Ding-Dong the Arisen Necropolise is dead—again? Either way, it’s a brand new Modern format, and it seems great. No more Hogaak or Faithless Looting, and the mighty Stoneforge Mystic has been freed.

Now what does this do for the format?  Well that’s what today is for. We will go over all the winners and losers in regards to decks, archetypes, and cards affected from the unbannings.

Jeskai Stoneblade

Jeskai was a popular deck in the beginning of 2018 and saw some decent play. As the format became more and more degenerate, the combination of Lightning Bolt and countermagic didn’t line up well against Prized Amalgam and Scrap Trawler.

Now that the graveyard shenanigans are slowed down a bit, Jeskai seems like the perfect deck to slot in some powerful Kor artificers and their weapons. Having access to cards like Geist of Saint Traft and Vendilion Clique pairs perfectly with the Swords that Stoneforge Mystic can tutor up.

Verdict: Winner

Linear Aggro Decks

I think as a whole Aggro decks suffer from these changes. Creatures get significantly worse facing turn three Batterskull. I started competitive Magic when Caw-Blade was the deck in Standard, and I learned quickly that my 1/1 vampire doesn’t match up well the Batterskull.

I don’t think that changes much here in Modern. These creature decks would have to add a bunch of interactive spells to be able to combat the equipment, which will dilute their gameplans as a whole.

Verdict: Loser

Primeval Titan

Primeval Titan gets better since both decks tat feature it improved. Stoneforge Mystic causes the format to slow down and become a midrange format. What excels in that? Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Amulet of Vigor. Scapeshift alone was known to terrorize decks like Jund and Abzan. With the metagame shifting towards that now, that seems likely to start again.

Amulet Titan is still not the best against Assassin’s Trophy, but I think the deck can hold its own against all the equipment.

Verdict: Winner

Stubborn Denial

You heard it here first: Stubborn Denial is good again. Everyone can bust out their Death’s Shadows and Gurmag Anglers. I guess this is also my way of saying Grixis Death’s Shadow is better right now—maybe I’m biased. The old shell from 2017, when it wasn’t as committed to Temur Battle Rage, could again be a true midrange deck that can win fast when necessary.

The deck also makes great use of discard spells, which also improved with people casting turn-two Stoneforge Mystic: you can steal the artifact they grab. Stubborn Denial is good against the slower decks with clunkier spells, while also being able to fight the few combo decks running around.

Verdict: Winner


This could be a completely wrong take, but I will say that Infect as a deck got worse as well. If my predictions are correct and the midrange decks start to take over, Infect stands to suffer to against all the extra removal floating around. Infect’s best matchups will be the big mana decks, but I don’t see them completely taking over the format.

I am willing to be proven wrong, but I honestly think Infect sinks even further down the metagame hierarchy.

Verdict: Loser


Without going too in depth about all of them—Matt Dilks did that already—equipment as a whole got a boost thanks to the unbanned tutor that puts them into play. There are two equipment cards to mention here, the first being Manriki-Gusari. If anyone played Legacy Stoneblade back in the earlier parts of the decade, this equipment came in for the Stoneforge Mystic mirrors. That seems likely to hold true in Modern. It is a cheap sideboard option that answers a bunch of problematic equipment. For the time being I would have this in my sideboard if you are playing Stoneforge, Phantasmal Image, or Karn, the Great Creator in some form of Eldrazi deck.

The second one is for the sole purpose of my dear editor Carrie. She wanted some Sunforger love and I promised her I would deliver. Sunforger is a cool equipment that has can generate big advantages, especially with Stoneforge Mystic. One card that comes to mind is Ephemerate. Being able to get multiple equipment out with the Kor artificer can make the deck really explosive. There are a bunch of Red and White removal spells that accrue advantages as you take over the game.

Verdict: Winner

Let me know what you think about the new Modern metagame. Do you agree with the takes or disagree? No matter what, I am excited for a non-Hogaak Modern environment.

Zack is a SCG grinder with one ultimate goal: getting to the Players Championship. Based out of NYC, you can find him in other cities every weekend trying to hit that goal. When he isn’t traveling he streams. Follow his journey on Twitter!

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