Well, here we are—the crème de la crème of Modern, #1-13.

The first half of this ranking was really well received, and I’m excited to see what Modern fans think of how I ranked the top decks in the format.

Before I get started, I’d like to reiterate that these rankings are highly subjective. When making this list, I tried to be as objective as possible, but I am bound by my own perceptions and experiences. In the cases where you guys and gals think that I overrated or underrated a particular deck, I welcome the feedback in the comments and love to hear your defenses of particular decks!

Let’s get this party started!

13. Jeskai Control, 25/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 7
Free Wins: 2
Resilient to Hate: 8
Flexibility: 8

Blue control is not dead!

The printing of Nahiri, the Harbinger gave control decks the powerful and flexible combo kill that fans of Splinter Twin had been pining for:

The strategy is simple: kill everything that moves, protect Nahiri, and summon Spaghetti Monster to end the game.

Controlling the game is so much easier when you only have to do it long enough to summon a hasty Emrakul to the battlefield!

Jeskai Control

Graeme McIntyre, 1st place at Sheffield Patriot Games (30 Players)

I also love that the deck has a lot of great sideboard options. White is the color of soul-crushing sideboard cards like Stony Silence, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and Timely Reinforcements.

While-blue-based control has diminished as an archetype I’d choose to play myself, but I still respect it a great deal. Jeskai is always a tough out in any tournament!

12. Bogles, 25/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 5
Free Wins: 10
Resilient to Hate: 6
Flexibility: 4

I only gave it a 10 in free wins because it doesn’t go to 11…

Bogles is the ultimate “ignore your opponent” deck in Modern. You play a creature that your opponent cannot interact with and make it an absolutely unstoppable, life-linking nightmare.

There are very few decks in Modern that a majority of the population find more annoying to play against because of how narrow the opportunities to interact with it are.

I gave the deck a high score in the “Resilient to Hate” category because people simply don’t have many hate cards to use! Yes, Back to Nature and various edict effects exist, but people don’t exactly sport a large quantity of these cards in their sideboards. Liliana of the Veil or bust!

Bogles

HYLCO WORM, Gameforce Monthly Event (93 Players)

The deck is also deceptively fast. I still have nightmares about getting killed 4 times on turn 3 by Bogles when I was playing Jeskai Ascendancy (the best Modern deck I’ve ever played. Treasure Cruise and Dig, please…). The deck only gets better in the hands of a skilled pilot. There are a lot of nuances and big decisions about mulligans.

11. Death’s Shadow Aggro, 26/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 6
Free Wins: 8
Resilient to Hate: 7
Flexibility: 5

Death’s Shadow Aggro has gone from goofy pet deck to mainstream mainstay in the past 6 months.

It turns out that trading hit points for resources with incredible, furious quickness is a potent strategy. Or should I say, a “Necropotent” strategy…

It was good then and it is good now… the Phyrexian Mana cards are busted in half and Death’s Shadow Aggro takes full advantage of basically all of them.

Death’s Shadow Aggro

Alex Majlaton, 5th place at Loot Fest

Free spells=free wins.

I think that the cat is out of the bag on Death’s Shadow Aggro. People have begun to get reps in against the deck and will have better lines of play against it now. But I think the deck is fundamentally powerful enough to have earned its place on this list.

There are certain people who just like to live dangerously, and this is the deck for them!

10. Abzan Company, 27/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 6
Free Wins: 7
Resilient to Hate: 6
Flexibility: 8

I had to check myself writing about Abzan Company because I really wanted to give it higher scores than I did. Which I think raises a good point: When you know your deck inside and out, it becomes even better than it really is. Or, maybe I should say that it unlocks the full potential of the deck to the pilot.

I don’t think I need to spend too much time telling you why I think Abzan CoCo is great, because I’ve written extensively about it already

Abzan Company

Brian DeMars

Tireless Tracker is so good in this deck!

9. G/R Tron, 27/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 5
Free Wins: 9
Resilient to Hate: 5
Flexibility: 8

Tron is one of boogeymen of the format to be sure. Turn-3 Karn Liberated has ruined too many games to count.

The banning of Eye of Ugin appears to only have been a minor setback for the deck, as it has proven to be unsurprisingly resilient to the loss. The true power of the deck has always been and always will be: TRON ON 3!

People have complained about Tron for ages, but the fact of the matter is that it is here to stay and it is one of the defining decks of Modern.

G/R Tron

Kevin Serapiglia, GPT Winner

The Sanctum tech has proven to be a passable replacement for Eye of Ugin. Of course, it’s not as good, but it gets the job done. The deck also has a ton of play to it. I’ve seen Andrew Elenbogen win plenty of games against Jund where he gets a Tron piece Sowing Salted and just ramps out his threats the fair way! Great deck.

8. G/R Valakut, 27/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 9
Free Wins: 10
Resilient to Hate: 5
Flexibility: 3

Valakut has really proven itself to be a powerhouse in Modern. The deck is blazingly quick and consistent to boot!

There are plenty of decks that are marginally quicker in a goldfish situation but there are very few hands that don’t just “go off.” I love the fact that the deck is so redundant and focused.

G/R Valakut

Rob Pisano, 2nd place at Grand Prix Indianapolis

It is also worth noting that the deck does pack a fair amount of removal to help deal with the faster goldfishing decks, which is awesome! R/G Valakut has been the “second deck” (Kboggs and Alex John will enjoy that reference) in at least 3 big Modern events—each time I opted to play Abzan Company instead. Each time I felt R/G was the “better” positioned deck but my comfort level with Abzan ultimately won the day, which is kind of the point of this whole series! Find a deck you love, get good with it, and reap the rewards!

All things considered, G/R Breach is a fantastic deck choice in Modern.

7. Jund Midrange, 28/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 7
Free Wins: 3
Resilient to Hate: 9
Flexibility: 9

Jund is the ultimate “fair” deck. All of its cards are flexible, powerful, and to the point. The adage is that Jund is 50% against the field, which is a great place to be if you can consistently outplay your opponent.

The truth is that Jund does have some bad matchups (Tron, for instance), but even in the darkest matchups there is always hope of pulling it out.

Jund is very efficient at forcing interaction with most of the decks in Modern. Lots of removal and lots of discard help to keep the opponent in check while threats like Tarmogoyf can bring the beatdown.

Jund

Jaberwocki, 1st place in a Competitive Modern League

Jund is always a solid choice for any Modern tournament because it has good answers to basically everything. But I think that Jund is also a deck that requires a big commitment from its pilot in order to get those rewards. Week in and week out you’ll need to stay tuned in to what is going on with major trends in the format and tweak your deck accordingly.

Since so much of your power involves forcing positive interactions with your opponents, it is important to make sure you have the right answers to the decks in the field at your disposal! I know plenty of people who swear by Jund and do well, but I also see them constantly working and tuning their lists!

6. Bant Eldrazi, 29/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 9
Free Wins: 6
Resilient to Hate: 7
Flexibility: 7

Well, they banned Eye of Ugin, and it still couldn’t kill the Eldrazi menace!

The new Eldrazi are powerful threats, and having an Ancient-Tomb-type land is a huge game in a format of parity.

Eldrazi has put up very strong numbers in the past few months and I expect that trend to continue. There is something to be said for a deck that just plays a bunch of awesome threats, one after another, and says: “You dealt with that? How about this?”

Bant Eldrazi

Iacopo Scaringella, 1st place at Modern PPTQ Roma Italy

If you want to know why Bant Eldrazi is good, the answer is that pound for pound it has the highest density of the highest power level threats in Modern. There are faster decks, there are decks that go bigger, but Eldrazi has a lot of individually powerful threats.

Oh, and it has an Ancient Tomb:

5. Dredge, 29/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 10
Free Wins: 10
Resilient to Hate: 4
Flexibility: 5

Dredge is one scary deck. I’m an old-time Vintage guy and I still have nightmares.

In Modern there may be no Bazaar of Baghdad, but the deck is nonetheless still terrifying. There are so many games where they do their thing and there is basically nothing you can do to stop or interact with it. They make a bunch of creatures from the graveyard and then continue to do that until you are dead.

Were you planning on playing “fair” removal spells? Not against my swarm of recursive Zombies and tokens…

Dredge

A_WEBB, 1st place in a Modern Competitive League

Yes, the deck does get colded by Rest in Peace, which is why a good portion of the sideboard is focused on solving the problem. I’ve certainly lost games where my piece of graveyard hate got blown up and I promptly got obliterated.

 

The deck is very, very real and will continue to be real. The less graveyard hate you play, the greater the chance that you’ll be telling your friends a bad beat story about Dredge…

4. Abzan Midrange, 30/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 7
Free Wins: 4
Resilient to Hate: 9
Flexibility: 10

In many ways, Abzan feels like the new Jund. It has basically the same tools as Jund, but has Siege Rhino and Lingering Souls, which actively crush the Jund matchup.

So you are a version of Jund that has a very good Jund matchup.

Collective Brutality pitching Lingering Souls is also a very strong combination. Oh, and Lingering Souls is a big problem for many different controlling decks…

Abzan Midrange

Renzikiel Regala, 2nd place at WMCQ Philippines

As of right now, I think that Abzan is the defining G/B/x Midrange deck in Modern and for good reason—it is very good at being a midrange deck! It has a ton of grind and lots of efficient answers to everything.

It is also worth noting that trading red for white cards gives the deck powerful sideboard cards like Stony Silence.

Okay, now for the big hitters: #1-3.

3. Naya Burn, 31/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 8
Free Wins: 9
Resilient to Hate: 7
Flexibility: 7

I think that the top 3 decks on this list strongly define what Modern looks like and how the metagame works. All 3 of these decks (and by now you can probably guess what the top 2 are) are blazing fast, redundant, and put people on a clock right from the first turn.

The fact that Burn has so many good damage dealers puts a cap on what other people are allowed to do in Modern. If you are not interacting or being faster than Burn, chances are that you are 100% dead on turn 4.

Naya Burn

Brandon Burton, 1st place at Grand Prix Indianapolis

There are a lot of nuances of Burn and Zoo in Modern, and they are all great decks. For the purposes of keeping things simple, I’ve lumped them all into this one category rather than listing them separately.

In the spirit of “Mastering Modern,” I consider the differences in deck construction to be part of that “fine tuning” to be a strategy category rather than being particularly different strategies. For instance, I consider Bushwacker Zoo to be an offshoot of this type of strategy, hence why it didn’t get its own slot. Death’s Shadow Zoo, on the other hand, is a fundamentally different deck (in my opinion), which is why it gets its own spot.

Zoo is very real and one of the best performing decks in the format. It is good to be aggro!

2. Affinity, 31/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 9
Free Wins: 10
Resilient to Hate: 3
Flexibility: 9

Affinity has been a format defining deck since before there was a Modern format! It was a mainstay all the way back in Extended.

Affinity is blazing fast and full of awesome synergies. It is no wonder that the deck consistently puts people into Top 8s of basically every single Modern Grand Prix.

The biggest drawback to the deck is that it struggles mightily against some of the really obnoxious sideboard cards:

There are very few cards in the format that can cripple any other strategy as badly as these cards can an Affinity Mage.

It is really saying something that despite the fact that these cards exist and everybody plays them that the deck still continues to dominate in Modern. It is a testament to how good the deck is. If these messed-up sideboard cards didn’t exist, the strategy would have to be seriously reevaluated for a ban!

I thought Moxes were an Eternal thing?

True. Except in Modern where Affinity gets 4 of them.

Affinity

ACG88, 1st place in a Modern Constructed League

I’ve played a ton of Affinity decks in my day and strongly advocate that it is a fantastic strategy. It is also a challenging experience. Affinity is one of the most difficult decks to pilot at a high level because of the pure number of difficult (and often risky) decisions available at any time.

When there is a Ravager on the board there are a lot of options in play!

1. Infect, 32/40 Points

Doesn’t Lose to Itself: 7
Free Wins: 10
Resilient to Hate: 8
Flexibility: 7

Well, you guessed it: INFECT!

Infect is a straight-up busted Modern deck because it is so fast but also has a ton of play to it. There is something to be said about a deck that can kill you on turn 2 and also grind you out in a long game!

Infect + pump spells is a vicious combination. The deck also makes great use of Phyrexian Mana and delve to cheat mana costs. In basically every single instance, the deck is cheating something… life points? Check. Phyrexian Mana? Check. Delve? You betcha!

You can’t even deploy blockers to stem the beats because they have a load of spells that make their creatures unblockable!

Infect is the #1 deck because it never ever had any intention of playing fair with you—it is the definition of an unfair deck! And worse yet, it’s an unfair deck with some serious play to it.

Infect

Adam Labutka, 1st place at the Four Horsemen Championship

 

It’s also worth noting that Infect got a new toy:

 

I’ve heard a lot of rumbling that people want to see Become Immense banned lately, which means that they are on the same page as me that Infect is the best deck. Personally, I don’t have a horse in the banning race. I like to play the deck a lot and I don’t think banning any one card makes much of a difference overall (aside from the creatures which I don’t want to see banned).

All of these decks are awesome and I recommend trying them out. Infect just so happens to be the one I gave a slightly higher score to. Keep in mind that the difference between 1 and 25 isn’t really that large in the scheme of things.

Any given Sunday I could see anybody beating anybody.

Now that it is all said and done, what do you guys think? Did I nail it or do you see some glaring mistakes with the order?

For the record, Storm would have been my 26th deck (I didn’t forget about it, but something had to miss the cut!).

If your favorite deck didn’t get the marks that you’d hoped for and you think it deserved higher scores, let me know in the comments. I always love to discuss MTG theory and would love to hear your thoughts.

One thing is for certain: Modern has a slew of awesome decks to choose from, so choose your weapon carefully!