Modern Snapshot: September 2019

With July and August in the books we are pulling the data to prepare you for the coming weeks. This data set of over 1,300 decklists is especially interesting as it is the first large dataset comprised entirely of post-Horizons decklists. We will comb over the expansive data set to establish the leading archetypes as well as the best performing mainboard and sideboard cards in the Modern format. Make sure to compare this data side-by-side with last month’s data to see how things have changed.


All data has been pulled from The data set contains more than 1,300 decklists from  July and August 2019 tournament results. Archetypes that comprised more than 5% of the dataset have been identified above. Individual cards have been ranked by dominance rating. This is calculated by multiplying the percent of decks they appear in by the average number of copies that appear in said decks. For frame of reference, a card that appears in 25% of decks as a two of will have a 0.5 dominance rating. For a hypothetical, 100-player tourney this means that there would be 0.5 copies of said card per player in the room.

This time around we have combed MTGTop8’s massive dataset to separate Prowess from Phoenix and Hogvine from Dredge. Now with a fully post-Horizons dataset we saw Hogvine surge past the competition and I am glad that it is now banned. However, it will still be part of the July dataset so expect to see it carry over into next month’s update. The interesting trend is that every archetype that made the cutoff last month has actually gained metagame share; the “Other” category suffered. The lone exception was Humans which well from 6.8% to below 5%. The new entrants to the ranking are Whirza, Mono-Red Prowess, and Burn. Whirza is Modern’s newest Tier 1 deck and the best deck in the format if you ask me. Prowess, with and without Phoenix, has been pulled out of the Arclight Phoenix archetype to stand on its own merits; with Izzet falling out of the ranking entirely. Then finally Burn returned after taking a month off. Admittedly, Jund did not see the rapid ascent that I had expected but gained share nonetheless.

Top 10 Mainboard Cards
We mostly saw the top ten mainboard cards list remain constant with some shuffling in the placement. Noticeably, Looting maintained that 1.00 dominance rating meaning that the average tournament has more Lootings than actual players; a pretty fair reason to ban it. The always dominant Bolt pushed further and finally broke the 1.20 threshold. The new entrants were Expedition Map and Monastery Swiftspear which pushed out Noble Hierarch and Karn the Great Creator. Once these months are pushed out of the dataset entirely, I imagine that Bloodghast and Manamorphose will fall out alongside Looting. I am very interested to see how the format shakes out.

Top 10 Sideboard Cards
Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 6.39.38 PM
We mentioned the possibility last week and Leyline of the Void pulled it off. It was the first sideboard card to break the 1.00 dominance barrier as a result of Hogvine. This places its dominant rating as high as any other three sideboard cards combined. Despite those insane numbers, Hogvine could not be contained. That being said, I doubt Leyline will even crack the top ten now that the B&R list has been updated. The rest of the top ten was mostly small positional swaps. Noticeably Surgical Extraction has continued to fall as folks realize it is the most overrated sideboard card in the format. Ravenous Trap has fallen off entirely and been replaced by Plague Engineer. This makes it the first Modern Horizons card to break into a top ten so far; based on my experiences with it, I would say it surely earns that spot.

This was a fun one to cover despite the B&R update making the data look a bit stale. We saw Modern Horizons first breakout star and the best decks of 2018 and 2019 fall out of the ranking. In the future when folks ask if Hogaak can be unbanned, we just have to show them these graphs. What will happen to graveyard hate in the sideboard rankings though? What will claim Hogaak’s throne? Please share your thoughts with us in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back on Monday with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s