Modern Snapshot: October 2019

With August and September in the books we are pulling the data to prepare you for the coming weeks. This data set of over 1,500 decklists and I am especially excited because it is our first look at post-Looting results with SFM in the format. 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 1,500 decklists from August and September 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.

Wow is that a large shift. Keep in mind that our dataset contains both August and September, so the B&R-caused shifts in the tail end has a dramatic effect. Burn has been creeping up our ranking and now it has leapfrogged to the front of the pack. Interactive decks were suppressed by Looting decks and now have risen. Burn is their new tormentor and does not seem to be slowing down. Just behind it we see the Stoneblade decks and I was very conflicted on how to report these. This percentage does not represent just UWx Stoneblade. It contains all Stoneforge Mystic decks, including things like Devoted Vizier, so it is a bit inflated. Notably though, it was only legal for half of the data set so this metagame share is extremely impressive. The final deck in the +8% is my pick for best in the format: Whirza. I say it at once a week at this point, “it is an artifact prison deck that can turn three combo kill you while playing four colors without taking significant mana damage.” It is a great deck despite the reduced pressure on Modern sideboards and I do not see it going anywhere soon.

There was only one deck in the 7% range and that is Jund. In this series, since Horizons, I have been saying that Jund has all of the potential in the world. It is finally starting to prove it. In this period it finally made it into the Top 4 decks in the format and shows no signs of slowing. We also only had one 6% shareholder in Mono-Green Tron. This is Jund’s natural enemy and one that seemed great in a post-Looting world. However, its metagame share is identical to the previous data period. A good place to be but it did not gain the ground that it was expected to. Then finally we come to the 5% club. UWx Control is falling as many players jump ship to SFM builds but I am curious how much of this is just hype. Traditional control players are still pulling off impressive finishes. The biggest loser though was obviously the Hogvine decks. It was banned for half of the data period but was still able to crack the Top 8 decks. If that is not reason enough for a ban, I do not know what is.  Eldrazi decks have taken quite a hit as well with the highest finishes being GW builds; which are filed under Stoneblade. It is mostly just Eldrazi Tron and Chalice of the Void is just is not what it used to be; Phoenix and Hogaak decks are gone gone.

Top 10 Mainboard Cards
Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 9.21.08 PM
With a shakeup of dominant archetypes comes a shakeup of dominant cards. The ever-busted Lightning Bolt still achieves more than a 1.00; making it more dominant than any other two mainboard cards combined. Opt fell out of the ranking entirely so Path has risen to second place; Serum Visions fell out as well. Swiftspear has risen from 10th to 3rd as Burn has stormed back onto the scene; with Lava Spike in tow. Looting was banned for half of the data period but managed to be a top card anyways; ban justified. Targeted discard has returned to the ranking thanks mostly to Jund. Karn the Great Creator has returned after taking a month off. Then our newest entrant is Mishra’s Bauble sneaking in thanks to Whirza and Shadow decks. The only blue card to stick around was Snapcaster Mage.

Top 10 Sideboard Cards
Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 9.21.42 PM
The shifts were less dramatic but still present in sideboards. Leyline of the Void was less dominant as it was dropped entirely when Faithless Looting was banned. Other than that it was mostly positional shifts. Grafdigger’s Cage and Abrade both fell out mostly due to the B&R update make them less useful and less popular respectively. In their place we have Collective Brutality soaring to 2nd as arguably the best hate spell for Burn. We also see Collector Ouphe make its debut after Stony Silence fell out of the ranking in the previous month. It is interesting to see Modern Horzions give more to the sideboards than it did the mainboards but I am certainly not complaining. It is interesting to see only green, white, black, and colorless cards appear in the ranking but this actually quite normal looking back through the historical data. It is up for debate whether diversity of options or individual weakness is the culprit here.

I was very excited to finally bust this dataset open. It is our first all-encompassing look at post-B&R update Modern. Remember to take a look at last month’s dataset to see just how much things have changed. Hogaak’s shadow still loomed but next month it will be gone forever. What do you expect to be the top dog once the dust settles? Are you surprised to see Burn performing so well right now? 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 tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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