mtg icon Magic: The Gathering
mtg icon Magic: The Gathering

Modern: Weekend in Review – January 2022 Week 2

Hello everyone, and welcome to Weekend in Review, where we take a look at the results from Magic Online Challenges and tournaments played during the past weekend.

As we all know, due to the current world situation most higher level paper events have been shut down, so for the time being (and the foreseeable future) we’ll be focusing on online events. We’ll analyze the most recent MTGO Modern Challenges and highlight the best and worst performing decks.

Saturday Modern Challenge – January 8 2022

14c Blink7-1_Stream
24c Omnath Control6-2moksha
3Boros Prowess7-1maxxattack
4Grixis Death’s Shadow7-1aru_int
5Orzhov Hammer7-1HappySandwich
6Jeskai Control7-1HeyPharaoh
74c Blink7-1McWinSauce
8Izzet Murktide6-2Urzza100
9Boros Hammer6-2naddyeffintabs
10Monowhite Hammer6-2tex170
11Selesnya Hammer6-2AndyAWKWARD
13Azorius Spirits6-2LiturgijskaKnjiga
14Dimir Mill6-2ravenwing1234
15Eldrazi Tron6-2bigjc00
16Grixis Death’s Shadow6-2IllusionsOfGrandeur
17Grixis Death’s Shadow6-2Mazzu93
18Grixis Death’s Shadow6-2Bowtron
19Amulet Titan6-2fj_rodman
20Temur Cascade6-2D00mwake
214c Creativity6-2Manacymbal
22Grixis Death’s Shadow6-2Diem4x
23Boros Burn6-2Andrea94
24Monored Midrange5-3E_Riot_Rides
25Jund Yawgmoth5-3metalloveman
26Abzan Yawgmoth5-3Moniz0801
27Boros Taxes5-3Moonglow
28Jund Saga5-3HarlanMTG
29Jund Saga5-3yriel
30Hardened Scaled5-3Snickersaut
31Monowhite Martyr5-3crazybaloth
324c Elementals5-3Kaijimmy

With 2 copies into the Top 8, including the winning list, Four-Color Blink had a very strong showing on Saturday, perhaps unexpectedly.

While it didn’t bring home the trophy, Grixis Death’s Shadow (GDS) posted great results once again: 5 lists made it into the Top 32, including a Top 4 finish for one of them.

In a meta focused on beating GDS, Colossus Hammer decks thrived throughout the weekend. The Saturday Challenge saw a whopping 4 copies of Hammer in the Top 16, 1 of which also broke into the Top 8. But it wasn’t done just yet…

Sunday Modern Challenge – January 9 2022

1Orzhov Hammer6-1Diem4x
2Monogreen Tron5-2HNmagician
34c Midrange6-1iL_Tedesco
4Izzet Murktide6-1Dazai
5Jund Saga7-0Sanitoeter
6Golgari Infect6-1Bigbrownstain
7Hardened Scales6-1Souze6
8Orzhov Hammer6-1JowyCRO
9Boros DRC Burn5-2hcook725
10Humans5-2 iicloudzzmagic
11Boros Hammer5-2naddyeffintabs
12Grixis Death’s Shadow5-2zhinonono
13Golgari Yawgmoth5-2DemonicTutors
14Jund Saga5-2yriel
15Grixis Death’s Shadow5-2FerMTG
16Gruul Ponza5-2SeitaSan
17Amulet Titan5-2musasabi
184c Blink5-2manoah
19Living End5-2mala_grinja
20Izzet Murktide5-2ZYURYO
21Jeskai Control5-2MrCafouillette
22Orzhov Hammer5-2matiaskm
23Boros Burn5-2patheus_84
24Azorius Mill4-3bless_von
25Monored Eldrazi4-3gabrylele91
27Azorius Urza4-3Arrias
28Grixis Death’s Shadow4-3WanderingOnes
29Orzhov Hammer4-3HappySandwich
30Azorius Mill4-3charlieqds
31Boros DRC Burn4-3linksss
32Monoblue Merfolk4-3Drakanar

If Saturday was already a success, Sunday turned out to be an exceptional day for Hammer variants. 5 decks into the Top 32 (3 of which into the Top 16), including the winner. Out of all the different versions of the deck, Orzhov shined a tier above the others, possibly consolidating itself as the factually best version.

Despite going undefeated in the swiss, our Top 8 Jund Saga pilot didn’t manage to get a hold of the cup. Regardless, the deck collected the aforementioned Top 8 finish and an additional Top 16 result.

GDS had yet another respectable outing. Even though none of its pilots made it to the Top 8, 3 lists showed up in the Top 32, 2 of which got into the Top 16.

Week 1 Performance Points

To get a better and more objective look at the results from Week 1, we’ll award points to the various lists types based on their results. Points attribution goes as follows:

1 pt2 pts3 pts4 pts5 pts

To compile a totally fair analysis we would also need to make use of each deck’s meta share in the tournament and the consequent conversion rates, but unfortunately WOTC doesn’t make that sort of data available to the public.

Following our scoring method, this is what our final table looks like:

(1 pt)
TOP 16
(2 pts)
(3 pts)
4 (pts)
(5 pts)
Hammer Variants242121
Grixis Death’s Shadow43114
4c Blink1119
Izzet Murktide1118
Jund Saga2117
Burn Variants315
4c Midrange14
4c Omnath Control14
Boros Prowess14
Hardened Scales114
Jeskai Control114
Mill Variants214
Monogreen Tron14
Yawgmoth Variants214
Golgari Infect13
Amulet Titan22
Azorius Spirits12
Eldrazi Tron12
Gruul Ponza12
4c Creativity11
4c Elementals11
Azorius Urza11
Boros Taxes11
Living End11
Monoblue Merfolk11
Monored Eldrazi11
Monored Midrange11
Monowhite Martyr11
Temur Cascade11

The King: Hammer Variants

orzhov hammer
59.4% global win rate
3.01% metagame share
best against
vs four-color blink (yorion)
80.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs dredge
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs burn
76.2% win rate
42 tracked matches
worst against
vs golgari yawgmoth
31.3% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs gruul midrange
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs hardened scales
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches

The biggest winner of the weekend is, without a doubt, Hammer. With high quantity and quality of results, Hammer decks racked up 21 points and easily topped Week 1’s standings.

While the deck has seen plenty of different configurations, Orzhov was by far the most successful this weekend, claiming the title of “Best Hammer Build”: Dark Confidant has perhaps found its new home as a great value engine with minimal drawbacks, and Thoughtseize is the best tool to get rid of problematic cards and pave the way to victory.

The other fairly successful Hammer build of the weekend was Boros, taking advantage of the snowball power of the infamous monkey, as well as interactive spells such as Galvanic Blast and Magnetic Theft.

Important to note, every single Hammer deck that got into the Top 32 was running Lurrus as their companion, therefore leaving Kaldra Compleat behind. While the MH2 equipment is certainly powerful, it is heavily reliant on Stoneforge Mystic. In a meta filled with tempo and midrange decks that have all the tools in the world to take care of the 1/2, and in a world where Mill decks are on the decline, Compleat’s popularity has understandably gone down.

The Reliable: Grixis Death’s Shadow

grixis death's shadow
52.5% global win rate
3.27% metagame share
best against
vs charbelcher
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs 4c (yorion)
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs infect
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
worst against
vs hardened scales
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs dredge
12.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs 4c cascade
0.0% win rate
5 tracked matches

Despite not bringing home any trophy, Grixis Death's Shadow still showed its consistency and reliability, ending up in second place with 14 points.

The only real piece of news regarding GDS is that it seems that the starting 60 is approaching its final form: 6 of the 8 posted lists have an identical mainboard, and even the two “rogue” ones have very minimal changes, opting for slightly different removal spells.

A few more variations can be found in sideboards, but even in this case most of the cards played are the same: Kolaghan's Command, Alpine Moon, Terminate, Spell Pierce, Engineered Explosives and Tourach, Dread Cantor are present in almost every case. Some are then listing different combinations of Snapcaster Mage, Dress Down and graveyard hate.

Quality over Quantity: 4c Blink and Izzet Murktide

izzet murktide
49.5% global win rate
4.61% metagame share
best against
vs 5c cascade
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper combo
66.7% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs amulet titan
65.7% win rate
35 tracked matches
worst against
vs jeskai control
23.1% win rate
13 tracked matches
vs azorius control (yorion)
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs hardened scales
10.0% win rate
10 tracked matches

While not taking many spots in the Top 32, both 4c Blink and Izzet Murktide banked on the quality of their results (including a win on Saturday for Blink and a 3rd place on Sunday for Murktide), to end the weekend in pretty convincing fashion, with 9 points and 8 points respectively.

Despite solid finishes, Murktide’s spot in the meta looks a bit shaky if Hammer rises up even more in popularity after a great weekend: the matchup is pretty abysmal, and if the trend continues the izzet deck may need to rely on tools like Prismari Command to recover some percentage points and even stand a chance.

Very different is the case of 4c Blink, that with more (and more diverse) tools to interact, finds itself in a much better position against the Hammer menace.

Zoomer Power: Jund Saga and Dragon's Rage Channeler Burn

jund midrange
45.9% global win rate
2.87% metagame share
best against
vs bant stoneblade
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs four-color control
71.4% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs grixis control
66.7% win rate
9 tracked matches
worst against
vs 4c cascade
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs hardened scales
0.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper combo
0.0% win rate
5 tracked matches

Innovation is scary for us boomers, but it seems to be paying off at the moment.

Jund Midrange without Liliana of the Veil? Blasphemy! Boros Burn without Goblin Guide? Unheard of! Yet here we are, and maybe it’s time to adapt.

Even though recent weeks hadn’t been great for Jund Saga, with rather disappointing results in the latest challenges, last weekend brought a breath of fresh air, as the deck was the only one in the whole weekend to go undefeated in the swiss. While the great performance by Sanitoeter didn’t convert into a trophy, together with other good Top 32 finishes it is a testament to the deck’s viability in the current grindy, value-based meta.

Recently popularized by Aspiringspike, Dragon's Rage Channeler Burn had a pretty good showing, narrowly missing a Top 8 finish on Sunday. Less explosive than the traditional Burn decks, this new build tries to take advantage of Dragon's Rage Channeler‘s ability to filter useless cards, and become a bigger and more difficult to block threat than Goblin Guide.

Disappointment: Rakdos Midrange and Belcher

rakdos midrange
53.5% global win rate
2.12% metagame share
best against
vs eldrazi tron
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs izzet blitz
81.8% win rate
11 tracked matches
vs dredge
72.7% win rate
11 tracked matches
worst against
vs temur cascade
31.3% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs elementals
30.8% win rate
13 tracked matches
vs grixis death's shadow
25.9% win rate
27 tracked matches

Error 404 – Decks not found. A harsh but fair summary of this weekend for two mainstays of the format.

While Belcher hasn’t had very exciting results lately, Rakdos Midrange is a different matter: after winning the most recent paper GP in Vegas, the deck grew in popularity for a few weeks. The recent challenges haven’t been too kind to Rakdos though, barely scraping into the Top 32 10 days ago, and completely missing out during the past weekend instead.

Final Thoughts: Variety Is on the Menu

The meta is broad and open to interpretation, leaving us with plenty of room to brew (4c Midrange, Boros Prowess), or bring back old friends (Tron, Hardened Scales). Anything goes, and with the right series of matchups and tight plays, almost any deck can succeed in today’s Modern format.

Not only in terms of deck variety, but also in terms of archetype representation, Modern is looking good! Aggro, Combo, Control, Midrange, Tempo… Here’s to more weekends like this past one!

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