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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (12/3 & 12/4)

Card Art: Crashing Footfalls - Third Path Iconoclast | 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. 4C Rhinos - ArchaeusDota

2. UR Prowess (Jegantha) - chase00111

3. UW Hammer - ConnorM426

4. Yawgmoth - toondoslav

5. 4C Omnath (Kaheera) - Patxi

6. Jeskai Breach (Jegantha) - kanister

7. Jeskai Breach - Bastida

8. Goblin Charbelcher - Xenowan

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

1. UR Prowess (Jegantha) - Bomboleriot

2. Amulet Titan - Mistakenn

3. Domain Zoo (Jegantha) - MisterT1980

4. Domain Zoo (Jegantha) - blackbelt34

5. Temur Rhinos - MissTrigger

6. UR Murktide - O_danielakos

7. BR “Scam” Midrange - NuBlkAu

8. UR Murktide - tbrantl99

Full list here

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

Top Decks

How Many Free Spells?

UR Prowess is a real deck! It was a standout this weekend, making the finals of both events and winning Sunday. The game plan here revolves around cheap creatures and cheap spells that trigger those creatures’ abilities.

Third Path Iconoclast is a new addition from Brothers’ War that can create an army of soldiers in addition to the power of the two one-drops with Prowess. While the deck is full of one-mana cards, it also has 12 ways to cast a spell for no mana, making kills as early as turn three possible. This even allows you to protect your creatures from removal and makes combat a headache for your opponent thanks to the threat of Mutagenic Growth.

Grinding Out Wins

The Underworld Breach plus Grinding Station strategy continues to be a force in Modern with an extreme value engine paired with its ability to win out of nowhere. Most winning lists are Jeskai, with Teferi helping to protect the combo.

Third Path Iconoclast has been popping up more recently as well since the soldier tokens it creates are artifacts and pair well with Grinding Station. The deck can play more of a fair game if needed as well, attacking with Ledger Shredder and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.

Cascading to Victory

Crashing Footfalls is still very powerful, with Rhinos showing up as the only Cascade strategy in either top eight. While the deck focuses on casting a three-mana spell to cascade into two 4/4 rhinos, it still has early interaction thanks to Dead // Gone, Fire // Ice, and Fury.

Force of Negation helps to make sure your cascade spell resolves and can also help fight against combo decks. Notable is the growing inclusion of white mana for both Ardent Plea, another Cascade spell to keep the deck consistent, and Leyline Binding to help with early threats or answers to the rhino plan.

It’s a Zoo!

Another deck taking advantage of Leyline Binding is Domain Zoo. Most of its creatures become less expensive or more powerful with the increased number of basic land types you control, which can also make Leyline Binding as cheap as one mana.

Scion of Draco gives all the green creatures trample, making chump blocking a poor choice. An unanswered turn one Ragavan can snowball into an easy win. Stubborn Denial will usually only cost one mana with a creature out as well, and Tribal Flames lets you finish off your opponent with a two-mana Lava Axe.

Blame the Goblin

Goblin Charbelcher has been almost nonexistent in Modern as of late, but it proved to be a great choice this weekend. It can win faster than other “unfair” decks, and has Pact of Negation for protection the turn it goes off.

Removal spells turn into blanks against Belcher, and Leyline of Sanctity helps against decks like BR Midrange that rely on discard spells.

What Else Won?

Modern staples Hammer and Yawgmoth also showed up, two decks that always put up results thanks to their consistency and ability to play the long game with Urza’s Saga and undying creatures.

BR “Scam” Midrange is still a threat, with turn one Elementals and efficient removal, and many decks can’t answer a 4/4 with double strike on turn one fast enough.

Amulet Titan also surprisingly made the top eight, after being absent for a while.

The Fun Police

With the popularity of all these combo decks and cheap creatures, it’s no wonder “counterspell plus removal” strategies also did well. The 4C Omnath deck is much more controlling than past Yorion versions, with four Counterspell, two Dress Down, and even two Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the main!

Of course, UR Murktide has its own answers, and it’s no wonder it usually shows up for the elimination rounds considering it’s the most popular deck in the format. Early removal and counters paired with efficient creatures and topped off with a huge Murktide Regent is still a winning strategy.


There were zero copies of Living End or Dredge in the entire top 32 of both events. BR decks are still very popular, and Dauthi Voidwalker is just a main deck hate card against graveyard strategies. Most decks also have some sort of answer to graveyard strategies. Modern is getting its graveyard fix from other decks with combos that are more consistent and less fragile or have a way to win outside of the graveyard, like Jeskai Breach and Yawgmoth.

Only one Tron deck, Eldrazi Tron, showed up in the top 32 of both tournaments, although it did win the Showcase Qualifier this weekend. Amulet Titan only had two lists in the top 32 of both, although one did make the top eight. The lack of Tron and Titan could be partially explained by an increase in Blood Moon effects trying to punish greedy mana bases found in decks like Domain and Rhinos.

Finally, Hardened Scales, Affinity, Burn, and Creativity all had multiple copies make the top 32. Hardened Scales and Affinity are capable of fast starts and quick kills, and Burn will always be the litmus test for any Modern deck.

I am surprised at not seeing more Creativity, however, since the deck is so incredibly powerful. Putting an Archon of Cruelty into play is game over for a lot of decks, and some lists are taking a Jund approach, adding more copies of Persist to increase the ways that can happen.

Watch out for an uptick of Prowess decks going forward!


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