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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (10/29 & 10/30)

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

MTGO Challenge results for Modern are in! Yawgmoth combo and Izzet Murktide took down this week's challenges.
Card Art: Murktide Regent - Yawgmoth, Thran Physician | Property WotC

Every weekend, Modern challenges on MTGO showcase the format’s top decks and attract hundreds of great players looking to battle. I try to play in them whenever I’m not out competing in person with physical cards, and I was lucky enough to make the top eight on Sunday with a unique choice - more on that later.

Let’s take a look at what did well, along with a few interesting lists. It’s been a few weeks since the ban came down on Yorion, so which decks are leading the pack now?

Here’s a quick rundown of each day’s top eight archetypes:

MTGO Saturday Challenge Results

1. UR Murktide - sokos13

2. UR Prowess (Jegantha) - Suechtler

3. Amulet Titan - Capriccioso

4. 4C Omnath (Keruga) - RespectTheCat

5. UR Murktide - Kazuga

6. UW Hammer - HappySandwich

7. 4C Omnath (Kaheera) - TerminalJustice

8. BR “Scam” Midrange - JuanmaAT

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

1. Yawgmoth - Xerk

2. Rhinos - Makia

3. Creativity - Kim-Jong-un

4. Amulet Titan - Kevincito

5. Amulet Titan - Bob49

6. UW Hammer - Dreddybajs

7. 4C Omnath (Keruga) - RespectTheCat

8. Calibrated Blast (Keruga) - NickNorman

Top Decks

How has the landscape changed after the Yorion ban? Well, not much! The metagame still looks as diverse as it’s ever been, and there appears to be no one “best deck.”

The 4C Omnath decks that won this weekend look like they just chose new companions. Kaheera is an easy swap since all the creatures played were already Elementals. Keruga makes the deck play more like a Rhinos list with the mana cost restriction, but still has cheap removal in Leyline Binding and Solitude.

Amulet Titan and Hammer continue to be good choices, with both capable of early wins and resilience against specific hate cards.

UR Murktide will always be a good choice in Modern, with early interaction and strong threats, plus one of the most powerful cards in Expressive Iteration.

The “Scam” version of BR Midrange is still putting up results, with a 4/4 double striker doubling as a board wipe or a 4/3 creature that takes two cards from your opponent’s hand on turn one being too much for many decks.

Yawgmoth continues to be the premier value creature deck of the format, able to ramp into fast, aggressive starts and almost always a card away from a combo win.

Finally, Creativity is still a big player, cheating Archon of Cruelty or other big creatures into play.

Unique Choices

Here are three unconventional decks that made the top eight this weekend.

Izzet Prowess (Jengatha)

This deck is fast. 12 one-mana creatures and free spells like Mishra’s Bauble, Manamorphose, and Lava Dart means turn-three lethal isn’t just possible, it’s common. Without interaction, opposing players will be sideboarding before other players have even resolved mulligans.

Prowess can play the long game, too. Four copies each of Light up the Stage and Expressive Iteration keep the cards flowing, ten spells can do direct damage to your opponent, and Jegantha is always there as a last resort.

4C Omnath (Keruga)

RespectTheCat made the top eight with this list in both challenges - very impressive! His take on the 4C Omnath shell is sort of a combination of Rhinos and the Elemental version of Omnath.

Keruga, the Macrosage as a companion forces the deck to play only lands and cards with a converted mana cost of three or greater, which leads to some interesting choices.

Touch the Spirit Realm does its best Ephemerate impression, and Fire // Ice, Dismember, and Dead // Gone are the best removal and interaction you can play.

It also plays four copies of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, which in addition to filtering cards, pairs well with the creatures in the deck, all of which have powerful enters-the-battlefield abilities.

Calibrated Blast

I’ll avoid the “blast” puns, but this deck is fun. You haven’t lived until you flip over an Emrakul to kill your opponent on your third turn. The basic premise is to cast Calibrated Blast on turn three (or turn four, with Throes of Chaos, or turn five, with flashback) and finish off your opponent with your lands or another Blast.

The deck has to play 38(!) lands, and mulligans a lot to find one of the six payoff spells. However, that’s often all you need since Calibrated Blast has flashback and Sunscorched Desert, Ramunap Ruins, and Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance are capable of extra damage.

You’re even able to fight through counter spells with Boseiju, Who Shelters All. I chose to play this deck partly because I believe it has a positive matchup against several big metagame players, namely Creativity, UR Murktide, and four-color decks, and I still do.

While it can struggle against Hammer and Amulet Titan thanks to their speed, those matchups aren’t unwinnable and it’s still a great choice that has good matchups.


Four-color decks will continue to be popular, even after the Yorion ban. Omnath, Locus of Creation is an extremely powerful card in this format full of fetch lands, and the deck can still play another companion. Players who bought into the Yorion version can still play one of the best decks in Modern. Watch out for Solitude and Fury - tribal decks like Humans are still going to be tough to win with.

On that note, a lot of top choices like 4C Omnath and Creativity are weak to Blood Moon effects. The multicolor decks naturally have trouble casting spells when most of their lands turn into Mountains, but even if they fetch for basics early they’ll still have trouble casting Leyline Binding. This is amplified with most 4C decks ditching Abundant Growth in their effort to trim 20 cards.

Hammer, Creativity, and Amulet Titan are also susceptible with their reliance on nonbasic lands. UR Murktide players have even resumed playing a copy or two of Blood Moon in their main deck.

Graveyard decks seem to be on the downswing. There were no Dredge or Living End lists in the top eight of either challenge and only two Living End lists in all of the top 32 of both challenges. Many archetypes have graveyard synergies, but can still function well in the face of Unlicensed Hearse or Endurance. Players might skimp on cards like these in the coming weeks, so something like Living End might be a good choice soon.

Closing Thoughts

Modern is inherently a format full of unfair things. If you’re not resolving a Primeval Titan before turn four, putting two 4/4s into play for three mana, or attaching a Colossus Hammer to a creature at instant speed, you’d better be doing something equally unfair or have answers.

Omnath and Murktide decks have answers in the form of cards like Solitude and Counterspell and can back up this disruption with card advantage and a quick clock.

Killing your opponent quickly can be an answer as well, as evidenced by the success of UR Prowess and the continued popularity of Burn.

In the end, you can win with almost any deck, so long as you know how you can win and how it plays against the popular decks. Familiarity with your list and the deck’s matchups can go a long way, especially in a format so wide open.

Let’s hope Modern continues to stay as healthy and diverse as it is right now.


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