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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (1/7 & 1/8)



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


This weekend also featured a Modern Showcase Challenge, with bigger prizes and invites to the Showcase Qualifier on the line, with a whopping 292 players showing up on Saturday. What decks topped the tournaments this weekend?

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

MTGO Saturday Showcase Challenge Results

  1. Living End - MeninoNey

  2. Temur Rhinos - Talisker

  3. Yawgmoth - Sweetflying

  4. Jeskai Breach - jakobpablo

  5. BR “Scam” Midrange - internetsurfer09

  6. Mono-Green Tron - bonsheen

  7. UR Murktide - sokos13

  8. Jeskai Breach - qUaBaTcHiE

Full list here


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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. BR “Scam” Midrange - Myorin

  2. Dredge - sodeq

  3. BR “Scam” Midrange - christiano7

  4. Yawgmoth - Xerk

  5. Tameshi Combo - Xenowan

  6. Jund - StormQrow

  7. UR Murktide - makuto86

  8. UR Murktide - MrPippin

Full list here


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

Top Decks

Some usual archetypes showed up this weekend, including UR Murktide, Yawgmoth, and BR “Scam,” but so did some unexpected lists, like Jund and Tron, showing that they’re still threats in Modern.


Are Modern players adapting to Hammer strategies, tired of losing to an extra ten power out of nowhere? Zero Hammer decks made the top eight of both events, and only six were found in the top 32 of both combined.



Are dedicated graveyard lists back now? Living End and Dredge made the finals on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.


One reason these decks have popped up again is that other players are cutting traditional graveyard hate. The BR “Scam” deck might only utilize the graveyard to “reanimate” a big elemental on the first turn, and can still play a fair, card advantage-heavy game in the face of an Unlicensed Hearse or Relic of Progenitus.


Yawgmoth and Breach are two strategies that use the yard but can fight through hate and don’t need it to win, unlike Dredge and Living End. This is a big reason why they have continued to be successful, and this weekend is no exception.


Breach combo decks have moved away from the Grinding Station and Emry angle, arguably two of the weakest cards in the list, and have instead focused on something more akin to UR Murktide—only without the Murktide! Underworld Breach becomes an amazing value card in a library full of one and two-mana spells. Not needing double blue for Murktide has several advantages as well. A small white splash lets the deck play Teferi and powerful sideboard cards, and Jegantha can now be registered as a companion.




Cascading Wins

The winner of the Showcase Challenge, Talisker, played Temur Rhinos, not splashing white for Teferi or Leyline Binding. Instead, they surprised opponents with Become Immense! An extra six damage for only one mana was probably unexpected almost every time it happened. It also gives trample, turning even a lowly Shardless Agent or Seasoned Pyromancer into a lethal threat.


Choosing Temur over four-color helps smooth out the mana. This list isn’t as weak to Blood Moon effects, playing its own in the sideboard, and even gets to play a couple of copies of Fiery Islet for value. MeninoNey also made the finals of the Showcase Challenge with another cascade deck, Living End, proving that a powerful suspend spell cast early with Force of Negation backup is still a great way to win in Modern.




1+1+1=7

Tron is back in force, beating up on the fair decks with huge mana advantages, and quite a few new cards appeared this week. Cityscape Leveler has found a home alongside Wurmcoil Engine and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, allowing Tron to play more removal while still keeping its threat count high. Its Unearth ability doesn’t hurt against removal or counterspells, either.



Three copies of Haywire Mite from the sideboard undoubtedly helped against any Hammer opponents, and The Stone Brain is another anti-combo card that just wins on the spot against some strategies.




A Classic Combo

The Tameshi Combo deck hasn’t been very popular lately, but its showing this weekend conveys just how powerful it can still be, and how easily it can prey on opponents who don’t know how the combo works. The strategy revolves around Wargate cheating a Lotus Bloom into play for three mana. After sacrificing the Bloom, Tameshi, Reality Architect allows it to come back into play by bouncing one of your lands, and this process repeats for a gigantic amount of mana.


The traditional finisher has been Cultivator Colossus, which puts all the lands right back into play and draws a card for each one, but Eldrami’s Call allows the deck to have a mini toolbox that can help find the right creature, especially after sideboarding. Modern all-stars Teferi, Time Raveler, Wrenn and Six, and Leyline Binding round out the list and help protect the combo.




Tarmogoyf Time, Again

Finally, the ultimate fair deck is still here: Jund! It comes complete with hand disruption in Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, top-tier removal in Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt, and powerful threats like Tireless Tracker and Soul of Windgrace.


Wait, Soul of Windgrace? There were two copies of the four-mana mythic from Dominaria United, which proved to carry its weight on Sunday. Together with Ragavan and Tarmogoyf, it can quickly snowball the game in your favor after clearing the way to attack. Time will tell if Soul of Windgrace will continue to see play, but it appears that Jund is back for good, at least in some capacity, thanks to Urza’s Saga.


Takeaways

If you’re preparing for an upcoming Modern tournament, get ready for lots of UR (both with and without Murktide) and BR Midrange. These archetypes have proven very popular and continue winning, capable both of early interaction and grinding out card advantage in the late game. One reason players continue choosing them is the lack of obvious sideboard cards and their resilience to them. The decks can either answer those cards or play around them, amassing advantage with spells like Expressive Iteration and Seasoned Pyromancer.



Attacking the graveyard can be one strategy, and other graveyard-focused decks appear to be on the upswing, so don’t cut back on the hate! With green mana, you should have access to several copies of Endurance, and most white-heavy lists run Sanctifier en-Vec.


Any deck can play Leyline of the Void, but you’re more likely to play it in cascade strategies that can’t utilize cheaper answers.


Finally, almost every deck (outside of Creativity) has access to cheap artifacts. Unlicensed Hearse is a great choice for a strategy that can protect it and doesn’t mind trying to draw out the game, while the “one shot” artifacts like Tormod’s Crypt and Soul-Guide Lantern are better for decks trying to win quickly.


Do you want to play a graveyard-focused deck, or are you ready to beat them?

 

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