The upcoming Pro Tour 25th Anniversary will feature Standard, Modern, and Legacy. While Standard gets a lot of time in the spotlight as a matter of course, you might not be quite up to speed on Magic’s Eternal formats. While there are specialists much more qualified than me to do this for Legacy, Modern is my favorite Constructed format and the one I spend the most time playing. In the lead up to the PT, I’ll be breaking down the decks that are likely to see play, and explain the game plan, strengths, and weaknesses of the format’s major archetypes. This week, I’m looking at Bogles, and you can find previous deck breakdowns here.
What Bogles Does
Before I actually talk about the deck itself, now is a good opportunity to clear up an incredibly important point of contention. The word “bogle” is highly distinct from the word “boggle,” in both meaning and pronunciation, and the constant mispronunciation of “bogle” as “boggle” is the source of far too much infuriating eye-twitching. It’s BOH-gul, not BOG-gul. For what it’s worth, Eidolon is actually pronounced eye-DOH-lon, but I’m not going to choose to die on that particular hill.
The mispronunciation of the deck’s name isn’t the only thing that a lot of people find enormously irritating—the deck itself is highly non-interactive, seeking to blank as many opposing cards as possible by having more or less everything in sight be hexproof. Given the huge amount of spot removal in Modern, playing a hexproof 1/1 and loading it up with powerful Auras like Ethereal Armor and Daybreak Coronet is often an airtight plan, and main deck Leyline of Sanctity prevents discard spells and sacrifice effects from disrupting the game plan.
This deck is a one-trick pony, but the trick it does is pretty effective. Play a creature, pile Auras onto it, and gain value if with a smattering of cards like Kor Spiritdancer and Gryff’s Boon. It’s a game 1 deck in the truest sense—many decks, especially slower ones, have an unbelievably unfavorable matchup before sideboarding due to the non-interactive and blazing speed of Bogles.
bigward28, 7-1 in a Modern MOCS
As mentioned, the fact that this deck will often win a more or less uncontested game 1 is one of its greatest strengths. The Modern format isn’t usually set up to go up against a little hexproof Bogle, and by the time it’s a flying, first-striking, vigilant, trampling, lifelinking 20/20 (with reach), the game is all but over. Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile—all of these cards are mostly blank rectangles of cardboard against this deck.
The speed of the Bogles deck is also incredible, especially when it comes to busted Ethereal Armor draws. It can also trample through blockers thanks to Rancor, and will outrace more or less any deck if a Daybreak Coronet sticks. This means Bogles excels against both slow, ponderous decks and decks that seek to race, which is a great position.
The most obvious weakness Bogles has is to post-board enchantment removal, especially when you consider how efficiently costed cards like Back to Nature are. Ray of Revelation, Fracturing Gust, or even a well-placed Disenchant can be a nightmare for a Bogles player to fight through. Other cards that fight nonland permanents more generally—Engineered Explosives or Ratchet Bomb—are also excellent against Bogles, and generally solid inclusions in Modern sideboards everywhere.
Secondly, there are a number of similarly non-interactive decks that can completely ignore everything the Bogles deck is attempting to achieve, and instead just execute their own (hopefully faster) game plan. Decks like Storm, Ad Nauseam, and KCI Combo can all combo off without really paying attention to what the opponent is doing, and will often get a free ride against the near-total lack of interaction played by Bogles decks.
This is another critical weakness of the Bogles deck—its disruption suite is light-to-nonexistent, and while it can bring in massively hateful cards post-board (Rest in Peace, Stony Silence, Gaddock Teeg), it still doesn’t have the tools to grind out a longer, more interactive game. If you can outstrip Bogles on raw power level, there’s very little they can do about it.
How to Beat Bogles
Chances are, if you can remove the single creature they’ve been piling Auras onto and have any kind of clock, you’re going to be in good shape. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the easiest thing. Not only is spot removal ineffective, they have Leyline of Sanctity and Dryad Arbor to fight sacrifice effects and Umbra Auras to fight sweepers. Some W/U Control decks have taken to playing Terminus—now that’s the card for the job.
Be sure to include some cards in your board that can and will tilt this matchup back in your favor. The time may not be right for Back to Nature (one day, Enchantress will reign supreme in Modern, but it is not this day), but playing Engineered Explosives is a great call against not only Bogles but the wide-open Modern field in general, given its role as a flexible answer that can blow up enchantments.
Finally, you can gain an advantage by studying the list posted above and memorizing the cards it plays, as most Bogles lists are almost identical. The main deck rarely changes outside of maybe two or three cards, and the sideboard often contains the usual suspects you see above. Remembering, for example, that most lists play just two main deck Paths, or that if you see an Unflinching Courage then they’ve probably only got one Spirit Link in their deck.
A final tip—if they control a creature with exactly two Auras, one of which is Daybreak Coronet, blowing up the other Aura will also remove the Coronet. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
Bogles is often the choice of those looking to freeroll their way into some wins against an unpredictable and volatile Modern metagame, and for that reason it’s almost certain we’ll see it in some numbers in Minneapolis. We’ll see if the little Bogley boys can put up the numbers at the next Pro Tour!