Modern Snapshot: April 2020

With February and March in the books we are pulling the data to prepare you for the coming weeks. This is a transition period with a mix of data from before and after the Once Upon A Time ban. As always we will comb the data to establish the best mainboard and sideboard cards in the Modern format. Take a look at last month’s data to see where the format is trending.


All data has been pulled from The data set contains more than 800 decklists from February and March tournament results. Archetypes that comprised 5% or more 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.

Top 10 Mainboard Cards
Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 12.44.47 PM

I do have to note that Once Upon A Time has been omitted from this Top 10 as it is no longer legal. Even with post-ban data in, it still broke the 1.00 dominance threshold. We have seen time and again that when any card, other than Bolt, breaks that threshold they ban it. We predicted this on our Facebook page before the card was even legal. Our preliminary testing blew us away. We also did a statistical analysis and answered readers’ questions about it. The card was an obvious mistake from Day 1.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the rest. Bolt is still the reigning king but Astrolabe has been creeping up over time. Whether you play an artifact deck, a snow deck, or just need “free” mana fixing; Astrolabe has your back. Thoughtseize is the best card in Pioneer and is still among the best in Modern. It is almost always played alongside Inquisition and Push so those have climbed as well.

The most interesting change from last month is the resurgence of Goyf. Constantly underrated but never actually goes away. Even in 2020 a two mana 4/5 makes the cut. I do want to mention Path though. The card is still excellent. The dominance rating above is just for mainboard copies and plenty of people sideboard it. The dominance rating for full 75s was 0.89; second only to Lightning Bolt.

Top 10 Sideboard Cards
Screen Shot 2020-04-15 at 7.40.59 PM

This is the most static lineup for sideboards we’ve ever seen from month to month. The only change is that Disdainful Stroke has fallen out and Aether Gust went from unranked to #4. Veil of Summer continues to dominate as the best color hate spell in the Modern format. A lot of people hate this card but blue and black decks are doing just fine with it around.

Looking forward I would expect Ashiok to fall off a bit as Titan decks continue to subside; though it is far from a one-matchup card. Probably the same case for Blood Moon despite the resurgence of Humans; Plague Engineer will rise to combat that.

In the weeks since the ban, we have seen the format begin to reshape. Titan is falling more than expected and Bant Control is rising. I expect those trends to continue as quarantine forces Magic into a digital age. What are your expectations? Will Ikoria make any quick impacts? 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.

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