I know what you are thinking—“Not another Hogaak article!” Well, while Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is in the title of this article, we’re here to talk about how to defeat the menace.

With a lot Modern having been played over the last few months, it’s easy to gather a bit of data on what has been good against the trampling 8/8. At GP Minneapolis last weekend, we saw a few aggressive decks do well and I know a bunch of friends doing well with some White midrange decks. At SCG Philly about a month ago, we saw Cheerios do well throughout the swiss, which means it had to have played well against Hogaak.

That leads us to our the three simple ways to answer Hogaak; aggression, White midrange decks, and non-interactive combo decks.


It’s common knowledge that Hogaak strategies aren’t very good at blocking. Just look at the creatures: Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, Satyr Wayfinder, Stitcher’s Supplier, Vengvine, Carrion Feeder, Gravecrawler and Bloodghast. Half of their creatures aren’t able to block, so early aggression it can prove hard for Hogaak to overcome. Plus they take a lot of damage from their manabase between fetch lands and shock lands.

Let’s look at Mono-Red Prowess that Top 8’s the GP Minneapolis:

Modern Mono-Red Prowess

Creatures (14)
Bedlam Reveler
Blistercoil Weird
Monastery Swiftspear
Soul-Scar Mage

Spells (28)
Crash Through
Faithless Looting
Lava Spike
Light Up the Stage
Skewer the Critics
Gut Shot
Lightning Bolt
Lands (18)
18 Mountain

This deck wields 11 one-drop creatures that need spells to buff into real threats. What better spells to do so than Lightning Bolt, Lava Spike, and Skewer the Critics? These decks are able to run through decks that can’t gum up the board or deal with multiple creatures, which sounds a lot like Hogaak.

White Midrange

White is known to have some of the more powerful sideboard cards in the Modern format and that still holds true in today’s metagame. The sideboard nowadays have give you access to Celestial Purge and Rest in Peace, which are very good strategy/color hosers.

With that being said, let’s look at some of the White-based decks right now: Mardu Death’s Shadow and UW Control. They have different strategies for how to win but both utilize the removal spell Path to Exile.

Here’s a sample Mardu Death’s Shadow deck.

Modern Mardu Death's Shadow

Creatures (18)
Hex Parasite
Tidehollow Sculler
Death’s Shadow
Gurmag Angler
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Street Wraith

Spells (17)
Fatal Push
Path to Exile
Temur Battle Rage
Inquisition of Kozilek

Artifacts (6)
Mishra’s Bauble
Nihil Spellbomb
Lands (19)
Arid Mesa
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Godless Shrine
Marsh Flats
Sacred Foundry
Silent Clearing

Why is Path to Exile so good against Hogaak decks in particular? Besides the fact that the threats are gone forever, also costing one mana means it’s an extremely efficient way to keep Hogaak off the field.

Non-Interactive Combos

The Hogaak decks play virtually no real interaction, so playing a combo deck that doesn’t need to interact may be a good answer. If you look at the semifinals of the Team Modern Super League, Mage Market brought two combo decks, neither of which cared much about what the opponent was doing, just comboing off on their own.

One of your non-interactive combo options is the new Twiddle Storm deck that has been rising in popularity in Modern.

Modern Twiddle Storm

Creatures (2)
Vizier of Tumbling Sands

Spells (37)
Eye of Nowhere
Ideas Unbound
Merchant Scroll
Past in Flames
Serum Visions
Sleight of Hand
Dream’s Grip
Peer Through Depths
Psychic Puppetry
Reach Through Mists
Lands (21)
Shivan Reef
Lonely Sandbar
Lotus Field

This deck focuses on untapping Lotus Field and using a bunch of one mana cantrips to go through the library. Hogaak plays very little hand disruption and can potentially fail to apply pressure fast enough, allowing Twiddle Storm to go off. Decks like this can easily ignore most opposing decks and their game plan making it an answer to the Hogaak issue.

Which of these are most appealing to you? I know my choice!

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