6 Classic Modern Decks with a New Look

Old archetypes are back in surprising forms.

With Covid-19 preventing in-person events these past two years, my experience with the Modern format has felt very disjointed. Now that we are getting back to live events, including the SCG Invitational this weekend, Modern is back in the spotlight.

While many classic archetypes are sure to be on display this weekend, many of them will look quite different than we’re used to, thanks to Modern Horizons 2 and natural shifts in the metagame. Here are a few Modern decks that got a makeover since the last time we got to play in person.

#1: Jund

Good ol’ black, red, and green cards. Jund might be the most iconic Modern deck in the history of the format.



Market Price:$1104.54

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (12)

  • 4Dragon’s Rage Channeler
  • 4Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
  • 4Tarmogoyf

Planeswalker (4)

  • 4Wrenn and Six

Sorcery (6)

  • 4Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 2Thoughtseize

Instant (7)

  • 1Abrupt Decay
  • 2Lightning Bolt
  • 4Unholy Heat

Artifact (8)

  • 4Mishra’s Bauble
  • 2Nihil Spellbomb
  • 1Pyrite Spellbomb
  • 1Shadowspear

Land (23)

  • 3Blackcleave Cliffs
  • 1Blood Crypt
  • 4Bloodstained Mire
  • 1Overgrown Tomb
  • 1Snow-Covered Forest
  • 1Snow-Covered Mountain
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 1Stomping Ground
  • 4Urza’s Saga
  • 2Verdant Catacombs
  • 4Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)

  • 1Abrupt Decay
  • 2Alpine Moon
  • 2Chalice of the Void
  • 1Engineered Explosives
  • 1Lurrus of the Dream-Den
  • 2Nihil Spellbomb
  • 1Pithing Needle
  • 2Terminate
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 1Torpor Orb
  • 1Void Mirror
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Market Price: $47.58

Dragon's Rage Channeler
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The deck should look a bit strange if you’re used to the Jund of old. This is now the stock creature base of the deck, consisting of Tarmogoyf, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. No more Dark Confidant, Bloodbraid Elf, or Scavenging Ooze. This new creature base features two cards recently printed in Modern Horizons 2 and makes the deck much more red-focused than it used to be. There is also a companion in Lurrus of the Dream-Den, which constricts some card choices.

Unholy Heat
Mishra's Bauble

Jund is much closer to being an aggro deck than a control deck now, as the threats are so inexpensive, and it puts on a lot of pressure very quickly. There are still some familiar cards that have been in the deck for a while, like Tarmogoyf, the discard package, and Lightning Bolt—though there are actually only two copies of Lightning Bolt. Unholy Heat has arguably become the more important one-mana red removal spell. The deck plays four copies of Mishra’s Bauble to help enable delirium, as one mana to deal 6 damage is very impressive.

Wrenn and Six

Market Price: $44.68

Urza's Saga

Market Price: $28.10

Notice the absence of Liliana of the Veil, a card I’ve always thought of as a Jund staple. The grindy element of the deck is now Wrenn and Six, which comes for a mere two-mana investment. In a format with many 1 toughness creatures, Wrenn gains a lot of its appeal because you can use it as an immediate removal spell. We also see the manabase shifting to accommodate Urza’s Saga. The land is so good that it makes sense to include an artifact tutor package of Spellbombs and Shadowspear, with additional tutor targets in the sideboard.

While people still refer to this deck as Jund, don’t confuse it for what the deck used to be. It now plays out in a much more aggressive fashion.

#2: Living End

I had the pleasure of playing against this deck in the finals of a Modern Grand Prix back in 2013. This deck can’t have changed too much though, right? It’s simply a combination of Jund-colored cycle creatures, to go alongside the cascade spells and Living End itself?

Wrong! The most popular version of Living End right now is actually blue-based.


Living End

Market Price:$732.59

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (30)

  • 4Architects of Will
  • 2Brazen Borrower//
  • 4Curator of Mysteries
  • 4Grief
  • 4Shardless Agent
  • 4Street Wraith
  • 4Striped Riverwinder
  • 4Waker of Waves

Sorcery (3)

  • 3Living End

Instant (8)

  • 4Force of Negation
  • 4Violent Outburst

Land (19)

  • 3Botanical Sanctum
  • 2Breeding Pool
  • 1Forest
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 2Scalding Tarn
  • 1Snow-Covered Island
  • 3Spirebluff Canal
  • 2Steam Vents
  • 1Sunken Ruins

Sideboard (15)

  • 1Brazen Borrower//
  • 4Endurance
  • 2Force of Vigor
  • 3Foundation Breaker
  • 3Mystical Dispute
  • 2Subtlety
Shardless Agent

Market Price: $14.91

Shardless Agent is a much better way to cascade into Living End than Demonic Dread ever was. It turns out there are plenty of good creatures to put into the graveyard in blue as well. The creatures are no longer pure cyclers. Grief is in here as a strong evoke creature, and even a couple copies of Brazen Borrower have made it in.

The deck is more versatile than it used to be, as there are also maindeck copies of Force of Negation to make sure your Living End resolves. The deck is more powerful, and more consistent, than ever before. It plays very few of the cards we used to see in Living End outside of Living End itself, Violent Outburst, Street Wraith, and in some cases Architects of Will.

#3: Scapeshift


Market Price: $14.86

Bring to Light

We used to see Scapeshift decks that were base Gruul colors, and sometimes Temur colors. Five-color Scapeshift lists existed, but they weren’t all that popular. Now, Bring to Light Five-Color Scapeshift lists are standard for the archetype, and there is only one copy of Scapeshift in the whole list!


Five-Color Scapeshift

Market Price:$1020.64

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (11)

  • 3Arboreal Grazer
  • 4Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
  • 3Omnath, Locus of Creation
  • 1Valki, God of Lies

Planeswalker (6)

  • 3Teferi, Time Raveler
  • 3Wrenn and Six

Sorcery (15)

  • 4Bring to Light
  • 4Expressive Iteration
  • 4Prismatic Ending
  • 1Scapeshift
  • 1Sunset Revelry
  • 1Supreme Verdict

Land (28)

  • 1Breeding Pool
  • 2Ketria Triome
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 1Overgrown Tomb
  • 2Raugrin Triome
  • 1Sacred Foundry
  • 1Savai Triome
  • 1Snow-Covered Forest
  • 1Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Mountain
  • 1Snow-Covered Plains
  • 1Steam Vents
  • 1Stomping Ground
  • 1Temple Garden
  • 4Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
  • 4Windswept Heath
  • 1Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)

  • 3Sunset Revelry
  • 1Anger of the Gods
  • 1Crumble to Dust
  • 2Endurance
  • 2Flusterstorm
  • 2Force of Vigor
  • 2Mystical Dispute
  • 2Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Scapeshift is now a five-color “good stuff” sort of deck. It can win with Scapeshift, but doesn’t have to. Omnath, Locus of Creation is capable of winning games on its own. We also see cards I would expect in control decks like Prismatic Ending and Expressive Iteration. Manabases have reached a point in Modern where you can really push the envelope on how many colors you are playing, and this deck takes full advantage of that. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove helps make everything possible.

Sunset Revelry
Supreme Verdict
Valki, God of Lies

Market Price: $12.19

The one-ofs in the deck are targets for Bring to Light. You won’t always be grabbing Scapeshift with it, so having a toolbox of options is really nice. This deck still plays ramp, but not cards like Farseek that we used to see. Instead, Arboreal Grazer and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove are here to get the deck to play multiple lands a turn.

#4: Jeskai Stoneblade

You may remember Stoneblade decks as traditional control strategies, with Stoneforge Mystic as the finisher of choice. Well, recently there has been a major shift in Stoneblade, to the point it could be considered more of a Prison-style deck.


Jeskai Stoneblade

Market Price:$1143.92

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (17)

  • 3Bonecrusher Giant// 
  • 4Fury
  • 4Seasoned Pyromancer
  • 2Solitude
  • 4Stoneforge Mystic

Planeswalker (3)

  • 3Teferi, Time Raveler

Sorcery (5)

  • 4Prismatic Ending
  • 1Shatterskull Smashing

Instant (3)

  • 3Lightning Helix

Artifact (6)

  • 1Batterskull
  • 3Chalice of the Void
  • 1Kaldra Compleat
  • 1Sword of Fire and Ice

Enchantment (3)

  • 3Blood Moon

Land (23)

  • 4Arid Mesa
  • 3Flooded Strand
  • 1Hallowed Fountain
  • 1Inspiring Vantage
  • 1Island
  • 2Mountain
  • 4Plains
  • 4Prismatic Vista
  • 1Raugrin Triome
  • 1Sacred Foundry
  • 1Steam Vents

Sideboard (15)

  • 1Chalice of the Void
  • 1Chandra, Awakened Inferno
  • 1Dennick, Pious Apprentice
  • 1Engineered Explosives
  • 2Flusterstorm
  • 1Geist of Saint Traft
  • 2Obsidian Charmaw
  • 2Rest in Peace
  • 1Sanctifier en-Vec
  • 1Sunset Revelry
  • 2Wear // Tear// 
Blood Moon

Market Price: $11.15

Chalice of the Void

Market Price: $49.66

Blood Moon and Chalice of the Void have always been powerful disruptive cards in Modern, it’s just a surprise to see them in this deck. You no longer need to play one-mana removal spells like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile, with Prismatic Ending and Lightning Helix being the removal spells of choice. This means you are almost always playing Chalice of the Void for one.

#5: Affinity

Most people, myself included, thought Affinity was dead after the Mox Opal ban. While it went away for a while, the deck has started to resurface in a different form. It’s not the same deck it once was, but it still bears the Affinity name.



Market Price:$223.96

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (27)

  • 4Frogmite
  • 1Gingerbrute
  • 4Memnite
  • 2Myr Enforcer
  • 4Ornithopter
  • 4Signal Pest
  • 4Sojourner’s Companion
  • 4Thought Monitor

Instant (4)

  • 4Galvanic Blast

Artifact (11)

  • 4Cranial Plating
  • 1Shadowspear
  • 4Springleaf Drum
  • 2Welding Jar

Land (18)

  • 4Darksteel Citadel
  • 1Island
  • 3Silverbluff Bridge
  • 2Spire of Industry
  • 4Treasure Vault
  • 4Urza’s Saga

Sideboard (15)

  • 2Etched Champion
  • 2Experimental Frenzy
  • 1Jegantha, the Wellspring 
  • 4Metallic Rebuke
  • 1Pithing Needle
  • 3Relic of Progenitus
  • 2Wear // Tear// 

We see many familiar favorites here like Memnite, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum, Signal Pest, Galvanic Blast, Cranial Plating, Darksteel Citadel, Welding Jar, and Spire of Industry. The deck still plays cheap artifacts in order to enable its payoffs, so it makes sense that the same package of inexpensive artifacts would still be the way to go.

Myr Enforcer

The deck doesn’t have quite the same color flexibility it used to, so it just focuses on blue and red, which is smart. You don’t need to play spells of other colors anyway. There was a long time when Affinity decks didn’t actually play any cards with affinity, but now they’re making a comeback. Both Myr Enforcer and Frogmite are present, alongside some recently printed Modern Horizons 2 affinity payoffs.

Thought Monitor
Sojourner's Companion

Thought Monitor is essentially a Thoughtcast replacement, as you get the two cards alongside a relevant artifact creature for an additional two-mana investment. Sojourner’s Companion is a really flexible option because you can use it to get a land as needed.

The manabase might be the part of the deck that has actually shifted the most. This version moves away from Blinkmoth and Inkmoth Nexus, as the deck isn’t playing Arcbound Ravager, so it’s harder to make these lands super threatening outside of equipping one with a Cranial Plating.

Urza’s Saga

Modern Horizons 2 | Rare

Urza's Saga - Modern Horizons 2 - magic

Market Price: $28.10

More importantly, the deck needs room for Urza’s Saga, which is just too strong not to include. Keep in mind non-artifact decks are playing it, so here it is just an absolute all-star. There were a number of recently printed artifact lands as well, and playing them makes it easier to ramp out cards with affinity for artifacts.

#6: Azorius Control

Azorius Control hasn’t changed its primary game plan as much as the other decks here, but it has definitely evolved into a much stronger deck than it used to be.


Azorius Control

Market Price:$853.75

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (3)

  • 3Solitude

Planeswalker (7)

  • 3Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
  • 4Teferi, Time Raveler

Sorcery (7)

  • 4Prismatic Ending
  • 3Supreme Verdict

Instant (11)

  • 4Archmage’s Charm
  • 4Counterspell
  • 3Memory Deluge

Artifact (1)

  • 1Chalice of the Void

Enchantment (6)

  • 2Shark Typhoon
  • 4Spreading Seas

Land (25)

  • 3Castle Vantress
  • 1Celestial Colonnade
  • 4Flooded Strand
  • 1Hall of Storm Giants
  • 2Hallowed Fountain
  • 4Island
  • 1Misty Rainforest
  • 4Mystic Gate
  • 2Plains
  • 1Polluted Delta
  • 1Raugrin Triome
  • 1Scalding Tarn

Sideboard (15)

  • 1Solitude
  • 2Chalice of the Void
  • 2Shark Typhoon
  • 1Supreme Verdict
  • 2Celestial Purge
  • 3Dovin’s Veto
  • 1Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
  • 1Kaheera, the Orphanguard
  • 2Rest in Peace

This is exactly what you would expect from a deck named “Azorius Control.” The deck has a single creature in Solitude, and no longer runs Snapcaster Mage. With all the cards this deck can draw, Solitude becomes a really useful tool whether you’re hardcasting it or evoking it. The deck also has eight counterspells, because literal Counterspell and Archmage’s Charm are extremely efficient. Thanks to better removal and countermagic, Azorius Control is now considered one of the top decks in the format.