Updating Five Modern Decks (July & August)

How have Modern decks changed in recent months? We'll answer that question on this episode of Nuts and Bolts. We'll look at Prowess, Eldrazi Tron, Ponza, Dredge, and W/U/x Control to see how recent sets have impacted these staple decks in the Modern format.

Video Transcript:

Hello, everyone! I am Snapbooster and today we're bringing you a new type of video, or a new section, depending on how it goes and if you like it.

In this new section, we'll explain how established decks have adapted and evolved with the latest standard editions, bans, and restricted announcements. In other words, we will examine which cards from the latest sets are being added to decks, which should come out, and how the main decks and sideboards are adapting. If you like the idea, stick around, and let me tell you how it goes.

In this video, we will be covering changes in five of the latest Modern decks thanks to the latest ban and restricted announcements, and the new sets – Eldraine, Theros, Ikoria, and M21. That aside, I will give you some other quick notes on new core cards and strategies now worth noting.

To begin with, let's consider the Arcum's Astrolabe ban from last month. With this shift in the metagame and new cards in modern, decks such as Jund, blue-white, and Eldrazi are really making a comeback.Goblins has settled as a combo deck with fairly good results, thanks to its ability to dodge threats. Goblins is a deck that we will not be covering here because we're still playtesting new cards in our older versions of this deck.The biggest stars now are Izzet Prowess, Ponza, and Eldrazi Tron.

Due to the social distancing situation, online is more popular than ever before, and Eldrazi Tron and Prowess variants are very, very cheap and solid decks that put up a serious fight, hence the upgrades. These are some of the decks we are going to review, so jump in.


Prowess is the biggest surprise here. Blue-red lists have always been a dream for Prowess players and Stormwing Entity made that dream come true. Though mono red versions are very solid and still see play, the best is blue-red and its popularity is only growing.

Stormwing Entity

The ability to cast a Stormwing Entity as early as turn two is a decisive factor and adding that Stormwing Entity survives Fatal Push and other removal spells, four copies is the optimal number. Along with three Sprite Dragon, which may seem underwhelming, but they can grow quite easily thanks to Manamorphose, removal, and cantrips.

Speaking of cantrips, three to four Opt will complement the Entity's library digging and ability to leave open mana. For other spells, both Crash Through and Lava Spike have been cut out. To more easily trigger the Entity, Gut Shot and Mutagenic Growth are seeing more and more play as a 3 and 2 of, respectively.

The manabase is actually very simple. Four fast lands, two to three canopy lands, three shocklands, and up to four fetch lands. Remember that Manamorphose can filter mana anytime. We want to get the blue sources quickly but also not die to our own Blood Moon.Mystical Dispute, Spell Pierce, and Aether Gust seem to be the most suitable options for the new blue build.

Eldrazi Tron

Our next deck is, as I said, Eldrazi Tron, which has welcomed Mazemind Tome for as many as three copies. The early turns of Eldrazi Tron are not as straightforward as in other decks and Tome will help with that. For the same cost as a Mind Stone, you can Scry, draw cards, and gain life. It's a bit different from Mind Stone, actually, it does not add mana for early ramp, but its abilities are solid nevertheless.

Mazemind Tome Mind Stone

The decks can include one copy of Endbringer, one copy of All Is Dust, or a couple copies of Mind Stone, which is still run as low as a one-off. Time will tell if Mazemind Tome remains enough, but so far it plays well against aggro and control and gives tonnes of value. That aside, nothing new for the lands. Maybe jamming more Cavern of Souls against control, Scavenger Grounds against graveyard, or maybe Tectonic Edge against land threats.

Its position in the metagame is very clear. Four main Chalice of the Void are all Eldrazi Tron needs to stop Prowess, Eldrazi Tron's biggest threat. So it's looking good for the moment. The other deck that has shifted following the new bans and set releases is Ponza, which is seeing no big change but it is worth mentioning.


Some lists are running up to three copies of Elder Gargaroth in the mainboard or a couple of copies in the sideboard to fight the new train of decks. The fact that it can gain three life every turn, among other options, and that it has Reach and Trample put Prowess and Prowess decks at a severe disadvantage.

So, it seems Gargaroth for quite some time. Ponza decks then cut or sideboard Glorybringer for a variable amount of Gargaroths. The rest of the deck is about the same.


Dredge is also seeing its strategy changed, now shaped around Silversmote Ghoul, a new card from M21. This card plays almost the same as Prized Amalgam but triggers off gaining three life. Gaining three life recalls Creeping Chill, an already established card in the deck, but four copies of Chill don't seem to be enough to trigger Silversmote Ghoul reliably.

Silversmote Ghoul  Prized Amalgam Creeping Chill

Because of this, Dredge is also running two to three copies of Smiting Helix, mostly to be played for its flashback cost. This way the Silversmote is much more stable and can put the opponent under serious pressure in the matter of a couple of turns.

Dredge, as I said, is shifting its strategy to become “gain three life” and therefore, and very surprisingly, many lists are cutting the four Bloodghast to make room for the four Smiting Helix and two {c=Arcs of Agonas}, which proved to be valuable in the deck. Merchant of the Vale // Haggle has also been substituted for Faithless Looting, giving the deck a new look.

The manabase hasn't changed much accordingly. Gemstone Mine and City of Brass already filter for the single white we need to cast the Smiting Helix. We are only adding one Sacred Foundry that can be fetched easily, since we run eight to ten Fetchlands.

For the sideboard, the only inclusion in white seems to be three copies of Deafening Silence and, in some cases, Leyline of Sanctity, which is not expected to be cast with actual mana.

UW and Bant Control

The last deck for the video is blue/white, which is thriving again thanks to a green splash for Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, providing huge value, along with Ice-Fang Coatl and, surprisingly, Utopia Sprawl. Only Uro is from a recent set, but it's worth mentioning due to the ban of Astrolabe. Veil of Summer is also joining the party in the sideboard for card draw and consistency.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath Ice-Fang Coatl Utopia Sprawl

The mana base has changed accordingly. One Temple Garden, three Breeding Pools, a few Misty Rainforests, and a couple of basic Snow-Covered Forests seem to be the optimal way to go Bant Control.

If we think of pure blue/white with no intervention of green, we're seeing the addition of four copies of Frantic Inventory which is really making a difference in the deck thanks to its ability to play the long game.

So, to finish, let's review some MVP cards that are shining in the current metagame, regardless of their edition.

The first of them is Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath the number one card in Theros Beyond Death by far. Though Bant Snow as such does not exist anymore, Uro is already making an appearance in new decks, such as the previously mentioned Bant Control, Wilderness Reclamation – Yes, that is also a thing in Modern! – and in Scapeshift for the value and ramp.

With so many new red cards going around, Auriok Champion is making a comeback as the perfect hate piece against Prowess, Jund, Burn, and maybe Goblins if you get lucky and have two copies, which is easy to get in humans thanks to the Phantasmal Image.

Soul-Guide Lantern from Theros is also getting a lot of play in sideboards, thanks to its versatility and ability to target a specific card.

Last, but not least, is Chalice of the Void. It basically shuts down Prowess and Burn for good.

And that is my summary of updates to Modern, with the latest on the new sets, and banned and restricted announcements for the format. I honestly hope you have enjoyed it. In which case, do not forget to leave a like, subscribe, and share it with friends. I am Snapbooster and I thank you very much for sticking with me. Bye!

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