Dredge attacks Modern from a different angle than the rest of the decks on this list. The goal is to dump cards into the graveyard and use free spells and abilities like Narcomeba, Bloodghast, Prized Amalgam, and Creeping Chill to win the game. Normal defensive measures like permission, discard, and removal are ineffective against it.
Ox of Agonas provides a power level upgrade to an already strong deck. Dredge is very good right now.
Last week I said that Dredge could be a victim of its own success and that I’d expect it to hover between #3-#7 on this list. And yet here we are, with me rating it solidly in the #2 slot. Will it someday take top billing?
1. Bant/Sultai Snow
I wouldn’t count on Dredge overtaking Snow anytime soon. This deck is incredible.
Snow is just such a beautiful recipe! You get a solid, consistent, and nearly painless manabase that isn’t vulnerable to Blood Moon. From there, you get to play any cards of your choosing from among three (or possibly more) colors. The highlight, of course, is Ice-Fang Coatl, which is a hyper-efficient flash threat that can hold an equipment, or be a stone-cold killer of anyone foolish enough to try attacking with creatures. The Cryptic Command + Mystic Sanctuary engine makes it almost impossible to keep up with this deck in the long game.
While some Snow players do use Yorion as a Companion, it’s not essential to the gameplan. Sixty-card versions of Snow have held strong even during the reign of Companions, and now Snow is the best strategy in Modern.
The most traditional build is Bant Stoneforge, but you’re also likely to run into Bant Snow Control with no Stoneforge Mystic. Sultai Snow is a new breakout deck. I tried it for myself and vouch for it as a top archetype.