Welcome back everyone! This part weekend was the first big Modern tournament since the unbannings, and boy was it a big event. The Magic Online Championship featured some of the best players in the world, and the lists they came with did not disappoint.
Originally, this article was going to be a breakdown of what preformed well at the MOCS, but I decided that I wanted to write more in depth about the top finishers of the tournament, and today I want to start with Bogles.
Bogles, by Dmitriy Butakov at MOCS – 1st
Butakov is now a two time Magic Online Champion, and this year, he did it with a deck many consider to be skilless and heavily variance based. While the deck is certainly victim to variance, its wins are not free, and there are a ton of edges to be gained through tight play, just like with any other Modern deck.
In my article following Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, I said that Bogles was a great choice moving forward, because of its extremely fast clock and resiliency against removal, as well as the fact that it was unexpected.
To begin, we can cross the unexpected part right out of the list of strengths for the deck. After Dan Ward’s win at Grand Prix Toronto and this MOCS win in the hands of Dmitriy Butakov, it would be insanity to expect people to be taken by surprise when you play your first Slippery Bogle.
Nonetheless, the deck has a ton of strengths that the meta isn’t prepared for, and I think it is currently one of the best possible options for a tournament.
As you can tell just by taking a quick glance at the decklist, alot of the cards in this deck serve the same functions. We’ve got our hexproof creatures, our pump enchantments, and just a few wild cards. This leads to a ton of our cards being redundant, which, while it sounds bad, is actually a good thing.
Because our deck is made up of just about three different types of cards, (Lands, Threats, Pump) we can be confident that in almost every game, we will be drawing enough of each to function. This is incredibly important, as we are an aggro deck that is not based in blue, and thus cannot play cantrips to smooth out our draws. By filling our deck with similar cards, we ensure that we can hit a critical mass of necessary spells just by natural drawing. The best example of a redundant deck that isn’t Bogles would be Burn. While Burn has Lava Spike and Rift Bolt, they are essentially just more copies of Lightning Bolt, our best card. Here, we have Spider Umbra, Hyena Umbra, and Gryff’s Boon, but they are all roughly equivalent, giving us a greater chance of drawing enough to close out a game.
Some people call this deck GW Hexproof, which, while boring, is pretty accurate. Most of our threats that we attempt to end the game with aren’t killed by removal, which is incredibly important, because it means that we fill our opponent’s deck with dead cards. In comparison to other creature combo decks like Infect or Vizier Company, we are much less scared of cards like Fatal Push or Lightning Bolt.
Normally, this would only matter against a few decks in the meta, because of the prevalence of combo, but Jund is making a huge resurgence thanks to Bloodbraid Elf, and that means more Pushes and Bolts, which is fantastic for us. Abrupt Decay is something to watch out for, as it can hit a crucial aura, but overall, our creatures having hexproof negates a ton of opposing cards and significantly boosts the power of our deck.
Quite honestly, I can think of one deck faster than Bogles at killing the opponent, and that is BR Hollow One, with an absurd draw. Infect sometimes does it, but not nearly with as much consistency as we have.
This strength is a combination of the first two. Our Hexproof creatures negate the removal our opponents have in hand, while our amalgam of auras grow them into enormous monsters. While many opponents can still play random creatures and chump block, the game is effectively over on turn 3 anytime you can stick a Daybreak Coronet on an enchanted Bogle and fade the Abrupt Decay.
4) Punishing Stumbles
No deck does it better. That’s right. No other deck in Modern punishes stumbles as hard as Bogles does. Not Ponza, not Burn, not even Dredge. If you stumble against Bogles, you will lose, simple as that.
Because of the way Modern works, (aggressive mulligans, risky keeps, nonfunctional draws, etc.) your opponents are bound to stumble once or twice per tournament, if not more. If you are sitting across from them at that time on Bogles, you will have just won the game.
Because of Bogles’ speed and consistency, the deck will run you over faster than you can say “Mull to five.” This is crucial in a proactive format like Modern, and will earn you a bunch of free wins that may have been lost with other decks.
1) Vulnerability to Hand Disruption
While our deck is redundant enough that we will always have a creature and auras for it, this does not guarantee us more than one Bogle. If a turn one Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughtseize picks off our Slippery boy, we are in for a rough day.
The mainboard Leylines are a huge concession to just this, as if we manage to stick a Leyline and strand even more of our opponent’s cards in their hand, the game gets real easy. Personally, I think the mainboard Leylines are needed, as our deck is so, so weak to hand disruption that we wouldn’t be able to win without them.
2) Inherent Variance
This one feels bad, but is true. While I did say our deck is consistent, (and it IS) it does simply need to have a creature in the opening hand. Sometimes we don’t and we mulligan, miss, and lose. That’s just the luck of the draw, and something that comes built into the deck.
Now, as a way to circumvent this, don’t keep bad hands! In the Competitive Magic community, there is this sort of fear of mulling, as if you mull too low, there oftentimes isn’t a game to play. With decks like Bogles, you HAVE to mull aggressively. If you have a hand with no creatures, you will not win the game. You will feel like you played a game, as you can fetch your Dryad Arbor and put a few Auras on it, or maybe draw a Bogle two turns down the line and lose a few turns later, but all you did was give yourself the illusion of playing a game of Magic.
This deck isn’t built for grindy games, it’s built to be explosive and win fast. If your hand can’t kill your opponent, even if it has five cards in it, don’t keep! A three card hand with Land, Land, Bogle is MUCH better than a Hand of Land, Land, Land, Aura, Aura, Aura, Leyline.
Overall, I think Bogles is a deck that requires very little skill to pick up and play, but a ton of time and practice to master. If you plan on playing this at an upcoming GP, I beg you, put in the reps. Good results and bad results are determined by one-round differences, and losing matches that you could have won if you had more experience with a deck you thought was easy to play is a huge mistake.
I hope everyone enjoyed this article and likes Bogles as much as I do. Good luck in whatever tournaments you have coming up, and I hope this helped convince you that Bogles is a good choice and great to play (or that you hate it and wish it was banned, we’ll take either)!
See y’all next week,
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