With the upcoming release of Modern Horizons, the Modern metagame is up in the air. Many players are asking themselves, “Where do I start?” I have personally only started to test two decks, but they are two of the powerful front-runners in the new format: Hogaak Bridgevine and Humans.

Hogaak Bridgevine

The MTGO Modern Challenge took place during the Modern Horizons prerelease and the new cards were legal. Ten of the Top 32 decklists were Hogaak Bridgevine. This deck has been discussed at length online due to its consistency and explosiveness, with games being decided on turns two and three.

Hogaak Bridgevine

Creatures (28)
Carrion Feeder
Stitcher’s Supplier
Insolent Neonate
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Spells (13)
Faithless Looting
Altar of Dementia
Bridge from Below
Necrotic Wound
Lands (19)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Marsh Flats
Bloodstained Mire
Polluted Delta
Godless Shrine

Sideboard (15)
Ingot Chewer
Leyline of the Void
Necrotic Wound
Silent Gravestone

Hogaak Bridgevine uses a handful of new cards like Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, Altar of Dementia, and Carrion Feeder to power out explosive starts. First, you fill your graveyard through Stitcher’s Supplier, Faithless Looting, and Insolent Neonate, looking for copies of Bridge from Below. From there, repeatedly activate Altar of Dementia to mill yourself and create zombies by sacrificing your own creatures. These newly created zombies help you cast Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. You can loop this until you have enough zombies to mill your opponent out of the game.

That combination provides fairly consistent turn two or three wins, for a deck that was already good at explosive starts. And the deck still has the regular Bridgevine routes to victory. If you don’t have Altar of Dementia, you can use Carrion Feeder as a sacrifice outlet to create a lot of zombies and attack your opponent. You can also get a fast start by putting Vengevines in your graveyard and powering them out on turn two.

The Modern Challenge popularized this deck on MTGO, with every other deck having ample amounts of graveyard hate in their sideboards. Therefore, our sideboards consist of ways to deal with various graveyard hate: Wispmare for Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace, Ingot Chewer for Grafdigger’s Cage, and Silent Gravestone for Surgical Extraction.

The hardest part about sideboarding is not knowing which type of graveyard hate your opponent is going to bring in, especially with decks diversifying the types of hate they’re playing. It’s important to familiarize yourself with up-to-date decklists to have a better idea of which type of graveyard hate you’ll face in any given match. The decklist I posted is currently the more popular build of the deck and the one I have tested more. Going forward, however, I am interested in testing the following list. It fixes a couple of problems: now you can hard-cast Vengevine when necessary, and your sideboard answers are more flexible.


The other deck I have liked in the post-Horizons format is Humans, which has been one of the most powerful decks in Modern since it was created. Adding Modern Horizons into the equation does not change this. In fact, Modern Horizons give Humans some powerful cards that the deck needed to continue its reign atop the Modern metagame.

I have seen and tried a handful of new Humans lists, featuring many of the new Humans such as Ranger-Captain of Eos, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, and Unsettled Mariner. However, the biggest additional to Humans by far is Collector Ouphe.

While Collector Ouphe is not actually a Human, it is one of the most impactful cards for the deck. Humans has historically struggled with the “turn three Tron” games against Modern Tron. Being able to shut down Expedition Map, Chromatic Sphere, and Chromatic Star is only the start. Collector Ouphe stops two of the best cards against Humans: Oblivion Stone and Walking Ballista. Waterlogged Grove was another addition to Humans, making Gaddock Teeg and Collector Ouphe easier to cast.


Creatures (37)
Champion of the Parish
Phantasmal Image
Meddling Mage
Kitesail Freebooter
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thalia’s Lieutenant
Reflector Mage
Noble Hierarch
Mantis Rider
Militia Bugler

Spells (4)
Aether Vial
Lands (19)
Unclaimed Territory
Cavern of Souls
Ancient Ziggurat
Waterlogged Grove
Horizon Canopy

Sideboard (15)
Leyline of the Void
Gaddock Teeg
Deputy of Detention
Force of Negation
Collector Ouphe

With the immense number of people playing Hogaak Bridgevine, Leyline of the Void is likely the move for graveyard hate in the sideboard. Force of Negation has also proven to be a powerful sideboard card against UW Control, Blood Moon strategies, Tron, and much more. At first glance it might feel out of place, but in testing they have proven to be quite effective and powerful.

Going forward, I would like to test Ranger-Captain of Eos further, as it feels like a card that could have a long-term slot in the Humans 75. I would also like to test Yawgmoth, Thran Physician in the sideboard because of the increasing number of mirror matches I expect.

There will be a large number of new decks with the release of Modern Horizons. This can be overwhelming to many people, so these are the two places that I would start. One new and explosive graveyard strategy, and one tried and true fair creature strategy. I am curious to see the long-term impact Modern Horizons will have on the format, and I am excited to be a part of it. Happy testing!

Ally Warfield is a Magic grinder and personality. She is an up-and-coming grinder with an impressive range in terms of archetype selection. You can find her on Twitter @ArcticMeebo.

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