Mythic Championship IV Day 1 Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on July 26, 2019

By Frank Karsten

It's been only a few months since Eli Loveman took Humans to victory at Mythic Championship II, but the Modern metagame has gone through substantial changes since then.

War of the Spark and Modern Horizons rank among the two most impactful set releases in the entire history of the format, and Core Set 2020 has added several relevant cards as well. What's more, Bridge from Below was banned just a few weeks ago. With all these shakeups, where did players' Modern deck choices end up in Barcelona?

Archetype Players Percentage
Hogaak 98 21.4%
Izzet Phoenix 48 10.5%
Eldrazi Tron 42 9.2%
Humans 38 8.3%
W/U Control 38 8.3%
Jund 36 7.9%
Tron 19 4.2%
Urza ThopterSword 19 4.2%
Burn 18 3.9%
Dredge 17 3.7%
Mono-Red Phoenix 10 2.2%
Hogaak Dredge 7 1.5%
R/G Valakut 6 1.3%
Neobrand 5 1.1%
Hardened Scales 4 0.9%
Bogles 3 0.7%
Cheerios 3 0.7%
Hollow One 3 0.7%
Mardu Pyromancers 3 0.7%
SnowShift 3 0.7%
The Rock 3 0.7%
Other 34 7.4%

Hogaak Is the Most-Played Deck by Far

  • Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
  • Vengevine
  • Satyr Wayfinder
  • Stitcher's Supplier
  • Carrion Feeder
  • Faithless Looting
  • Bloodghast

Even without Bridge from Below, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis remains a very powerful card that is well worth building around. Consider the following start:

While this is an exceptionally good start, it illustrates why so many players chose the deck. A metagame share of 21.4% is absurdly high for Modern. And this doesn't even include the Dredge decks (which sometimes had one copy of Hogaak) and the Hogaak Dredge decks (which run 3 Hogaak and 4 Stitcher's Supplier). Hogaak is certainly the card of the tournament.

Here is a sample main deck played by one Mythic Championship competitor.

Hogaak

While most players agreed on the core of four-ofs, there was no consensus on the final slots to fill out the deck. The above list runs Insolent Neonate, Lightning Axe, and Golgari Thug in those last few slots, whereas other versions had graveyard setup cards like Cryptbreaker, Lotleth Troll, Shriekhorn, Altar Of Dementia, and/or Hedron Crab or interactive cards Fatal Push, Assassin's Trophy, and/or Leyline of the Void instead. And that's far from an exhaustive list of card options.

But while a consensus on the optimal build is lacking, a large part of the field agreed that returning Hogaak, Vengevine, and Bloodghasts for free is a powerful strategy.

Izzet Phoenix Is the Second-Most-Popular Deck

  • Arclight Phoenix
  • Thing in the Ice
  • Aria of Flame
  • Faithless Looting
  • Manamorphose
  • Serum Visions
  • Lightning Bolt

Some things don't change. Several months ago, at Mythic Championship II in London, Izzet Phoenix was the second-most-popular deck. This weekend, it's the same.

Here is a sample main deck played by one Mythic Championship competitor.

Izzet Phoenix

The deck got several upgrades from the last few sets. Aria of Flame is an alternative win condition that circumvents both creature removal and anti-graveyard cards. Finale of Promise is also a strong addition because it returns Arclight Phoenix by itself. And one-of additions like Lava Dart or Magmatic Sinkhole are easy to find with all the card draw spells.

These card draw spells, by the way, still form the core of the deck. They help find Thing in the Ice and Arclight Phoenix, enable them, and keep you churning through your deck. Some things don't change.

Eldrazi Tron Is the Third-Most-Popular Deck

  • Urza's Power Plant
  • Urza's Mine
  • Urza's Tower
  • Eldrazi Temple
  • Thought-Knot Seer
  • Chalice of the Void
  • Karn, the Great Creator

At Mythic Championship II in London, the most-played deck was Tron, and there were many different Eldrazi decks in a variety of colors. This weekend in Barcelona, it seems like most of those players have latched on to Eldrazi Tron instead.

Here is a sample main deck played by one Mythic Championship competitor.

Eldrazi Tron

Chiefly responsible for the rise in Eldrazi Tron is Karn, the Great Creator, which is arguably War of the Spark's most important addition to Modern. Karn can get Ensnaring Bridge to stop certain 8/8 tramplers, but he's at his best when you can ramp into Mycosynth Lattice with Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, and Urza's Tower and when you have blockers like Matter Reshaper and Thought-Knot Seer to protect the planeswalker.

There Is Still 7.5% "Other"

The "Other" category is a mashup of the following:

  • Bant Snow Company: 2 players
  • Devoted Vizier: 2 players
  • Esper Control: 2 players
  • Goblins: 2 players
  • Jeskai Control: 2 players
  • Mardu Shadow: 2 players
  • Merfolk: 2 players
  • Abzan Shadow: 1 players
  • Affinity: 1 players
  • Amulet Titan: 1 players
  • Bant Snow: 1 players
  • Devoted Abundance: 1 players
  • Devoted Neoform: 1 players
  • Four-Color Snow: 1 players
  • Grishoalbrand: 1 players
  • Hollow Hogaak: 1 players
  • Infect: 1 players
  • Izzet Wizards: 1 players
  • Jeskai Turns: 1 players
  • Mono-Red Flame: 1 players
  • Rakdos Elementals: 1 players
  • Red Eldrazi: 1 players
  • Storm: 1 players
  • Traverse Shadow: 1 players
  • Unexpected Emrakul: 1 players
  • W/U Quest: 1 players
  • Whir Prison: 1 players

So there's quite a bit of spice in the event. All decklists (for now without quantities of sideboard cards) are available here.

The Most-Played Card Is Leyline of the Void

The eight most-played non-land cards among all main decks and sideboards break down as follows.

Card name Total number of copies Maindeck copies Sideboard copies
Leyline of the Void 836 73 763
Faithless Looting 747 747 0
Thoughtseize 497 118 379
Bloodghast 496 496 0
Lightning Bolt 478 471 7
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 422 422 0
Stitcher's Supplier 416 416 0
Vengevine 388 388 0

With Leyline of the Void as the most-played card overall, it does seem like the Mythic Championship competitors came prepared for the Hogaak menace. The non-negligible number of maindeck Leylines is a further testament to that. And while the full card breakdown will be posted later, I can already tell you that Rest in Peace and Grafdigger's Cage are among the most-played sideboard cards.

The question is: Will it be enough? How many anti-graveyard cards are necessary to beat Hogaak? How well can the deck perform in a field that is at least somewhat prepared for it? And which decks from the other 78.6% of the Modern metagame will over-perform?

Check back tomorrow to see what decks make the cut to Day 2, and of course, check out the action live at twitch.tv/Magic!

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