Let's dive into the Modern metagame: the decks to beat, the decks that are rising in popularity and lesser-known decks that could make an appearance in the near future.
Uro Control has established itself as the deck to beat in Modern. That isn’t to say the format isn’t healthy—with a deck that is omnipresent, the metagame will adjust to prey on the deck’s weak points.
A pillar of the deck is Force of Negation. As it allows the deck to tap out for it’s Planeswalkers, Uro, and Omnath. Providing protection from noncreature spells on a turn the deck is usually vulnerable.
The metagame has adjusted, focusing on this weakness. Eladamri’s Toolbox has emerged as a creature-heavy Primeval Titan deck. Ramping with creatures like Arboreal Grazer, Sakura Tribe-Elder, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and utilising Flagstones of Trokair’s ability with Elvish Reclaimer and Springbloom Druid.
The deck is rounded out by its namesake Eladamri’s Call. In addition to finding ramp creatures, the deck plays Skyclave Apparition, the premier removal creature in the format.
Here is an Eladamri’s Toolbox decklist from MTGO user cypress223:
Another angle to attack Uro Control decks is their card advantage. Often discard spells aren’t too effective against them as a majority of their cards read, “Draw a card”, quickly recouping any lost advantage. But with effects like Narset, Parter of Veil, being able to deny additional card draws, there is an angle to attack Uro decks.
Narset synergises well with Geier Reach Sanitarium, creating a lock, stopping your opponent’s from drawing cards. With a Narset in play and activating Geier Reach Sanitarium’s loot ability prior to the opponents draw step, Narset denies your opponents draw step, as they have already drawn a card for the turn.
Black provides premium hand disruption in Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, along with cheap removal in Fatal Push and Bloodchief’s Thirst. Along with Cryptic Command, Force of Negation, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor as your primary win condition, you have one oppressive control deck.
Here is the UB Narset decklist from MTGO user Patxi:
With a large amount of incidental life gain printed on cards over the past few years, aggro decks have had to adjust in order to deal with the higher life totals.
One deck unaffected by this trend in card design is Infect. If you’re not familiar with Infect, it’s a mechanic from the Scars of Mirrodin block. Creatures with Infect deal regular damage to Planeswalkers, damage creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters, and players in the form of Poison Counters. When a player reaches 10 poison counters they lose the game. This effectively halves your opponent’s life total.
With the metagame shifting, fewer Lava Darts are being played. Decks are leaning towards slower but flexible removal options like Skyclave Apparition. Cards that are traditionally good against Infect, like Plague Engineer and Chalice of the Void, have become less prevalent. Infect has the potential to thrive in this environment.
As you only have to deal 10 damage to win with Infect, the deck is quick. With the printing of Scale Up and pump spells that give +4/+4 like Groundswell and Might of Old Krosa, a combination of the two can lead to a potential turn 2 kill!
Protecting your Infect creatures is a key part of your strategy. Naturally, these creatures will be the primary target of removal spells. The deck plays protection in the form Spellskite, Blossoming Defense, Vines of Vastwood, and Spell Pierce. This is in addition to all the pump spells being good against damage spells like Lightning Bolt.
With two of the most popular decks in Modern, Uro Control and Heliod Company gaining some and infinite life respectively, Infect may be the way to go.
Here is the Infect deck that I’ll be playing:
4 Scale Up
With Uro Control established as a top deck in the deck in the current metagame, we are already seeing decks adjust to this new reality.
As Modern inevitably changes over time, through metagame shifts and with new set releases, like Kaldeim, in February next year. These are the decks that can be contenders in the future.
About the author
Kuang Wu has played Magic since the original Zendikar set. Qualifying for both Player’s Tours in 2020 and finishing 10th at Grand Prix Brisbane in 2017. He primarily plays Modern at Good Games Central and Town Hall.
You can follow him @kuangfupanda on Twitter.