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.
|2||4c Omnath Control||6-2||moksha|
|4||Grixis Death’s Shadow||7-1||aru_int|
|16||Grixis Death’s Shadow||6-2||IllusionsOfGrandeur|
|17||Grixis Death’s Shadow||6-2||Mazzu93|
|18||Grixis Death’s Shadow||6-2||Bowtron|
|22||Grixis Death’s Shadow||6-2||Diem4x|
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…
|9||Boros DRC Burn||5-2||hcook725|
|12||Grixis Death’s Shadow||5-2||zhinonono|
|15||Grixis Death’s Shadow||5-2||FerMTG|
|28||Grixis Death’s Shadow||4-3||WanderingOnes|
|31||Boros DRC Burn||4-3||linksss|
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:
|TOP 32||TOP 16||TOP 8||TOP 4||WINNER|
|1 pt||2 pts||3 pts||4 pts||5 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:
|Grixis Death’s Shadow||4||3||1||14|
|4c Omnath Control||1||4|
The King: Hammer Variants
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
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
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
Innovation is scary for us boomers, but it seems to be paying off at the moment.
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
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!