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Mythic Championship IV: Wrap Up


We've reached the end of Mythic Championship IV (probably better know as Pro Tour Hogaak), which means it's time to take a deep delve into the final results. Our plan today comes in several parts. We'll start by discussing the Avatar in the room: Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, move on to discuss the other heavily played decks at the events before taking an early look at win percentages from major archetypes, spicy under the radar list and finally the most played cards at Mythic Championship IV. But first, a shout out to Thoralf Severin for taking down the entire tournament with a Mono-Green Tron list from yesteryear, featuring no new maindeck cards from Modern Horizons or Core Set 2020:

If you want to see the decklists of all competitors in the tournament, but sure to check out our Mythic Championship IV page. With the decklists out of the way, let's jump into it, starting with the most important question to come from Mythic Championship IV...

How Good Was Hogaak?

Despite the rather diverse looking top eight, the biggest story from Mythic Championship IV was Hogaak. After posting the highest metagame percentage on day one of 21.4% and following that up with the best (of heavily played decks) conversion rate to day two at 71.4%, it looked like Hogaak was going to run away with Mythic Championship IV. Then, to complicate matters, it only put a single player in the top eight. This complicated the narrative around the deck. As such, there are still some questions about just how good Hogaak really was at Mythic Championship IV. Was it a deck that performed well on day one, but fizzled down the stretch?

The answers are starting to trickle in, and with the help of the best performing lists in constructed, we can get a pretty solid idea of just how dominant the deck really was at Mythic Championship IV. First, we learned from Frank Karsten's Twitter that Hogaak posted the best win percentage at the tournament at 56.2% while potentially being at a disadvantage in the Mythic Championship meta thanks to open decklists (since it's much harder to play main deck graveyard hate if you don't know what your opponent is playing).

If we dig into the top performing decks at Mythic Championship IV, there were 131 players at Mythic Championship IV that managed to finish with at least six wins in the ten Modern rounds at the event. 29.8% of these players were on Hogaak. Meanwhile, 72 players got at least seven wins in constructed, and the Hogaak percentage increases to 36.1%. Finally, our last data point is players who ended up with at least eight wins in Modern. There were 20 in all, and a full 45% were playing Hogaak. 

When you consider all of the data together, the only conclusion possible is that Hogaak dominated Mythic Championship IV in a way we haven't seen in Modern since Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch when Colorless Eldrazi dominated the tournament that lead to an infamous few months known as Eldrazi Winter and the eventually bannings to fix the format. In some ways, Hogaak's performance is even more impressive than Colorless Eldrazi, which took some shellshocked Modern players by surprise at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch. Everyone knew that Hogaak was coming at Mythic Championship IV. Everyone did all they could to stop it, and it simply wasn't enough. 

As for the "it only put one player in the top eight" argument, this is more of a testament to two other factors: Mythic Championship IV being a split format event and top eights being a really horrible statistical data point (even though it's a popular one). If the top eight was based solely on constructed performance, we'd have four Hogaak decks in the top eight, so this seems to be a case where lacking limited rounds by Hogaak players limited the decks ability to make the top eight. Meanwhile, even discounting the split format problem, the difference between making the top eight and posting just a good (although not top eight) finish is tiny. In fact, during Round 16 yesterday we watched a Hogaak deck miss the top eight because its Mono-Red Phoenix opponent has multiple Manamorphose on the top of their deck to steal a win the turn before they'd die to a huge Hogaak attack.

So where does all of this leave us with Hogaak moving foward? It's almost assuredly going to be targeted by another banning as soon as possible. Any one of it's high metagame percentage, high win percentage, and the fact that it warped the metagame around it would be problematic, but when you add them all together, it's hard to see any other way the Hogaak story ends. Normally the argument is "wait a while and see if the metagame adjusts," but I'm not sure how much more adjusted the metagame can be given that Leyline of the Void was the most-played card at the Mythic Championship and showing up in main decks. The drawback is the next banned and restricted announcement isn't until the end of August, after several Modern events, including the biggest Magic Fest of the year in Las Vegas. While emergency bannings are not common, they also aren't unheard of. Could Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, combined with the Modern-heavy summer tournament schedule, be one of the rare cases where an off-schedule banning is justified? We'll have to wait and see.

We should have even more data in the coming weeks, including in-depth breakdowns of win percentages and even individual matchups. While personally I don't think any more justification is needed to ban Hogaak as soon as possible, if you're still not convinced, make sure to keep an eye out for the release of the rest of the data, I expect it will win you over, regardless of how you feel about more bans in the format.

Other Heavily Played Decks

If you look at the metagame breakdown of Mythic Championship IV, it breaks down nicely into three tiers. First, far ahead of the rest of the field, was Hogaak. Then we had a group of five decks that started out day one of the tournament with between 7.9% and 10.5% of the metagame forming a second tier. Then there's a big group of decks that made up 4.2% of less of the meta. How did Hogaak's five main competitors - Izzte Phoenix, Eldrazi Tron, UW Control, Humans and Jund fair at the tournament? Let's break it down!

Day One Meta Percent Day Two Meta Percent 6 wins + Meta Percent 7 wins + Meta Percent 8 Wins + Meta Percent
10.5% 10.7% 9.9% 11.1% 5%

Izzet Phoenix had a pretty medium Mythic Championship IV. Outside of lacking in high end (eight wins or better) finishes in Modern, the deck performed almost exactly average at every data point. Still, in a world where one deck was as dominant as Hogaak at Mythic Championship IV, performing average might be considered a victory. Heading into Mythic Championship IV, most players pegged Izzet Phoenix as one of the few decks that had a chance to compete with the Hogaak menace, and while it's not clear that anything truly competes with Hogaak at the moment, heading out of the weekend Izzet Phoenix is still one of the best of the rest, along with our next deck...

Day One Meta Percent Day Two Meta Percent 6 wins + Meta Percent 7 wins + Meta Percent 8 Wins + Meta Percent
9.2% 9.7% 14.5% 16.7% 0%

If it wasn't for Hogaak's historic performance at Mythic Championship IV, people would probably be complaining about Karn, the Great Creator and Tron lands since Eldrazi Torn is one of the few non-Hogaak decks that can legitimately claim it had a strong showing at Mythic Championship IV. While it didn't give a single player eight or more wins in constructed, Eldrazi Tron gave 16.7% of its players at least seven wins in Modern, nearly doubling it's 8.2% day one metagame percentage, which is an extremely solid showing.

Day One Meta Percent Day Two Meta Percent 6 wins + Meta Percent 7 wins + Meta Percent 8 Wins + Meta Percent
8.3% 8.3% 3.8% 4.1% 10%

It seems like the "Celestial Colonnade, go" meme might be more than just a Twitter joke, with Blue-White Control being among the worst of the heavily played decks at Mythic Championship IV. While it was one of the few decks that managed to do better at the 8 wins + mark than it did in day one metagame percentage, in general it did a poor job at giving players winning records in the Modern rounds of the event.

Day One Meta Percent Day Two Meta Percent 6 wins + Meta Percent 7 wins + Meta Percent 8 Wins + Meta Percent
8.3% 8% 7.6% 5.5% 5%

Humans was the other big loser among heavily played decks at Mythic Championship IV, and here there aren't really any redeeming numbers. If you start with its day one metagame percentage and read straight through to the eight wins plus metagame percentage, you'll see that it was all downhill for Humans this weekend. It seems like Humans might just be too fair to compete in a world of Hogaaks, free Arclight Phoenixs, and huge Eldrazi coming down on the first couple turns of the game.

Day One Meta Percent Day Two Meta Percent 6 wins + Meta Percent 7 wins + Meta Percent 8 Wins + Meta Percent
7.9% 7.6% 9.2% 8.3% 10%

Last but not least we have Jund, which has to be considered one of the non-Hogaak winners from Mythic Championship IV. While none of its numbers jump off the page, it posted solidly above average numbers at every data point. Toss in the fact that it was the only deck to put two players in the top eight, good old Jund might be one of the better ways to try to keep up with Hogaak. In a Modern format that is so heavily driven by synergy and fast, goldfishing kills, it's good to know that there's still a place for a midrange deck that just looks to play the best and most efficient removal and threats without any particular combo or turn three kill.

Win Percentages

While we don't yet have full matchup data, Wizards released the win percentages for the most played decks on the stream earlier today, and mostly backed up what we've been discussing. Hogaak won a massive 56.2% of the time, making it the best of the heavily played decks by a large margin (Jund was second at 52.3%) and the second best deck overall. So what is this underplayed deck that actually performed better than Hogaak? Trick question. It was actually another Hogaak deck in Hogaak Dredge, which (in a small sample size) won a massive 60.4% of the time.

This said, Urza Thopter Sword deserves a shout out. While the deck fell just outside of our top two tiers based on metagame percentage, it posted a strong win percentage at 55.3%, making it the best non-Hogaak deck at the event. If and when the format changes (perhaps with a Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis banning), keep an eye out for Urza, Lord High Artificer, it might be poised for a breakout performance. The deck is very good, it's just not quite Hogaak good.

These numbers also show just how hard it is to use data like conversion rates to break down a split format tournament. Yesterday decks like Bogles looked like winners since they put all of their players into day two, but now that we can see actual win percentages, it's clear that rather than being the answer to Hogaak, Bogles was actually one of the worst performing decks at Mythic Championship IV, winning just 40% of the time. 

Spiciest Decks

Sadly, there wasn't a ton of spicy decks that actually posted good performances at Mythic Championship IV, but there is good news: since Wizards published all of the deck lists from the tournament, here we aren't limited to just the top performing decks. Here's the most interesting decks that players chose to bring to Mythic Championship IV, with no consideration to the deck's record.

Making infinite mana with Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies is a tried and true strategy in Modern, but what happens if you slot another infinite mana combo into the deck? You end up with Devoted Abundance! The plan here is to get a Leyline of Abundance on the battlefield, perhaps as early as turn zero, and then stick a Freed from the Real on a Birds of Paradise, or Sylvan Caryatid, which allows us to make infinite mana by tapping and untapping the mana dork with Freed from the Real. We can then close the game with Finale of Devastation or with Karn, the Great Creator tutoring the Mycosynth Lattice lock out of the sideboard.

Mono-Red Flame looks surprisingly like a Budget Magic deck, especially if you discount the not 100% necessary fetchlands in the manabase (although they do help power up the single Girm Lavamancer). The Flame of Keld is a powerful Magic card, allowing the deck to force through a huge chunk of damage on the turn when it gets its third lore counter, turning Lava Darts into double Lightning Bolt and Lightning Bolt into Lightning Axe. If you like getting aggressive with red decks and don't want to break the bank, Mono-Red Flame (especially with a more budget friendly manabase) is likely one of the best options to come out of Mythic Championship IV.

Speaking of Mythic Championship decks that probably belong on Budget Magic, Jerry Mee's UW Quest build fits the bill. The goal is to stick a Quest for the Holy Relic, use Faeire Imposter and Glint Hawk to bounce and replace free creatures like Memnite and Ornithopter until we get to five quest counters and then tutor up an Argentum Armor to equip for free and start blowing up our opponent's best permanent every turn while also getting in huge chunks of damage!

What's better than hitting an opponent with Lightning Skelemental? Hitting your opponent with Lightning Skelemental every turn until they are dead with the help of Thunderkin Awakener and Unearth! If you want to see a similar deck in action, make sure to check out the Much Abrew episode Ball Lightning Tribal which went live today!

Unexpected Results is one of the sweetest cards in Magic. While random and uncontrollable, sometimes the Magic gods smile upon you and you end up with an [[Emrakul, the Aeons Torn] on the battlefield on turn three. Erich Hellauer's build of Unexpected Emrakul is basically a Titan Shift deck, looking to ramp into Scapeshift and Primeval Titan to get Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and a bunch of Mountains on the battlefield, with Unexpected Results thrown in for some surprise value.

Most Played Cards

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Normally this is where we post the most-played cards from the tournament, but this time Wizards beat us too it. You can find the most played cards from Mythic Championship IV here, although I'll warn you that it basically reads like a Hogaak deck tech. Still, if you dig deep enough you can find some cool facts. Did you know that one player registered Deep Forest Hermit while another had Knucklebone Witch in their main deck?

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. What did you think of Mythic Championship IV? What do you think about the future of Hogaak in the Modern format? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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