Boy howdy that is not what I wanted to see on Friday morning. What you see above is a breakdown of what the pro players have brought to battle it out at the Mythic Championship in Barcelona. These are not the final results of the event. However, these are the decks that have been tested and settled on by the best players in the game today. Today we will break down the results and try to understand how the Bridge from Below ban could be so ineffectual. All decklists are available here.
Day 1 Metagame
There is something fundamentally broken in Modern. Graveyard based strategies are far too powerful. Non-Dredge Hogaak decks encompassed 21.4% of decks there. That means that one in five players had some variation of the deck sleeved up. This is after the banning of Bridge From Below, so it is a clear signal that not enough was done. It is ridiculous that a deck that doesn’t even have a fully figured out 75 can be the deck of choice for over 20% of the field of the best players in the world. I get it. Hogaak is still on shelves so Wizards of the Coast doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize their profits. In the process, they’ve managed to make one of the least fun formats in recent memory. I’m not going to compare this to Eldrazi Winter. We’re not anywhere close to that level of dominance yet. However, I can’t remember an extended period of Modern that was this unfun to play and the Hogaak decks are a big reason for it. The all-in graveyard decks, Hogvine and Dredge, were piloted by more players than any two archetypes combined. Every time I queue up a game of MTGO and see my opponent turn one Faithless Looting binning pieces of this deck, I question why I’m even playing Modern currently.
The only other deck that makes up more than 10% of the meta is Izzet Phoenix. Arclight Phoenix decks were the best in Modern by far before Modern Horizons. Since then, it has taken a back seat Hogaak decks, but still manages to be one of the more playable things to in Modern. Surgical Extraction is a viable main deck card for Izzet Phoenix since it is a free spell and also is great in the current meta. World Champion Javier Dominguez opted to play Leyline in the sideboard for this tournament which is a huge concession for a deck that wants to be casting instants and sorceries. About 80% of Phoenix players chose the Izzet version over mono red. Eldrazi Tron was the third most played deck coming in at a little over 9% of the meta. The big reason that this deck has seen a resurgence is that Chalice of the Void is very good versus both Phoenix decks as well as Hogaak decks. About two out of three Tron players opted for the Eldrazi build over the traditional Tron build. This is likely due to Eldrazi Tron’s ability to present a very fast clock to back up it’s hate pieces which traditional Tron generally cannot do. While I do believe Izzet Phoenix is actually a good deck, Eldrazi Tron has always been more of a metagame call. When Chalice is good, the deck will be good. It’s not all that surprising to see it pop up in such a polarized Modern metagame.
Humans, UW Control, and Jund were the only other decks to capture more than five percent of the meta. Humans has some of the best hatebears in the format. Meddling Mage on Hogaak is one of the more potent things you can be doing to stop the deck Game 1. Phantasmal Image can copy opposing Hogaaks as well. Overall, I feel like Humans is one of the decks with the best Hogaak matchup without making a ton of concessions for it. One of the appeals of UW Control is that it can supposedly be tuned to beat anything. In such a convergent metagame, it would make sense to see a lot of copies of it. In addition, many top players like to play control decks since it gives them more opportunities to outplay their opponents. I’m curious to see how much success UW will have going forward. Wrenn and Six is the big addition to Jund from Modern Horizons. It’s no surprise that a powerful two mana planeswalker would end up in the good stuff deck. Discard backed up by a fast clock like Tarmogoyf is always going to be a potent gameplan. I do think that Jund does a lot of good things in this meta and it is still the fifty-fifty deck of the format. I’ll be interested to see if any pilots of these builds are able to navigate through the field of Hogaak and Phoenixes.
Well I do not think that any of us are pleased to see this. The common sentiment among pro players was that Hogvine was still busted and so more than 20% of them brought it to battle. The good news is that among the decklists, Leyline of the Void is the most common spell. So we may see Hogvine get savaged in the coming days. Only time will tell. Regardless, this is not a picture of a healthy format. Do you think that Hogaak will be able to play through the hate? What do you expect to come out on top when the dust settles? Share your thoughts with us 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.