Brewed Up: Post-Ban Hogaak

Hogvine has dominated the Modern format since the release of Modern Horizons. The recent banning of Bridge from Below left a lot of questions about the viability of the deck. Bridge from Below provided an incredible amount of utility for the deck including enabling a victory through milling the opponent out. It was a big loss but Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is still good enough to see modern play. The question is where will it find a home. Magic Online player, techninja701, has already managed a 5-0 league and a 6-2 finish in the Modern Challenge with a Bridgeless version of the deck even when Bridge was still legal.

Decklist
Lands (18)
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Swamp
3 Watery Grave
Creatures (36)

4 Bloodghast
4 Carrion Feeder
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Gravecrawler
4 Hedron Crab
4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Stitcher’s Supplier
4 Street Wraith
Spells (6)
4 Faithless Looting
2 Thoughtseize
Sideboard (15)
2 Thoughtseize
2 Collective Brutality
2 Dismember
3 Echoing Truth
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Goblin Rabblemaster
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Stubborn Denial
75 Cards Total

The Build
The deck starts with a playset of Hogaak. A namesake piece of the deck and the reason we can put an 8/8 into play on Turn 2. Faithless Looting is borderline broken in graveyard strategies and virtually every Hogaak deck will want four copies. Bloodghast is easy to recur from the graveyard, pays the colored mana with convoke on Hogaak, and wants to be run alongside fetchlands. Hogaak’s delve cost also wants you to be running fetchlands to ensure that there is enough fuel. Stitcher’s Supplier is another card that helps to fuel your graveyard. Carrion Feeder is an awesome sacrifice outlet and can turn into a very formidable threat if left unchecked. Finally, Gravecrawler rounds out the staples of this archetype. Carrion Feeder and Stitcher’s Supplier are creatures that you actually want to cast so it is nice that they are both Zombies for Gravecrawler. After these core cards, there are a ton of ways to take the deck.

As we mentioned above, techninja701 had some success with a very interesting take on the deck. He was playing Death’s Shadow. On the surface that sounds pretty crazy, but it is actually a reasonable gameplan. Four Street Wraith, two Thoughtseize, and twelve fetchlands is a decent number of ways to enable Death’s Shadow. Street Wraith is more fuel for the graveyard and Thoughtseize gives the deck a little bit of interaction in game one which it had never had before. He has also opted for Hedron Crab and Prized Amalgam which seem like solid choices. Hedron Crab paired with twelve fetchlands helps to quickly fill your graveyard. Prized Amalgam is a staple in traditional Drege and it fits this deck quite well. It is a recuring threat, reasonably sized zombie, and a black creature. It is not as aggressive as a card like Vengevine, but a 3/3 is nothing to scoff at.

The Verdict
While I like this list a lot, I think most Hogaak players may end up on a more traditional variant. As mentioned above, twenty-four non-land cards make up the core of this deck. After adding in eighteen lands, we have eighteen flex slots left over. I think Altar of Dementia is still incredibly formidable in this deck. When you Altar a Hogaak, you put 8 cards in your graveyard. This means that the only thing stopping you from casting Hogaak again is convoke mana. If you are able to hit a recurring threat like Bloodghast, you can very reasonably recast Hogaak. The perfect partner for milling this many cards is Creeping Chill. This deck already has an aggressive strategy to it with cards like Carrion Feeder, Gravecrawler, and Bloodghast. Creeping Chill gives this deck a way to burn the opponent out and stabilize against faster aggressive decks. Beyond that I like two copies of Scheming Symmetry. The fact that this deck can mill away the card that the opponent searches up is a big boon. Two copies of Vampiric Tutor seem solid in almost any deck.

Hogaak is far from dead in Modern. It was far too powerful before and was severely warping the format. I still think that this archetype can be a player in a major way. Graveyard hate was through the roof when Bridge was banned. I would naturally expect to see that go down. I still think this deck is incredibly viable in Modern. The viability only goes up as people are playing less graveyard hate. Hogaak is an incredibly powerful Magic card and I have no doubts that he will continue to find homes. Fear not Hogvine Bridgevine players, you can still play Modern.

Wrap-Up
It is a very uncertain time for Modern graveyard abusers and I imagine that many will default to traditional Dredge lists. But I believe that there is a ton of room for innovation involving Hogaak. Where do you see the archetype going from here? Do you have a sweet list to share? Let us know in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back on Monday with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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