Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 Metagame Breakdown (2024)

The decklists are in, the data is ready, and the third Pro Tour of 2024 begins tomorrow! At Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3, taking place June 28–30 at MagicCon: Amsterdam, 243 of the world's best Magic: The Gathering players will bring their Modern decks to compete for $500,000 in prizes, invitations to the World Championship, and a prestigious trophy. The field includes top players from Regional Championships, online qualifiers, and previous Pro Tours, so we can look forward to an awesome weekend of high-level Magic.

The formats are Modern Horizons 3 Booster Draft on the mornings of Friday and Saturday, followed by Modern for five rounds afterward each of those days. Modern is also the Top 8 format on Sunday. Modern Horizons 3 infused a lot of unique, powerful build-arounds into the Modern format, resulting in the emergence of brand-new archetypes and an upheaval of the metagame.

To follow all the action, catch the stream at twitch.tv/magic, which begins at 11 a.m. Central European Time on Friday and Saturday and at 10 a.m. Central European Time on Sunday. See the viewer's guide for more information.

Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 Metagame Breakdown (1)


Modern is a nonrotating 60-card format that allows cards from expansion sets, core sets, and straight-to-Modern sets from Eighth Edition forward, spanning 21 years of history.

In recent months, the Modern metagame had already been through some changes, including the introduction of surveil lands, the dominance of cascade decks, the ban of Violent Outburst, the surprising powerhouse that is Leyline of the Guildpact, and the introduction of Slickshot Show-Off. However, all of these developments pale in comparison to the impact from Modern Horizons 3. Bolstered by the new set, the metagame at the Pro Tour breaks down as follows.


Deck ArchetypeNumber of PlayersPercentage of Field
1. Bant Nadu4920.2%
2. Ruby Storm239.5%
3. Jeskai Control229.1%
4. Mono-Black Necro177.0%
5. Eldrazi Tron145.8%
6. Four-Color Nadu135.3%
7. Boros Energy135.3%
8. Jeskai Wizards124.9%
9. Mono-Black Grief62.5%
10. Jeskai Dress Down62.5%
11. Gruul Eldrazi62.5%
12. Izzet Murktide52.1%
13. Esper Goryo's52.1%
14. Mardu Energy52.1%
15. Golgari Yawgmoth41.6%
16. Gruul Prowess41.6%
17. Izzet Wizards31.2%
18. Boros Burn31.2%
19. Living End31.2%
20. Rakdos Grief20.8%
21. Jeskai Chant20.8%
22. Temur Eldrazi20.8%
23. Merfolk20.8%
24. Amulet Titan20.8%
25. Dimir Mill10.4%
26. Grixis Shadow10.4%
27. Abzan Soultrader10.4%
28. Azorius Hammer10.4%
29. Gruul Scapeshift10.4%
30. Jund Creativity10.4%
31. Dimir Grief10.4%
32. Bant Control10.4%
33. Boros Prowess10.4%
34. Mono-Red Prowess10.4%
35. Mardu Midrange10.4%
36. Hardened Scales10.4%
37. Four-color Control10.4%
38. Sultai Vengevine10.4%
39. Domain Zoo10.4%
40. Dimir Murktide10.4%
41. Jeskai Prowess10.4%
42. Dimir Nethergoyf10.4%
43. Four-Color Reclamation10.4%
44. Devoted Nadu10.4%

All Modern Constructed decklists for the tournament will be published on the Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 event page on Friday June 28 at the beginning of Round 4 gameplay, approximately at 2 p.m. Central European Time. Until then, you can find short summaries of the most-played archetypes below.

Bant Nadu (49 players): Bant Nadu is a brand-new combo strategy that tries to assemble Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Shuko. Shuko targets your creatures for zero mana, allowing Nadu's ability to happen trigger for each creature you control. This yields a lot of free cards. Each land put onto the battlefield by Nadu enters untapped and triggers Springheart Nantuko, creating another 1/1 creature that can get targeted by Shuko twice. Once you get going, you can easily draw your entire deck. You can even play a fresh Nadu to reset the "twice per turn" counter along the way. Eventually, you'll use Thassa's Oracle or a convoluted Endurance loop to win the game.

Ruby Storm (23 players): Ruby Storm is a new combo strategy based around Ruby Medallion and Ral, Monsoon Mage from Modern Horizons 3. With either of these cards on the battlefield, Pyretic Ritual and Desperate Ritual cost only one mana and add three, unlocking a huge mana boost. The cost of Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve is also reduced, allowing you to rapidly sift through your deck. The plan is to cast numerous spells in a single turn at a reduced cost, do it all over again with Past in Flames, and finish the job with a lethal Grapeshot.

Jeskai Control (22 players): Jeskai Control features spot removal, countermagic, card draw, sweepers, and the powerful new Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury to stabilize and win the game. The deck also exploits an energy package from Modern Horizons 3 with Tune the Narrative, Galvanic Discharge, and Wrath of the Skies. The feature that distinguishes Jeskai Control from other Jeskai decks is that it uses at least three copies of The One Ring or Memory Deluge to net card advantage and support its control plan.

Mono-Black Necro (17 players): Mono-Black Necro features cheap, efficient interaction to trade resources in the early turns before refilling with Necrodominance. Unlike the original Necropotence, this new enchantment actually draws the cards, so you can almost double your life total with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse while sculpting the perfect five-card hand. There's also an opportunity to cast spells in between drawing cards and discarding to hand size, so you can pay an exorbitant amount of life, pitch loads of cards to March of Wretched Sorrow or Soul Spike, and pass the turn at a higher life total than you started with.

Eldrazi Tron (14 players): Eldrazi Tron exploits Ugin's Labyrinth from Modern Horizons 3, which can imprint Devourer of Destiny or All Is Dust to get access to two mana on turn one. Along with Eldrazi Temple and the trio of Urza lands, this deck ramps into enormous amounts of colorless mana early on. All Eldrazi Tron decks sink their mana into Karn, the Great Creator; The One Ring; and Kozilek's Command.

Four-Color Nadu (13 players): Four-Color Nadu is basically Bant Nadu splashing for Orcish Bowmasters or Thoughtseize. Fascinatingly, many Nadu, Winged Wisdom decks at the Pro Tour have shaved Thassa's Oracle and are instead employing Endurance loops as their win condition. The ones in Four-Color Nadu are easiest to explain. If your library consists of four lands while you bestowed Springheart Nantuko onto both Endurance and Orcish Bowmasters, then you can target four Insect tokens with Shuko, use the four lands to create copies of Orcish Bowmasters and Endurance, sacrifice them to Sylvan Safekeeper, and have Endurance return them to your library. You can loop to create infinite Orcish Bowmasters copies to deal infinite damage.

Boros Energy (13 players): Boros Energy is a midrange deck that makes the most of the energy mechanic brought back in Modern Horizons 3, combining cards like Guide of Souls, Amped Raptor, Galvanic Discharge, Unstable Amulet, and Static Prison. With this powerful suite of cards, you can always spend energy on the most fruitful way possible for the game at hand, while the early-drop creatures put considerable pressure on the opponent.

Jeskai Wizards (12 players): Like Jeskai Control, Jeskai Wizards features Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury along with the energy package of Tune the Narrative, Galvanic Discharge, and Wrath of the Skies. The feature that distinguishes Jeskai Wizards from other Jeskai decks is that it runs Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student and Snapcaster Mage to enable Flame of Anor. On turn four, you could cast Tamiyo and immediately transform her into a planeswalker form by drawing cards with Flame of Anor, which is a powerful line of play. In her planeswalker form, Tamiyo has a powerful defensive ability and an easy-to-reach, game-winning ultimate.

Mono-Black Grief (6 players): The dream for Mono-Black Grief is to evoke Grief on turn one, discard the opponent's Galvanic Discharge with the evoke trigger still on the stack, and return it with Not Dead After All. Roughly one in every seven of the deck's opening hands are capable of this dreaded sequence, and it results in a 4/3 menace with another discard trigger attached. A new addition to the strategy from Modern Horizons 3 is Nethergoyf, which grows when Mishra's Bauble or Urza's Saga hit the graveyard.

Jeskai Dress Down (6 players): Jeskai Dress Down is similar to Jeskai Control and Jeskai Wizards, but it stands out because it uses at least three copies of Dress Down alongside multiple copies of Nulldrifter. Dress Down makes it so that you won't have to sacrifice a three-mana Phlage or Nulldrifter, allowing you to build an enormous threat at a reduced cost. Alternatively, the sacrifice trigger can be countered by Consign to Memory, so Nulldrifter can consistently annihilate opponents early on.

Gruul Eldrazi (6 players): Gruul Eldrazi leverages Eldrazi Temple and Ugin's Labyrinth, similar to Eldrazi Tron, for a quick mana boost, ramping into powerful mid-game Eldrazi and top-end spells. The killing blow as well as the deck's unique twist is to use Through the Breach to sneak in Emrakul, the Aeons Torn; which will attack with annihilator 6.

On the whole, the Pro Tour metagame is dominated by combo strategies. Last week, in my analysis of the first Magic Online events after Modern Horizons 3, Ruby Storm and Bant Nadu already seemed to be very promising. After an additional week of testing, these two decks are on top of the Pro Tour metagame. Between Bant, Four-Color, and Devoted Nadu, nearly 26% of the field will try to assemble the combo of Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Shuko. With Ruby Storm and other combo strategies also being well-represented, many games at the Pro Tour might end as early as turn three.

However, Modern has been evolving rapidly. For example, established archetypes such as Living End fell by the wayside as players tried to break the new cards. Meanwhile, new archetypes like Mono-Black Necro rose in prominence. But the biggest development is the emergence of a large variety of Boros, Jeskai, and Mardu decks that exploit the new energy cards from Modern Horizons 3 along with Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury. Nearly 25% of the field registered one of these decks, which is almost as much as the Nadu contingent. To put this all into perspective, let's take a closer look at the most-played cards from the new set.

Even with the high bar set by the existing Modern card pool, Modern Horizons 3 has had a considerable impact on the format. In fact, 242 out of the 243 Pro Tour competitorsuse at least one new-to-Modern card from this set in their deck. The following table breaks down all new-to-Modern cards among Pro Tour decklists.

Card nameTotal number of copiesMain deckSideboard
Galvanic Discharge2682680
Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury26421153
Nadu, Winged Wisdom2522520
Springheart Nantuko2322320
Consign to Memory19020170
Wrath of the Skies18313845
Tune the Narrative1621620
Static Prison1155065
Ral, Monsoon Mage92920
Ruby Medallion92920
Amped Raptor92920
Devourer of Destiny88880
Kozilek's Command88880
Ugin's Labyrinth88880
Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student85814
Unstable Amulet79790
Guide of Souls78780
Ajani, Nacatl Pariah77770
Glimpse the Impossible73730
Necrodominance68680
Sylvan Safekeeper68680
Arena of Glory65650
Invert Polarity554510
Disruptor Flute53944
Boggart Trawler52520
Fell the Profane48480
Shifting Woodland43421
Flare of Malice413110
Phyrexian Tower36360
Orim's Chant36630
Nethergoyf34340
Volatile Stormdrake331023
Sink into Stupor27270
Vexing Bauble27423
Nulldrifter27261
Sorin of House Markov23230
Psychic Frog22220
Emrakul, the World Anew22220
Toxic Deluge21021
Harbinger of the Seas21714
Flare of Denial20191
Malevolent Rumble20200
Sowing Mycospawn16106
Ocelot Pride16160
Ulamog, the Defiler15150
Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd13130
Chthonian Nightmare990
Thief of Existence909
Wastescape Battlemage981
Flare of Cultivation880
Eldrazi Linebreaker880
It That Heralds the End880
Brainsurge880
Barbarian Ring660
Marionette Apprentice660
Monumental Henge550
Meltdown505
Spymaster's Vault440
Rush of Inspiration440
Warren Soultrader440
Cephalid Coliseum440
Drowner of Truth440
White Orchid Phantom440
Birthing Ritual440
Flusterstorm303
Deep Analysis330
Kozilek, the Broken Reality202
Bridgeworks Battle220
Six220
Accursed Marauder202
Consuming Corruption220
Grist, Voracious Larva220
Buried Alive220
Null Elemental Blast202
Collective Resistance101
Ghostfire Slice101
Revitalizing Repast110
Legion Leadership110

662274 662349

In terms of raw card count, the most important new additions are Galvanic Discharge and Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury. Both cards have found their way into decks like Jeskai Control, Boros Energy, Jeskai Wizards, Jeskai Dress Down, Mardu Energy, and various others. In addition, many Ruby Storm decks use Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury in their sideboard to handle Drannith Magistrate and to provide an alternative route to victory. At the same time, various Gruul Prowess decks have adopted Galvanic Discharge as well.

Galvanic Discharge is the most-played new energy card overall. It's basically a Lightning Bolt for creatures or planeswalkers with additional flexibility. When combined with other energy cards, it becomes similar to Unholy Heat in its ability to take down enormous creatures. And when it burns a smaller creature, you can store the energy for Wrath of the Skies later on. Yet many Pro Tour competitors anticipated this trend, as Suncleanser started to appear as a spicy answer that can prevent opponents from accumulating energy counters.

Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury is a twist on Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Uro is currently banned in Modern, and Kroxa won Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings last year, so there's some major historical pedigree. Compared to Kroxa's two-mana discard effect, Phlage's front side of a three-mana Lightning Helix is typically better. It stabilizes the board, extends the game, and can be escaped to dominate the battlefield and subsequent damage race.

662345 Springheart Nantuko

Nadu, Winged Wisdom has enabled a brand-new combo strategy that's going to be a clear front-runner at the Pro Tour. By itself, Nadu is a 3/4 flier that doesn't die to Lightning Bolt and that draws you a card when your opponent tries to kill it. Yet when combined with ways to target your own creatures for zero mana, such as Shuko or Outrider en-Kor, you can go off and win the game on the spot. Due to its wording, Nadu's ability applies twice for each creature you control, not twice in total, so every creature you control will effectively yields two free cards, putting any lands onto the battlefield untapped.

Springheart Nantuko is Nadu's partner in crime. When it's on the battlefield, every land hit by Nadu creates a 1/1 Insect token, allowing you to keep the chain going and basically never run out of creatures to target. Bestowing it onto creatures can potentially provide more value as well, and several players at the Pro Tour plan to create infinite copies of Arboreal Grazer by combining a bestowed Arboreal Grazer with Amulet of Vigor and Simic Growth Chamber.

662201 662227

Energy cards get better the more you have of them. Running multiple energy sources allow you to spend your energy resources in the best way for the game at hand. While Galvanic Discharge is the most-played energy card, Wrath of the Skies, Tune the Narrative, Static Prison, Amped Raptor, Unstable Amulet, and Guide of Souls from Modern Horizons 3 are seeing considerable play as well.

Wrath of the Skies in particular provides Jeskai decks with a cheap sweeper effect that's devastating against any strategy relying on developing a big board state. It also lines up particularly well against Urza's Saga. As a result, Wrath of the Skies is an excellent answer to Bant Nadu. Moreover, curving Tune the Narrative into Wrath of the Skies means that you have enough energy for a massive sweeper, even as early as turn two or three.

Static Prison, Amped Raptor, Unstable Amulet, and Guide of Souls aren't generally seen in Jeskai decks, but they are regularly included in Boros Energy and Mardu Energy decks. Static Prison is also a popular sideboard card for Ruby Storm decks, allowing them to answer cards like Damping Sphere for a single mana.

Ral, Monsoon Mage Ruby Medallion

Ral, Monsoon Mage and Ruby Medallion are also high on the list of most-played Modern Horizons 3 cards. They are found in only one archetype—Ruby Storm—but they are essential four-of's in that deck. By combining these cost-reducing two-drops with cards Pyretic Ritual and Reckless Impulse, this combo strategy can win on turn three.

Ugin's Labyrinth Devourer of Destiny

The final set of cards that I'dlike to highlight are the various new Eldrazi cards. Devourer of Destiny and Ugin's Labyrinth can provide a land that taps for two mana, which you can sink into an enormous Kozilek's Command. These cards have enabled novel Eldrazi Tron, Gruul Eldrazi, and Temur Eldrazi builds. They all play a bit differently—Eldrazi Tron builds up loads of mana; Gruul Eldrazi exploits Through the Breach; and Temur Eldrazi is more aggressive in nature—but all of them showcase the power of the all-devouring Eldrazi.

Partly due to the prominence of Devourer of Destiny, Consign to Memory has become a very popular sideboard inclusion, as it can counter both an Eldrazi and its cast trigger. It also answers The One Ring or stifles your own sacrifice trigger from Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury, so it has plenty of utility. In fact, it's the most-played sideboard card from Modern Horizons 3, showing that there many suitable answers to all the new threats. Modern looks completely fresh, and I'm excited to see which decks will end up on top of the standings at the end of the tournament!

At Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3, all competitors who clinch 36 match points and/or reach the Top 8 will receive an invitation to Magic World Championship 30—the crown jewel of Magic organized play. As we count down the weeks leading up to that tournament in late October, each week I'm taking a look at a great deck from a past Magic World Championship. After previously reviewing World Championships from 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, let's go back in time to 2008.

At the 2008 World Championship, a total of 329 players from 57 countries came to Memphis to compete across Standard, Draft, and Extended. In the end, Antii Malin from Finland took the trophy with Faeries. Although his decklist and performance was excellent, I'd like to take the opportunity to highlight another Faeries decklist from the same Top 8—mine!

Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 Metagame Breakdown (2024)

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