I have spent a great deal of time in preparation for the upcoming Mythic Championship, particularly for the Limited portion. As Modern Horizons is the set to be played, I would like to dedicate this article to sharing my thoughts on the set, how to draft two of the top five decks and what to look out for during the games.
About a month ago, I made it to the Top 8 of GP Copenhagen, alongside my teammates Christoffer and Simon. I really enjoyed the format and have since then drafted it on MTGO more than 50 times. I find this set very enjoyable, and as a bonus, the cards are commanding a good price. Many of the cards will find themselves a Modern staples soon (or they already are), so drafting them now while they aren’t that expensive is a good investment. I believe the price will skyrocket after the Mythic Championship, as we will see plenty of Modern Horizons cards in the constructed portion of the tournament.
The Top 5 Decks in Modern Horizons
The Curve is strong with these ones
At GP Copenhagen I drafted UB Ninjas in all three of my drafts. Back then, I felt that it was the strongest archetype and I still do. However, in the spirit of testing, I have given all color combinations a fair chance to prove themselves, tried them all out again and again, till I got a good grasp on what is important for each archetype.
I present to you, the best five decks in descending order of strength:
4-5 Color Snow
In this article, I will go through drafting UB Ninjas and 4-5 Color Snow. The best deck in my opinion and a good one on the opposite end of the mana curve.
Horizons Limited Overview
What this format really is about
In general, I don’t think there is an overabundance of playables in this format, which makes it essential to get the key cards for each archetype. This also means it is important to read the signals during the Draft to avoid getting into the exact same colors as your neighbor drafters. You always need to keep this in mind, but I find it more crucial in this set compared to many others.
There are some good removals, but not many. However, since the creatures are good, I wouldn’t mind playing just a few removals and then stack up on creatures. There are not a lot of bombs in this format, so it is rarely what you firstpick that matters. You can easily win with a deck without Rares or Mythics – much more important in this format is synergy and a good curve. The one-drops in the format are not only playable, they are quite powerful. This means that if you don’t have a good curve, you will lose to someone going 1 drop, 2 drop, 3 drops.
How to draft UB Ninjas
My Favorite Modern Horizons Archetype
An aggro / tempo deck. You really want some early drops with evasion, that will allow your Ninjas to ninjutsu their way in. Then you want to be able to efficiently replay the early drop, so they’re ready to assist your next Ninja.
The fact that you really want some early drops with evasion means you take almost all the Changeling Outcasts and Faerie Seers that you can get your hands on. I’ve on more than one occasion played up to 8 one-drops and been very happy about it, and I don’t mind first picking Faerie Seer from an average pack. I would pick them over any common Ninja for these decks.
Almost every Ninja is a good Ninja. The two rare Ninjas are insane and should always be first picks. The uncommon Ninjas are also very good, because they trigger on combat damage from all the Ninjas in your deck. Whether it is gaining life or drawing cards, they can often turn the game to your advantage.Moonblade Shinobi is a great card and should be picked early. Azra Smokeshaper and Ninja of the New Moon are also good in this deck, but will often come around late and shouldn’t be picked up right away. Phantom Ninja is the only Ninja I wouldn’t want in my deck. It does provide evasion to enable Ninjitsu on your other Ninjas, however at the cost of 3 mana, it ‘s too slow to recast. The discount and speed gained by Ninjitsu will often be voided that way.
As for the non-creature spells in the deck, you will want all the Defiles and Twisted Reflections you can get. I even pick Defile over the one-drop creatures, unless we’re late in the Draft and I’m low on them. I usually have a Choking Tethers in my deck as well. It will often buy you the time to win the game. A Smoke Shroud or two often find their way in there as well, as the card is good in this deck and since it isn’t good anywhere else, you will often pick one up as 10th to 15th pick.
Lastly, I always try to include at least one Phantasmal Form in the deck. I think the card is underrated. It is very flexible and comes in handy in so many situations. You can transform their big creature and your small creature into 3/3s so they can kill each other or provide evasion. Especially on a creature with counters, it can hit very hard and since it draws a card, it is never completely dead.
My pick order for UB NinjasFallen Shinobi – Ingenious Infiltrator – Defile – Faerie Seer – Changeling Outcast – Moonblade Shinobi – Twisted Reflection – Gluttonous Slug – Throatseeker – Azra Smokeshaper – Ninja of the New Moon – Choking Tethers – Phantasmal Form – Smoke Shroud
Winter is Coming
How to draft 4-5 Color Snow
This is the hardest deck to get right, and since they come in so many forms, you cannot really follow a recipe like with many other decks. However, what they have got in common, is that this deck is a slow control-ish deck, that will eventually win on card advantage and having access to powerful cards that are useless in other decks.
I rarely draft snow, unless I open a powerful rare and I get a steady flow of snow cards. If I feel cut off I’ll try and find another way. However, if you read the table right and you are the only snow player, you’ll often get a completely busted deck. Cards like Glacial Revelation and Abominable Treefolk are some heavy hitters in a good snow deck. Also, if you’re snow, you’ll be able to pick up any good multicolor uncommon that comes around like Soulherder and Thundering Djinn. The dangerous thing about this deck, is that there aren’t too many great manafixers in this format and the packs can barely support two snow players at an eight-person draft. Three will be way too many, so make sure that you’re not cut off, otherwise try and change into another deck before you’ll end up with an unplayable pile.
Green-blue should be your main colors, since the manafixing is in green and the snow creatures are green and blue. Remember to pick up those snow lands because you’ll need a good amount for you deck to operate.
Playing snow, you’ll have access to Arcum’s Astrolabe and manafixing in green, so you’ll often want to splash a bunch of cards. When it comes to fixing, Springbloom Druid is a great card that I’d happily include in my decklist, whereas Krosan Tusker is not a favorite, but is sometimes necessary.
In a format with synergies and good one drops, even a control deck like snow will have to focus on the early game, otherwise it will always lose before getting to play the powerful cards. As the removal isn’t too fast, it is important to have plenty of green creatures for early game trade-offs.
Blue has lots of card draw that will keep the engine going and help draw the payoff cards like powerful Rares or Uncommons.
The other 3 decks I mention in the top 5 are also aggro/tempo decks, so drafting them is a lot like UB Ninjas, be sure to have cards that work well together and get on the board as fast as possible. It doesn’t mean that you can’t draft other color combinations just make sure to get that synergy right.
I feel comfortable in this set and I look forward to drafting this at the next Mythic Championship.