Skip to main content Download External Link Facebook Facebook Twitter Instagram Twitch Youtube Youtube Discord Left Arrow Right Arrow Search Lock Wreath icon-no-eye caret-down Add to Calendar download Arena copyText Info Close

Metagame Mentor: The 10 Most Important Modern Cards from 2023

December 14, 2023
Frank Karsten

Hello and welcome back to Metagame Mentor, your weekly guide to the top decks and latest Constructed developments on the path to the Pro Tour. In these final few weeks of the year, I'm taking a look back at 2023. Last week, I highlighted the 10 biggest Standard stories from 2023. Next week, I'll cover Pioneer with a specific focus on the U.S. Regional Championship. But this week's focus is Modern. After providing the latest metagame snapshot after the bans, I'll highlight the 10 most important cards that were added to Modern in 2023.

The Modern Metagame After the Bans

Modern is a nonrotating 60-card format that was introduced in 2011 and has captured the hearts of Magic: the Gathering players worldwide ever since. It allows expansion sets, core sets, and straight-to-Modern sets from Eight Edition forward, with the exception of cards on the banned list. With over 20 years of card history, Modern has a deeper card pool than Standard or Pioneer and features intricate card interactions and a vast array of viable strategies.

The format was recently shaken up by the bans of Fury and Up the Beanstalk, announced on December 4. Since then, several competitive events provided a first glimpse of Modern without these cards, and I analyzed over 580 successful decklists from these tournaments. Specifically, I used all available Magic Online decklists from scheduled Modern events held from December 5 through December 11, as well as all Modern decklists with positive net wins from MTG Melee events in that date range. Most decklists stem from the Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona, which drew 702 competitors, provided Regional Championship invites and huge prizes to the Top 32 players and beyond, and awarded $5,500 to the newly crowned champion. Congratulations to Mariluz García!

Despite the ban of Fury, Mariluz García kept her belief in her Rakdos deck and was able to outplay everyone. As it turned out, the Grief-based strategy was Not Dead After All.

Nevertheless, the ban did impact the play rate of these types of decks, which I will refer to as Rakdos Grief going forward. Only a tiny percentage of competitors brought these decks, which weren't unbeatable in the first place, and their consistency dropped. Without Fury, the inclusion of Not Dead After All or Undying Evil became a real cost, so Mariluz García cut some of these "undying" effects. Nevertheless, the double-discard play on turn one remains viable and can still cause substantial grief to opponents.

Archetype Record-Weighted Metagame Share
1. Rhinos 13.8% ↑↑
2. Yawgmoth 11.5% ↑↑
3. Amulet Titan 9.9% ↑↑
4. Living End 8.9% ↑↑
5. Izzet Murktide 8.0% ↑↑
6. Mono-Green Tron 6.5% ↑↑
7. Hammer Time 3.8%
8. Hardened Scales 3.6%
9. Domain Zoo 2.9%
10. Burn 2.7%
11. Mono-Black Coffers 2.1% ↓↓
12. Rakdos Grief 2.0% ↓↓
13. Indomitable Creativity 1.7%
14. Four-Color Omnath 1.7% ↓↓
15. Merfolk 1.6%
16. Dimir Shadow 1.4%
17. Izzet Wizards 1.2%
18. Temur Murktide 1.1%
19. Azorius Control 1.1%
20. Dimir Control 1.1%
21. Dimir Mill 1.0%
22. Grixis Control 0.9%
23. Four-Color Control 0.8%
24. Orzhov Grief 0.8%
25. Jeskai Breach 0.8%
26. Other 9.0%

To provide this metagame snapshot, I assigned an archetype label to each deck and awarded a number of points equal to the deck's net wins, i.e. its number of match wins minus its number of match losses. For example, a deck that went 5–1 in the Swiss followed by a loss in the quarterfinals was assigned three points. The sum of these numbers for every archetype yields its record-weighted metagame share, which represents its share of total net wins. It combines popularity and performance, and it may be interpreted as a winner's metagame that you can expect to see at the top tables.

Each archetype name in the table hyperlinks to a well-performing, representative decklist. The "Other" category includes Five-Color Reanimator, Jeskai Control, Infect, Dredge, Dimir Grief, Jund Sagavan, Samwise Gamgee Combo, Humans, Spirits, Four-Color Shadow, Bring to Light, Jeskai Prowess, Temur Prowess, and various other decks. The number of competitively viable Modern archetypes remains enormous. The arrows in the table represent the biggest changes compared to my metagame roundups from early November and late November, which are largely attributable to the ban of Fury.


The ban of Fury had several sweeping effects on the metagame:

  • Without the ability to put a 4/4 double striker onto the battlefield on turn one, Rakdos Evoke lost consistency, reducing the likelihood of targeting an evoke Elemental with Not Dead After All. As a result, the strategy that I've now dubbed Rakdos Grief plummeted from a dominant 27.5% to a measly 2.0% of the winner's metagame. Nevertheless, it certainly remains viable, as evidenced by its victory at the Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona.
  • Yawgmoth and Merfolk benefited greatly from the ban of Fury, rising in the ranks. These creature-based strategies were weak to Fury, and their low-toughness creatures were no longer kept in check.
  • Mono-Green Tron, Amulet Titan, Izzet Murktide, and Living End, which used to struggle against the main deck Thoughtseize, Blood Moon, Orcish Bowmasters, and Dauthi Voidwalker found in Rakdos Evoke, rose in the ranks after their predator was taken down a peg.
  • Four-Color Omnath not only lost Fury, but also had to deal with the banning of Up the Beanstalk, causing a huge drop in its numbers.
  • Mono-Black Coffers used to have a good matchup against Rakdos Evoke, but it dropped in popularity after its prey largely disappeared.
  • Fringe decks based around low-toughness creatures, such as Infect, Spirits, Samwise Gamgee Combo, and Humans, seemed to be on the rise after the ban of Fury. None of these decks put up huge numbers individually, but their relative rise looks like a collective trend.

While various decks adjusted to the ban of Fury, cascade decks soared in popularity. Rhinos was the most-played deck overall at the Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona, and Living End was on the rise as well. After the dust settled, as many as half of the top 14 decks were using Shardless Agent and Violent Outburst. Going forward, it would be wise to add more copies of Chalice of the Void, Teferi, Time Raveler, or other anti-cascade cards to your sideboards.

Modern Developments Throughout 2023

Although the ban of Fury and the rise of cascade decks represent the latest metagame developments, Modern hasn't been static. Based on my metagame snapshots in January, March, May, July, September, November, I traced the metagame shares of the ten most-played archetypes over 2023. Let's take a look.

This picture shows the meteoric rise of Rakdos Evoke over the year, right up to the ban of Fury. Its final share of 27.5% of the top-table field was literally off the chart — it was the highest winner's metagame share I encountered this year in any format.

The chart also shows the drop-off of Izzet Murktide, Hammer Time, and Indomitable Creativity after the release of The Lord of The Rings: Tales from Middle-earth™ in June. These three decks struggled in the face of the new Modern staples. Orcish Bowmasters pinged Dragon's Rage Channeler, Esper Sentinel, and Dwarven Mine tokens, while The One Ring gave protection from Murktide Regent, a creature wielding Colossus Hammer, or Archon of Cruelty's triggers for a turn. Overall, The Lord of The Rings led to an upheaval of the Modern metagame.

Beyond the ten decks shown in the chart, more fringe decks also waxed and waned. For example, Jeskai Breach and Azorius Control ticked down, despite the victories of Isaac Queralt Garriga at the Secret Lair Showdown in Barcelona and of Anuraag Das at the Secret Lair Showdown in Las Vegas. While they converted their Modern expertise into coveted, exclusive copies of Brainstorm, their archetypes dwindled in popularity. Meanwhile, Hardened Scales and Mono-Black Coffers ticked up throughout the year after gaining new cards to boost their strategies.

As the rise and fall of various decks is better understood by zooming in on the most important card additions to Modern in 2023, let's take a closer look at 10 essential cards that were introduced this year. Before starting with my list, an honorable mention goes out to Surge of Salvation, the most-played new main deck card from March of the Machine. It found a home in Hammer Time, where it protected entire boards and hands from Force of Vigor, Grief, or Fury. However, since its utility against Fury is no longer a selling point, I chose to leave it out of my top 10.

10. The Mycosynth Gardens


Throughout 2023, The Mycosynth Gardens was the most-played card from Phyrexia: All Will Be One in Modern. It earned a few slots in Amulet Titan, where it could conveniently copy Amulet of Vigor. Putting the new land to good use, Shota Watanabe won the 748-player Players Convention Yokohama Open in March, and Dominic Harvey made the Top 8 at Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings.

Amulet Titan is an intricate ramp deck that exploits the synergy between Amulet of Vigor and bounce lands like Simic Growth Chamber to power out Primeval Titan. Draws with double Amulet of Vigor were always the best, as they allow a single Simic Growth Chamber to provide four mana right away. In addition, when you control two Amulets, a single Titan is deadly: You first fetch Boros Garrison and Slayers' Stronghold, activate the Garrison twice, attack, fetch Vesuva and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion, and win the game with a 10-power double striker. The Mycosynth Gardens provides easy access to a second Amulet of Vigor, making the explosive turn-three Primeval Titan draws even more likely.

In Modern, gameplay and interactions can get complex, and players are usually rewarded for having deep format knowledge and experience with their decks. Amulet Titan in particular requires a deep understanding of its diverse lines of play, which were further expanded by The Mycosynth Gardens, and Dominic Harvey proved the value of being an archetype master. As an Amulet Titan expert, he had written an 80-page primer on the deck before clinching the well-deserved Pro Tour Top 8. More generally, I'd say that the key to success in Modern is to invest time in mastering your preferred deck; a skilled player who is well-versed in their deck's interactions and matchup strategies is always a force to be reckoned with.

9. Up the Beanstalk

Up the Beanstalk

Up the Beanstalk was only in Modern for three months before it was banned on December 4. In that period of time, it surely triggered a lot, but rarely did anyone pay five mana to do so. Up the Beanstalk was combined with nearly every alternate-cost card imaginable, from Leyline Binding to Fury to Commandeer, allowing players to sift through their decks at breakneck pace. Four-Color Omnath players even moved towards cascade builds with Shardless Agent and Bloodbraid Elf to put even more copies of Up the Beanstalk onto the battlefield.

Michael DeBenedetto-Plummer used this list to win the $5K RCQ at SCG CON Pittsburgh in November. With multiple copies of Up the Beanstalk on the battlefield, an evoked Fury or Solitude would draw more cards, which would typically snowball into more free spells to keep triggering Up the Beanstalk. Many Up the Beanstalk players even went beyond 60 cards, fearing that they would draw so many cards that they might deck themselves. For three months, Up the Beanstalk was one of the best card-draw engines available in Modern.

Now that the enchantment has been banned, the four-color decks that used it will probably have to return to more established sources of card advantage, like Wrenn and Six, The One Ring, Omnath, Locus of Creation, Risen Reef, and/or Keruga, the Macrosage. It's worth remembering that the largest Modern tournament of the year—the 1,055-player Grand Open Qualifier in Prague — was won by Markus Leicht, playing Four-Color Omnath with Risen Reef and Keruga. Up the Beanstalk and Fury may be gone, but Four-Color Omnath will surely endure.

8. Preordain


In 2011, Preordain was banned in Modern due to the amount of consistency it added to combo decks. In 2023, Modern is a lot more interactive, and the card selection spell was deemed safe to unban on August 7. The stated belief was that "Preordain will do more to boost fairer blue decks rather than simply increase the consistency of combo strategies," and it came true. Preordain has found its way into a variety of decks, including Dimir Control, Izzet Wizards, Grixis Shadow, Jeskai Breach, and — the best home of all — Izzet Murktide.

Izzet Murktide uses cards like Expressive Iteration to quickly turn Murktide Regent into a two-mana 8/8 flier, combining cheap cantrips, efficient interaction, and powerful threats into a formidable deck. After the unban of Preordain, almost every Izzet Murktide player made room for it. Preordain digs a whole card deeper than Sleight of Hand or Consider and, unlike Serum Visions, finds the card you want on the turn you cast it. The addition made the deck more consistent, and it helped to fuel Murktide Regent and trigger Dragon's Rage Channeler. Preordain also increased the deck's sorcery count, enabling delirium more reliably for Unholy Heat and Dragon's Rage Channeler.

It was a welcome boost for the perennial Modern archetype, especially when it had just started to struggle with the rise of Orcish Bowmasters. As it pings one-toughness creatures and punishes card draw spells, it's one of the best cards opponents could have. Nevertheless, using the power of Preordain, Izzet Murktide experts such as Andrea "PieGonti" Piemonti found success throughout the year, and his Top 8 list from last weekend's Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona is shown above.

7. Delighted Halfling


The Lord of The Rings: Tales from Middle-earth™ was the most important Modern release of the year. Many of its additions shook up the Modern metagame, and Delighted Halfling is the first of four cards from the set in this list. Unlike Birds of Paradise, its second point of toughness keeps it safe from Orcish Bowmasters or Wrenn and Six, and it allows legendary spells to dodge counterspells, providing a boost against control decks.

Delighted Halfling found a home mostly in Yawgmoth and Four-Color Omnath. In Four-Color Omnath, it could ramp into a turn-two Teferi, Time Raveler, shutting down cascade decks while dodging Force of Negation. Accelerating four-mana legends like The One Ring or Omnath, Locus of Creation was pretty good as well. Later in the year, Four-Color Omnath decks would cut Delighted Halfling to fit in Up the Beanstalk, leaving Yawgmoth as the prime bastion for the new card.

In Yawgmoth, a deck that combines undying creatures and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician to generate card advantage and achieve infinite combos, Delighted Halfling was a worthwhile upgrade. It could ramp into Yawgmoth, Thran Physician while helping you to beat Counterspell. After adopting Delighted Halfling and Orcish Bowmasters from The Lord of The Rings, Yawgmoth became a sizable 7.1% of the field at the Pro Tour, although it had somewhat disappointing results in a field filled with Fury.

Yawgmoth's tidings improved later in the year, first with the upgrade of Agatha's Soul Cauldron from Wilds of Eldraine, and more recently, with the ban of Fury. Without having to worry that an opponent could sweep the entire board for the cost of zero mana, Yawgmoth became better positioned than ever, and archetype expert Xerk used the above-shown list to win a Modern Challenge last weekend.

6. Tishana's Tidebinder


The Lost Caverns of Ixalan was released only a month ago, but Tishana's Tidebinder has already made a big impact on Modern as the most-played card from the new set. Modern features a plethora of activated or triggered abilities to counter, making the list of applications nearly endless. For example, Tishana's Tidebinder hits fetch lands like Misty Rainforest, nullifies Chalice of the Void, stops the protection ability and card draw engine of The One Ring, and counters cascade on Violent Outburst. It also answers Engineered Explosives, Amulet of Vigor, Leyline Binding, Oblivion Stone, and so on. It's even a Wizard for Flame of Anor!

With so much versatility, the flash creature has found a home in various archetypes, including Rhinos, Izzet Murktide, Izzet Wizards, Dimir Shadow, Domain Zoo, and Merfolk.

Merfolk is an archetype that has been around since the inception of the game. The original Lord of Atlantis dates all the way back to Alpha, and newer versions like Master of the Pearl Trident have further reinforced the theme of the deck. Masters of the archetype regularly find success with it; for example, Dan Kristoff went 8-2 as the only Merfolk player at the Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings, which resulted in Merfolk having the highest win rate out of all Modern archetypes at that event. Merfolk is also one of the main benefactors of last week's ban of Fury, and Lluís Restoy took the list shown above to a solid 11-4 record at the Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona last weekend.

Tishana's Tidebinder fits the deck well because it's a Merfolk for Lord of Atlantis and because you're already playing a flash game with Merfolk Trickster. Lluís Restoy's version even includes four main deck copies of Subtlety to reinforce the flash game plan further. His list eschews Aether Vial or Vodalian Hexcatcher, which is a bit unusual, and he didn't experiment with Deeproot Pilgrimage like many others, but one thing is for sure: When playing Modern with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, you need to be aware that many decks have incorporated Tishana's Tidebinder, and you should prepare for the unexpected interactions it can provide.

5. Lórien Revealed


This spot jointly belongs to the group of one-mana landcyclers from The Lord of The Rings: Tales from Middle-earth™. Many Living End players readily adopted Generous Ent and Oliphaunt — the first one-mana landcycling creatures ever printed — using them effectively as fetch lands that can be reanimated as huge creatures. Troll of Khazad-dûm was regularly pitched to March of Wretched Sorrow by Mono-Black Coffers players, and even Eagles of the North was sometimes included in Solitude decks.

But undoubtedly, the most important one-mana landcycler was Lórien Revealed. It was not an immediate hit right after release, but once its utility was revealed, it became the third-most-played card from the The Lord of The Rings overall. Lórien Revealed found a home in a variety of blue decks, including Rhinos, Dimir Control, Izzet Wizards, and Azorius Control. In these decks, the islandcycling sorcery did it all — fixing mana, pitching to Force of Negation or Subtlety, providing resilience to Blood Moon, and even drawing three cards in the late game.

Rhinos has a straightforward game plan: cast Shardless Agent or Violent Outburst on turn three to cascade into Crashing Footfalls, unleashing a horde of 4/4 Rhinos to quickly overpower your opponent. The deck, which was 10.8% of the field at Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings and 13.8% of the winner's metagame last weekend, has become the most prominent home for Lórien Revealed in Modern. In the deck, it mainly acts like a land that can be pitched to Subtlety and Force of Negation.

Temur Rhinos put up excellent results at the Pro Tour, as Marco del Pivo, Kai Budde, and Stefano Vinci all made the Top 8 with the deck. Kai Budde, the German Juggernaut who holds the all-time record of seven Pro Tour titles, set new records with his Top 8, becoming the first player with a Pro Tour Top 8 in four different decades (the 90s, 00s, 10s, and 20s)!

Since then, Temur Rhinos has become the most prominent deck in Modern. Although many lists have evolved by cutting Questing Beast and Dismember to fit in Tishana's Tidebinder, they still look fairly similar to the one from the Pro Tour Top 8. The Flame of Anor from Budde's sideboard, originally conceived as an answer to Chalice of the Void, has become a commonplace inclusion as well, and it's even regularly found in main decks nowadays.

4. Agatha's Soul Cauldron


Agatha's Soul Cauldron is one of the most important cards introduced by Wilds of Eldraine, and it's certainly one of the most unique effects. It was quickly adopted in Yawgmoth, where it could exile Yawgmoth, Thran Physician or Grist, the Hunger Tide, turning all creatures with +1/+1 counters into major threats. It also provided a major boost to Hardened Scales — an archetype that rose in popularity as Rakdos Evoke started to dominate tournaments.

Hardened Scales is a complicated deck whose best draws explode in a combo-like way, and Agatha's Soul Cauldron enables all kinds of new combo finishes. Pretty much every creature in the deck already starts with a +1/+1 counter, so when the Cauldron exiles a creature, its activated abilities are immediately granted to most of your creatures. With the ability from Walking Ballista, you will usually be able to deal lethal damage immediately. Exiling Arcbound Ravager makes combat into a nightmare for your opponent as well. Moreover, with Hardened Scales on the battlefield, every activation of the Cauldron dishes out two +1/+1 counters, making the deck an ideal home for the legendary artifact. Ryan Gassaway used the list shown above to win a $5K RCQ at SCG CON Pittsburgh last month.

Hardened Scales rose in popularity over the year, partly due to new card additions like Ozolith, the Shattered Spire and Agatha's Soul Cauldron, and spurred on even further due to a favorable matchup against Rakdos Evoke. Rakdos Evoke players had a hard time answering Hardened Scales or Agatha's Soul Cauldron, and their removal spells lined up poorly against the ward on Patchwork Automaton, modular on Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp, and tokens from Urza's Saga. Yet even after the ban of Fury and subsequent drop of Rakdos Evoke, Hardened Scales remains powerful enough to compete, and the innovations don't stop. Players were already experimenting with Echoing Deeps last weekend to copy Urza's Saga, which may be worth it in a mostly colorless deck.

3. Not Dead After All

Not Dead After All

Although Not Dead After All was only a small upgrade over Feign Death and Undying Malice, I placed it highly on the list for what it represents: The dominance of Rakdos Evoke in the second half of 2023. It prompted the ban of Fury, before last weekend's Grand Open Qualifier in Barcelona showed that the strategy was Not Dead After All.

Rakdos Evoke was a midrange deck that could evoke and return Grief of Fury as early as turn one. It used to accomplish that with Feign Death and Undying Malice, but Wilds of Eldraine introduced an even better option: Not Dead After All. It represented a minor upgrade because it adds an extra life loss after the opponent finally dealt with the returned Grief or Fury, and you can even profit by destroying your own creature while your opponent is at one life.

Rakdos Evoke was the dominant Modern deck of 2023. It started the year at only 7-8% of the winner's metagame before bursting out as the most-played deck at the Pro Tour and ultimately surging to an unprecedented 27.5% of the winner's metagame in November. After last week's ban of Fury shook things up, the deck dropped in popularity, but Mariluz García still took down the 702-player Grand Open Qualifier with a Fury-less version of the strategy.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop in 2024. This list with only five rather than the traditional six "undying" effects is less consistent: the multivariate hypergeometric probability of drawing at least one Grief, at least one undying effect, at least one land, and at least one black spell to pitch in the top seven cards, even when willing to hyper-aggressively mulligan to six every game in search of that perfect start, dropped from 30% to 27%. Moreover, without Fury, the likelihood of targeting an evoke Elemental with Not Dead After All became smaller. Nevertheless, we surely haven't seen the last of Grief or Not Dead After All.

2. The One Ring


The One Ring is the second-most important card added to Modern this year. After preventing you from taking damage and being targeted for a turn, the card allows you to draw three cards for the cost of one life, six cards for the cost of three life, or more. As you churn through your deck, you can use evoke Elementals or other pitch spells as free spells to defend yourself, transforming card advantage into mana advantage. And once the burden of using The One Ring becomes too great, you can play a new copy, using the legend rule to your advantage by casting the old one into the fire.

The One Ring is basically Time Walk and Ancestral Recall stapled into a single card, and due to its colorless nature, it can fit into a wide variety of decks. The card found a home in Mono-Green Tron, Amulet Titan, Four-Color Omnath, Mono-Black Coffers, Dimir Control, and various other decks. At Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings, its best home was in Mono-Green Tron.

Player of the Year Simon Nielsen dominated the Swiss rounds of the tournament, jumping out to a 12-0 start before clinching yet another Pro Tour Top 8. He did so with Team Handshake's build of Mono-Green Tron, which used a full playset of The One Ring in the main deck along with innovative card choices like Dismember, Talisman of Resilience, and Urza's Saga. Although Christian Calcano had the best finish of all Mono-Green Tron players, finishing in second place with a more traditional build of the strategy, Team Handshake's card choices became the norm after the Pro Tour.

At Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings, The One Ring was the most-played card overall, with 42% of the competitors using the card in their main deck. It was even more popular than long-time format staples like Fury; Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer; Lightning Bolt; Chalice of the Void; Misty Rainforest; Thoughtseize; or Force of Negation. As it generates loads of colorless mana, Mono-Green Tron seamlessly fitted in the legendary artifact, using it to bridge towards its powerful late game. Indeed, buying an extra turn is particularly valuable when your land drops tap for two or three mana.

Mono-Green Tron had a fantastic weekend at the Pro Tour, where it put multiple players in the Top 8, but it dropped in popularity afterwards due to an unfavorable matchup against Rakdos Evoke and due to the rise of Obsidian Charmaw as a sideboard card. Now that the metagame is shifting again after the ban of Fury, it's worth remembering that Mono-Green Tron traditionally lines up well against the cascade decks, and it remains one of the best homes for The One Ring in Modern.

1. Orcish Bowmasters


Orcish Bowmasters is my pick for the most important addition to Modern in 2023. Introduced in The Lord of The Rings: Tales from Middle-earth™, it takes out one-toughness creatures like the ubiquitous Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, punishes opponents for drawing too many cards with The One Ring, and creates tokens to fuel Chord of Calling or Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. For a two-mana card that can be cast at instant speed, its utility is formidable.

Orcish Bowmasters was adopted by a variety of decks including Yawgmoth, Domain Zoo, and Dimir Shadow. Along with The One Ring, it played a role in the emergence of novel archetypes like Dimir Control and Mono-Black Coffers, as well as the downfall of decks like Indomitable Creativity, Hammer Time, and Izzet Murktide. But above all, Orcish Bowmasters was the two-drop that Rakdos Evoke was waiting for.

At Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings, Orcish Bowmasters was the second-most-played card overall, with 39% of the field using the card in their main deck. Roughly half of those players were running Rakdos Evoke, which is the archetype that ultimately took the trophy. Jake Beardsley sliced through the field, becoming the first player in 17 years to win in their first Pro Tour. His card choices also ensured that all three Pro Tours in the year were won by Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

Jake Beardsley, champion of Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings

After Jake Beardsley carved his name into competitive Magic history, Rakdos Evoke soared in popularity and Orcish Bowmasters became the most-played card in the entire format. In Modern, it's essential to have a solid plan for dealing with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer on turn one or The One Ring on turn four, and Orcish Bowmasters lines up perfectly against both of these premier threats. Due to its sheer popularity and raw power, Orcish Bowmasters was the defining card of Modern in 2023.

Share Article