Greetings, and welcome back to Metagame Mentor, your weekly guide to the top decks and latest Constructed developments on the path to the Pro Tour. After an exciting cycle of Modern Regional Championship Qualifiers in 2023, the corresponding championships are commencing this weekend! The largest Regional Championships will showcase up to 18 rounds of Modern competition before a champion is determined, allowing archetype experts and format specialists to ascend to the pinnacle.
The Modern Regional Championship schedule is divided into three weekends:
With invites to Pro Tour Thunder Junction and World Championship 30 hanging in the balance, as well as promo cards and cash prizes ($100,000 in Europe and $130,000 in the U.S.A.), these Regional Championships carry significant weight. The championships on February 10–11 will also mark one of the initial opportunities to witness Murders at Karlov Manor cards in action, as the new set becomes instantly Modern-legal following its prerelease weekend on February 3–4. With intense competition featuring some of the best Modern players in each region, this cycle of Regional Championships is sure to be an exhilarating one!
Throughout the remainder of this article, we’ll delve deeper into the top 20 decks in Modern at present, getting you up to date on the status of the post-ban format ahead of the Regional Championships.
Modern is a nonrotating 60-card format that was introduced in 2011 and has captivated the hearts of Magic: The Gathering players worldwide ever since. It permits expansion sets, core sets, and straight-to-Modern sets from Eight Edition onward, with the exception of cards on the banned list. With over 20 years of card history, Modern boasts a deeper card pool than Standard or Pioneer, featuring intricate card interactions and a wide array of viable strategies.
Due to the surge in published Magic Online decklists, I was able to analyze an extensive stack of nearly 5,000 Modern decklists from the first three weeks of January. Specifically, I utilized all published Magic Online decklists from January 1 through January 22, alongside published decklists from the $20K RCQ and $10K RCQ at SCG CON Cincinnati, the Super Qualifier at F2F Toronto, the Magic Online Champions Showcase, and the Modern event at the Dutch Open Series.
To derive a metric that encompasses popularity and performance, I assigned points to each deck equivalent to its adjusted number of net wins (i.e., its number of match wins minus losses if positive and zero otherwise). Therefore, a deck that went 6-1 garners 5 points, while a deck that went 1-3-drop receives 0 points. Each archetype’s portion of total adjusted net wins can then be viewed as its slice of the victor’s metagame that you can anticipate encountering at the top tables.
In this table, each archetype name hyperlinks to a well-performing, representative decklist. The “Other” category encompassed Temur Prowess, Orzhov Grief, 8-Rack, Goryo’s Blink, Izzet Wizards, Azorius Martyr, Dimir Shadow, Heliod Ballista, Grixis Murktide, Four-Color Control, Temur Murktide, Twiddle Breach, Esper Control, Mono-Black Grief, Dimir Control, Gruul Sagavan, Four-Color Rhinos, Jeskai Breach, and various other decks. The number of competitively viable Modern archetypes remains extensive, and you can essentially play any style of deck you desire. Since Modern rewards deep format knowledge and experience, a skilled player who is well-versed in their deck’s interactions and matchup strategies can emerge victorious with virtually anything.
The format was recently disrupted by the December 4 banning of
Primarily based on Magic Online events in the initial weeks of January, the top four decks (Rakdos Grief, Golgari Yawmogth, Temur Rhinos, and Izzet Murktide) comprise over 50% of the top-table field. These decks have fine-tuned their card selections and sideboards for the metagame, and as a result, the head-to-head matchups between these four decks are all near the 50-50 mark. Generally, skillful play and matchup familiarity serve as the primary differentiators. I eagerly anticipate observing what will unfold when top competitors at the Regional Championship demonstrate their mettle and strive to combat this metagame.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
The defining staples of the format (specifically, the most-played cards across all main decks and sideboards) were
To perform a more in-depth analysis of the top 20 archetypes with the highest winner’s metagame share, I’ve employed a decklist aggregation algorithm that takes into account the popularity and performance of individual card selections.