Best Modern Decks
1, May, 24

MTG Best Modern Decks! - May 2024

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Article at a Glance

Once known as Extended, the Modern format was ratified by Wizards way back in 2011. Since then, over a decade later, Modern has gone on to become one of the big three MTG formats. Standing alongside Commander and Standard, Modern is an exceptionally popular format. Boasting financial viability and a plethora of archetypes, this popularity is most definitely deserved. 

Despite being around for over a decade, Modern is a surprisingly active format with new decks popping up regularly. For better or worse, this is largely thanks to Wizards creating sets like Modern Horizons, which shake up the meta. Alongside this, the occasional Modern ban can also invert the order, breathing new life into the format once again. 

With room for constant deckbuilding and exploration as new cards get printed, Modern is an incredibly compelling format. It’s also one of the most popular competitive formats in MTG at the moment, with tournaments aplenty. Thanks to this, you may well be looking to jump into the fray and beat the competition. To do that, you’ll obviously need a deck, and we’ve got you covered there.

While there are plenty of options to choose from in Modern, there are plenty of best decks to keep your eye on. To help you pick our poison or suss out the competition, we’ve got you covered with this tier list. So, without any further ado, here are the best MTG decks to play in the Modern format right now!

Modern Is Rotating Soon!

Tamiyo Seasoned Scholar | Modern Horizons 3
Tamiyo Seasoned Scholar | Modern Horizons 3

Love it or hate it, a brand-new Modern Horizons set is coming very soon. Scheduled to launch on June 14th, Modern Horizons 3 is expected to shake up the competitive order in a major way. Previously, we were holding out hope that this set had learned its lesson, however, sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Thanks to a string of recent leaks, which were miraculously confirmed by Wizards of the Coast, Modern Horizons 3 is absolutely stacked. Not only does the set have insane new cards such as Flare of Denial but there are insane reprints too. All in all, it will be nothing short of a miracle if the Modern metagame isn’t completely transformed once this set is released.

On top of the new cycle of free spells, and the Eldrazi monsters, Kappa Cannoneer is coming to Modern. As if one Legacy staple wasn’t enough, Sylvan Safekeeper is also joining the format soon. For better or worse, it seems we don’t just have to watch out for new cards this time around.

Right now, we’ve only seen a fraction of what Modern Horizons 3 has to offer when it fully releases. That being said, what we’ve seen is already more than enough to inspire format-warping new decks. Thanks to this, it appears that now is a terrible time to invest in and start playing Modern.

Due to the steep cost of many Modern decks, a forced rotation can be a very dangerous thing. Subsequently, if you want to ensure your money is well spent, it’s advisable to hold off buying anything for now. Once Modern Horizons 3 has launched and the dust settles, the meta will hopefully be fairly stable once again.

Honorable Mention | Indomitable Creativity

While Indomitable Creativity is the namesake card and how the deck wins most of its games, the best card in the deck by a mile is Wrenn and Six. Wrenn is super powerful on its own, but the constant flow of land it provides helps with the deck’s tough mana development and color requirements. The deck wins by casting Indomitable Creativity targeting at least one creature and putting a copy of Archon of Cruelty in its place.

With access to Dwarven Mine and the powerful Fable of the Mirror Breaker, the deck has enough instances of ways to make creatures for Indomitable Creativity that aren’t themselves creatures while in the deck. Dwarven Mine specifically is excellent because it can be tutored with Fetchlands at instant speed, meaning the opponent has to always be weary of Creativity on turn four and beyond, even with no creatures in play. Wrenn helps you set up your Dwarven Mines by providing a steady flow of Fetch Lands, all able to tutor for Mountains to make sure Dwarven Mine is effective.

While this deck has lost its footing in the Modern metagame in recent months, it’s still a solid choice given how strong Wrenn and Six and Fable of the Mirror Breaker are! There are plenty of great options to choose from in Modern, and the printing of new cards and the metagame shifts within the format make sure Modern is rarely a dull format.

Read More: MTG Best Pioneer Decks!

11 | Burn

Burn is a tale as old as time. A flurry of Haste creatures and three damage burn spells threaten to quickly and efficiently defeat your opponent. The goal of the deck is to get some early damage in with either Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear, then finish your opponent off with a bunch of burn spells to the face. This deck is as streamlined as it gets. It is a great deck for anyone new to the Modern format to learn and is extremely effective to boot!

It is obviously weak to specific hate cards that gain lots of life. The good news is that the deck comes prepared with copies of Skullcrack and Roiling Vortex to minimize the effect of these hate cards. This deck has been great for a long time and will continue to be great for a long time.

Read More: MTG Best Budget Decks

10 | Mill

Jace, the Perfected Mind

While this deck isn’t always a tier-one contender, Mill still has a lot of potential. Capable of topping tournaments and annoying your opponents while doing so, this deck is a real blast. Mercifully, this deck is also a fairly simple one to play, since your gameplan is incredibly straightforward.

Unsurprisingly, Modern’s Mill deck runs a suite of the best Mill spells ever printed. Arguably the best of these is Archive Trap which removes almost a quarter of an opponent’s deck. Beyond being ruthlessly efficient, this card is often completely free to play thanks to the prevalence of Fetch Lands.

Offering a similar effect, Fractured Sanity Mills fourteen cards and Glimpse the Unthinkable Mills ten. Alongside these powerful spells, the deck also runs Hedron Crab and Hedron Crab to make lands punishing.

Curiously, within the deck, the iconic Jace, the Mind Sculptor isn’t the Jace of choice. Instead, the more recent Jace, the Perfected Mind gets that honor thanks to their more versatile abilities. Providing either substantial Mill or draw depending on the state of the game, this Jace has reinvigorated the deck’s potential.

As fun as it can be to play, sadly, Mill decks do have some weaknesses. Against aggro decks, for instance, this strategy usually struggles to keep up. Thankfully, to combat this, the sideboard is full of powerful denial tools like Ensnaring Bridge. Alongside the ever-useful Flusterstorm Mill can be surprisingly resilient in Best-of-Three matches.

9 | Hammer Time

Colossus Hammer is an extremely powerful card when you are not planning on paying the eight mana equip cost. Luckily, Puresteel Paladin and Sigarda’s Aid let you bypass the equip cost and still reap the rewards from the powerful equipment. As such, this deck leads to incredibly fast kills.

The reason this deck is so effective though is that it can still grind through lots of removal. Esper Sentinel and especially Urza’s Saga allow the deck to grind with the best, while still having access to blazing starts reminiscent of old Infect decks. It was important to be wary of powerful cards against the deck like Fury and Solitude, but with Fury gone, this deck may finally be in a better position in the metagame.

Read More: The Best Format Choices in MTG

8 | Four-Color Omnath

Omnath, Locus of Creation

With Up the Beanstalk getting banned in Modern, the door is once again open for The One Ring to reign supreme. Up to this point, almost every multi-color Leyline Binding deck utilized Up the Beanstalk. However, before Wilds of Eldraine was released, four-color Omnath was still an excellent choice (You can look at the decklist above for reference).

The One Ring has built-in protection as an Indestructible Artifact that prevents you from getting attacked to death for a turn. Alongside Delighted Halfling, it’s easy to cast it turn three and make it unable to be countered. Omnath, Locus of Creation is still an extremely powerful card in conjunction with Fetchlands. Meanwhile, Wrenn and Six keeps the Fetchlands flowing. This archetype is far from dead and as long as Leyline Binding, Solitude, and Omnath remain in Modern, expect some form of this deck to perform well.

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7 | Hardened Scales

If you like doing combat math and finding lethal damage in unintuitive ways, this deck is for you! As the namesake card suggests, this deck is all about utilizing counters synergies. Almost every card in the deck is an artifact to maximize the potential of both Urza’s Saga and Arcbound Ravager. Every creature in the deck either enters with counters or can accrue counters over time. This combined with cards like Hardened Scales and The Ozolith makes every single creature the deck plays a legitimate problem for the opponent at all times.

The simple threat of moving counters with Arcbound Ravager to another creature at any point makes combat a nightmare for the opponent. Sometimes, the combination of Ravager and Walking Ballista can finish off opponents without even entering combat! This deck is a real powerhouse, even if it is a bit underrepresented.

That said, Hardened Scales gained a much larger metagame share thanks to one particular matchup: Rakdos Scam. Hardened Scales had an absolutely incredible Scam matchup and with Scam having twice as much metagame representation as other decks, playing the Rakdos Scam slayer was a very reasonable plan. With Scam heavily nerfed from the Fury ban, expect Hardened Scales to fall off a bit in the metagame.

6 | Izzet Murktide

This deck gets to make use of some of the most powerful cards from Modern Horizons Two all at once. The effectiveness of each of the cards in the deck is extremely high, and that’s what the deck is all about. By playing both efficient threats such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and efficient interaction such as Counterspell, it is quite easy to get far ahead before your opponent even knows what hit them.

Pair that with one of the most powerful card draw spells printed in recent memory, Expressive Iteration, banned in formats such as Legacy and Pioneer, and you have a recipe for success! Murktide Regent specifically is an enormous yet efficient flier that makes quick work of your opponent’s life total. It is very common to play Murktide with Counterspell backup, and for your opponent to simply not have an answer. That makes this deck one of the most powerful options available.

After the release of Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring, Murktide strategies began to fall out of favor, though some variants of the deck utilizing Questing Druid began to show up. Either way, this deck may have gotten a reasonable boost with Fury and Up the Beanstalk banned. The combination of card advantage and excellent answers to Murktide Regent made the Cascade Beans matchup tough, while the opponent sticking a 4/4 Fury turn one out of Rakdos Scam was pretty hard to beat. It may be time for Izzet Murktide to rise up once again.

5 | Rakdos Evoke

Grief

Despite being the target of Modern’s recent ban wave, Rakdos Evoke is still kicking. More than just showing signs of life, however, this deck has steadily been climbing up the ranks. Over the past few weeks, it seems that this deck has reclaimed its position at the top. Whether you love it or hate it, Rakdos Evoke is the best deck in Modern once again… 

Since Fury and Up the Beanstalk were banned, this deck is definitely worse than it was. Saying that, however, it’s still clearly powerful thanks to staples like Grief and Orcish Bowmasters. Alongside these powerhouse cards, Dauthi Voidwalker has recently joined the party as a new deadly reanimation engine.

Just like before, while Rakdos Evoke does pack one hell of a punch, it also has plenty of removal spells. Allowing you to control the flow of the game, these spells ensure you can keep up the pressure constantly. The same is true of Not Dead After All, which can be used to reliably cheat in Grief.

Ultimately, despite having its confidence and power knocked by the recent bans, Rakdos Evoke is still largely the same deck. Thankfully, while it’s been proving incredibly popular and powerful, it’s not the only choice in the format. Instead, you’ll stand a good chance in Modern events with any one of the decks in this list.

4 | Mono-Green Tron

Tron is a classic Modern deck that has been around for a long time its presence fluctuates based on the metagame surrounding it. The goal of playing the deck is to assemble the combination of Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower by the third turn. From there, you can cast a multitude of extremely powerful and high mana-value spells ahead of the curve. With access to seven mana on turn three, casting Karn, the Great Creator or Karn Liberated will put your opponent quickly on the backfoot. Tron has such a high density of threats that, as long as you develop your mana and can stave off early pressure from your opponent, actually winning the game is often trivial.

The deck definitely has its weaknesses though. Because the deck needs to assemble the Urza lands in a timely fashion to function at the highest level, the deck mulligans A LOT. If you want to play the deck, you must be disciplined and be willing to mulligan to five or four relatively frequently. The deck also lacks early interaction, as the first two turns are typically spent trying to guarantee access to all three Urza Lands quickly. All that being said, Tron remains a powerful choice for anyone looking to cast large haymakers as fast as possible!

Tron also got a big boost from Lord of the Rings. The One Ring provides a steady source of card advantage and given the deck’s ability to generate tons of mana, it’s quite easy to utilize this card advantage in a timely fashion. Having access to both Karn, the Great Creator and The One Ring also gives this deck a higher chance of beating hate cards, since they both only cost four mana. This means that they are much easier to cast naturally on curve without access to Tron than cards like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. As such, Tron has certainly gotten better in the past couple of months.

3 | Esper Reanimator

Goryo's Vengeance

Since the latest bans killed a few of the best Modern decks around, Esper Reanimator decks have emerged triumphant. Occasionally topping tournaments and routinely putting in good results, this deck is stacked with fantastic bombs. Given the name of the deck, unsurprisingly the game plan revolves largely around cheating cards into play for maximum value. 

To get cards into play, this deck’s main tool is four copies of Goryo’s Vengeance. For just two mana, Goryo’s Vengeance allows you to temporarily bring back a creature for a single, Haste-enabled, turn. While this is a pretty big catch to the reanimation, thankfully, it can be circumvented with Ephemerate.

While cheating in a massive bomb is always a potent strategy, Esper Reanimator doesn’t rely on keeping them around. Instead, the deck mostly uses cards with fantastic ETB abilities to ensure value. This is definitely the case for Atraxa, Grand Unifier and Solitude. Similarly, Griselbrand can be used as soon as they’re in play, allowing you to promptly fill your hand.

As much as reanimating creatures may be all well and good, obviously, they have to be in the graveyard first. Thankfully, achieving this in Modern is a breeze thanks to Tainted Indulgence and Faithful Mending. Through these, you should be able to find what you need before putting it in the graveyard.

Overall, Esper Reanimator is proving itself as a potent shell with a good deal of versatility. Boasting a more control-oriented sideboard alongside major main deck threats, it’s no wonder this deck has a lot of good matchups. Sadly, it’s not perfect against Golgari Yawgmoth, but it’s not to be dismissed because of this.

2 | Amulet Titan

Amulet Titan is relatively complicated. By combining Amulet of Vigor, “Bounce Lands” such as Simic Growth Chamber, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove letting you play multiple lands per turn, the deck can generate enough mana to resolve an early copy of Primeval Titan. This is due to the Amulet’s ability to untap Bounce Lands as they enter the battlefield. Their trigger can then bounce themselves which, when combined with effects like Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, can re-enter and make more mana. This effect multiplies when having multiple Amulet of Vigor in play, meaning you can generate four mana instead of two.

From here, you can tutor for a multitude of different lands to help win the game on the same turn (most of the time). If you still have a Dryad in play, getting Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle is a great start. With Amulet in play, getting Boros Garrison and Slayers’ Stronghold can give the Titan Haste, granting two more lands when it attacks! This deck is an oddity in that the majority of the deck is actually lands, not spells. Most spells and lands are used to maximize the power of Amulet of Vigor and Primeval Titan themselves, hence the name of the deck. This deck definitely takes some playing to get used to but is quite effective if you can master the ins and outs.

1 | Yawgmoth Combo

As the name suggests, this deck revolves heavily around getting a copy of Yawgmoth, Thran Physician onto the board. This card acts as both a value engine as well as a combo piece. Perhaps one of the more convoluted combos available in Modern, requiring Yawgmoth, Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat, and two creatures with Undying, such as Young Wolf, can lead to the following kill combo.

  • First, sacrifice a Young Wolf with Yawgmoth’s activated ability. Do not target any of your creatures with the -1/-1 counter. The Young Wolf will come back with a +1/+1 counter thanks to Undying. This will trigger Blood Artist, draining your opponent for one.
  • Second, sacrifice your Young Wolf that does not have a counter, targeting the Young Wolf that does have a counter. Your counters will cancel out. Your other Young Wolf will come back with a +1/+1 counter thanks to Undying. This, once again, will trigger Blood Artist.
  • You can repeat step two over and over, sacrificing the Young Wolf without a counter, targeting the one that does have a counter, thanks to -1/-1 counters and +1/+1 counters canceling one another out.
  • There are other combo lines available in the deck, but, for the sake of briefness, we will not cover those here.

What is nice about this deck is that Yawgmoth is immensely powerful even without the combo assembled. As long as your life total is high, it is very reasonable to draw a bunch of cards with Yawgmoth’s ability right away. As a result, the deck plays multiple ways to find the namesake card, such as Chord of Calling. This deck gets a lot of additional power from opponents simply not knowing how to play against the deck and how to insulate themselves from the combo. If you are a Modern expert, this deck might just be right up your alley.

Read More: MTG Designer Claims Modern Horizons 3 Has Learnt Its Lesson

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