Another week, another set of Modern tournament results to study. Last weekend saw a paper Modern MCQ at MagicFest Strasbourg as well as the Modern Challenge and a Modern Mythic Championship Qualifier (MCQ) on Magic Online. As the post-ban metagame continues to evolve, what decks are putting up results? Let’s take a look.

MCQ at MagicFest Strasbourg

Although the main event in Strasbourg was Ravnica Allegiance Limited, the MagicFest hosted a Modern MCQ as well. A few hundred players shuffled up for an opportunity to qualify for the Mythic Championship in London this April. The Top 8 of the event featured three copies of Golgari Midrange along with single copies of Dredge, Azorius Control, Eldrazi Tron, Humans, and Pyromancer Prison. Here’s the winning Golgari deck:

Golgari Midrange, by Hanno Güllicher, MCQ winner

Creatures (14)
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze
Tireless Tracker

Spells (22)
Liliana of the Veil
Liliana, the Last Hope
Inquisition of Kozilek
Fatal Push
Abrupt Decay
Assassin’s Trophy
Collective Brutality
Maelstrom Pulse
Lands (24)
Verdant Catacombs
Blooming Marsh
Overgrown Tomb
Treetop Village
Twilight Mire
Field of Ruin
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
Leyline of the Void
Fulminator Mage
Maelstrom Pulse
Collective Brutality
Assassin’s Trophy
Liliana, the Last Hope
Nissa, Vital Force

Golgari Midrange (a.k.a. “The Rock”) offers a promising match up against Arclight Phoenix strategies, thanks to the copious discard of Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek. It’s hard for opponents to recur phoenixes with no cards in hand. Fatal Push also matches up well against a Modern metagame full of Death’s Shadow and Thing in the Ice.

Golgari gets the nod instead of Jund because of the less-painful mana base. Modern is a fast format, and the red cards in Jund don’t do much right now. Although registering Bloodbraid Elf always sounds good, Lighting Bolt isn’t doing so well in Modern these days. With fewer Humans around and more Thing in the Ice, three damage removal doesn’t get the job done. We saw further proof of Bolt’s downfall last week when Michael Rapp won MagicFest Toronto with Grixis Death’s Shadow moving Lightning Bolt to the sideboard in favor of Stubborn Denial.

With the streamlined mana base that Golgari offers, I forsee Golgari Rock becoming the new police force in the format. I wouldn’t be shocked to see more Golgari until the metagame shifts once again to beat this resource-denying strategy.

Magic Online Modern MCQ

Another Modern MCQ on Magic Online also went down last weekend. Dredge made a huge showing in the Top 32, with nine copies. The other decks with multiple copies in the top 32 were Izzet Phoenix, Hardened Scales, Golgari Midrange, Hollow One, and Mono-Red Phoenix.

If Dredge makes up roughly 30% of the Top 32, it sure looks like Faithless Looting is winning the tug-of-war against Ancient Stirrings. Maybe folks failed to pack enough graveyard hate, but these results more likely show how resilient Dredge and other graveyard-based decks are to the format’s hate cards. These decks offer a different axis of attack that doesn’t always rely on the graveyard and require numerous pieces out at once to be effective. And the most experienced pilots of graveyard decks in Modern have plenty of experience fighting against cards like Rest in Peace and Relic of Progenitus.

Despite the strong Dredge showing in the Magic Online MCQ, an old take on Death’s Shadow took down the event:

Death's Shadow Zoo, by Lalwuba, MTGO MCQ winner

Creatures (20)
Death’s Shadow
Wild Nacatl
Monastery Swiftspear
Street Wraith

Spells (22)
Mishra’s Baulble
Temur Battle Rage
Become Immense
Mutagenic Growth
Lightning Bolt
Lands (18)
Bloodstained Mire
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills
Stomping Ground
Sacred Foundry
Overgrown Tomb
Blood Crypt
Godless Shrine

Sideboard (15)
Fatal Push
Collective Brutality
Assassin’s Trophy
Inquisition of Kozilek
Ancient Grudge
Claim // Fame
Faith’s Shield
Hooting Mandrills

We haven’t seen Suicide Zoo for a long time, and the banning of Gitaxian Probe in 2017 didn’t help. Grixis Death’s Shadow and Traverse Death’s Shadow took over the metagame space as the format slowed down. Death’s Shadow Zoo is quicker than the traditional Grixis variant, but does lose to decks that can handle Zoo’s assorted threats. The deck races extremely well and plays consistently, which helps the matchups against Dredge and Mono-Red Phoenix.

Magic Online Modern Challenge

The Modern Challenge took place online the day before the MCQ. The more casual approach of the Challenge invites a wide variety of decks, but the results still showed a bunch of Izzet Phoenix and Grixis Death’s Shadow. Even so, the Top 32 gives a good snapshot of the decks people play in Modern.

Six archetypes put multiple copies in the Top 32: five Izzet Phoenix, three copies each of Grixis Death’s Shadow, Boros Burn, and Dredge, plus two Golgari and two Humans. The rest of the top 32 included Death’s Shadow Zoo, Hardened Affinity, Mono-Blue Taking Turns, Mono-Red Phoenix, Bant Spirits, Electro-Living End, Four Color Whir, Bant Midrange, Mono-Blue Tron, Jund, Mardu Pyromancer, Azorius Control, Sultai Reclamation, and Bant Reclamation.

Lalawuba actually won the Modern Challenge with Death’s Shadow Zoo in preparation for the Magic Online MCQ. That’s a good weekend for Zoo. Although I don’t expect to see Death’s Shadow Zoo dominating Modern anytime soon, it’s an alternative route to take if you want to try something different with your 13/13 creatures. It’s also a solid choice going forward against a metagame full of explosive and quick decks.

Grinding Station?

In addition to the big events, something else notable happened in Modern last weekend. Piotr Głogowski’s put up a 5-0 league with his revised take on Ironworks Combo.

The Mythic Pro League invitee proved that Ancient Stirrings and Mox Opal are potent cards even without Krark-Clan Ironworks.

Grinding Station Combo, by kanister

Creatures (9)
Scrap Trawler
Myr Retriever
Sai, Master Thopterist

Spells (33)
Ancient Stirrings
Mox Opal
Grinding Station
Semblance Anvil
Ichor Wellspring
Chromatic Star
Engineered Explosives
Pyrite Spellbomb
Welding Jar
Lands (18)
Darksteel Citadel
Grove of the Burnwillows
Yavimaya Coast
Inventors’ Fair
Buried Ruin

Sideboard (15)
Karn, Scion of Urza
Sai, Master Thopterist
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Nature’s Claim
Galvanic Blast
Swan Song

Credit where it’s due for trying to make the archetype viable without the namesake card, but I don’t think it’ll match the power-level that Krak-Clan Ironworks brought to Modern. It’s slower and more vulnerable compared to its predecessor. Głogowski perhaps used this as more of a statement to prove that a viable strategy still exists without Krark-Clan Ironworks, though we shall see what the Modern hive mind will make of this deck.

Modern continues to be broad as ever. Despite the rise of Izzet Phoenix, Dredge, and Grixis Death’s Shadow, these decks aren’t unbeatable by any means. It may take a while for Arclight Phoenix to meet its match as the apex predator of the format, but I am confident we will see a potent competitor in due course. Maybe we’ve already seen it in Golgari. Does that portend good days to come for Tron and Valakut?

Emma is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She has been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir’s release back in 2014, but won’t shy away from Cube and MTG Arena. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.