The Modern Pro Tour returns this weekend for the first time since starting the Eldrazi Winter in 2016. The Modern format has changed quite a bit since then, so here are the Top 10 Modern decks to expect at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan.

10. Burn

The bane of eternal formats, Burn is a fixture of the Modern metagame. The deck is an all-in aggressive strategy, relying on cheap direct damage spells like Lightning Bolt and Lava Spike and aggressive creatures like Goblin Guide to deal as much damage as quickly as possible. Games often come down to a simple question: how many cards does the Burn player have to draw until their text boxes add up to 20 damage?

9. Scapeshift

Scapeshift is a two-card combo deck with a simple game plan: get to seven lands (or more) as quickly as possible, cast Scapeshift, sacrifice all your lands, then tutor for six Mountains and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Valakut, which deals 3 damage to target creature or player when a Mountain enters the battlefield (as long as you have five other Mountains), sees all of the Mountains enter play simultaneously, meaning it will trigger once for each mountain and deal 18 damage to the opponent. Since most Modern decks use Shock and Fetchlands, 18 damage is usually enough to win the game. More aggressive versions also include Primeval Titan as another way to search up Mountains and put them in play.

8. Eldrazi Tron & 7. Tron

The Eldrazi are but a shell of their former format-breaking selves, but have been remade with the help of Urza’s Tron lands. Both the Eldrazi Tron and traditional Tron decks are based on the trio of Urza lands: Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower. When all three are in play they can tap to create at least seven mana, allowing it to power out expensive colorless cards way ahead of schedule. The Eldrazi version is a bit lower to the ground, leveraging cheaper Eldrazi like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher to disrupt and overrun the opponent, while the traditional Tron decks skew towards more expensive cards like Karn Liberated and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

6. UW Control

Control decks have always had a difficult time in Modern thanks to the fact that many of the best cantrips, like Ponder and Preordain, have been banned for most of the format’s life. But the traditional UW Control deck still has enough tools in Modern to find some success: powerful spells like Path to Exile and Cryptic Command, combined with Snapcaster Mage and the ability to quickly close out games with Celestial Colonnade, mean UW Control can still hold its own.

5. Humans

5-Color Humans are the new aggro kid on the Modern block. The core creatures of the deck are Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant, both of which grow bigger with each Human creature that enters the battlefield. The deck then leverages lands like Cavern of Souls, Ancient Ziggurat, and the new Unclaimed Territory from Ixalan to produce all five colors of mana and cast utility Human creatures that help slow the opponent down, like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Reflector Mage, and Meddling Mage, while beating the opponent down with big Champions, Lieutenants, or Mantis Riders.

4. Affinity

Affinity is Modern’s traditional aggressive deck. The deck plays tons of cheap artifacts, like Memnite, Ornithopter, Signal Pest, and Mox Opal to power up threats like Etched Champion, Master of Etherium, Arcbound Ravager, and Cranial Plating, to then attack for huge chunks of damage extremely quickly. And if Plan A doesn’t come together, Affinity can use either Blinkmoth Nexus or Inkmoth Nexus to push through the final points of damage or end the game with 10 poison counters.

3. Storm

Storm is Magic’s most broken mechanic and is the namesake of Mark Rosewater’s “Storm Scale,” which rates how likely a mechanic is to return to Magic—with Storm being at the top as a 10 on the Storm Scale, indicating that it will never return. Despite Wizards’ attempts to keep the deck under control, it is consistently one of the best decks in Modern, making a ton of mana with cards like Pyretic Ritual and Desperate Ritual, drawing cards with Opt and Manamorphose, then flashing them all back with Past in Flames, in order build a Storm count high enough to cast a Grapeshot for lethal damage. Though the deck revolves around spells, it’s true power is enabled by creatures like Baral, Chief of Compliance and Goblin Electromancer, which make those mana-generating spells even cheaper and easier to chain together with card drawing spells to reach the necessary Storm counts.

2. Lantern Control

Control’s struggles in Modern are often blamed on the lack of powerful blue control cards in the format, and Lantern Control’s innovation is to build a control deck that uses powerful artifacts to stymy its opponents, instead. Lantern Control plays a lot of cheap disruptive spells and artifacts in order to empty its hand quickly and then hide behind an Ensnaring Bridge, while controlling the opponent’s draw steps with the combo of Lantern of Insight and Codex Shredder, eventually milling the them out or making them rage quit out of frustration. The deck can also tutor for its broad toolbox of disruptive artifacts at instant-speed with Whir of Invention, making it incredibly consistent and one of the best decks in Modern.

1. Death’s Shadow

It’s interesting that the top two decks in Modern weren’t even on the format’s radar when the Eldrazi dominated the last Modern Pro Tour. Coming in at number one is the consensus best deck in the format, Death’s Shadow aggro. The archetype is based around the powerful Death’s Shadow, a one-mana 13/13 creature, who’s drawback is that it gets -X/-X where X is your life total. The deck uses Shock and Fetchlands, as well as Street Wraith, to quickly reduce its own life total and play a huge Death’s Shadow as soon as possible. Aside from that core, the deck can take two different approaches: an all-in Jund version that uses Temur Battle Rage to kill the opponent out of nowhere, or a more consistent Grixis version that uses Stubborn Denial to protect its Death’s Shadows, and giant Delve creatures like Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, the Golden Fang as backup.

Well, those were the Top 10 Modern decks to expect at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Did we leave your favorite deck off the list? Or maybe you think we underrated it? Let us know!

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