It has been six months since my original Bogles guide and we are in need of an update. The format has slowed back down and is ripe for some hexproof beats. I have been playing this archetype from its inception and I have come to embrace the salt. The deck is an absolute blast to play and when the format looks like this, there is no easier way to win a tournament. Today I will go over how to build the perfect Modern Bogles deck.
This deck is very linear and as a result the list changes more based on personal preference than it does for metagame reasons. I will list the typical recipe today so that you can build your own list from there but keep an eye out for a sideboard guide based on my current list.
Razorverge Thicket is amazing in here because you almost never want a fourth land. In those corner cases you can often cash in a Horizon Canopy to bring yourself back down to two lands before playing out the Thicket. Canopy in general is extremely useful as we dump our hand quickly and can heal off the life payment with Daybreak Coronet. The basics are there for Path, Field, Moon, etc. The second Plains is an option but I do not see it as worthwhile; we rarely will search up more than two basics in a game. I also do not understand why we sometimes see a fourth Temple Garden over the sixth fetchland but on rare occasions people do it. I recommend six fetches to provide greater access to Dryad Arbor but the decision is yours.
Arbor is an absolute auto-include. When we fail to mulligan into a threat, a fetchland allows us to find Arbor and give us a shot at winning. This is especially viable postboard when you want to keep threat-less hands that contain powerful hate cards and the opponent has boarded out removal. It is especially important against black decks as Liliana of the Veil can edict our threats away and blow us out. But as long as we leave up a fetchland, the Arbor is always there to take the bullet. Of course it is also always there as an emergency blocker; particularly in conjunction with Spirit Mantle. As long as you build the manabase within these parameters, the overall impact is miniscule.
The one drop hexproof creatures are absolutely vital to the function of the deck so you want to max out on them. For the remaining slots, Spiritdancer is more popular by a huge margin and I advocate this. It is your fastest win condition against combo decks and the opponent typically will board out as much removal as possible against us. Ledgewalker could be the way to go if you expect an abnormally high percentage of players at the tournament to be playing midrange or control. But in these matchups I still do not mind her as she is a source of card advantage.
The auras locked in as full sets really should not be tampered with. Coronet, Ethereal, and Rancor are the best auras by a solid margin. Do note that a Coronet will fall off if an opponent destroys the other aura(s) attached to the creature. Spider Umbra is actually more critical than you would think. Totem armor and reach are solid keywords to have in general and there are few matchups against which you want neither. It is worth noting that if an effect such as Engineered Explosives would destroy your Bogle and your totem armor aura simultaneously, the aura still prevents the Bogle from being destroyed. Also it is very hard to go all in a Dryad Arbor if you do not have totem armor. With Spider Umbra being Green, the Arbor can tap to pay for its own protection. It is a lot of value at one mana.
The others auras listed are all quality choices but I would say that Spirit Mantle is the most important. In relation to opposing creatures it effectively says unblockable and indestructible. It is the best evasion available and you can stick it on a plain 1/1 to hold down the fort against large creatures; buying you time to race with another creature or draw into further action. It also protects your non-hexproof threats from Reflector Mage style effects that could normally target them.
Hyena Umbra is the other default choice mostly due to totem armor. The deck is not particularly excited about a ninth and tenth first strike aura. When edict effects such as Liliana of the Veil are particularly popular, Cartouche takes precedence due to the token it generates. Link is a lifegain effect that also acts as pseudo-removal. When placed on an opposing creature, it causes you to regain any life that the creature would take away from you. Courage is slow but is the best standalone aura available.
These are the slots that actually change around based on the metagame. Typically lists have six of these slots filled by 2-4 Path and 2-4 Leyline. Path is just an all around great removal spell to max out on when creature decks are popular. Leyline is a way to make yourself as untouchable as your creatures when you expect to face decks that burn your face and/or black decks that can effectively disrupt your creatures by going through you. I would recommend always having a playset of each in the 75 but how many of each goes into the maindeck is up to you.
Open the Armory is a touch slow for the deck but is a solid inclusion because it adds a degree of consistency to an inconsistent deck. Dromoka’s Command is quite common in sideboards but does see some mainboard play as most decks have either creatures, enchantments, and/or instants/sorceries to disrupt.
0-4 Leyline of Sanctity
0-4 Path to Exile
2-3 Rest in Peace
2-3 Collector Ouphe / Stony Silence
2-3 Gaddock Teeg
0-2 Force of Vigor
0-2 Damping Sphere
0-2 Tocatli Honor Guard
0-1 Spirit Link
0-1 Unflinching Courage
0-1 Dromoka’s Command
I of course cannot cover every single sideboard card that could be considered in Green and White but these are the most popular options for this deck. Gaddock Teeg mostly explains himself when you read him; bring him in when the opponent has noncreature spells that have an X cost or cost more than three. This describes the Chord–Company decks, combo decks like Ad Nauseam or Scapeshift, and decks with board wipes such as Terminus. It is best to outfit him with an Umbra the turn he comes down to make the effect stick. Part of the appeal is that you can reasonably keep hands where he is the only threat.
Though I have not been a fan of Damping Sphere in this deck in the past, it is an all-star sideboard card in the format; covering both big mana and spellslinger decks. If you do run it, go down to two Teeg as they cover many of the same matchups and boarding in both risks diluting your strategy. When making this decision, you are balancing how much you care about control and how much you care about Tron; in regards to most other matchups the cards are nearly equal.
Rest in Peace and Stony Silence have been much of the reason to play White in Modern for years now. They are two mana enchantments that can be lights out against graveyard and artifact decks respectively. In this deck they also increase the effectiveness of Ethereal Armor. However, I have come to the conclusion that Collector Ouphe is outright better than Stony Silence in here.
The weakness of creatures is that they die to removal while enchantments fear Disenchant effects. Which do you think your opponent is boarding in against a deck that has more enchantments than lands? Which do you think your opponent is boarding out against a deck with only five creatures that can be targeted by removal? Ouphe sidesteps anti-hate cards like Nature’s Claim, can be suited up into a threat, and in a pinch can even be pitched to Force of Vigor. It is odd at first glance but it really is the way to go.
It has always been a give-in that you need a Disenchant effect to handle things like Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, Ensnaring Bridge, and Worship. Unfortunately, the options available have been quite underwhelming. The one mana options had drawbacks and could not answer Chalice. Typically Seal of Primordium was the pick because it boosted Ethereal Armor and could be proactively put into play. Finally, with Modern Horizons we were given a quality option in Force of Vigor. We have a ton of green cards to pitch to it, it is instant speed, and unlike most Forces it is neutral card advantage.
Finally we come to Tocatli Honor Guard. Effects like this are usually too narrow in the Modern format but at times they have their place. The most obvious card to use these against is Humans. Note that it is not just a creatures own ETB effect. A Champion of the Parish will not trigger from another creature’s entry. It affects a large swath of the Humans deck but keep in mind that it does nothing to Meddling Mage. It is also good against Primeval Titan decks as they often are all-in on it with Summoner’s Pact; you will consistently get value out of it. We will speak about these effects at length in an article soon. For now, just know that it is a powerful option for very specific metagame conditions.
This should cover any non-sideboard related questions you may have had about Modern Bogles. It is one of the easier decks to play but it always pays dividends to fully optimize your play. The important question now is, is the format ripe for Bogles? Are there enough interactive decks for it to prey on? Please 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 tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.