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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (12/17 & 12/18)

Card Art: Urza's Saga - Archon of Cruelty | Property WotC

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. Temur Saga (Jegantha) - burnt_taco77

  2. Bant Hammer - IsolatedSystem

  3. UR Murktide - CordoTwin

  4. 4C Rhinos - SoIMBAGallade

  5. Jund Saga (Jegantha) - AttillA

  6. UR Prowess (Jegantha) - Cherryxman

  7. UR Murktide - adrianretamosa

  8. Yawgmoth - DemonicTutors

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. 4C Creativity - yriel

  2. Yawgmoth - Racerman

  3. 4C Omnath (Keruga) - RespectTheCat

  4. BR “Scam” Midrange - Jacopogiacomoni

  5. Yawgmoth - DemonicTutors

  6. UR Murktide - cocof

  7. UR Murktide - xDarthPanda

  8. Amulet Titan - Bob49

Full list here

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

MTGO Challenge Top Decks

Some updates and new additions to a lot of old favorites this week, thanks to Underworld Breach and Urza’s Saga. Plus, Tarmogoyf is back again?

Consistency is King

UR Murktide and Yawgmoth both put up three top-eight finishes this weekend, including DemonicTutors on both days! Both lists haven’t changed much in the past few months, which goes to show how resilient they have been.

Some Yawgmoth pilots are playing Haywire Mite as a creature that can answer an opposing Unlicensed Hearse or Leyline of the Void, but most of the card choices are agreed upon. The exceptions are a few sideboard slots depending on what you’re worried about seeing.

Likewise, the core of UR Murktide hasn’t changed. Ragavan, Murktide Regent, and cheap spells to churn through your deck with Ledger Shredder and Dragon’s Rage Channeler is still a top-tier strategy. However, many lists are now playing a few copies of Underworld Breach. It was already a great form of card advantage in the UR Prowess shells, and the entire reason the Grinding Station combo decks exist, but now Murktide has adopted it as well. It makes sense since the goal of the deck is already focused on filling up your graveyard to turn on delirium and make Murktide Regent cheaper to cast. By playing the enchantment, it becomes much easier to race opponents with multiple Lightning Bolts or catch up by casting some cheap creatures from the graveyard.

Whose Saga?

Urza’s Saga continues to show why it’s one of the most powerful lands ever printed. Hammer decks play four copies and continue to win with it, including one in the top eights this weekend.

It’s worth noting that most lists, including this one, are adopting the small green splash for Haywire Mite, which is quickly becoming a popular choice in multiple archetypes. Amulet Titan and Grinding Station utilize it, but other decks want to play Saga as well - Jund and Temur?

Time For Tarmogoyf

AttillA made the top eight again this weekend with their Jund deck. Who said Tarmogoyf is unplayable? Urza’s Saga is mostly here for value, searching up a Mishra’s Bauble for an extra card or creating Karnstructs with leftover mana, but it can tutor up high-impact cards, like Haywire Mite or Nihil Spellbomb. Tarmogoyf and Ragavan are protected with removal and discard spells, and Wrenn and Six keeps the mana smooth. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is an excellent addition to the Jund shell, both fueling Tarmogoyf and digging for the right card.

Pilot burnt_taco77 won the entire tournament on Saturday with a unique Temur build, as a sort of hybrid of UR Murktide and a more midrange green deck, tied together with some Urza’s Sagas and artifacts. It’s been called “Temur Good Stuff,” and that describes many of its card choices. It combines the cheap creatures and removal of UR with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Wrenn and Six to ensure land drops and help with consistency. Only two copies of Tarmogoyf and no Murktide Regent show up, but with only 20 lands, the curve has to stay low. Plus, no Murktide Regent means Jegantha can be played as the companion.

Creative Combos

Sunday’s winner was none other than Creativity, piloted by yriel, opting for a more traditional blue version. Instead of using black mana for Persist and discard spells, this list is all in on resolving an Indomitable Creativity or Transmogrify to cheat an Archon of Cruelty into play. The blue mana gives access to counterspells and cards like Prismari Command and Fire / Ice to filter through the deck. Yes, Mana Leak is back.

The “Scam” version of BR Midrange also preys on small creatures, with four copies of Fury and tons of removal. Various flavors of the BR Midrange deck have been popping up recently, including a fairer version with no Feign Death or Undying Malice. A blue splash has even put up some results, giving access to Expressive Iteration and counters, as another way to fight against Sanctifier en-Vec. Regardless of the specifics, the combination of Blood Moon, powerful creatures and efficient removal makes for a successful strategy.

Amulet Titan has shown up in the top eight again. While the BR Midrange decks continue to play Blood Moon effects, UR Murktide rarely plays it in the main. Splashes into other colors mean Blood Moon can’t be a sideboard card, so it's either not played or replaced with Alpine Moon.

Silver Bullet Sideboard

Another “unfair” deck from the weekend was Rhinos, which was helped with some specific sideboard hate cards. The basic plan is to find a Shardless Agent or Violent Outburst, cast it, and cascade into Crashing Footfalls, using Teferi, Time Raveler and Force of Negation as protection.

SoIMBAGallade also chose to run Scion of Draco, which can be cast as early as turn two thanks to the assortment of lands. This army of 4/4 creatures can quickly take over the game, and Leyline Binding, costing as little as one mana, helps clear the way.

The sideboard contains some generic hate against artifacts and graveyards, but also very specific hate against Creativity and Ragavan. Orvar, the All-Form is a direct answer against an opposing Archon of Cruelty, allowing you to make a copy. Qasali Ambusher is rarely seen in Modern, but it can be backbreaking against an opposing Ragavan player who was expecting to create a treasure token.

Finally, RespectTheCat keeps putting up results with their unique take on 4C Omnath. The deck plays similarly to the Yorion versions of Elementals from the past, but the companion of Keruga, the Macrosage helps take over the game. The combination of Fury, Solitude, and Leyline Binding makes it tough for any creature-focused strategy to win.


UR Murktide and similar decks with cheap creatures and access to counterspells are more popular than ever, so make sure you have a plan for a turn one creature into a two-mana answer.

Yawgmoth is still one of the best creature decks, able to combo kill with few resources or play a long game, grinding out a victory with undying creatures and Grist, the Hunger Tide.

Creativity continues to prove why it’s one of the best decks as well, with no consensus on which version is the best. Black gives another angle of attack with Persist, while blue helps protect the combo.

There is still lots of room for innovation in Modern, with cards like Haywire Mite and Urza’s Saga being adopted by old decks, sometimes even adding an entire color to an already existing archetype. I’d expect Blood Moon effects to stay on the rise, especially with the popularity of Saga decks and Amulet Titan making a resurgence this weekend.

Which Urza’s Saga list do you like the most right now?


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