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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jan 08 2020 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Rogues' Gallery!  In this article I take a look at the hottest decks warming our Rogue hearts over the holiday season.  It's been another relatively quiet month for Modern without much in the way of major events.  However, there have been some interesting metagame developments and a bit of new tech developed over the month so let's check it out.

TitanField

TitanField is a new deck that has emerged over the past month.  The deck is something of a hybrid between the TitanShift and Amulet decks but forgoes the Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle kill for Field of the Dead and a Simic manabase to give access to everyone's favourite planeswalker, Oko.  This also gives the deck the ability to harness countermagic in the sideboard.


Tangrams version of the deck also features some sweet sideboard tech in the form of March of the Machines which sends 0 cost artifacts, like Mox Opal and Engineered Explosives straight to the graveyard.

Embercleave Red


This is a really interesting red deck.  It has Hatebear elements in the form of Phyrexian Revoker and Magus of the Moon and also has a strategy to cheat out an early Rabblemaster or Warboss, with Gemstone Caverns or Simian Spirit Guide, to spam the board with creatures.  Once the board is filled with creatures Embercleave and Castle Embereth help you to push through lethal damage.

Gruul Zoo


Gruul Zoo isn't a new strategy by any stretch of the imagination but it has been a while since I have seen a list do well and this list has some nice updates.  The deck runs a minimal 17 lands but uses Once Upon a Time to help find missing lands or additional creatures for big aggressive turns.  The deck swarms the board and then uses Reckless Bushwhacker or Atarka's Command to push through huge damage.

Gifts Control

The Gifts Ungiven/Unburial Rites combo used to be a more commonly played combination but it eventually seemed to fall behind the curve.  SGCyrus has revived the archetype with some really interesting card choices.  The deck has Primeval Titan as a potential reanimation target which can then find Field of the Dead to dominate the long game, for those decks that have a lot of answers.


Bant Control

Finally, I bring the latest Oko innovation.  McWinSauce (UW Control master) has adapted the UW Control deck to incorporate Oko to great success.  This deck is much more countermagic and planeswalker focused than the Sultai Urza decks and far more of a classic control deck.  The deck largely forgoes the artifact synergies of Oko for a more SuperFriends approach.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Modern is in a bit of strange place right now.  There haven't really been any major events for some time and the advent of Pioneer has taken a lot of the wind out of the format's sails.  We have also has the announcement that there will no longer be a fixed banned and restricted announcement schedule so who knows when the format might get Wizards attention again.

Oko, Thief of Crowns

I suspect that Oko is probably too powerful for the format and it seems increasingly the case that jamming Oko into your deck is the way to win.  The tricky 3-mana planeswalkers has been the bane of many a format and I would not be surprised to see Oko banned in the future.  Oko's ability to act as an answer to threats, producer of threats and ultimate win condition for such a low cost and such high loyalty is just very problematic.  I am not sure that Oko has done any good for the health of any format and personally I think the sooner it is banned the better.

Mox Opal has also been in the discussion for banning recently as the fuel for the Simic Urza decks, which seems like the number one deck in the format.  Urza himself may also be worthy of consideration on the watch list due to its power in these artifact decks.  Personally though I would be interested to see how these decks hold up without the support of Oko.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)