The Hogaak Summer may be over, but after Throne of Eldraine introduced some pretty pushed and powerful cards, the format started to revolve around those. I feared that the new Urza Oko combo decks would dominate the metagame, but as it turns out, Modern is still as diverse as ever, and players seem capable of finding success with whatever strategy they like.
After ten grueling rounds of Swiss, eight of the 378 players emerged to participate in the playoffs for the trophy and the many leaderboard points. Their deck selection was as varied as one could hope for. Only Jund—the format's ancient crowd favorite—put two copies into the final stage.
|9th – Maciej Lukawski's Infect|
Infect's presence in the Modern metagame rises and falls like the tide depending on the number of Lightning Bolts and other cheap creature removal being played. But the addition of Veil of Summer and Once Upon a Time certainly was a factor that improved the deck's chances of winning a tournament. (Note that Force of Nature most likely was meant to be Force of Vigor.)
|10th – Sebastian Reichert's Eternal Command|
This type of deck didn't see much success since Shouta Yasooka finished second at the Magic Players Championship back in 2012. This year, the tempo shell that tries to lock out the opponent with Aether Vial, Eternal Witness, and Cryptic Command found powerful new tools in Oko, Thief of Crowns, Veil of Summer, and Ice-Fanged Coatl. Together, they made the deck's midrange plan much more reliable and the fragile "combo" more resilient.
|11th – Mircea Adrian Posoiu's Humans|
While the strategy hasn't been as popular anymore ever since Wrenn and Six started terrorizing creatures with 1 toughness, more and more useful hate bears see print that improve the strategy over time. Collector Ouphe, Unsettled Mariner, and even Plague Engineer make Humans more and more pesky and able to interact with all sorts of strategies.
|12th – Peter Strauch's Grixis Shadow|
A tempo deck that preys on clunky strategies where it can leverage its disruption in order to make the opponent stumble and win quickly with a big Death's Shadow. The Shadow also found a new friend in The Royal Scions. It came as a surprise to me that Shadow turned out to be the most played archetype in the tournament overall. But people love playing this deck and it will always be a dangerous candidate to take advantage of metagame developments like what we're seeing currently.
|13th – Tom Tydecks's Mardu Shadow|
Another version of the Death's Shadow archetype, but one that has moved to the forefront just recently. Ranger-Captain of Eos improves the deck's ability to come out on top in top-deck scenarios and provide access to an interesting toolbox with sometimes useful creatures like Hex Parasite and Giver of Runes. With Unearth alongside Ranger, the deck can steal multiple turns from combo decks while generating card advantage in the late game.
|14th – Christian Stifter's Burn|
|15th – Jiri Kindl's Burn|
Burn—the all-time classic and go-to choice for players that don't want to throw themselves into the trenches and present fragile combos or metagame against them. The deck recently got access to Fiery Islet and Sunbaked Canyon, utility lands that solve the problem of flooding out in the late game and improved the overall power level of the archetype quite a bit. It comes as no surprise that Burn put more than one copy into the Top 16.
|16th – Markus Leicht's Bant Blade|
This version of the white-blue-x Stoneforge decks that have been experimented with since Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned borrows heavily from its Legacy cousins. While the fears of Modern getting dominated by the infamous Kor have been proven wrong, we didn't see all possible iterations of the archetype yet. This one in particular looks pretty powerful to me. I'm excited what other Stoneforge shells Modern players will come up with in the upcoming months, as this is certainly not the end of their evolution.
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