Modern as a format which has recently undergone some major shifts as a result of Dragons of Tarkir, and so I thought it was time to come up with a new list of what I personally believe to be the ten best decks in the format at this moment. Modern is certainly a fluctuating format, so this list can change from week to week, but with large Modern events on the horizon the format seems to be getting more hype.
#1: Grixis Twin
Here is Mathew Tellier's list from the Top 8 of the open in Worcester:
Picking the top deck is difficult as there are a bunch of decks which contend for the top spot. Splinter Twin may be the most powerful combo in Modern, as it only requires two cards to win the game, and you can build a Twin deck to have a lot more elements than just the combo. A couple months ago there was no argument that Blue/Red Twin was the best of the Twin decks, but that is no longer the case. Tasigur, the Golden Fang is the best delve spell in Modern, and gives the deck a better late game. This version of the deck can grind out many of the midrange decks fairly easily.
The black could almost be considered a splash because there aren't that many black cards, but the ones that are present seem to be upgrading cards from the straight Blue/Red version. Terminate and Thoughtseize are both very strong utility spells, especially in conjunction with Snapcaster Mage. Kolaghan's Command is a card that has been getting press lately as just a sweet value card, which happens to also be an Affinity destroyer. I like Mathew's list, and it is pretty hard to go wrong with Splinter Twin.
This is Jarvis Yu's take on Jund:
Jund is another archetype that is well positioned, and is actually favored by many over Abzan Midrange. It is surprising, considering how heavily played Abzan was at Pro Tour Fate Reforged, that it is being pushed out a little bit right now. Lightning Bolt has once again retaken its place on top of Modern it seems, but this is another deck that is happy to maindeck Kolaghan's Command, as Jund loves getting whatever two-for-ones it can. Jund is similar to Abzan but it is more difficult to beat after sideboarding. Previously against Abzan the Twin decks had access to a big sideboard plan complete with Sower of Temptations, which was very hard to deal with.
The one-ofs in this list are what stand out the most. Both Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Olivia Voldaren are extremely powerful, and while both are legendary it could be argued that you might want more than one of either given their power level. Olivia Voldaren is great against the Abzan Collected Company decks, or just decks that can't kill her in general. As mentioned before Tasigur, the Golden Fang is super powerful, and it is generally correct to put at least a couple delve cards in your deck if possible. The other singleton that stands out quite a bit is the Outpost Siege. Previously there were some versions of Jund that did play Chandra, Pyromaster, but it seems that Outpost Siege is the designated upgrade. The Outpost Siege is how to Break Open a mirror match filled with one-for-one removal.
#3: Abzan Collected Company
This is the list of Aspect0 from MTGO:
This is an archetype that I have already talked about, and while it didn't have a great showing in Worcester, over the last month the deck has really taken off. This is essentially the new Birthing Pod style deck, and I like this particular version a lot. The deck can combo easily and quickly, so watch out! This may be the most important deck to test with and against for those who haven't played Modern recently. Four Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit seems like the way to go as that is the creature that allows you to combo or just make large creatures and attack. For those interested in hearing more about Abzan Collected Company I recommend taking a look at my article, which can be found here.
#4: Naya Burn
Here is the list of Aleksa Telarov:
This is an archetype that I certainly have experience with, and adding Atarka's Command doesn't hurt the manabase much. Now you essentially are replacing Skullcrack, because Atarka's Command is a strict upgrade. It isn't that much better because you will very rarely need to put a land into play, but pumping your creatures comes up quite a bit, so that you can make it into a four of five damage burn spell. Originally I was unsure of whether it was correct to include Atarka's Command, but I think it is definitely correct right now.
Overall this deck hasn't changed too much and people should adjust their sideboards based on the amount of Burn expected in the field. It is important to remember to aggressively fetch out colored sources because there are burn spells with both green and white mana symbols in the maindeck. Burn is actually well positioned against many of the midrange decks, as well as Infect, but the Kitchen Finks out of the Collected Company decks are an issue.
#5: Blue/Green Infect
This is what Lucas Duchow played in the MOCS:
Blue/Green Infect has been relatively popular ever since Pro Tour Fate Reforged. This deck preys on any deck without cheap interaction, which is part of the reason why Lightning Bolt is so important right now. This is an archetype that has made it tough for slower non-interactive deck like Tron to compete. The deck has been crushing on Modo but hasn't transitioned as much to in person events. The deck definitely shows up to tournaments, but knowing how to play against it really helps, as being aware of the potential tricks in the deck are a big part of how to beat it. This particular list has gone all the way up to a full four copies of Become Immense, as every game you do want to draw one, but drawing multiples is general is pretty bad. I am a bit surprised to see Ichorclaw Myr but sometimes you just need a single infect creature to win, and so he fills the role of keeping the creature count up a bit.
#6: Abzan Midrange
Here is John Snidajewski's list from a MaxPoint Gold event:
As mentioned earlier Abzan Midrange is getting pushed out a little bit by Jund because both are very similar and it seems that at the moment Jund is more popular than Abzan Midrange. With that said Abzan Midrange has already proven that it is a very solid deck, and people won't stop playing it. There is a lot to be said for playing Siege Rhino right now. This list does opt to go for a turn one mana accelerator with Noble Hierarch as well as a turn one removal spell in Path to Exile. John realizes the importance of cheap spells, and getting down a third turn Siege Rhino is pretty nice. This is also the archetype which is the best home for Lingering Souls. Versus Jund most lists aren't playing Thundermaw Hellkite anymore, so they will have a difficult time with Lingering Souls.
#7: Amulet of Vigor
Micah Greenbaum took Amulet of Vigor to Worcester, and managed a second place finish. Here is what he ran:
This is another deck that gained a lot of popularity because of its success in Pro Tour Fate Reforged. Perhaps the most difficult deck to pilot in Modern, Amulet of Vigor is a deck that is tough to prepare for, and play against. Tectonic Edge isn't seeing much play and Jund may be playing Fulminator Mage, but the worst card for this deck is Blood Moon, which is seeing less play without as much straight Blue/Red Twin. The Dragonlord Atarka in the board to Summoner's Pact out seems pretty sweet, as a way of hosing small creatures or planeswalkers. Amulet of Vigor is a deck that I am scared to play against and is very strong, but there won't be a huge percentage of the field playing the deck. There are some decks that have naturally good matchups versus Amulet of Vigor, like other combo decks with faster clocks.
#8: Grixis Delver
Pro Tour Champion Martin Dang went with Grixis Delver for the MOCS, this is the list:
First of all I do want to note that Temur Delver just put up a big result in Worcester but overall Grixis Delver has been putting up more results, and there isn't room for two Delver decks on this list. Delver hasn't been a big deck in Modern since the bannings, until very recently. A big reason for Delver being popular right now is how good the card Delver of Secrets is against Collected Company. The deck plays out in a similar fashion to Grixis Twin, but instead is only trying to win via damage. Continuing the trend of adding delve cards to your deck not only are there the obligatory Tasigur, the Golden Fangs there are also Gurmag Anglers. To help enable all the delve there are actually a full four Thought Scours to help fill up the graveyard. This may be the new best Snapcaster Mage deck, and for players who already have experience with Legacy Delver, this is a natural deck to pick up.
Here is the list of Cincinnatus from MTGO:
Collected Company has not just found a way into Abzan it has re-awakened other archetypes. The shell of Elves has been in existence for quite a while, but was never quite strong enough to play. Now that Collected Company is available to the deck it gets much better. The deck has been crushing it on Magic Online, but as its resurgence is relatively recent it is still making the transition to paper magic. The deck generates a ton of mana as most of the elves produce mana, and Heritage Druid makes elves like Nettle Sentinel that don't already produce mana, into some of your best mana producers. Once you have all that mana winning by attacking is almost academic, traditionally with a Mirror Entity or Ezuri, Renegade Leader activation. It is unclear if Elves is a deck of the moment or if it is here to stay.
This is the Affinity deck which Christopher Arico took to a second place finish in the Dallas Open:
Affinity almost didn't make the list! Affinity is one of the most popular decks in Modern, and has been for quite a while, but recent developments have hurt this deck a bit. The card that comes to mind is Kolaghan's Command, but on the other hand there are less Lingering Souls running around. I like the three maindeck Spellskites quite a bit, as they make the Twin and Infect matchups much better. The Blood Moons in the board are also important as they can surprise not only the decks relying on nonbasic lands, but just about any three color deck can be caught unexpectedly by Blood Moon.
This concludes the top ten list. There were certainly decks which got left out, or weren't included because there is already a more popular version in the format, like for instance Blue/Red Twin isn't as popular as Grixis Twin. There are also brand new decks like Naya Collected Company which haven't been in the format long enough to make the list. It can be argued that some of the decks should be a little higher and others a bit lower, but in general I do believe this to be an accurate representation of the format.
Thanks for reading,