How to play all the best Magic cards at once.
Four-Color Yorion is the premier midrange deck in Magic: The Gathering’s Modern format. Thanks to the range of Modern manabases, you get to play the best answers, the best threats, and stitch it all together with powerful card advantage.
Somehow we get to live in a world where we can make a list of all the great cards we wish we could play in Modern, and if you add lands and some glue it comes out as a tier 1 deck.
The Best Four-Color Yorion Modern Decklist
Maindeck, 80 cards
Sortsort deckCreature (14)
- 1Emrakul, the Promised End
- 4Ice-Fang Coatl
- 4Omnath, Locus of Creation
- 4Teferi, Time Raveler
- 4Wrenn and Six
- 4Expressive Iteration
- 4Prismatic Ending
- 4Traverse the Ulvenwald
- 4Unholy Heat
- 4Mishra’s Bauble
- 4Abundant Growth
- 2Dress Down
- 1Boseiju, Who Endures
- 1Breeding Pool
- 2Flooded Strand
- 1Hallowed Fountain
- 4Misty Rainforest
- 1Otawara, Soaring City
- 1Raugrin Triome
- 2Snow-Covered Forest
- 1Snow-Covered Island
- 1Snow-Covered Mountain
- 1Snow-Covered Plains
- 1Spara’s Headquarters
- 1Steam Vents
- 1Stomping Ground
- 1Temple Garden
- 4Windswept Heath
- 4Wooded Foothills
- 2Boseiju, Who Endures
- 2Chalice of the Void
- 1Dress Down
- 2Supreme Verdict
- 3Veil of Summer
- 1Yorion, Sky Nomad
This is a very conservative build of Four-Color Yorion for the September 2022 Modern metagame and reflects what has been winning the most on Magic Online where the metagame is the most hostile toward four-color decks.
If your local metagame differs from that, I would shift your build of Four-Color to adapt to it. If you expect a lot of Four-Color Yorion mirrors or creature matchups where Ephemerate on Solitude or Fury ends games, I would lean toward the Four-Color Elementals lists with Risen Reef, which are good there but a bit weaker against leaner disruptive decks like Izzet Tempo and combo decks like Four-Color Creativity. If you expect a lot of combo and control decks, I would get some Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer in my list but stick to classic Four-Color Yorion.
Market Price: $47.91
Market Price: $12.88
Market Price: $25.39
The core of any four-color deck in Modern is Wrenn and Six. Having a reliable stream of fetch lands into shock lands or Triomes is the only way the mana works, and there’s even a subtle effect where Wrenn’s ability to recur fetches lets you play fewer lands, meaning your cantrips draw into more spells over longer games. Abundant Growth also helps stitch together your multiple spell turns with very specific mana requirements.
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The reasons to play these four colors with Wrenn and Six are Omnath, Locus of Creation and Teferi, Time Raveler. Omnath is your catch-all win condition that overpowers almost anything it faces. Teferi is less blatantly powerful, but half the time it just turns off your opponent’s deck by stopping cascade or Counterspell while also picking up value along the way.
Market Price: $37.83
Four-Color Yorion is more a control deck than a midrange deck, and it has a phenomenal set of answers to support that. Solitude is the perfect blend of an early answer, a two-for-one payoff for getting to the midgame, and a really threatening permanent to blink with Yorion. Prismatic Ending in a four-color deck provides broad coverage against threats at unmatched efficiency.
Unholy Heat has slowly become the third removal spell paired with these, offering an efficient answer against Hammer Time or Izzet Tempo that can scale up to take out key planeswalkers or Omnath in Four-Color mirrors.
Like any good control deck, you are aiming to trade cards and then use some form of card advantage to get ahead. In addition to all the two-for-one creatures and planeswalkers I mentioned, Four-Color Yorion has some powerful direct ways to generate cards. The namesake Yorion, Sky Nomad is locked-in card advantage layered with more card advantage in any game you manage to survive, and you have access to a big engine in Risen Reef or the raw power of Expressive Iteration.
Flex Slots and Alternatives
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Some form of creature tutoring has become typical in Four-Color, with many lists moving to Traverse the Ulvenwald over the more traditional Eladamri’s Call.
Leaning into these tutors is one way to shore up multiple matchups against linear decks like Mono-Green Tron and Living End at once. Common tutor targets are Magus of the Moon for Amulet Titan and Mono-Green Tron, Endurance against Living End, or Meddling Mage against the various cascade decks, and there are a ton of other options for the sideboard. Emrakul, the Promised End is another key creature to find as a capstone finish against any deck where accumulated card advantage isn’t a viable plan. And none of this accounts for just having Solitude or Omnath in your hand more often when that is the card that counts.
The downside of Traverse over Call is the obvious one. Traverse is graveyard dependent and not always reliable, even when your opponent isn’t freely attacking your graveyard with Endurance or Dauthi Voidwalker.
The big upside of Traverse is that it costs one mana, allowing for smoother mid-game turns. The land tutor on Traverse also comes up a lot, extending your Boseiju, Who Endures count to lock out Urza’s Saga or Urza’s Tower decks with Wrenn and Six recursion. Or maybe you just want to find a Misty Rainforest for your Omnath to make Traverse into a Dark Ritual.
The main reasons to opt for Call over Traverse are if you are trying to fill up your 80 card deck with Ragavan instead of Mishra’s Bauble, or if Endurance becomes a maindeck fixture of Modern again. Until then, I would lean toward the more efficient option.
Some weird card types sneak in there to enable delirium for Traverse. Mishra’s Bauble and Dress Down are both low-cost includes with some high-impact outcomes that just happen to add to delirium counts in unique ways.
I highlighted the really good answers Four-Color Yorion plays, and all the other ones are negotiable.
The first negotiable category are the catch-alls.
March of Otherworldly Light is a clear third place here, but it plays a specific role when Urza’s Saga is a key player in the metagame. Otherwise it is inefficient and incomplete in its coverage against expensive permanents and planeswalkers.
The debate that is still ongoing is Counterspell versus Leyline Binding, and I’m still solidly on the side of Counterspell. There are too many cards like Living End or Primeval Titan that you just can’t answer after they resolve, and I’m not a fan of opening myself up to my opponent’s Boseiju, Who Endures as an answer to my removal spell. That said, Leyline Binding does better in matchups defined by efficiency since you can’t always leave up Counterspell when you start off behind, or even just on the draw against Wrenn and Six.
I wouldn’t rule out Leyline Binding as an option for Four-Color Yorion yet, but I think Leyline Binding is a better fit for other proactive decks looking for a generic answer. The more you can condense the game with something like Indomitable Creativity, the less you risk Leyline Binding dying.
Market Price: $37.40
The next category are the creatures that back up Solitude in the Shriekmaw two-for-one department
Ice-Fang Coatl is the answer to larger, slower creatures like Death’s Shadow or Murktide Regent, but that slower part is important. There are plenty of things in the two-cost range that outsize Ice-Fang Coatl as a 1/1 and outpace your ability to assemble other snow permanents, or things that just don’t get into combat.
Many of those fast things are tribal threats, and Fury is the card that smushes those. Despite an uptick in decks like Goblins with Dominaria United, Fury remains scarce in Four-Color lists. Most of the things Fury preys upon are also pushed out of the metagame by Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer backed by cheap removal, or something like Living End that just doesn’t care about building up creature sizing. Access to a copy of Fury to tutor up is nice, but unless you are playing Ephemerate, I would consider it optional.
Double Masters 2022 | Uncommon
Eternal Witness was a core piece of the Four-Color archetype, but is has disappeared as Counterspell and Ephemerate stopped appearing in the same lists. If you find yourself building a list with both those cards, play at least one copy of Eternal Witness.
When to Play Four-Color Yorion in Modern
When the format starts bogging down with interaction, picking up Four-Color Yorion becomes a great idea. Bonus points if Teferi, Time Raveler or Counterspell is especially effective against popular decks, or if people decide playing creatures that die to Wrenn and Six is a good idea.
When less interactive decks picking up, Four-Color Yorion struggles a bit, especially if they require very different and specific answers. You can adjust your Four-Color Yorion deck to beat a couple of those decks, possibly more depending on whether you can Eladamri’s Call for the answer, but with 80 cards it’s hard to play all the right narrow answers and draw them at the right time.
How to Play Four-Color Yorion in Modern
Play for the Late Game
Four-Color Yorion should be favored in almost any longer game where you can get your cards to interact with theirs in a relevant way. All your cards are two-for-ones, and even if they keep pace with that, Yorion, Sky Nomad eventually will bury them.
The problem is usually getting to the point where you are triggering Omnath, casting Solitude and Yorion, or playing big things off Expressive Iteration. Don’t keep hands that can’t interact early, but on the flip side of this, beware hands that are all early interaction without any way to start pulling ahead on cards. On that Expressive Iteration note, unless you need to hit the land drop, you want to hold Iteration until you can try to exile and cast something relevant.
Manage Your Mana
Your mana generally just works, but always run through some quick checks when fetching:
- “Am I accidentally finding Stomping Ground and Hallowed Fountain when I’m trying to cast Wrenn and Six turn two?”
- “Do I need this shock land, or should I work toward snow-covered basic lands for deathtouch on Ice-Fang Coatl?”
- “Am I accidentally locking myself out of leaving Counterspell up after casting Teferi, Time Raveler, or Ephemerate after casting Solitude?”
- “It’s turn 11, did I accidentally run out of the right lands to fetch?”
- “Do I really want to fetch Spara’s Headquarters when I have perfect mana on turn five, or would I rather draw it later to cycle and recur with Wrenn and Six?”
Traverse the Ulvenwald can be a tricky part of this whole mana equation. In the early game it has to find a basic land, which often means you want your fetch lands to find Triomes or shock lands first so you aren’t overloaded on single-color sources.
Pushing past early mana, Traverse lists will also commonly put an Abundant Growth on a fetch land, allowing you to sacrifice the fetch and put an enchantment in your graveyard for delirium.
When playing Four-Color Yorion, don’t get scared of being just a bit behind. If the game goes longer, losing often involves something going drastically wrong and the game quickly ending. Four-Color Yorion often has a limited number of answers to use in the early game, so try to use them to get to that middle portion of the game where your deck really gets going. If something really scary happens early, act to stop it, but if your opponent isn’t applying a ton of pressure, think about the ways the game can suddenly get really bad and play to avoid those.
Watch the event clock. Four-Color Yorion is a mechanically slow deck. There are a ton of enters-the-battlefield triggers to stack on Magic Online, shuffling an 80-card deck in paper every turn eats up time, and in both cases you take a lot of actions every turn and play longer games. Once you resolve Omnath or Yorion you can end the game very quickly, but you need to know when that’s a priority over playing it safe.
Similar to the previous point, don’t panic about time. Start by just playing the games while noting what different points of a long match look like on the clock. From there, develop a sense of when you have to start playing to win now as opposed to drawing or timing out when ahead later.
Four-Color Yorion Sideboard Guide
Vs. Izzet Tempo
Modern Horizons 2 | Mythic
Market Price: $12.03
The Izzet Tempo matchup is fought at four points: not dying to their initial onslaught of cheap threats, playing one of your big threats to take over the game, not dying to Murktide Regent, and the stack around each of those things happening. That’s approximately the order that I prioritize each of those things in an opening hand.
Your planeswalkers need at least 3 loyalty to survive a dashed Ragavan. Against an opponent who is unlikely to get to delirium for a big Unholy Heat, it is often better to +1 an unopposed early Teferi, Time Raveler and cash in the -3 a turn later when you have reactive mana up.
You’ll often need to line up multiple removal spells against multiple threats, so here’s a quick list of things to consider. Try to spend the card that can’t kill Murktide Regent first. When deciding between Unholy Heat or Prismatic Ending on a small threat, use the Unholy Heat early in the game pre-delirium so you can Ending a 2/4 Ledger Shredder. Later on post-delirium this flips and you should use the Prismatic Ending first so you can Unholy Heat a dashed Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.
Any card that they can catch you out of position on is a liability, and multiples lead to bad opening hands. If you know you are facing off against Izzet Tempo and your hand has Emrakul, the Promised End and Counterspell, your other five cards need to be rock solid to not mulligan.
|3 Veil of Summer||2 Dress Down|
|2 Supreme Verdict||2 Counterspell|
|1 Emrakul, the Promised End|
Conditional cards and slow things out, proactive tactical cards and answers in. I actually like Emrakul, the Promised End in a decent number of games against Izzet Tempo that go super long as a way to just end thing, but you can’t afford to draw it early, and just having an Omnath, Locus of Creation later is close enough.
Counterspell is in weird spot against Izzet after sideboarding. It becomes more important to stop Blood Moon and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but also becomes more of a liability against Mystical Dispute or a resolved Blood Moon. Depending on how aggressive your opponent’s configuration is you can adjust up or down on Counterspell in sideboarding.
Veil of Summer can be a liability if Izzet comes out of the gates quickly. Don’t be afraid to cycle a Veil of Summer if they cast a Consider when you are behind and looking for answers.
Beware Izzet’s Blood Moon effects, especially on the draw. If you aren’t using the mana, leaving a fetch land waiting early in the game instead of end-of-turn sacrificing it is a good safety measure. The other small thing to play around is biasing toward casting a non-blue threat when they leave up a single mana to minimize the value of Mystical Dispute.
Vs. Four-Color Yorion (the Mirror)
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Zendikar Rising | Mythic
Market Price: $12.48
I don’t have precise advice for the Four-Color Yorion mirror because there’s a lot of slinging two-for-ones at each other and seeing who stumbles first.
Early in a game a player can get a massive lead by resolving an unanswered planeswalker or Omnath, Locus of Creation, but unless those bridge to an even bigger play, the advantage is often recoverable. Prismatic Ending is a great card to see in your opening hand to defend against that. Planeswalkers later on are less of a threat since they die easily to big attackers or Omnath damage triggers.
The biggest threats you should worry about later in the game are Omnath, and Yorion, since those are the biggest swings. Try to reserve your Counterspell for those. Risen Reef can get out of hand it if doesn’t die, and Emrakul the Promised End is something you should keep counting graveyard types and mana for so you can avoid some of the worst-case scenarios of that card. If things go really long, you can use Teferi as a bait spell that forces a Counterspell before casting your more important finisher.
These matches will go long. Play with purpose from the start (the purpose being not running out of time many turns later). But don’t play recklessly. Unless your opponent is really crunched on cards left or only has a single turn before they die, don’t assume you can try to push tempo to kill them over pushing value to stay ahead.
|1 Fury||1 Dress Down|
Not a lot of sideboarding happens here since you built your maindeck with the goal of maximizing your two-for-ones in mind. Most of the removal isn’t exciting, but you need ways to clear planeswalkers or Risen Reef out of the way. Against Four-Color Elementals, you can leave in the Dress Down and trip a less impactful card like Ice-Fang Coatl.
Vs. Hammer Time
Commander: Adventures In The Forgotten Realms | Rare
When I warned about playing too fast with your spot removal, this was the matchup I was thinking about. Hammer Time is about playing to stop their big things and ignoring all the small stuff. They have a lot of big things between Stoneforge Mystic, Urza’s Saga, The Reality Chip, and their core combo, but if they want to play slow under Esper Sentinel, let them—that pace favors you. If you can just chill and wait a turn to cast Omnath with removal mana up, just chill.
Don’t spend answers to Urza’s Saga on other cards early on if you can help it. That is the card that forces you to scramble back into the game more than anything else they have.
Blacksmith’s Skill and Spell Pierce exist, but you rarely want to play around them. They usually either get stuck in the Hammertime player’s hand and bog them down to your pace, or they land perfectly and there’s nothing you can do about it.
|1 Dress Down||2 Counterspell|
|2 Boseiju, Who Endures||1 Endurance|
|1 Fury||2 Teferi, Time Raveler|
|2 Supreme Verdict||1 Emrakul, the Promised End|
The cards you bring in are obvious, but the cards you take out are all about efficiency. In the games that Hammer Time wins they overwhelm you with must-answer threats fast, so cut the cards that leave you behind on tempo.
Vs. Four-Color Creativity
Aether Revolt | Mythic
Market Price: $33.43
The Four-Color Creativity matchup is a weird middle ground for your removal-spells-and-threats plan. It is effective to some degree, but not so much that you won’t have to plan for them being a combo deck.
Trying to answer Archon of Cruelty after it hits the battlefield is not a profitable exchange, but you will have to do it to win most games. Ice-Fang Coatl plays an important role as the random thing you sacrifice so that Archon doesn’t kill your relevant planeswalker or creature, and killing their Archon should be a bridge to something beyond not dying to it. Dress Down is a huge deal here since the problem with letting Archon resolve is them accumulating value off the enters-the-battlefield trigger that Dress Down stops.
If you are able to buy enough time between Archon of Cruelty triggers, you can win the game by running your opponent out of Archons, with your two-for-ones recovering anything you lost to a single trigger each time. Landing a Counterspell on their first Indomitable Creativity is huge because the time it takes them to find another is often enough to let you find this stride. If you have Counterspell, play very defensively until that exchange happens.
I generally wouldn’t aim removal at their creatures besides Goblin Shaman tokens or Reflection of Kiki-Jiki. They will eventually make a ton of Dwarf or Crab tokens and cast Indomitable Creativity for X=4 and have too many targets for you to fire off removal in response to kill them all. The exception is using Prismatic Ending on an early Clue token if they don’t have a Wrenn and Six, but I’m always a sucker for trying to Stifle my opponents with plays like that.
If you bounce an Archon of Cruelty with Teferi, Time Raveler, they will likely live to recast it. Know that this is just a delay tactic that will lead to another Archon trigger, not a real answer. Teferi is often best used to manage their tokens and keep them off an effective early Indomitable Creativity that way.
You need to answer a Wrenn and Six if that card resolves, but fortunately there are a ton of ways to do that. This is yet another reason to not aim removal at their creatures, and kill their planeswalker instead.
|1 Supreme Verdict||1 Prismatic Ending|
|2 Flusterstorm||2 Ice-Fang Coatl|
|1 Dress Down||1 Endurance|
Sideboarding is a mixed bag because the cards you are bringing in aren’t clearly better than the one you are sideboarding out. Supreme Verdict can clean up multiple copies of Archon of Cruelty, but that game is often still lost to the raw value of their triggers. Flusterstorm is good at slowing the game down and hedging against Veil of Summer, but things drag on to the point it can be paid for or where Flusterstorm not interacting with a cast Archon of Cruelty matters. Prismatic Ending kills basically nothing, except when it exiles Wrenn and Six and makes a game playable. Ice-Fang Coatl usually just cycles, but the small value of it protecting an investment in an Omnath, Locus of Creation from an Archon trigger does matter. At least Endurance doing nothing and Dress Down being great is easy enough.
The good news is their sideboard plan is similarly low-impact. The big problem with any of their options like Mystical Dispute, Aether Gust, or Veil of Summer is they make Teferi, Time Raveler a good card, and I would play my post-sideboard games against Four-Color Creativity as if Teferi threatened to break up their next-level plans.
Vs. Living End
Time Spiral: Remastered | Mythic
I wanted to round this sideboard guide out with some popular decks where you can’t lean on your two-for-ones as hard as you would like and Four-Color Yorion is forced to play the game on its opponent’s terms. Living End is an obvious example, and most Four-Color Yorion sideboards tell a story of working hard to adjust to this matchup.
Your primary goal Game 1 is resolve Teferi, Time Raveler. Barring that, you want to see if you can get delirium in time to Traverse the Ulvenwald for Endurance. Things get real scrappy if you can’t do either of those, and your wins usually involve Solitude mopping up a low-creature-count Living End or Omnath, Locus of Creation solo-ing a similar situation. Or maybe getting lucky to draw a Counterspell for each cascade spell they draw. That reads like a lot of ways to win the game, but the simplest outcome is that they have a Grief or Force of Negation, resolve Living End for a few bodies, and you die. Game 1 is winnable, but unfavorable.
|3 Veil of Summer||1 Emrakul, the Promised End|
|3 Flusterstorm||2 Dress Down|
|2 Chalice of the Void||4 Prismatic Ending|
|2 Supreme Verdict||4 Unholy Heat|
The good news is that your sideboard makes things way easier. You get piles of interaction that actually matters and Veil of Summer to protect it all from Grief and Force of Negation. Four-Color Yorion can make a bad matchup into a good one if it wants to.
The last card in or out is marginal. The Fury that might clean up a weak Living End is about the same as a Dress Down that cycles or an Unholy Heat to kill a hard-cast Curator of Mysteries threatening Teferi, Time Raveler.
Ultimate Masters | Uncommon
Burn is another matchup where you are playing the game on their terms, but thankfully your normal cards matter. As always with Burn, the goal is to trade as many of your cards for theirs as possible, minimize shock land damage, and hope to get to the point of the game where you gain life with Omnath, Locus of Creation’s landfall or Solitude’s lifelink.
Once you resolve Omnath, you will want to trigger landfall once on your turn and once on their turn to double up to 8 life gained and to minimize the impact of a Skullcrack. Don’t worry about getting a mana boost, gaining life is the best thing you can do.
As important as Omnath is, access to your one-cost removal might be more important. Killing a turn-one Goblin Guide effectively gains a ton of life because it isn’t attacking and killing you.
|3 Flusterstorm||2 Dress Down|
|2 Chalice of the Void||1 Emrakul, the Promised End|
|2 Boseiju, Who Endures||1 Teferi, Time Raveler|
|1 Fury||4 Ice-Fang Coatl|
Cards that might trade for or stop any burn spell or creature come in. Cards that won’t, come out. Teferi, Time Raveler doesn’t do either of those things, but it is white to pitch to Solitude exiling turn-one Goblin Guide and might clear out a Roiling Vortex to line up an Omnath trigger. Ice-Fang Coatl mostly just cycles.
Boseiju, Who Endures looks a little weird, but it can kill an Eidolon of the Great Revel without triggering the deal-2-damage ability. It is also just another untapped, painless land to draw when you are aiming to cast Solitude for five mana or want to kick off with a Traverse the Ulvenwald.
Chalice of the Void is fine when set to one or two charge counters. Yes, it will disrupt your spells, but Burn drawing blank cards thanks to Chalice is way more important.
* * *
Even if it has a couple bad weeks from time to time, it will take a lot to knock Four-Color Yorion out of Modern’s top tier. It can adjust to any metagame that gets too narrow, it has a natural advantage against other fair decks, and at the end of the day, your pile of good cards can always scrape out wins on raw power.