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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (1/14 & 1/15)


Every weekend, Modern challenges on MTGO showcase the format’s top decks and attract hundreds of great players looking to battle. What decks topped the tournaments this weekend?

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


MTGO Saturday Challenge Results

  1. Jeskai Breach - LuisMJ

  2. Merfolk - BluffHappy

  3. BR “Scam” Midrange - Erik157751

  4. Amulet Titan - Moniz0801

  5. UR Murktide - tzio

  6. Jeskai Breach - Xenowan

  7. 5C Creativity - Trakeoto

  8. UR Murktide - Do0mSwitch

Full list here


Direct links courtesy of Reddit u/FereMiyJeenyus and their MTGO Results Scraper.


MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. 5C Creativity - AlexanderRosdahl

  2. Temur Rhinos - John1111

  3. Grixis Death’s Shadow - JMM

  4. UR Murktide - ArchaeusDota

  5. 5C Creativity - BReal2

  6. BR “Scam” Midrange - Aerien_sol

  7. UB Mill - Unknowless

  8. BR “Scam” Midrange - christiano7

Full list here


Direct links courtesy of Reddit u/FereMiyJeenyus and their MTGO Results Scraper.


Top Decks


Murktide and BR Midrange continue to be two of the most popular decks in the format, and there’s not much to be said about these two strategies. Lists continue to be refined and a few cards might be switched out given the weekly meta or player preference, but these archetypes are pillars of the Modern metagame and aren’t going away anytime soon. Murktide can stand up to any opposing strategy thanks to its suite of counterspells and cheap interaction, and the "Scam" approach can take over the game on the first turn or grind to the long game with card advantage and value creatures.



It seems like Jeskai Breach without Grinding Station is consistently putting up better results than focusing on the combo, looking closer to a UR list splashing white, minus Murktide. This allows for powerful cards traditional Murktide doesn't play like Prismatic Ending and makes the deck stronger against opposing graveyard hate.


Creativity Combo is back on top as well. Whether staying consistent with three colors or splashing white or black, cheating an Archon of Cruelty into play still wins games. Mana Leak is a popular choice in the straight Temur version, going all-in on protection and casting Indomitable Creativity in place of Teferi or the backup plan of reanimating an Archon with Persist. The four and five-color versions are less consistent and weaker to Blood Moon effects but do have more options and answers available.


Temur Rhinos and Amulet Titan are the two other evergreen decks that placed this weekend and will continue to do so. Temur might be the ideal flavor of Crashing Footfalls going forward —this is the exact list that won the Showcase Challenge last week, complete with two copies of Become Immense. Staying in three colors keeps consistency up and allows you to play Blood Moon.


Amulet Titan will always be played, and can win on the back of early combos and hard-to-kill creatures. The Mycosynth Gardens, a new land from the new set coming next month could push Titan over the top, and will surely get more players trying the deck out.


But what if you don’t want to play one of those “popular” decks? Thankfully, almost anything can do well in Modern, as shown by the rest of the top eight lists.




The Will to Mill

This is one way to attack the meta! Mill has always been a player in Modern but rarely shows up at the top tables of larger tournaments. Archive Trap is sure to steal games with the widespread use of fetch lands in the format, and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter can mill your opponent over and over, especially against decks with lots of cheap spells like Murktide.



The sideboard gives access to even more counterspells and graveyard hate to combat blue decks and combo strategies. Leyline of Sanctity was a big problem in the past for Mill, but with many cards stating “each opponent,” it’s not the game-ender it used to be.




Fearsome Fish

Merfolk is a strategy that has been gaining popularity as of late, and with good reason. Lists full of removal have a hard time keeping up with the constant deluge of creatures thanks to Aether Vial and their cheap casting costs.


Fury is normally a great answer to a board full of threats, but because of the twelve lords and Svyelun of Sea and Sky giving ward 1 to other Merfolk, these creatures tend to stick around. Throw in Subtlety, Force of Negation, and Cavern of Souls, and Merfolk can turn into a nightmare for blue decks.



In the Valley of...

Death’s Shadow is another “blast from the past” that ended up winning this weekend. Remember when it was the top deck in Modern, and every tournament had a few copies in the top eight? Times have certainly changed, but cheap interaction paired with powerful creatures is still a winning strategy. Ledger Shredder and Ragavan are top-tier Modern cards, regardless of what deck they’re played in.



Death’s Shadow can play like a traditional Murktide-style deck, but also steals games with its namesake, blocking huge creatures and pushing through damage on the back of the best removal in the Grixis colors.


Trends

I’m somewhat surprised by the lack of Hammer in this weekend’s challenges, especially given the popularity of BR “Scam” and Murktide. Breach lists adapting Teferi and Prismatic Ending to play a more fair game helps them against Hammer, and some other strategies like Mill and Amulet Titan have ways to fight back thanks to cards like Engineered Explosives and Force of Vigor. Hammer being a known commodity might be its biggest weakness right now, since every Modern player knows how to play against it and has a list packed with answers. Still, Hammer is undoubtedly a powerful deck, as evidenced by its continued success in paper tournaments and smaller online events.


Jeskai Breach pilots have continued to move away from going all-in on Grinding Station. That’s not to say the lists with Emry and company are bad, but these new variants are more resilient if anything. Artifact hate is useless without a Grinding Station to target, and the fair version has far better cards in the face of graveyard hate.



Yawgmoth is the one other strategy whose numbers have seemingly fallen off lately, no doubt in part due to the increase in BR “Scam” and Rhinos playing Fury. Its combo aspect also gets swept up in the graveyard hate many decks are packing in the face of Underworld Breach and BR “Scam.” If red lists playing Fury dwindle in the coming weeks, expect more Yawgmoth.


Takeaways

As always, Modern is a wide-open format, and you can have success with almost any strategy, so long as you know how to win and what you’ll be playing against. Prepare for BR “Scam,” UR lists both with and without Murktide Regent, Creativity, and Rhinos.


Hammer pilots might want to stock up on more copies of Sanctifier en-Vec to combat both BR Midrange and UR Murktide. I’ve seen more lists playing Burrenton Forge-Tender in the main as well, which isn’t a bad idea in the face of so many red decks doing well.


Which deck from yesteryear do you hope will make a resurgence soon?

 

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