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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions 2/17-2/19

MTGO Modern challenge results were dominated by UB mill decks and Obosh aggro decks this weekend.
Cards: Jace, the Perfected Mind | Obosh, the Preypiercer | Art: 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 Friday Night Challenge Results

  1. Mono-White Humans - HanktheObese

  2. UR Prowess - zecarlonxo

  3. Burn - FlyingHippoGaming

  4. 5C Creativity - Nammersquats

  5. Living End - jundilion

  6. Mono-Red Artifact Aggro - FerMTG

  7. RG Storm - Tyerube1618

  8. UB Mill - DemonicTutors

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Morning Challenge Results

  1. Mono-Red Obosh Midrange - benjamin13

  2. UB Mill - Dinijo

  3. UR Murktide - qbturtle15

  4. BR “Scam” Midrange - jeffreyh93

  5. GW Death and Taxes - MTG_Lukas

  6. 4C Omnath - RespectTheCat

  7. 4C Elementals - 6argamel

  8. Mono-Green Tron - Jositoshekel

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Night Challenge Results

  1. UR Murktide - Zannty

  2. 4C Rhinos - sydneydude

  3. 5C Creativity - Jumba

  4. Jeskai Prowess - Gigy

  5. Amulet Titan - HouseOfManaMTG

  6. Amulet Titan - NathanOfTheGiltLeaf

  7. BR “Scam” Midrange - The_Real_DK213

  8. UB Mill - tibalt_of_red_sub

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. Jeskai Obosh Midrange - Qua4tre

  2. BR “Scam” Midrange - Erik157751

  3. Amulet Titan - AmuletGo

  4. Mono-White Hammer - Jackomatrus

  5. UR Murktide - kefka27

  6. Mono-Red Artifact Aggro - FerMTG

  7. UW Hammer - Talisker

  8. UR Murktide - Diem4x

Full list here

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

Tons of spicy lists topped the challenges this week, plus several new cards continue to make their impact on the format. Let’s dive in and see what the meta looks like!

New Cards

A few cards from the latest Phyrexia set seem to have found their place in established decks. All three Amulet Titan lists that made the top eight this weekend ran at least three copies of The Mycosynth Gardens. The debate over which cards to trim to fit the new land continues, but it’s undoubtedly an extremely powerful new addition to the already explosive Amulet of Vigor strategy.

The new Jace, the Perfected Mind found his way in all three Mill lists this weekend, with each deck playing at least two. The new planeswalker is a powerful threat that can threaten to win the game on its own if left unanswered. The consensus seems to be that he’s worth at least a few spots, helping diversify the way the deck mills the opponent out.

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines popped up in a couple of lists, including a unique Jeskai build that I’ll go over in a bit. It was also found as a one-of in a 4C Omnath deck, able to be tutored with Eladamri’s Call. Five mana is a lot, but often worth the cost when paired with tons of enters-the-battlefield abilities (especially the free ones from MH2's pitch elementals).

Finally, Minor Misstep only appeared in UR Murktide, but there were two in the winning deck from Saturday night. Modern is full of zero and one-mana spells, and banking on the new counter proved successful. The debate over which one-mana counterspell to play among Minor Misstep, Spell Pierce, and Spell Snare will continue, and likely prove to be answered with personal preference or meta shifts.

Top Decks

Several “off-meta” decks did surprisingly well, including three of the four winners and some interesting card choices.

Only Two Things Are Certain

Three other new cards showed up in the top eight this weekend, and they were all in the same deck! This new take on Death and Taxes looks similar to the list that made the finals of the showcase challenge last week but now with a green splash. The biggest benefit is being able to play the full four copies of Boseiju, Who Endures, wreaking havoc on Hammer and Tron.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Leonin Arbiter, and Archon of Emeria make it hard for your opponent to even play the game. Stoneforge Mystic can find the right equipment for the matchup, and Solitude is always there to answer a troublesome threat.

All these creatures are paired with lots of protection. Skrelv, Defector Mite finds its way into the list, essentially becoming copies five and six of Giver of Runes. Melira, the Living Cure is the other new release in the main, providing a sizable body while protecting and threatening to reanimate other creatures.

The sideboard is filled with other powerful “hate bears,” including the new Soulless Jailer doing its best Grafdigger’s Cage impression. Being a creature is an upside here, with all the ways to protect it in the deck.

This Isn't Pioneer

Now to another list full of small white creatures, but a little more aggressive. At first glance, this Mono-White Humans build might look similar to the same Pioneer strategy, but it gets a few upgrades like Solitude and Cavern of Souls.

This deck wants to start attacking as soon as possible. It doesn’t play Aether Vial since it wants to cast one of its 12 one-drop creatures on the first turn and never look back. Luminarch Aspirant and Thalia’s Lieutenant help spread the power out across all your creatures, and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is a must-answer threat that can finish a game quickly.

A few unique cards made their way into this mono-white list, like Shining Shoal, which surely “got” opponents who were not playing around it. I definitely wouldn’t expect my mono-white opponent to have any free spell outside of Solitude. It allows damage to be redirected to your opponent, like Deflecting Palm, but can also kill an opponent’s creature and protect your own.

Chancellor of the Annex is another rarely-seen card in Modern but provides a huge advantage by taxing your opponent’s first spell. The downside of drawing it outside of your opening hand is mitigated since it can be pitched to Solitude or Shining Shoal to still provide value.

Many “hate-bears” are seen here as well, like Sanctifier en-Vec and Burrenton Forge-Tender, but the overall game plan is much faster and more streamlined.

Obosh? Oh Yeah!

Two different Obosh decks each won a challenge this weekend. The first, on Saturday morning, is mostly the stock Mono-Red midrange build, complete with four Relic of Progenitus and four Blood Moon in the main deck, hating on specific matchups. It wants to kill the opponent’s creatures whenever possible and does that well with Fury, Lightning Bolt, Flame Slash, Stomp, and Spikefield Hazard.

The other list plays many of the same cards, like Fury and Blood Moon, but adds white to play better removal spells and Solitude, pushing Relic of Progenitus to the sideboard. And what pairs well with Fury and Solitude? Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, of course! She’s mostly here as disruption for the opponent but does take over the game with one of those elementals or Seasoned Pyromancer. The smallest blue splash enables Teferi, Time Raveler, adding even more disruption.

No Calm Before This Storm

The last deck I’ll spotlight features an archetype almost never seen now in Modern, Storm. But this isn’t the traditional blue-red version! Goblin Anarchomancer reduces the cost of spells now, and Underworld Breach replaces Past in Flames and pairs perfectly with Dragon’s Rage Channeler.

The plan is still to win the game with Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens after generating a huge storm count with rituals and Manamorphose, but this version has some flexibility. March of Reckless Joy, Galvanic Relay, and Reckless Impulse provide card advantage and let you prepare to combo off the following turn, and playing Wish allows access to the sideboard to answer any problem permanent or find the right card for the combo. Green mana also lets you play Veil of Summer, making it hard for any blue deck to interact if it resolves.

Rest of the Best

Living End made the top eight Friday, after seeing a rise in play over the past few weeks. This version doesn’t play Brazen Borrower and only runs 18 lands, focusing on speed and consistency with more cycling creatures.

The “Bomat Burn” Mono-Red deck placed in two top eights, both in the hands of FerMTG. Bomat Courier is becoming played less and less, with FerMTG cutting it completely in the second challenge.

Burn and Mono-Green Tron found their way into the last rounds as well, proving that these ever-present decks demand respect and always have the ability to win.

Only one Rhinos list made a top eight, an 80-card, five-color monstrosity that proves two 4/4s with trample for three mana is a great deal, even when surrounded by extra cards.

The rest of the decks found in the elimination rounds of this weekend’s challenges were the usual suspects of the format, with several Hammer, Murktide, Scam, Prowess, Omnath, and Creativity lists appearing.

Trends and Takeaways

Living End’s resurgence and the continued success of different Underworld Breach decks might convince some players to pack more graveyard hate, but they can still show resilience in the face of Endurance or Soul-Guide Lantern.

Amulet Titan and Mill look to be on the rise thanks to their strong new cards, but they aren’t taking over the format. Many decks are playing a single copy of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in their sideboards to help against Mill, which isn't the worst idea if you expect to face it.

Mycosynth Gardens and Underworld Breach have been the talk of Modern lately, but the sheer diversity of cards and archetypes makes it hard for one deck to dominate unopposed for too long. The dozen or so top decks will continue to be the most popular, but none of them are unbeatable. This weekend proves that Modern can still showcase rogue decks that win, and players will keep trying out the new cards to see where they fit.


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