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Modern Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (2/3-2/5)

Modern challenge winners this week included several spicy versions of hammertime and underworld breach decks.
Cards: Colossus Hammer | Underworld Breach | 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 Friday Night Challenge Results

  1. 4C Rhinos - sydneydude

  2. UR Murktide - SoIMBAGallade

  3. Jeskai Prowess - Gigy

  4. UR Murktide - SketchyDMR

  5. Yawgmoth - swiftwarkite2

  6. 4C Omnath - Kurusu

  7. Temur Rhinos - Bullwinkkle6705

  8. UW Hammer - HappySandwich

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Morning Challenge Results

  1. UW Hammer - HappySandwich

  2. 4C Creativty - yriel

  3. Yawgmoth - DemonicTutors

  4. Yawgmoth - Xerk

  5. Yawgmoth - AwesomPossum

  6. Jeskai Breach - TheUnseen

  7. UR Murktide - MATTOMARINAIO

  8. Jeskai Breach - scorpion87

Full list here

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

MTGO Saturday Night Challenge Results

  1. Bant Hammer - fuya

  2. UR Murktide - Boland

  3. UR Prowess - zecarlonxo

  4. BR “Scam” Midrange - kyon1024

  5. Mono-Red Power Conduit Burn - KillerSheep

  6. Temur Bomat Burn - HouseOfManaMTG

  7. Yawgmoth - Moorehardcore

  8. UR Murktide - jiaohongchen

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. Jund - rerere

  2. Yawgmoth - DemonicTutors

  3. Jeskai Prowess - HJ_Kaiser

  4. Dredge - Sodeq

  5. 4C Creativity - Do0mSwitch

  6. Eldrazi Tron - NorrathDecay

  7. UR Murktide - tzio

  8. BG “The Rock” Midrange - Gordakai

Full list here

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

MTGO Sunday Super Qualifier Results

(top four qualify for Regional Championship)

  1. Jeskai Breach - Patxi

  2. 4C Creativity - Varo

  3. Temur Rhinos - marcoshadow

  4. Amulet Titan - PuntThenWhine

  5. Temur Rhinos - rastaf

  6. 5C Creativity - Jumba

  7. Amulet Titan - fj_rodman

  8. UW Control - Popeville

Full list here

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

Top Decks

So many events this week! Murktide and Breach are still great, as are other modern staples like Creativity, Hammer, and Rhinos. But a few lists stand out.

There's another new mono-red deck?

Mono Red Repeats

We have to talk about what made the top eight on Saturday night first. Emma Hagen (KillerSheep) was the pioneer of the Bomat Burn strategy that’s taken over the format lately, and she’s back with another burn deck full of cards you wouldn’t expect to see in Modern.

The core of the deck plays much like her previous artifact-heavy creation, pairing Urza’s Saga with Mishra’s Bauble, one-mana artifacts, and Galvanic Blast. But instead of relying on Experimental Synthesizer and Light Up the Stage for card advantage, we have… Power Conduit and Hex Parasite? The trick is removing counters from your permanents, namely lore counters from The Flame of Keld and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, which allows you to use their abilities more than once as you pump up your creatures. Multiple Goblin tokens from a single copy of Fable quickly grow out of control, and being able to draw two extra cards every turn you take a counter off of The Flame of Keld can be unbeatable as you draw aggressive creatures and burn spells.

This is certainly a unique take on mono-red, and we'll have to see what future burn decks Emma can create and win with. The "classic" Shrapnel Blast version seems better, or at the very least more consistent, but it's hard to deny the attraction of winning with a card like The Flame of Keld.

Quick Kills

Hammer continues to win, rewarding experienced pilots who have mastered the deck, like HappySandwich, who made the finals Saturday after a top-eight Friday night. The blue splash seems to be more popular at the moment than the mono-white version, with the main upside of Spell Pierce and access to more powerful disruption like Teferi, Time Raveler and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade.

Another deck capable of fast wins, Amulet Titan, should only get better now that The Mycosynth Gardens has been printed, but even without the new card, the archetype put one pilot into the top eight and one into the top four of the qualifier Sunday. The other three decks that made the top four to qualify, Rhinos, Creativity, and Jeskai Breach, all also showed up in the challenges. Together with Murktde and Hammer, they make up some of the most popular strategies in Modern.

More Midrange

Rhinos and Creativity both continue to do well, with or without the white splash. Leyline Binding is the main draw for both decks, at the cost of slightly worse mana.

Tarmogoyf is still a threat, and not just as a splash in Bomat Burn. Both Jund and “The Rock” use plenty of discard and removal spells to fight the unfair decks and clear the way for the Lhurgoyf and other creatures. Jund utilizes Wrenn and Six and Ragavan, two defining Modern cards, while the BG “Rock” deck gets... Elvish Reclaimer and Witherbloom Command? The Reclaimer can quickly become a 3/4, and its ability ensures Urza’s Sagas keep hitting the field every turn. Witherbloom Command might seem unusual at first, but it has four powerful modes to choose from, usually killing a creature and generating extra value.

Eldrazi was the lone Tron variant that placed, using its toolbox sideboard to its full potential with Karn. A four-color Omnath deck also placed, with a heavier focus on elementals like Risen Reef, but notably only two Fury. These lists show the importance of knowing how the cards in your list can beat the top of the meta, and their pilots probably have a great deal of experience playing against those top decks.

Trends and Takeaways

There was a severe lack of Scam this week, with only one copy in any top eight and only five in the top 32 of all five tournaments. A turn-one Fury doesn’t always win the game, especially with more black and red decks playing one and two-mana answers.

Speaking of the lack of Fury, is Yawgmoth one of the best decks in the format now? It showed up in the top eight of four of the five events this weekend, including DemonicTutors who made a top-four and a top-two finish. Its pilots have been playing more ways to attack Underworld Breach and Murktide opponents’ graveyards like Endurance and Scavenging Ooze.

However, all the Jeskai Breach decks continue to stay on the “fair” Breach plan, with plenty of ways to fight through graveyard hate. Most decks that do rely on the graveyard have a powerful secondary plan -- except Dredge, which made the top four on Sunday after running into favorable matchups. It’s still a heavy favorite against Murktide, and can beat any deck with a good draw, but does have issues with the popularity of so much graveyard hate.

The Modern meta, at least online, seems to have settled into a handful of top decks, namely Murktide, Jeskai Breach, Hammer, Creativity, Rhinos, Scam, and Yawgmoth, with most other top strategies falling just below them in terms of popularity. Expect lots of early interaction from these decks except for Hammer and Yawgmoth, which can fill the battlefield and win quickly.

An “all in” combo plan like Amulet Titan, Dredge, or Tron can win, but not if you run into too many poor matchups or bad draws. A hand that's just okay won't win against the speed of Hammer or multiple counterspells. Mulligan aggressively!


This is our last round of weekend challenges before the new set drops. So how will Phyrexia: All Will Be One shake up Modern?

Amulet Titan will probably adopt The Mycosynth Gardens. Will Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler signal a resurgence for the Devoted Druid combo?

Will Kemba, Kha Enduring see play and replace Kor Outfitter in Hammer lists? Is there another card being overlooked? Will another new mono-red deck take over?

We’ll see next week!


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