The State of Modern - An Introspective on Magic's Non-Rotating Format

With The Brothers’ War just around the corner its time to take a deep dive into where the meta currently sits, and what to expect in the coming weeks. Modern was introduced as a non-sanctioned Magic Online format in May 19, 2011 and subsequently officially codified on August 12, 2011, when the format of Pro Tour Philadelphia was changed from Extended to Modern. Since then, Modern has flourished in multiple ways capturing the hearts of many Magic: The Gathering players. Outside of standard set releases, up until June 14, 2019 the format saw a ton of changes, but no change was as impactful or format warping as the release of Modern Horizons. Powerhouse cards like Wrenn and Six, Hogaak, Seasoned Pyromancer, and many other cards were introduced for the first time along side a plethora of other reprints. This would set the tone for WotC to create a new flagship product line that would constantly shake up the current meta with every release.

Fast forward to June 18, 2021, Modern Horizons 2 explodes onto the shelves of game stores far and wide and disappears just as fast. This set has had the most impact on the meta changing it up almost completely, with a lot of decks that were previously top tier being left in the dust, or finding new spice to add to them that sends them over the edge in power level.  The elemental cycle of Solitude, Grief, Endurance, Fury and Subtlety stirred the meta in such a way that its almost impossible to find a deck that doesn’t have some amount of them in it, whether it be in the side or main deck. MH2 also introduced power house cards like Urza’s Saga and Ragavan which became staples to many strategies. Theres a lot to unwrap with MH2 and its safe to say that with the success of this set, more like it are sure to follow. 

While not a “Modern Horizons” set, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth slated for Q3 of 2023 will also be introducing cards that will go directly to Modern and other eternal formats, and its almost a certainty that this will once again shake up the meta in a meaningful way. As it stands now, the recent few standard sets that have been released from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty to Streets of New Capenna , a few cards have been printed that have some impact on the format but not in a way that rivals the MH sets. Ledger Shredder and Unlicensed Hearse  have been slotted into a few decks, as well as Fable of the Mirror Breaker. Finding homes in decks like Red/Blue Murktide and Red/Black “Scam” or even some of the Jund variants like “Jund Sagavan” .

Currently the meta sits in an extraordinarily healthy place where it honestly feels like nearly anything can be made to work. There is no “This is the best deck” as every single deck seems to be able to compete in a way that doesn’t feel like a lost cause. Sure there is always going to be a bad matchup or two for any deck, but with all the tools at our disposal nothing is impossible. Whether you want to play a lightning fast aggro deck, a Johnny Combo Player build, or a grindy control deck that forces the game to a speed you’re comfortable with, there is undoubtedly a deck for you in Modern.

There has never been a better time to brew up some fun and exciting decks, slinging spells at your weekly modern event is the most accessible its ever been and a massive amount of fun cards from The Brothers’ War are about to make it a whole lot better too. The first card I want to highlight here is Diabolic intent, this card is being reprinted into modern for the first time and will certainly have an impact on some modern decks. Decks like “Yawgmoth Combo” are about to get a welcomed boost in the consistency of its combo strategy as well as other combo strategies that can utilize sacrificing and tutoring, even decks like mono black control will see the use of this card over Profane Tutor.  Another card that could be impactful for modern is Yotian Dissident a 1/1 creature for White and Green that adds +1/+1 counters to any creature whenever an artifact enters the battlefield. This card could breath some new life into Affinity decks or Hardened Scales decks. I could go on for quite some time about all the awesome cards that I’m excited about from The brothers’ War but I’ll leave that for another article!

As more spoilers get released in the coming days and prerelease just around the corner I expect The Brothers’ War to make waves in modern and excite Modern players old and new. Modern is currently in a fantastic place and you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out. If you enjoyed this article, you can buy the cards mentioned at for all your modern needs!

Brothers' warMagic the gatheringModernMtg