Magic: The Gathering has more than a few constructed formats, especially considering the recent introduction of Alchemy and Expedition as well as the growing popularity of Pioneer. However, it's arguable that Modern is the game's most beloved format due to both the length of time it's been around and the large card pool it encompasses. Modern involves cards from the game's long history but, unlike eternal formats, doesn't require players to spend a down payment on a house in order to construct their deck (looking at you Legacy and Vintage).
Furthermore, due to Modern not including cards from prior to 2003, newly printed sets have a bigger impact since the bar for entry isn't as ridiculous as true eternal formats. As a result, Modern has evolved a lot over the past couple of years, and it's well past time we take a look at the format's best current removal spells.
10 Lightning Bolt
Just a handful of years ago, Lightning Bolt would have been considered a premier removal spell in Modern. Nowadays, it's most often included in decks like Burn and Murktide Regent where its ability to go up top matters.
As more and more creatures with enter the battlefield effects, low costed high toughness, or mana taxing abilities have been printed, the one-for-one trade that Lightning Bolt offers has become less and less appealing. Additionally, a new red instant has been released that simply does Lightning Bolt's removal job better. Lightning Bolt isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but it's interesting to look back at how this titan of a card has gradually become outpaced by newly printed cards and mechanics.
9 Fire // Ice
One of the newest removal spells to make the sixty in multiple decks, Fire // Ice has become popular as more decks have emerged from the meta that run multiple creatures with one toughness. This provides the card with the ability to often two-for-one your opponent.
Furthermore, this card is also great for its versatility due to its split half. In matchups with decks that don't feature as many low toughness creatures, Ice is a great method to slow down big creatures like Murktide Regent and Primeval Titan from beating you down while also cantripping into the cards you need to win the game.
8 Fatal Push
Printed in Kaladesh, the release of Fatal Push was an exciting time for the Modern format. Many Jund players figured that the addition of this card to their decks would put Jund back on top of the meta.
Thanks to the existence of fetchlands in Modern, Fatal Push's revolt trigger is basically free on most turns. While Fatal Push still sees play in Jund decks to this day, it's notably and surprisingly absent from most other Modern meta decks.
7 Path To Exile
Similar to Lightning Bolt, Path To Exile was long considered among the best removal spells in the Modern format. However, power creep has slowly pushed this card further and further down the removal list.
The cost of putting a basic land on your opponent's side of the battlefield didn't seem so bad at one time. Nowadays, the Modern format's increasing speed has made this cost very real. Despite this as well as the introduction of other removal alternatives, Path To Exile still makes the sideboard of many meta decks due to its extremely low cost to exile a creature.
6 Drown In The Loch
Yet another recent addition to the Modern card pool, Drown In The Loch is yet another example of how versatility can surpass innate power. Furthermore, it's also a good example of how certain deckbuilding costs can easily lend themselves to pre-established strategies. For instance, Death's Shadow has long been a competitive player in the Modern meta.
The way the deck works is to play as many low mana costed or even free cards that deal damage to your own life total, then swing in with an impossibly big one mana creature. As a result, the deck already puts a lot of cards in the graveyard, which made it a perfect fit for Drown In The Loch.
5 Kolaghan's Command
Speaking of versatility, Kolaghan's Command has long been one of this tributes greatest advocates. With four different modes and the ability to choose two every time you cast it, there are few cards that provide as many options as this three mana spell.
Something important to note here is decks that run Kolaghan's Command are live for every single mode, which makes the card good at any stage of the game against every deck in the format.
4 Prismatic Ending
On top of the increasing cost of giving opponents a land, the printing of Prismatic Ending in Modern Horizons 2 put the final nail in the coffin of mainboard Path To Exile. Prismatic Ending provides the same effect without the terrible cost of ramping your opponents.
At first look, this card appears to be expensive. However, in a format that continues to see an increasing amount of one mana creatures, Prismatic Ending is often cast for a single white mana.
3 Supreme Verdict
Despite all odds, Azorius Control continues to maintain a spot in the Modern constructed meta. Perhaps one of the most important cards that has allowed the deck its staying power is the sweeper Supreme Verdict.
Thanks to this sweeper's inability to be countered, Supreme Verdict is a reliable answer to just about any board state. If it weren't for this extremely important clause, there's no chance Azorius Control would be able to make a stand against any aggressive blue deck (of which there are many).
2 Archmage's Charm
Speaking of aggressive blue decks, Archmage's Charm is one of the reasons Murktide Regent has become public enemy #1. Demonstrating yet again that versatility can outpace raw power, Archmage's Charm was released in the original Modern Horizons but only recently began to see Modern play.
This is another consequence of the large amount of one mana creatures that have started to flood the format, making the final mode of Archmage's Charm more reliable than anyone ever could have guessed it would become.
1 Unholy Heat
Calling back to the beginning of this list, here's the new red instant that has led to the disappearance of Lightning Bolt in decks that primarily used it as removal. This is arguably the most impactful card released in all of Modern Horizons 2, and it's a breath of fresh air that it was printed at common rarity.
As we saw with Drown In The Loch, filling the graveyard with cards is something that Modern decks are naturally good at doing due to the existence of fetchlands as well as the overall speed of the format. Consequently, Unholy Heat is usually a one mana spell that deals twice as much damage as Lightning Bolt. As the card's art just so happens to depict, that's what we call cooking with gas.
Source: Read Full Article