MTG is a game defined by financial restrictions as well as play-ability. This article is about how to effectively make an investment into modern and be competitive now and into the future.
I will be referencing top modern archetypes with both financial constraints and future, ban potential. The scale goes 1 to 5, with the higher the amount the more competitive or risky the investment.
Amulet Titan is the first of the Titan archetypes I will discuss. It clocks in at around $806 for the full 75. Amulet Titan has put up solid results and is a top contender for tier one. It gained Dryad of the Ilysian Grove in Theros which allows it to pivot from a Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion Slayers’ Stronghold plan to a Valakut/Hanweir Battlements plan. These improvements from Theros while making Amulet Titan a solid choice for competitive play, make it a risky one as well.
Overall Cost $806
Chance of Future Ban 4/5
Modern jund is for all intents and purposes a fair deck. Jund employs a fair, disruption package while never doing anything overtly busted. It just gains card value over the course of the game, drowning the opponent in value cards. For this reason Jund won’t ever be a top tier one archetype, because it doesn’t possess the raw explosiveness of other decks. What it does have is a safety of future banning and a solid, fair gameplan.
Overall Cost $1519
Chance of Future Ban 2/5
Eldrazi Tron has silently been putting up great results. Eldrazi-Tron has strongest matchups against broken, linear strategies as well as control. While control is typically underrepresented in modern, broken strategies always surface eventually. What Eldrazi Tron can do is basically say, “you cannot play your 0-2 mana combo piece” and the opponent’s often linear strategy falls apart. Chalice of the Void, which disables many linear strategies has been a bane of combo decks which win through plethoras of over-efficient spells for years.
Overall Cost $689
Chance of Future Ban 2.5/5
Dredge is a deck which employs a linear strategy which is brutally efficient but easy to counter. Dredge is best when other graveyard strategies are down overall. Dredge has been improved with Ox of Agonas recent printing and despite already putting up solid results seems to be flying under the radar. I’d pick Dredge for best deck to take over and top the next major GP until people start sideboarding against it. Despite this, I don’t feel anything in dredge is currently banworthy but there’s always the chance something in print or in the future could push it from powerful to overpowered.
Overall Cost $415
Chance of Future Ban 3.5/5
Grixis Death Shadow a powerful player in Legacy and decent in Modern. It can win a big event but operates best in a burn heavy, counter-punch meta. Death Shadow offers high risk gameplay and requires extensive format knowledge. There are times you can win with a giant Death Shadow on board but should you? This is where the risk comes in and why Death Shadow is so hard to play. It depends on the opponent not having that one card that would screw you over. For this, while GDS is relatively safe of an investment I wouldn’t recommend it for a newer player, despite is being moderately priced for Modern compared to lists like Jund.
Overall Cost $906
Chance of Future Ban 2/5
No deck is more synonymous with Modern than Tron. It’s why people often call Modern a turn 3 format. By turn 3 you better be able to beat an opponent with a potential Karn Liberated or grind a long game against that possibility. Tron has always had a slow turn one and two. This is why it has often struggled against decks able to put immense pressure out turns 1 and 2, putting Tron on its heels. I’d recommend Tron as a beginning to Modern deck but also advise the individual pieces are often unique purely to Tron. This means if you invest in Tron you better be prepared to play it often. The pieces don’t pivot to other archetypes the way Grixis Death Shadow or Titanshift might.
Overall Cost $682
Chance of Future Ban 3/5 (Mainly due to Ancient Stirrings being abused by other archetypes)
Titanshift the other option for Primeval Titan other than Amulet Titan. Titanshift is easier to play than Amulet Titan and more straight forward. It requires less critical decisions and is often considered an 7 lands, Scapeshift deal 18 deck. Do not be perturbed. In a long tournament (which if playing in big events is your eventual goal) Titanshift is a great deck to play. Sometimes you’d rather have a more straight forward deck simply because after 5-9 rounds we are tired. This does not mean this deck is for beginners. It packs a lot of power in its shell and has versatility, including a summoner’s pact package to grab sideboard creatures for specific matchups. For instance, Summoner’s Pact for Obstinate Baloth is a definite play against an opponent’s Liliana of the Veil.
Overall Cost $621
Chance of Future Ban 3/5
Gifts Storm rewards playing it repeatedly, over and over and over. It can be played with or without Fetchlands. Caleb Scherer considered the quote unquote “Storm God” is a good player to look up when researching proper Storm lines. Storm is a difficult deck to pilot for a beginner. Not more-so than Dredge is. I’d say for a new investment if you have pre-existing MTG experience pick up Storm. If not, maybe try something like Infect (which is more straight-forward of a gameplan)
Overall Cost $582
Chance of Future Ban 2/5
Infect has been a powerful but not dominant strategy for a while in Modern. It attempts to race to ten infect damage using an infect creature with pump spells by turn 3 or 4 at the latest. It is very draw dependent but rewards against opponents who employ slower strategies such as Tron. There are ways to protect against targeted removal so board wipes are the best way to slow down Infect. Due to Infect being relatively glass-cannon employing a very straight-forward strategy it is easier for a newer modern player to pick up. The fetchlands and Noble Hierarchs required are used with many other modern lists such as Devoted Druid combo. These reasons make Infect a solid list to start with Modern now and into the future.
Overall Cost $657
Chance of a Future Ban 2.5/5 (slightly risky due to Once Upon a Time potentially being banned in the future. Infect existed before Once Upon a Time and can exist after)
Though I have included many popular archetypes, there are others I did not include. Modern is a very extensive format with many options to choose from. I highlighted many of them but it’s up to you to ultimately figure out what is best for you. If I had to make a recommendation now and into the future based on two goals this is my top 3.
Competiveness most crucial with future bannability secondary. (You play weekly modern events and plan to go to big, monthly or bi-monthly events)
(Titanshift is great, relatively quick to pick up and powerful. Dredge also falls in the same boat. Eldrazi-Tron is good to combat linear strategies which always pop up in modern once a meta establishes itself. The reason I have these with bannability less of a concern under competitiveness are each of these lists have had bannings prior. They also arguably are using cards to potentially push them over future banning criteria.)
Bannability most crucial with competitiveness secondary (You play weekly modern events but not going to big events monthly)
(Infect can be built into other decks later on. Storm can be built into control variants. Tron is an outlier but an effective deck for weekly events and the occasional big event.)