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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions 2/24-2/26

A rundown of the best decks from the MTGO Modern challenges this week.
Cards: Murktide Regent | Goryo's Vengeance || 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. UR Murktide - oinkmage22

  2. Living End - Laranjinha-BR

  3. Mono-White Humans - HanktheObese

  4. UR Murktide - Bryzem1

  5. Jeskai Obosh Midrange - Sandile

  6. 5C Creativity - Jumba

  7. Temur Rhinos - internetsurfer09

  8. RG Trash for Treasure - kahluah777

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Showcase Challenge Results

  1. BR “Scam” Midrange - Brasatore

  2. UW Hammer - Laplasjan

  3. UR Murktide - qbturtle15

  4. UR Prowess - hcook725

  5. Jeskai Prowess - JakeTMS

  6. UR Murktide - Shadowz2005

  7. Mono-White Humans - HanktheObese

  8. Temur Rhinos - Rinbo

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Night Challenge Results

  1. Temur Rhinos - Bullwinkkle6705

  2. Bant Hammer - Muril0Ambra

  3. Amulet Titan - NathanOfTheGiltLeaf

  4. 5C Creativity - Jumba

  5. BR “Scam” Midrange - Zero_Shi

  6. UW Affinity - Kritik

  7. Yawgmoth - Stoyberg

  8. UR Murktide - Boland

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. Goryo’s Vengeance - susurrus_mtg

  2. 4C Creativity - Starsheriffx

  3. Amulet Titan - Alexmcl88

  4. Mono-Green Tron - coert

  5. Jeskai Prowess - NuBlkAu

  6. Yawgmoth - Xerk

  7. Mono-Red Obosh Midrange - Flawlxss

  8. UG Affinity - Ghianda

Full list here

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

A few decks from last week prove that they’re here to stay with results this weekend among the continued dominance of Murktide. Plus, a couple of brand new decks showed off with even more cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One!

Top Decks

One Man's Trash

Let’s start with maybe the most unique deck this weekend, and one I can’t wait to try out.

Placing in the top eight Friday, kahluah777’s list revolves around cheap ways to get an artifact onto the battlefield while looting and discarding to put an expensive one into the graveyard. This enables Trash for Treasure, which allows you to sacrifice an artifact to return another one from your graveyard to the battlefield, usually huge haymakers like Sundering Titan, Portal to Phyrexia, or the new and surprisingly powerful Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut. Graaz turns your board of cheap creatures into an army of 5/3 Juggernauts, winning the game in combat.

Almost every other card in the deck either puts an artifact into play, into the graveyard, or both. There are tons of interesting synergies with Experimental Synthesizer, Goblin Engineer, Scrapwork Mutt, and the rest of the artifact theme. Urza’s Saga helps create huge Constructs as a secondary plan and always ensures you have an artifact to sacrifice if needed. A light green splash even enables Haywire Mite and Boseiju as ways to interact with specific graveyard hate.

Recipe for Success

Another reanimation-focused deck is back, Goryo’s Vengeance! This list won the Sunday challenge in the hands of pilot susurrus_mtg, and it’s a somewhat different take compared to the Goryo’s strategy in the past of simply bringing back Emrakul or Griselbrand to win.

The first (somewhat) recent addition to the strategy is the addition of The Underworld Cookbook, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, and Ovalchase Daredevil. Combined with the other ways to discard cards like Collective Brutality, this food package helps buy time while you search for the combo or wait for Profane Tutor to resolve.

The second big addition is Atraxa, Grand Unifier. This new legend has been the talk of every format it’s legal in, and shines here, essentially replacing Griselbrand. The deck uses a full playset of both Atraxa and Emrakul, the best reanimation targets currently in Modern. Attacking with an Emrakul and triggering annihilator is game over most of the time. Attacking with Atraxa and gaining seven life after looking ten cards deep and drawing up to six is a close second.

There are seven discard spells to protect the combo plan, and you have access to Through the Breach in the sideboard to foil graveyard hate. This is also yet another deck that gets to play Urza’s Saga, tutoring up The Underworld Cookbook to enable discard or a specific sideboard artifact depending on the matchup.

Where's the Hammer?

Affinity is back! One traditional blue deck showed up Sunday with four Cranial Plating, four Thoughtcast, and plenty of cheap artifacts.

But Kritik’s top eight deck is a little different. It’s mostly white and plays more like Hammer much of the time. I’m sure many of their opponents put them on Hammer after seeing cards like Esper Sentinel and Stoneforge Mystic, only to play around something that wasn’t even there.

By not playing the traditional Hammer cards, the list has room for much more interaction, like March of Otherworldly Light, Portable Hole, and Solitude. Power Conduit combos with Urza’s Saga to continue making Constructs while creating +1/+1 counters. Ephemerate protects your creatures and gets additional triggers from Solitude, Stoneforge Mystic, and Thraben Inspector.

There are many routes to victory, from the basic Kaldra Compleat plan to controlling the board with Teferi, Time Raveler and removal. There’s even room for a copy of Spreading Seas with three more in the sideboard!

Déjà Vu

Is Mono-White Humans here to stay? HanktheObese thinks so, placing in the top eight and top four of two separate challenges after winning one last week. Their list has stayed essentially the same, still full of cheap attackers and bothersome cards like Chancellor of the Annex and Esper Sentinel. Remember to play around Shining Shoal if you ever see Mono-White!

Both Jeskai and Mono-Red Obosh are back from last week, proving that almost every companion was too powerful as printed. Jeskai continues to use the new Elesh Norn together with Teferi, Time Raveler and lots of removal to great success, while the Mono-Red version is still full up on Blood Moon effects and graveyard hate.

Common Contenders

Muktide is still by far the most popular Modern archetype. The core of the deck remains unchanged, but several cards are down to the player's preference. Most lists play up to one copy of Brazen Borrower, Archmage’s Charm, Dress Down, and Spell Snare. Notably, the new Minor Misstep is still showing up in a few lists, but never more than one or two copies at a time. Winning the challenge Friday, oinkmage22 played a mostly stock list but did have one Misstep in the sideboard.

Creativity has been steadily gaining in popularity, now seemingly the second most popular choice across Modern. Five-color is the dominant combination, using black mana for Persist, sideboard options, and the ability to cast Archon of Cruelty from your hand in that rare situation. Jund and various four-color versions are played, and with so many options almost any Creativity deck can be successful.

Another popular strategy, Rhinos, put three pilots into the top eight. All were Temur, including Bullwinkkle6705, who won on Saturday evening. No big surprises in any lists except Rinbo’s with a couple Repudiate // Replicate, which does give more early answers and can copy a rhino or Fury in the late game.

Some more usual players in Modern: two Yawgmoth decks, two Hammer decks, and two BR “Scam” decks all did well, with Brasatore winning with Scam on Saturday morning. Both Hammer decks were UW, but one had the green splash for Haywire Mite and the other didn’t. Amulet Titan took two pilots to top eights, with each playing The Mycosynth Gardens. One copy of Mono-Green Tron and Living End also placed, both with fairly stock lists.

Finally, three Prowess decks placed, two Jeskai and one UR. The lists are very similar, with the white splash only being used for Path to Exile, Prismatic Ending, and Wear // Tear, but all still rely on Underworld Breach for explosive game-winning turns.

Trends and Takeaways

Mill was almost nowhere to be found, with only two lists across the top 32 of all four challenges. Many players have adopted one copy of Emrakul in their sideboard as an easy way to combat the deck, and it’ll continue to have trouble if the Goryo’s Vengeance deck gets popular.

Blood Moon effects are still a great choice with so many multi-color decks doing well, and can be a good way to fight against Amulet Titan and Hammer. A portion of Murktide pilots are even playing some in the main again, so watch out if your deck is weak to them.

Graveyard hate is popular, but more graveyard-focused strategies are doing well, showing how resilient they are and how they have learned to beat the usual anti-graveyard cards. Some decks fight through them, while others like the Goryo’s Vengeance deck can pivot away from focusing on reanimation.

There is still a lot of room to experiment and find unique and powerful strategies in Modern, as shown by Trash to Treasure and Atraxa breaking out this weekend. There may be new cards with untapped potential just waiting to be utilized. Will we see some next week?


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