Top Decks

Welcome to the Modern Nexus Top Decks page! Our Top Decks statistics give you the most current and comprehensive metagame picture of any site on the web. We scour over a dozen tournament reporting sites to gather all the publicly available Modern results out there, calculating metagame shares and deck tiers using proven social science research analytic methods. This guarantees you have the most accurate Modern metagame picture available. When it comes to your Modern metagame needs, accept no substitutes for the Modern Nexus Top Deck stats!

Tier 0 Strategies

Tier 0 represents the hands down, best deck in Modern. You are guaranteed to play against such a deck in a tournament and your deck needs at least an even matchup with these opponents to have a chance of success. It is often better to play a Tier 0 deck than to try and play a deck that beats it. Quantitatively speaking, Tier 0 decks have shares in excess of all the Tier 1 shares combined.

(none for this period)

Tier 1 Strategies

Tier 1 represents the most-played strategies in Modern. You are likely to play against such a deck in a tournament and need to prepare to face all of them over the course of a day. Your testing gauntlet should include all the Tier 1 representatives and your sideboard plan should account for facing them. Tier 1 decks will regularly Top 8 events and you can expect to see at least a handful of them in any given winner’s bracket.

Tier 1: 11/1/17 - 11/30/17

DeckOverall
Metagame %
Paper %MTGO %
Affinity7.0%7.5%4.8%
Gifts Storm5.7%5.0%6.4%
Jeskai Tempo5.5%5.3%5.9%
Burn4.9%5.0%4.8%
Humans4.9%3.9%7.2%
Eldrazi Tron4.8%5.7%2.4%
Grixis Shadow4.7%3.9%4.5%
Counters Company4.5%5.4%2.7%
RG Valakut4.5%5.3%3.5%

Tier 2 Strategies

Tier 2 represents current tournament-viable strategies that you may or may not face from event to event. Although you should know how all these decks work in case you face them, you don’t necessarily need to have dedicated sideboard plans and testing aimed at Tier 2 decks. Tier 2 decks won’t always Top 8 events but they are certainly capable of doing so.

Tier 2: 11/1/17 - 11/30/17

DeckOverall
Metagame %
Paper %MTGO %
Gx Tron3.3%2.3%6.4%
Abzan3.1%3.0%3.2%
UW Control3.0%3.4%2.9%
UR Breach2.7%1.9%2.9%
Jund2.7%2.5%1.3%
Lantern Control2.4%1.9%4.3%
Dredge2.2%1.3%4.3%
Infect2.0%2.1%1.6%
5-Color Shadow2.0%2.3%1.6%
Eldrazi and Taxes1.8%1.4%3.2%
Jeskai Control1.5%0.9%0.0%
Hollow One1.5%0.9%2.1%

Tier 3 Strategies

Tier 3 represents fringe strategies that might succeed at tournaments under the right circumstances. You are unlikely to encounter these decks at any given event and don’t need to prepare for them. If you want to take an off-the-radar strategy to your next tournament, Tier 3 decks give you unexpected options which might excel in certain metagames.

Tier 3: 11/1/17 - 11/30/17

DeckOverall
Metagame %
Paper %MTGO %
Elves1.3%1.8%0.8%
Merfolk1.2%1.9%0.3%
GW Company1.2%1.2%0.5%
Death and Taxes1.0%1.4%0.3%
8Rack1.0%1.0%0.3%
Bogles1.0%0.6%2.1%
RG Ponza1.0%1.2%1.1%
Bant Company0.9%1.5%0.0%
Ad Nauseam0.9%1.4%0.0%
Mardu Tokens0.9%0.3%2.7%
BW Eldrazi0.7%1.0%0.3%
UR Kiki0.7%0.3%1.9%
Mono U Tron0.7%0.5%1.3%
Living End0.6%0.8%0.5%
Grixis Delver0.5%0.9%0.0%
Amulet Titan0.5%0.1%1.6%
Grixis Control0.5%0.6%0.3%
Griselbrand0.5%0.3%1.1%
4-Color Control0.4%0.3%0.0%
Sultai Midrange0.4%0.3%0.0%

Metagame Spreadsheet: 2017 Edition

Modern metagame data is displayed on the spreadsheet below. To expand these data into a more viewable form, check out the direct link here. For more information on data sources and calculations in the spreadsheet, see the notes on this page underneath the tables.

Understanding Tiers

Modern Nexus metagame stats are prevalence-based numbers reflecting how frequently a deck appears in tournament Top 8s, Top 16s, and Day 2s (as well as MTGO finishers). It does not consider a deck’s Match Win Percentage (MWP) or other “performance-based” metrics. A deck can be an excellent strategy and a strong metagame choice regardless of its tier, although there is certainly a correlation between frequently played decks and high-performing decks.

Sources

Data for each tab is taken from the following sources, broken down by tab:

  • Metagame – MTGO: All 4-0 and 3-1 decks from all published MTGO dailies on the Wizards website. Includes 5-0 finishes in published Leagues and all published finishes from Premiers, PTQs, etc.
  • Metagame – Paper: All T8 and T16 events for all paper tournaments, regardless of size, drawn from a range of metagame websites.
  • Metagame – Major Paper T8: All T8 and T16 finishes from Modern Pro Tour, Grand Prix, and SCG Open events.
  • Metagame – Major Paper Day 2: All Day 2 metagame statistics for Modern Pro Tour, Grand Prix, and SCG Open events.

To see individual events and decks that feed into each category, consult the “Data” tabs after the “Metagame” tabs.

Tier Calculations

Our tiering calculations are the same as those used by MTGSalvation in its Modern subforums. The moderator in charge of those calculations (ktkenshinx) is also the Editor in Chief on this site. The following is quoted from his threads on MTGS.

Tournament finishes for all decks in the format are tracked in the spreadsheet above. All decks receive 0-3 points in four separate categories, and then receive a total score based on the sum of their points. The decks with the highest points are considered Tier 1. Decks with slightly less points, but still passing a certain dynamic cutoff, are considered Tier 2. Finally, decks in the lowest cutoff bracket are considered Tier 3.

Points are awarded in each category based on a 95% confidence interval for average prevalences and how far outside of that confidence interval a deck’s prevalence falls. This gives us a statistically supported way of determining whether a deck is overperforming or underperforming, in a way that is transparent to all users and more “objective” than just grading decks based on personal preference. As an added bonus, the cutoffs are dynamic based on the current metagame, instead of semi-arbitrary cutoffs that are relics of older metagames no longer applicable today. So in one update, the 95% confidence interval for average prevalence on MTGO might be .95%-1.05%, with a standard deviation of 1.5%. But in another update, that interval might be 1%-1.5% and the standard deviation could be 2%. This higher variance metagame would naturally have different cutoffs than the lower variance one.

Finally, after all decks have been awarded a point total, we take the average of that point total and then set a Tier 1 cutoff at two standard deviations over that average total. Any deck with points that exceed that cutoff is considered Tier 1. Any deck that does not quite meet the Tier 1 cutoff but still meets the dynamic Tier 2 cutoff (typically 1-2 points) is then considered Tier 2. Any deck that has greater than 0 points but less than the Tier 2 cutoff qualifies as Tier 3.

Here is the system that is used to award points to decks in the four different categories:

MTGO
1 point: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average prevalence
2 points: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average + 1stdev prevalence
3 points: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average + 2stdev prevalence

Paper
1 point: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average prevalence
2 points: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average + 1stdev prevalence
3 points: Prevalence > upper 95% interval for average + 2stdev prevalence

GP/PT T8/T16
1 point: Prevalence > average weighted showings of T8/T16 decks
2 points: Prevalence > average + 1stdev for weighted showings of T8/T16 decks
3 points: Prevalence > average + 2stdev for weighted showings of T8/T16 decks

GP/PT Day 2
1 point: Prevalence > average prevalence
2 points: Prevalence > average + 1stdev prevalence
3 points: Prevalence > average + 2stdev prevalence

43 thoughts on “Top Decks

  1. I would just note this is fairly difficult to look at on a phone. Possible to generate a visual quick view output of some sort that is updated outside of the “spreadsheet” portion?

    1. We’ll look into it. If nothing else, we can probably get the first tab of this into a more phone-friendly table format. But everything else will have to stay in the spreadsheet, because that’s where all the formulas and data are.

  2. Good day,
    I wonder how you gather your data? I also wonder if you have access to match-up data (e.g. what deck played against what deck, and who won). I would like to analyse such data.

    1. Very bad. In fact, I would argue that it’s a natural format evolution as players try to adapt to a dominant deck. Thankfully for those Grixis players, Modern players have a much more developed format understanding than ever before. Many players can get ahead of shifts (see the Infect uptick in recent weeks), thinking two steps ahead of metagame direction. This can ultimately benefit those players who stay on their old deck, especially when they have a wealth of experience that no metagaming can make up for.

    1. Untiered decks are all the decks with 1 or 0 points in the metagame sheet. Mathemetically speaking, they are those decks which are one or more standard deviations below the average (which almost always amounts to < 1 point). This has the added benefit of, in most cases, setting a minimum metagame prevalence at around 1.5%-2% for tier 2 decks. Decks with even 1 point can have weird metagame shares that are too small to be representative, such as Temur Twin with a mere 1.1% as of this comment's writing.

    1. UR Twin was right where it should be for both the last metagame #s and for the current ones. URx Twin as a collective is around 11.5%-12%, but the UR Twin deck itself is right in the 5.5% range currently.

    1. Overall metagame is a weighted average of paper, MTGO, and major paper event day 2 shares. It’s an estimate about the Modern-wide prevalence for a deck.

      As for Infect, although Infect has definitely been Tier 1 in previous months, it’s not quite there this time. One of the advantages of doing month-to-month tierings is that we can keep the rankings fluid and nimble. A disadvantage is that legitimate powerhouses can sometimes fall out temporarily if the stars don’t align for them. Infect wasn’t great this past month but I’m sure it will be back soon!

    1. Not at this time. My expertise is overwhelmingly in Modern and I just don’t have the same passion for Standard. Maybe one day but it’s not in the cards for now.

    1. I think we’re still going to see BW Tokens as a solid Tier 3 option. Eldrazi is significantly more powerful than Tokens, with the post-disruption plan netting far more payoffs than just a token swarm. They have similar, fair/disruptive early games but Eldrazi gets much less fair much quicker. Eldrazi can also play a more unfair game early if it wants. This power level difference suggests to me that BW Tokens has less in common with Eldrazi than we might think at first glance.

    1. No, we haven’t forgotten! We’re kind of in a transition period as Sheridan shows me how to do this myself, but rest assured it’s on the way soon.

  3. I didnt understand explanation part about points, cutoffs, confidence intervals and standard deviations.
    Is there an example calculation?
    And why all this is better than just taking deck finishes data and calculate each deck’s share as deckX/total?

    1. We’re just calculating the average deck performance within each segment of the metagame, and then assigning them points based on how far above or below the average those decks perform. Between this method and weighted averages, this creates a more accurate metagame picture that better informs where decks truly stand in the metagame. It also accounts for the fact that our sample is, like every other sample I know, largely a winner’s sample of T8 and 5-0 decks, not the total population. Our method accounts for that and tries to adjust.

  4. Sheridan once again it boggles my mind that Death and Taxes and Eldrazi and Taxes are listed separately. E&T is just a version of D&T. Listing them separately doesn’t tell the the full extent of the deck’s metagame share.

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