[Modern] The Top 10 Modern Cards in 2019 #6 to #10

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another article here on Strictly Average MTG. As the year winds down it’s time to reflect back on what has been offered to us for play in Modern. Now while many Magic: the Gathering players will use cards across multiple formats I focus mainly on Modern, and wish to provide that format the review for this Top 10 just like I did last year.

Also like last year this will be divided into two parts. Starting with the bottom half today, and the top half next week. With this article going live on December 16th before the update to the banned and restricted list, the cards I mention will be based on known information before that update.

I hope you all are doing well, and are looking forward to what the new year brings. However before that happens let’s take a look back at some of the best from 2019.


(Dis)honorable mentions

I won’t be including these cards on my top 10 list. Why? They are all mistakes. These cards are also known to be “good”, and have made their impact across all of Magic (not just Modern). They are either invalidating certain strategies, or (such as in the case of Once Upon A Time) walking back a policy on free spells.

So no. These cards can go away, and stay away. They should never have been printed as is.

Honorable Mention – The Horizon Lands

Before we dig into the Top 10 I have to mention how great the Horizon lands, presented in Modern Horizons, have been. Based on the design of Horizon Canopy these lands have provided aggressive and midrange decks the ability to draw extra cards at any point in the game without interfering too much with the land count. Nurturing Peatland receives a large amount of play across multiple different decks such as Jund, Elves, and even Mono Green Tron. Sunbaked Canyon is a natural fit within Boros Burn decks, and even Waterlogged Grove has found play in Merfolk decks.

If you don’t have these now then I don’t know what you are waiting for. Go get them!

10. Leyline of Abundance

Currently banned in Pioneer Leyline of Abundance was one of the two new leylines provided in Core Set 2020. With the return of Llanowar Elves earlier this year, and the arrival of Gilded Goose this card was primed for breaking. Here’s an example deck running this card.

Creature (21)
Wistful Selkie
Burning-Tree Emissary
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Genesis Hydra
Devoted Druid
Dryad Arbor

Enchantment (8)
Leyline of Abundance
Oath of Nissa

Instant (4)
Once Upon A Time

Planeswalker (8)
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Karn, the Great Creator

Land (19)
Nykthos, Shrine To Nyx
Windswept Heath
Waterlogged Grove
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Craterhoof Behemoth
Mycosynth Lattice
Nylea’s Disciple
Witchbane Orb
Reclamation Sage
Ensnaring Bridge
Voracious Hydra
Scavenging Ooze
Liquimetal Coating
Pithing Needle
Walking Ballista
Tormod’s Crypt

How the deck works

Power out a mana creature early, and with Leyline of Abundance in play on turn 0 you can ramp into larger threats a lot earlier. Putting a Karn, the Great Creator in play, AND playing the Mycosynth Lattice you just tutored for on the same play is not just for Mono Green Tron decks anymore. You can also play a very large Genesis Hydra, then with all of the devotion to green you can use that to play an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger you tutored up  with Vivien, Arkbow Ranger. Heck a Dryad Arbor tapping for two mana to play a Burning-Tree Emissary into a Once Upon A Time is solid value in and of itself. There are a lot of plays to this deck, and a lot of angles to attack from.

However with its banning in Pioneer, and its lack of presence in the overall Modern metagame I placed this card at the bottom of the top 10.

9. All That Glitters

This one may come as a surprise to some, however I feel a lot of players may have dismissed All That Glitters. This card, like many others in Throne of Eldraine made an immediate impact once it became legal, and is still showing up in a deck still to this day. Granted, it’s just Affinity. However that deck has needed a second Cranial Plating for awhile now, and here it is.

Check out this updated list.

Creature (25)
Arcbound Ravager
Signal Pest
Steel Overseer
Vault Skirge

Artifact (12)
Cranial Plating
Springleaf Drum
Mox Opal

Enchantment (4)
All That Glitters

Instant (3)
Galvanic Blast

Land (16)
Darksteel Citadel
Inkmoth Nexus
Spire of Industry
Blinkmoth Nexus
Sideboard (13)
Blood Moon
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Etched Champion
Experimental Frenzy
Wear // Tear
Spell Pierce
Stubborn Denial

How the deck works

You are the aggressor. Play fast, play early, attack often. If you can protect your Vault Skirge equipping it with both a Cranial Plating and a All That Glitters can make it a very large threat that can end the game quickly. This enchantment also helps make Stubborn Denial more playable from the sideboard as more often than not your creature has a power over four.

This would have ranked higher if artifacts and creatures were not invalidated by a certain planeswalker from the same set that All That Glitters came from. Also you can only enchant your creature lands once with this as the enchantment falls off when the creature land reverts to just being a land.

8. Soulherder

This article, and next week’s remainder of this Top 10, might as well be me being wrong about Modern Horizons. Granted a lot of what we first saw with the set was nothing but Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis decks, however once that was banned we were able to see some other cards receive some play. Soulherder provided a blink deck to obtain a lot of value out of your creatures that have abilities which trigger when they come into play. What do I mean by this? Let me show you a deck.

Creature (24)
Coiling Oracle
Ice-Fang Coatl
Birds of Paradise
Eternal Witness
Deputy of Detention
Knight of Autumn
Wall of Blossoms

Instant (12)
Force of Negation
Path to Exile

Planeswalker (1)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Sorcery (1)
Time Warp

Land (22)
Snow-Covered Island
Prismatic Vista
Snow-Covered Forest
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Prairie Stream
Snow-Covered Plains
Breeding Pool
Canopy Vista
Misty Rainforest
Sideboard (15)
Knight of Autumn
Celestial Purge
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence
Disdainful Stroke
Ceremonious Rejection
Stonehorn Dignitary
Blade Splicer
Scavenging Ooze

How the deck works

You are a tempo deck, and you maximize the number of times you benefit from your creatures coming into play. To highlight this read Soulherder, and then take a look at these possible lines:

  • With Soulherder + Eternal Witness in play: Cast Time Warp. At the end of turn blink Eternal Witness to get Time Warp back in hand. Repeat.
  • With Soulherder in play, and four mana (two of which is white): Cast Knight of Autumn. With its “destroy target artifact or enchantment” ability on the stack cast Ephemerate targeting the Dryad. It then comes into play and gains you life while destroying the target artifact or enchantment. Soulherder then blinks it one more time so you can put counters on it. That’s a ton of value!

That’s just two possibilities. You can even blink a Birds of Paradise to have mana open on your opponent’s turn! The primary problem with this deck is that the combo is all reliant on very small creatures. This can be broken up with removal spells, or a Plague Engineer naming Spirit. Still this is a potent, and fun deck to play so give it a try.

7. Goblin Matron

Creature (33)
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Matron
Mogg War Marshal
Munitions Expert
Skirk Prospector
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Piledriver
Siege-Gang Commander
Pashalik Mons
Goblin Chieftain
Krenko, Mob Boss
Goblin Cratermaker

Artifact (4)
Aether Vial

Instant (1)

Land (22)
Auntie’s Hovel
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Field of Ruin
Blood Crypt
Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Chalice of the Void
Earwig Squad
Pithing Needle
Relic of Progenitus
Goblin Trashmaster
Goblin Chainwhirler
Goblin Cratermaker

How the deck works

Of all the tribes that needed help in Modern it was Goblins that needed it the most. Receiving a lot of reprints in the last two years, its Goblin Matron that is the engine of this deck. Looking for a Pashalik Mons to put into play via Aether Vial you can then start sacrificing goblins to other effects, or to make more goblins with your excess mana, to slowly ping away at your opponent’s life total. The real bonus from the deck though is in the sideboard as you can now find a home for Earwig Squad.

6. Blast Zone

The last entry for today comes from what I dubbed “the chase card” from War of the Spark. While I was quite wrong (thanks to 36 planeswalkers) this card continues to see a heavy amount of play. Blast Zone provides decks the ability to have an Engineered Explosives in the form of a land, and you don’t need colored mana to use it. Of all the decks it currently can be found in, the number one home for it is with Eldrazi Tron.

Creature (16)
Reality Smasher
Thought-Knot Seer
Matter Reshaper
Walking Ballista
Hangarback Walker

Artifact (9)
Expedition Map
Chalice of the Void
Mind Stone

Instant (4)
Warping Wail

Planeswalker (6)
Karn, the Great Creator
Ugin, the Ineffable

Sorcery (1)
All is Dust

Land (24)
Eldrazi Temple
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower
Blast Zone
Cavern of Souls
Ghost Quarter
Scavenger Grounds
Tectonic Edge
Sideboard (15)
Spatial Contortion
Relic of Progenitus
Mycosynth Lattice
Wurmcoil Engine
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Witchbane Orb
Ensnaring Bridge
Liquimetal Coating
Sorcerous Spyglass
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Tormod’s Crypt
Walking Ballista

How the deck works

Similar to Mono Green Tron, you assemble your Tron lands in order to have seven mana on turn three. With these lands producing colorless mana you could play multiple Eldrazi in one turn forcing your opponent to answer them before you can attack. Running Chalice of the Void in the main deck has allowed this deck (at the time of this writing) to sit at the top of the Modern metagame making it the deck to beat. One could even add a Crucible of Worlds somewhere in the deck allowing you to bring back your Blast Zones or other lands that have been destroyed during the game.

While not in every deck, this card can be seen in multiple Tron decks, control decks, and can see play in many formats in Magic: the Gathering.

In Conclusion

That’s the bottom half of the Top 10 for 2019. There are a lot of cards to go through, and if I had time to make a larger list than ten I would. Stay tuned next week for the rest.

Your Thoughts

What are your favorite Modern cards from 2019? Leave a comment below, and follow me on Facebook as well as Twitter.

Next Time

I finish the Top 10 by reviewing the top half of my list. Make sure to be here for that!

Until then…


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