Last weekend I competed in one of the best events I’ve ever been to: the Red Bull Untapped in Florence. The event was free and there was $60,000 dollars in prize money. It was all about sponsorship and how cool Red Bull is. They gave around their product as well plenty of free side events.

The tournament itself was also very cool. It was mixed format, with Modern Horizons Sealed and Modern. I love mixed-format events, and the only time I can play them is at tabletop Mythic Championships. It was a great testing for the MC Barcelona, even though the format was slightly different than it was then: Bridge from Below was legal. I’m a sucker for new formats, with new cool decks. When HogaakVine was out I started testing it and the deck was super hard to play. I spent a lot of time to master the deck, and I love the list I played in Florence.

HogaakVine in Modern

Andrea Mengucci, 5th Place RedBull Untapped Florence 6 July 2019

4 Marsh Flats
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Blood Crypt
2 Swamp (339)
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Carrion Feeder
4 Stitcher's Supplier
4 Insolent Neonate
4 Gravecrawler
1 Cryptbreaker
4 Bloodghast
4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Vengevine
4 Faithless Looting
4 Altar of Dementia
4 Bridge from Below

Sideboard
3 Cryptbreaker
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Assassin's Trophy
2 Nature's Claim
2 Fatal Push
1 Thoughtseize
Blackcleave CliffsCryptbreaker

The only thing that only I did was cut Blackcleave Cliffs and replace them with a mana base of fetch lands. Being unable to play a second-turn Hogaak because of a lack of cards in graveyard happened to me way too often, and I decided to cut on Blackcleave Cliffs as a result.

I agree with the Bridge from Below ban, so I won’t go too deep on a dead deck. Modern is a sick format and there will still be plenty of noninteractive decks even after the ban. But today let’s talk about how HogaakVine can move forward after the ban.

I bought Hogaaks and Vengevine – What Now?

This is why I hate bans and love unbans, because making people’s money disappear is awful. If I wasn’t a professional Magic player who just won $1,500 in Florence thanks to Hogaak, I’d furious at Wizards for having designed a set with such stupid synergies in it. Unfortunately, there’s no refund for you, no wildcards will be given, you just learned the tough lesson of the Modern format.

But is HogaakVine really dead and gone? Because Hogaak + Stitcher’s Supplier or Faithless Looting can still make an 8/8 trample on Turn 2!

The list that I’d like to show you first comes from Mirco De Vito, an Italian player who contributed a lot on the building of the original HogaakVine. He has a stream channel (twitch.tv/2vito) and yesterday he went 4-1 with the following list:

2Vito – Post-Ban HogaakVine

2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Gemstone Mine
4 Mana Confluence
1 Swamp (339)
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Watery Grave
4 Bloodghast
3 Carrion Feeder
3 Cryptbreaker
4 Gravecrawler
4 Hedron Crab
4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Insolent Neonate
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Stitcher's Supplier
4 Vengevine
4 Faithless Looting

Sideboard
3 Assassin's Trophy
2 Collective Brutality
2 Fatal Push
3 Nature's Claim
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Thoughtseize
1 Shenanigans
Prized AmalgamHedron Crab

Altar of Dementia is gone, because without Bridge from Below it can’t create the same huge advantages it could before. We’ll rely more on our creatures, with cards like Prized Amalgam and Hedron Crab, which can mill yourself to get back as many Gravecrawlers, Bloodghasts and Vengevines as you can.

The green splash comes out of the sideboard to help you against Rest in Peace, but in the main deck we’ll use Mana Confluence and Gemstone Mine to fix our colors.

Instead, if we want to rely less on the Vengevine and more of the value engine of Cryptbreaker, we could try a Zombies-oriented build with the help of Undead Augur.

Andrea Mengucci – RB Zombies

3 Marsh Flats
2 Godless Shrine
3 Blood Crypt
3 Polluted Delta
2 Swamp (339)
3 Bloodstained Mire
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Gravecrawler
4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Bloodghast
4 Carrion Feeder
4 Stitcher's Supplier
4 Undead Augur
4 Cryptbreaker
1 Dark Salvation
4 Fatal Push
4 Faithless Looting
4 Thoughtseize

Sideboard
4 Wear/Tear
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Plague Engineer
3 Lightning Axe
2 Collective Brutality
Undead AugurDark SalvationCryptbreaker

Undead Augur in a deck with Carrion Feeder and Gravecrawler is sweet, and something I’m very excited to try. We are less combo-oriented here, as without Vengevine and Insolent Neonate it’s more of a midrange deck with 4 copies of Fatal Push and 4 copies of Thoughtseize. Dark Salvation is a cool toy from old Standard that can also be played for 1 mana to give a creature –X-X equal to the number of Zombies you control.

The power of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis could be enough to make a deck full of cheap and small creatures like this competitive, or at least playable. Hogaak is a messed-up card, and I’m sure there will be a way to break it. Hopefully I’ll find it time for MC Barcelona.