Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings!  This week we’re going to be talking about the state of the Modern metagame as defined by the Pro Tour, and if any bans/unbans need to happen to keep the format healthy.  Let’s get into it!


The Metagame

The Pro Tour has come and gone, and this was actually one of my favorite Pro Tours to watch as there was no Limited segment to slog through. I understand that Limited is very skill intensive and I love playing it.  While I know some people enjoy watching the Limited portions, it’s just not very engrossing from a spectator’s standpoint.  One of the nice things about the Pro Tour is that we get some valuable data about what the best players in the world think they should play on the most competitive of stages.  Here were the top 10 decks people played in Modern day 1 as published by Wizards:

Archetype Copies Percentage of Field
Humans 27 16.36%
WU Control 18 10.91%
Ironworks Combo 17 10.30%
Mono-Green Tron 17 10.30%
Hollow One 13 7.88%
BR Vengevine 10 6.06%
Bant Spirits 6 3.64%
Jeskai Control 6 3.64%
Mardu Pyromancer 6 3.64%
Storm 5 3.03%

Unsurprisingly, Humans was a popular choice among pro players, as it offers heavy disruption, a fast clock, and best of all; rewards matchup knowledge.  More surprising is that WU Control was so high up on that list.  Control has been sneaking up on the metagame these past couple of months, but definitely not in these numbers.  A possible reason for this is pros tend to favor control decks because they eliminate some of the inherent variance within the game.  More interestingly, 10% of pros decided to take KCI Combo to the Pro Tour.  KCI has been a deck that has been putting up consistent results in the hands of Matt Nass and a few other players.  What makes this deck so good is that it is so ridiculously resilient to so many hate cards.  The other interesting deck on this list is Bant Spirits.  This deck has been floating around for a little while, but got a nice upgrade in Supreme Phantom from M19.



Faithless Looting

This Pro Tour, there were some mumblings about how maybe Faithless Looting is a bit too good and should be banned.  It’s pretty apparent that the power level of Faithless Looting is very high, especially when you look at Tormenting Voice.  Does this mean that it’s going to get banned?  I think it’s unlikely.  While the card is good, the only time it’s really unfair is in Hollow One.  The other reason that you ban a card is ubiquity, when it pushes out similar card choices because it’s so powerful.  If we look at Jeskai Control and Storm, neither deck runs Faithless Looting.  They both run things like Opt and Serum Visions instead.

Probability of Ban: Low

Ancient Stirrings

Ancient Stirrings is another card that has been popping up more and more when talking about bannings, and for good reason.  The card enables colorless decks to dig for almost exactly what they need when they need it for the low low price of only 1 mana.  It seems especially strange that this has been left off the banlist when considering Wizards has decided that cards like Ponder and Preordain were too good.  And KCI combo is good and consistent enough that people are calling for something to be banned out of it.  I think there are two reasons it hasn’t been banned yet, and one of them is that it is a fairly hefty tax to make your deck colorless enough for this card to be as good as it is.  The other reason is that I don’t think Wizards wants to hit other decks like Tron or Lantern that rely on Stirrings to be consistent enough to be competitive.

Probability of BanMedium

Mox Opal

This has been a card that people have talked about banning for a long time, and again is part of KCI combo’s main combo for infinite mana.  It would be the most obvious thing for Wizards to ban as it would keep the deck alive, but reduce its speed and consistency considerably.  The problem with this, though, is again that it would hit a number of other decks that are totally fine and serve a specific role in the metagame.

Probability of BanLow

Stoneforge Mystic

I think that it’s been okay to unban Stoneforge Mystic for a long time now.  It’s fairly easy to deal with, lots of people run artifact destruction main deck now, and having a 4/4 lifelink creature on turn three is not that impressive with Thought-Knot Seers and turn two Hollow Ones running about.  The only fear that I have is that it will be a little too ubiquitous in decks that play white mana.

Probability of UnbanHigh


Anyway, that’s all for this week. Let me know if you think anything else out of KCI should be banned in the comments below, and as always I’ll see you next time!


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