Everyone’s tired of the Hogaak menace at this point. The card has ravaged Magic: The Gathering Modern for well too long. Not only did it weather one banning, but it could possibly survive another if the card is not directly removed from the format by Wizards of the Coast. After Hogaak is gone though, what deck is next positioned to take on everything else head-on? Let’s break down my top 10 deck choices for when the meta is thrown (once again) into turmoil if all goes as planned this coming Monday.
[Update: The Aug. 26 banlist is here, and Hogaak is gone!]
10: Bant Soulherder
Soulherder is a bit of a rogue pick, but it has one of the most amazing grind games in Modern. With the speed of Hogaak going away, Soulherder could have a chance to shine in the new metagame. Ramp, card draw, and white removal make it a strong all-around pick. However, I should caution value-oriented decks (like GW Company) have taken a back seat as of late in Modern, so it is a bit of longer shot.
Yeah, you heard me right. Dredge, yet another graveyard-focused deck. With Hogaak going away, there’s a chance the metagame might violently shift away from graveyard hate. If that’s the case, Dredge will be poised to take the format over and once again remind us to sideboard hate for the graveyard. There’s also a strong possibility that the exact opposite happens and decks don’t adapt to not having to play as much hate for awhile. If that’s the case, then Dredge won’t be doing anything.
Infect is always lurking in the format, waiting for an optimal time to strike. The deck got Scale Up in Magic: The Gathering Modern Horizons, giving it easy access to quick turn 2 kills. However, it’s not always easy to force damage through an 8/8 trampler. With Hogaak gone, the deck should have an easier time getting in damage fast and hard.
7: Mardu Pyromancer
Mardu Pyromancer got a little boost in Modern Horizons with cards like Unearth, Seasoned Pyromancer, and Smiting Helix giving it a chance to shine. However, all the incidental graveyard hate running around to stop Hogaak really hurt the strategy. If people start main decking less hate, it could have a chance to shine. It has access to a ton of discard, so if the format trends towards combo or control, it could be even better for the pyromancer duo. It’s a very reliable archetype, so in the worst case, it will be a solid tier 2 contender.
6: UW Control
Blue-white has adapted well to several shifts in the metagame the past few months, and this next shift should be doable. However, it will need to make the most changes by far of any deck on this list. How fast lists adapt to format changes in a “world after Hogaak” will determine the success of the deck. It does have the tool to deal with whatever the format throws at it though, and with a powerful arsenal of Planeswalkers (Jace, Narset, the Teferi duo) it’s likely it’ll stay prevalent to some degree.
Tron is old reliable at this point. No matter what happens, there’s always someone managing to top with the deck. With fewer 8/8s on turn two getting in the deck’s face, Tron will have a bit more time to assemble its lands and drop finisher after finisher. It’s relatively easy to pick up and play, so if you just want to drop big mana stuff this coming format, this is your deck!
Wrenn and Six breathed new life into Jund with Modern Horizons. Turns out a turn two Planeswalker that says you never miss a land drop is good or something; who knew? The deck has a strong amount of removal, value, and threats that make it extremely versatile. While the format is in flux, it most likely will be a strong pick since it can so consistently grind out every other fair deck and has a shot at the combo decks.
The aggro deck to beat, Humans seems to just refuse to die. The deck constantly gets support options, since the human creature type is so common. Fast threats, anti-control and combo options, and wide boards all make Humans resilient and consistent. The deck doesn’t need to change up much to match the metagame, so it shouldn’t have trouble performing regardless of what happens. If aggro is your deal, this is a great pick.
2: Izzet/Mono-red Phoenix
Phoenix decks are strong, no matter what variant you pick. Mono-red is much more aggressive, while Izzet is a bit more focused on consistency and killing with cards like Aria of Flame. Which is better is arguable, but either way, both are strong enough (and consistent enough) to outrace many decks and hit hard in the air. If you like slinging spells and getting free stuff, this is the deck for you.
1: Grixis Urza
No graveyard hate? No problem! Urza thrives in a metagame lacking artifact and graveyard hate. The thopter/sword combo thrives in the deck, there’s a host of prison variants you can play, and Urza himself is a threat that dodges Force of Negation and necessitates a two-for-one. It’s resilient, consistent, and builds vary so much that it’s hard to prepare for it. Arcum’s Astrolabe makes the ridiculous mana base work while drawing cards, and Goblin Engineer helps the deck grind value and dodge counterspells. Will it be the best deck? That remains to be seen, but I think it’s definitely poised to rise to the top of the metagame with Hogaak’s fall.
What MTG deck will you be playing after the banlist drops? Is there an obvious pick I missed on my list? Let me know down in the comments below!