One of the worst parts about bannings, especially those that are obvious, is the lame duck period while you wait out the last couple weeks where the card is legal.

We are, of course, talking about Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. Right now, Hogaak has streamlined the Modern metagame to the point where there are four “correct” decks to be playing, max. If you’re a player who doesn’t have the luxury of switching decks on a dime, it may be a risky proposition to pick up a deck like Mono-Red Prowess, Urza Whir, or Dredge. It’s even riskier not knowing if that deck will still be in a good position post-Hogaak.

I want to stop focusing on the now and look to the future. A lot has changed in Modern during the reign of Hogaak. Once it’s gone, presumably after the Monday, August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted update, it’s not going to be as easy as looking back at the Modern metagame four months ago to see what the meta will be post-Hogaak. Modern Horizons brought us a lot of other powerful staples to shake up the format, such as Force of Negation, Urza, Lord High Artificer, Wrenn and Six, and more.

Let’s assume Hogaak is getting the axe on August 26. What decks benefit the most and the least from this happening?

Decks that Benefit


Assuming Wizards doesn’t go crazy and axe Faithless Looting as well, Dredge will once again take it’s rightful spot as the best degenerate graveyard strategy. There will no doubt still be graveyard hate in Modern decks but a much more palatable amount compared to what we’re seeing now.

Dredge, compared to Hogaak, supplements its gameplan with cards like Creeping Chill and Conflagrate, which help out in traditionally tough matchups for Hogaak such as Mono-Red Prowess and Urza.

It also quietly picked up Forgotten Cave from Modern Horizons, increasing the power of the Life from the Loam plan.

Urza Whir

My initial concern with Urza was that it was nothing more than a metagame deck that boasted almost the only good Game 1 win percentage against Hogaak. I’ve quickly come to accept it as a lot more than that. Being able to adjust the maindeck and sideboard artifact bullet cards can give it the ability to adapt in a lot of different metagames.

I’d be scared to play it as a Week 1 deck while the meta settles but I’m in on it every week after that.

Izzet Phoenix

Izzet Phoenix is in a really rough spot right now for quite a few reasons, the obvious one being the amount of hate needed to beat Hogaak. Hogaak has also had cascading effects that hit the Phoenix deck hard. Mono-Red Prowess, Tron, Jund, UW Control and now even Mardu Death’s Shadow have popped up in response to the Hogaak menace, and Phoenix now has few, if any, truly good matchups in the meta.

Once Izzet Phoenix is able to free up some sideboard slots, and solidify its gameplan a bit more against bad matchups, I think we’ll see a comeback of the flap flaps. It might not ever be as dominant it once was but we’ve definitely not seen the last of Izzet Phoenix.

Mono-Red Prowess

Mono-Red Prowess is almost this weird combination of Bogles and Burn. It plays very efficient spells that are able to output considerably more damage than cheap spells should be able to by funneling them through the power of prowess creatures.

This is a great strategy against decks like Hogaak that are either stuck playing very few removal spells or are forced to slow down their game plan to interact with you. When your opponent is happy interacting with you the deck can run into some issues.

Decks like Jund or UW Control can kill your first couple creatures and leave you staring at inefficient cards like Gut Shot and Lava Dart. However, I think with Hogaak gone, we may also see some of the fair decks leave with it.

Decks that Lose

Jund/UW Control/Mardu Death’s Shadow

I’m grouping these decks together because they’ve all benefitted from Hogaak for similar reasons. With Hogaak being so far and away the most represented deck, it’s brought the meta down to just a few decks. When fair decks are able to hedge their sideboard plans down to just a few strategies, they’re able to swing matchups much further to their advantage than they would in a meta where they need to try and prepare for 10+ decks. In a Week 1 meta, I would not be caught trying to hash out a cohesive 75 cards for a fair deck.

Devoted Druid

With Izzet Phoenix gone from the meta, a good Hogaak matchup, and a very quick and consistent goldfish kill, Devoted Druid has been one of my favorite sleeper picks in the Hogaak metagame. I’m very concerned with a resurgence of Izzet Phoenix relegating Devoted Druid to a much lower spot in the metagame.

Dice Tron/Coretapper Tron

A fairly recent addition to the meta, I believe this deck is largely propped up by its good Hogaak matchup. The deck is able to power out an Ensnaring Bridge as early as Turn 1, but more realistically Turn 2. It can then follow it up with a combo kill with Karn, the Great Creator very soon after to lock their opponent out of the game.

Dedicated artifact hate has been pushed to the curb to make room for multiple pieces of powerful graveyard interaction in most sideboards. I think this deck’s days are short lived once Hogaak is gone.


Personally, being on a team with Harlan Firer, I’m continually more and more impressed with Urza Whir. As I mentioned, its power as a toolbox gives it the ability to adapt to a lot of different metagames and it’s where I’ll be starting once the Hogaak menace leaves. On top of that, the deck is super fun to play. Where will you be starting? Be sure to let me know on Twitter.

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