Infographic: Evolution of the Most Played Cards in Modern

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This time we'll take a journey into the recent history of Modern.

Modern is a great format to play nowadays, but it hasn't always been like this. Wizards and the DCI had a lot of trouble iterating until the format was as healthy as possible. How? With the most invoked and feared instrument in Magic: the banhammer.

Let's start with some history.


Now let's take a look at how this banning/unbanning history has affected the metagame of the last year and a half.

It's interesting to focus on how some cards found their way to stay in the top 20 cards in the format despite the bans, while others (in grey) made an appearance only to fall back into oblivion.


That's it for today. See any interesting patterns above? Be sure to point them out in the comments!

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Diego Fumagalli

I have played Magic since Revised edition, a hobby that has followed me my entire life. I recently started creating infographics and using data visualization--a great game deserves a great communication tool!

View More By Diego Fumagalli

Posted in Analysis, Banning, Casual, Free, Infographic, Visualizing Magic

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4 thoughts on “Infographic: Evolution of the Most Played Cards in Modern

  1. Blue seems to have been completely lifted from the top 20. Looks a lot like standard, very creature centric including the 1 drop spells being focused on creature interaction before card advantage or gameplan execution.

  2. Hey, not to detract from the information presented or the work that went into it, but those red/red-orange/yellow-orange colored dots in your diagram are kinda hard to distinguish for some of us. Can you switch orange to another color?

  3. I agree that the colors are hard to distinguish. Also, I know this isn’t super relevant but I disagree with your labeled explanations for some bannings.

    -Seething Song was banned because they feared storm could go off on t3 consistently. The announcement confirms this.

    -Second Sunrise was banned not out of consistency but play experience. It was causing too many tournament matches to go to time and was a horrible experience for the opposing player, just watching to see if the eggs player would combo.

    -Treasure Cruise and DTT were banned because of format diversity. Everyone was playing blue or had to have some insane meta-gamed deck to beat those cards. Delver and twin were the most popular blue decks but neither consistently won on t3, and while Jeskai Ascendancy definitely could, it never seemed to spike hard and definitely was not the reason those cards were banned. If Ascendancy’s early turn win-rate was the issue then the namesake card would have been banned, not the delve spells.

    Nonetheless, super cool article! Great graphics.

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