Welcome to Metagame Monthly! This new series at Bolt the Bird will look at the hottest decks in various formats to start each month. We'll let you know what decks are rising, falling, and staying strong from the previous month.
We also rank each deck on a scale of S-F to help trend where things stand over time.
The very best decks in the format. Will almost always appear in the Top 8 of a tournament
Solid decks that have strong matchups against most decks but have weaknesses that can be exploited or a lower win rate than S-tier decks
Decks at the edges of the winner's circle. Can place highly given the right meta shift or matchups
It's gonna take a lot of skill and a little luck to Top 8, but you could pull it off. Decks that could compete at an FNM level but not generally good enough against the meta
Poor matchups against most of the field. Our "jank" lists and homebrews often fall here
Don't play these decks
After reading, you'll be primed for competitive play and just might find yourself in one of the top spots of your next tournament!
Modern is in a very interesting place at the moment. Despite the metagame becoming somewhat solid around players like Izzet Murktide, 4c piles, and Cascade, players are still finding ways to innovate.
The door is also open for other "top 10" decks to snag great finishes by taking players off guard or taking advantage of the meta as it shifts and swirls.
Let's dive into our Modern Metagame Monthly for June 2022.
There are no surprises in this section. Each of these decks has been atop the meta for months with little sign of doing anything else. That said, it's worth noting some of the changes as you're basically guaranteed to play against one or more of these decks in any given tournament.
If you've been paying attention to MTG Twitter in the past few weeks, you probably know about Ledger Shredder. It started out as an unassuming rare during spoiler season and quickly became one of the hottest cards in eternal formats all the way back to Legacy.
Ledger Shredder seems purposefully built for Izzet Murktide decks (and the Modern format). Players are still debating how you should slot the bird into an already tight list. No one knows how many copies to play either.
Some players are cutting a land and a spell (typically a Bolt or Archmage's Charm). Personally, I'm not a big fan of this approach.
I don't mind trimming a DRC (still running three) as well as a Bolt. Ledger Shredder can still fill the graveyard and become a big, evasive threat later in the game. It also has more upside. That's why I don't mind cutting back a DRC. Still, if you wanted to trim something else to pack in more threats, I can see the reason behind it.
Unlicensed Hearse is also a nice addition. You don't get the synergies with Murktide like Relic of Progenitus, but it is a more aggressive threat. It's also relevant in matchups that aren't hyper-focused on the graveyard.
We have seen Murktide put up plenty of Top 8 finishes in the past month. However, it tends to stumble there, often giving way to other meta decks in the race for first. It's unclear if this is simply due to Murktide having a better matchup against the field at large than the handful of decks that tend to show up in the Top 8. There could also be some element of pilot proficiency harming Murktide's overall win rate as it is a very difficult deck to master.
Regardless, it's an important player in the meta and will be for the foreseeable future. Murktide is always threatening a top finish and its ability to lean controlling keeps greedy decks in the format at bay.
June Rank: A
The massive success of Living End over the past couple of months has been very interesting to watch. Typically, linear decks that rely so heavily on one component are hated out of the format once they start seeing success.
That isn't the case for Living End. Players have worked to beat this deck for some time, but it keeps putting up big finishes.
There is a lot of graveyard hate to work through right now, especially in the form of Endurance.
However, there are plenty of tools to get the job done. Some players have turned to Subtlety as an answer to its green elemental counterpart. It also helps buy an all-important turn against decks like Titan and Murktide. It can also stall an opposing Solitude or Fury.
This deck hasn't really changed in the post-New Capenna meta as no cards from the set fit the gameplan. That said, it is a major contender capable of routinely down tournaments and dominating Swiss rounds if players aren't fully hedging against it.
June Rank: S
4c Control (Omnath / Yorion)
We've seen some interesting divergence in 4c lists over the past few weeks. The control-oriented Yorion list held the favor of most players for several months.
We are now seeing a huge resurgence of the elemental / blink focused version of 4c that was popular right after the release of MH2.
Still, 4c Control is holding strong at the pinnacle of the metagame.
Having access to Counterspell is a huge boost. Likewise, this deck doesn't mind having a weaker game against the elemental version given its terrific matchup with the rest of the field. It's very difficult to overcome the value here.
Like Living End, not much has changed here. This deck isn't running cards from New Capenna and the only addition from Neon Dynasty was the occasional copy of March of Otherworldly Light.
It will be important to keep an eye on how this deck lines up with its elemental counterpart in the days to come. Yorion's days as the favored version of 4c could be numbered.
June Rank: S
You can probably guess what deck is highlighting this section. Yes, it's 4c Elementals. However, the drop-off of Blood Moon in favor of Magus of the Moon for most decks is also having an interesting effect.
Modern is a format where any deck can rise to the occasion in the right environment. These decks have done well in multiple tournaments and are poised to keep performing well in the coming weeks.
4c Elementals (Risen Reef / Blink Version)
This deck was all over the place in the wake of MH2. It's now showing why it shouldn't have gone anywhere in the first place.
Blinking your elementals with Ephemerate (not once, but twice) is really good. A resolved Fury decimates any deck relying on the battlefield. It's able to fight through decks like Yawgmoth, Crashing Footfalls, and Hammer Time with ease. Likewise, Solitude punishes Murktide, Titan, and Tron decks.
All the while, you still have access to Omnath to take over the game and stabilize. Wrenn and Six is here for card advantage and Teferi shuts down greedy lists.
Arguably the biggest piece for this deck that separates it from the 4c list is Risen Reef. This lets you generate immense value from your evoke elementals and negates the downside of pitching a card. Don't be surprised if you draw 10+ cards in a turn with Reef on the field.
This deck matches up well in the 4c Control matchup and is quite strong against the field. I anticipate it being the go-to 4c list once again with Izzet Murktide keeping its poorer matchups in check.
If you want to get in on the elemental action, now is the time to do so.
June Rank: S
This deck's linear, combo-like approach makes it strong against 4c piles. It also has decent matchups against Murktide and can race Living End / Footfalls to quick wins. Amulet can be fragile though when facing the right hate.
Fortunately, the meta is seeing far less Force of Vigor right now as well as a shift away from Blood Moon. These two factors are a big win for Amulet Titan, giving it a better matchup against the field.
Going forward, Titan players should plan on having ways to deal with Magus of the Moon. It appears to be the most popular manabase hate piece right now given the inefficiency of Blood Moon and the prevalence of Boseiju.
Titan is well-positioned within Modern's top 10 decks and can certainly hang in most matchups. As things continue to shift in the metagame, it feels like a strong choice for the coming weeks.
June Rank: B (but very close to an A)
Modern's love for artifacts has somewhat fallen by the wayside in favor of efficient creatures and putting spells on the stack. However, Affinity has been putting up strong results to close out May.
Per TCGPlayer's Seth Manfield, its win percentage and number of Top 8 finishes is comparable to Hammer Time, Burn, and even Amulet Titan. Given that most people would put all three of those decks solidly in the top 10, it seems like Affinity's time to shine might finally be upon us.
This deck can quickly snowball out of control and explode with tons of value thanks to Thought Monitor and Thoughtcast.
Throw in the extra consistency provided by Urza's Saga and some cheap interaction thanks to Neon Dynasty's Metallic Rebuke and you've got a solid core.
Affinity always has a sort of "boom or bust" feel to it depending on your opening hand and draws. However, this list is capable of some very big booms and doesn't entirely whiff too often.
As a bonus, it is one of the cheapest decks in Modern, costing just under $250. That's less than most tier Standard decks right now. If you're looking for a powerful way to compete in Modern on a budget, picking up Affinity and learning to pilot it well could be very rewarding.
June Rank: B
The margin for error in Modern is so slim. The decks here aren't necessarily falling in power level but rather how they fit into the meta and line up against their counterparts.
With the reemergence of 4c Elementals and the continued success of Living End, the meta continues to be hostile. Even great decks are seeing their popularity wane (for now).
For a few weeks earlier this week, it looked like Yawgmoth was making a climb into the top tier of Modern. With solid matchups against Murktide and the ability to win on the spot in the face of Living End and Crashcade, it was well-positioned for success. As a result, Yawgmoth pilots saw great success, nabbing several top finishes and even winning some larger tournaments.
As it turns out, a Fury getting Ephemerated is pretty bad for a deck relying on a wide board of small creatures. The rise of 4c Elementals has directly correlated to a decrease in the success of Golgari Yawgmoth in recent weeks.
More 4c in the meta is bad for Yawgmoth. As the debate between Elementals and Yorion Control heats up, the landscape looks hostile.
The recent success of Amulet also spells trouble for Yawgmoth as it lacks meaningful instant-speed interaction for the titan.
Yawgmoth is definitely one of the best (if not the best) creature combo decks in the format. It won't be held down forever, but this month probably won't be its finest moment.
June Rank: B (but trending downward)
Temur Footfalls (Rhinos)
If you want to play a cascade list, it feels like Living End is the better choice. Although there is merit to the Rhinos deck, it simply feels like the second-best option right now.
While putting two 4/4s onto the field is big trouble for many decks, it isn't the end of the world for 4c piles. Omnath can come down the next turn to help stabilize. A blinked Solitude or Fury can wipe the board. You might not even get to cast your Footfalls if Teferi is around.
Meanwhile, this build can't reset the field against something like a resolved Murktide in the way Living End can.
It's important to not underestimate the power here. However, Footfalls is currently sliding out of favor thanks to Living End. Again, this feels more like a meta call as this deck could come roaring back if something displaces 4c piles from their place at the top.
June Rank: A (but trending towards a B)
Decks to Watch
With its immense cardpool, there's always room for brewing in Modern. Most decks can't compete with the power of tier lists. However, the potential for powerful strategies to come out of nowhere is there.
Though New Capenna didn't add much to the format, it did pave the way for an interesting new archetype. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the coming days.
This list is packed with combos from top to bottom. One features the notorious infinite-mana-maker Devoted Druid as well as Luxior, Giada's Gift from New Capenna. This gives you a way to win on the spot if you also have a Karn, the Great Creator and a Walking Ballista in your wishboard.
It also contains another New Capenna combo featuring Vivien on the Hunt. This is a win-on-the-spot combo thanks to Vivien's Birthing Pod effect, Felidar Guardian, Karmic Guide, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.
You can also cheat out Vivien with Planebound Accomplice for an even faster win.
Meanwhile, some lists are also using Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer to tutor out powerful one drops like Ragavan or help ramp for free with Dryad Arbor.
There are some big weaknesses here, namely being vulnerable to removal and having things to do with your infinite mana outside of ballista. However, this deck is still in its infancy and players are working to optimize it. Whether that amounts to anything competitive outside of a few skilled pilots remains to be seen.
Jund has always been a staple of Modern. Unlike Standard, Modern isn't a friendly place for midrange decks at the moment. That being said, Jund has access to some of the best cards in the format.
It also got some big additions from New Capenna thanks to Riveteer Charm and Ziatora's Proving Ground (the Jund tri-land).
So far, these upgrades haven't propelled the deck out of its mediocre status. However, between the Lurrus ban a few months ago and these new cards, Jund feels so close to breaking out again.
Perhaps it can get an important piece from Dominaria United or maybe there is a sleeper card waiting to hose the meta.
For now, we'll have to keep watching, but no one can hold Jund down for long.
What do you think of the current Modern metagame? Got a favorite way to build a 4c pile? How about beat those nasty 4c piles? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
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