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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (1/27-1/29)

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 Friday Night Challenge Results

  1. Merfolk - ryuumei

  2. UR Murktide - Bryzem1

  3. UR Murktide - YungDingo

  4. Burn - LSN

  5. UW Hammer - cigarettesaftershrek

  6. GW Hammer - ColletClow

  7. Temur Rhinos - nbdf

  8. Yawgmoth - claudioh

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Morning Challenge Results

  1. Bomat Burn - Slasher21

  2. Mono-Green Tron - DillanR

  3. UR Murktide - qbturtle15

  4. Jeskai Breach - BONK101

  5. Yawgmoth - Xerk

  6. Mono-White Hammer - madechai

  7. Yawgmoth - SoIMBAGallade

  8. GW Hammer - Melicard

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Night Challenge Results

  1. Domain Zoo - STRONKSMASH

  2. Glimpse Combo - ScreenwriterNY

  3. Jeskai Breach - kobayui

  4. Jund - Tieig

  5. Mill - Unknowless

  6. UR Murktide - andrw1232

  7. Elementals - Sandile

  8. Mill - vini_torres

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. 4C Rhinos - mala_grinja

  2. Jeskai Breach - Alakai

  3. BR “Scam” Midrange - JuanmaAT

  4. UR Murktide - swff

  5. BR “Scam” Midrange - YungDingo

  6. Temur Rhinos - MwRGLC

  7. Bant Hammer - Minest110

  8. Yawgmoth - Control4Daze

Full list here

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

Top Decks

An additional two tournaments show how diverse the Modern format can be, with eight different archetypes making the finals among all four challenges. While Murktide and Ragavan decks continue to do well, other strategies have risen to combat the monkey menace.

Bomat Burn

The mono-red artifact deck that took over last week is still a threat, with Slasher21 winning Saturday morning’s tournament. They made a few changes from the winning lists last week, cutting down on the sometimes awkward Bomat Courier and playing another aggressive one-drop, Monastery Swiftspear. Urza’s Saga, cheap artifacts and burn spells are still a powerful combination, and loading up on cards like Shattering Spree and Relic of Progenitus ensures you don’t lose to popular decks that might otherwise be poor matchups.

Time will tell how the deck continues to evolve, and if it continues to see more play after last week’s excitement. I’ve seen Underworld Breach played, as well as a green splash for Tarmogoyf and Wrenn and Six, which both pair well with Urza’s Saga.

Creature Features

All-in creature strategies have shown recent success, with ryuumei winning on Friday with Merfolk. Yawgmoth also popped up in three of the four top eights. Fury decks that beat up on creature strategies are still popular, but less so now. The increase in Murktide and Breach that have to rely on one-for-one answers means decks with Aether Vial and undying creatures can quickly take over the game.

Domain Zoo is another strong creature deck, with its threats a little bigger. STRONKSMASH won Saturday night’s challenge with the only Zoo list to make a top eight all weekend. Something worth noting is the adoption of several main deck copies of Dromoka’s Command, a nice answer for both Urza’s Saga and Underworld Breach with upside that can be useful in any matchup.

Popular Players

Speaking of Breach, the fair version without Grinding Station seems to be the clear favorite going forward, putting three pilots into top eights. Murktide and Hammer are still arguably the best decks, with more copies than any other archetypes. The lists don’t change much from week to week, with only a few cards tweaked depending on player preference.

Two Mill decks topped on Saturday, taking opponents by surprise with plenty of graveyard hate and a plan that can be tough to combat. Burn, which placed in the top four Friday, Tron, which made the finals Saturday, and Scam, which had two pilots place Sunday, are also common decks that can be tough to interact with. Jund and Elementals, two decks that used to be the face of Modern, also did well. The Elementals list is focused on creatures, playing no planeswalkers. Jund is heavy on removal and discard spells to protect its threats.

Rhinos is still a top strategy, with mala_grinja winning Sunday on the somewhat rarer four-color version, utilizing white for Leyline Binding and three extra cascade spells. Two other Crashing Footfalls decks showed up across the top eights, both Temur.

Turn Three Emrakul?

Another cascade list came in second on Saturday. Glimpse Combo is the ultimate unfair deck, and it’s changed significantly in recent months. The goal of filling the board with as many permanents as possible before cascading into a Glimpse of Tomorrow to pull expensive threats from your library is the same, but now the deck is much more explosive. Previous versions relied on more cards that could be cast in the early game to play somewhat of a “fair” game until finding a cascade spell. The winning lists now are all in on casting Glimpse as fast as possible, playing more cascade spells, and having more expensive threats to win the game.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker can win the game alone when summoned as early as turn three. One with the Multiverse and Omniscience can cheat them out if they end up in your hand, and you get the bonus of the extra turn trigger from Emrakul.

This is a dedicated combo deck, and the sideboard is full of ways to ensure Glimpse can resolve.


Murktide continues to be the most popular deck in Modern, but it is certainly beatable. Blue and red strategies like Murktide and Breach can adapt to almost any matchup with their abundant removal and counterspells, but less popular decks like Mill and Merfolk can give them trouble.

Hammer is also as prevalent as ever, with pilots choosing various cards to compliment a blue or green splash. Both blue-white and mono-white winning often shows there’s no real “best” version.

Control and dedicated graveyard strategies continue to be poor choices, or at least not be played by many players. Graveyard hate is still common as a way to fight some of the top decks like Scam, Murktide, and Yawgmoth, and has some splash damage helping against Tarmogoyf and Creativity lists playing Persist.

Playing a hard control list is difficult in this diverse metagame, with so many strategies and types of cards to answer. There’s little reason not to play Murktide or Jeskai Breach thanks to the way they can be aggressive or close out the game.


If you’re not playing a deck with access to lots of countermagic and removal, it’s probably best to be as proactive and fast as possible with an aggressive start or combo strategy. The format is quick, and you need to keep up.

Murktide and Hammer are the most popular decks for a reason and keep putting up results. Know how your deck plays against them, sideboards against them, and beats them since you’ll see them frequently.

An additional two challenges every weekend means double the chances for players to compete, showing off new strategies and attacking the top of the metagame. This is the most open and diverse Modern has felt since the Yorion banning, and while there are several top decks, they are all beatable. Nothing feels as oppressive like in the days of Lurrus. This weekend shows that many powerful archetypes are capable of winning. There’s usually at least one unexpected deck that does well, so what will next weekend’s be?


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