Some players had hoped an emergency ban on Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis would be put into place before Grand Prix Bermingham this past weekend, but with no such action taken by Wizards of the Coast, deck builders had to find their own way to take down the Avatar.
Some of those tools show up in this week's list, along with the usual mix of casual favorites and speculative purchases, so let's get to it.
It's hard to resist the lure of a powerful Demon, especially one that offers you a way to draw cards and thin out your opponent's board, even if it does cost you some life.
Dev, from Strictly Better MTG, put two copies in his version of a Standard Jund Reanimator deck, cheating Vilis into play with Blood for Bones or Bond of Revival, alongside other haymakers like Drakuseth, Maw of Flames and End-Raze Forerunners.
Vilis also plays well with K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, from Commander 2019. Since his activated ability has a black mana cost, you can pay life for it through K'rrik, and then since you lost life, you get to draw even more cards. Jumbo Commander already put out a list that does this, and The Commander's Quarters also played around with the combo in one of their quick-takes videos.
Modern Urza Thopter decks continue to make good use of this artifact, which can help dig for crucial combo pieces, but players are also starting to experiment with it more in other formats.
Matt Nass brought a mono-blue artifacts deck to Fandom Legends, a weekly Arena tournament. While he didn't exactly walk away with first place, the deck does show some of Standard's interesting and underused cards.
Mystic Forge lets you play Karn, the Great Creator, or Ugin, the Ineffable, right off the top of your deck, while Renowned Weaponsmith generates mana and Sai, Master Thopterist creates your army. The potential is there, and if Throne of Eldraine gives us just a few more playable artifacts—a sword taken from a stone, perhaps?—the deck could become a breakout success.
Hogaak decks in Modern are known for their speed, but if there's one deck that can outpace the graveyard strategy, it could be Goblins.
The tribe got some help recently in Modern Horizons, and that was enough to inspire Jim Davis to take a Goblin list to the Mythic Championship in Barcelona.
Goblin Ringleader can quickly refill your hand, and when that refill includes cards like Munitions Expert, Sling-Gang Lieutenant or Pashalik Mons, you're able to keep putting pressure on your opponent, without relying on your own graveyard to do it.
The deck seems well positioned, as the sideboard cards that work against Hogaak do almost nothing against Goblins, so you might be able to steal enough games against a field that is geared almost entirely toward stopping the dredge menace.
Alongside the word 'mox,' no other card in Magic conjures up images of power the way "lotus" does, and MTGGoldfish put the Field to the test recently in a Modern Twiddle Storm deck.
Twiddle and Dream's Grip let you untap Lotus Field, which you can then tap for three mana. Repeat this process using cards like Psychic Puppetry spliced onto Reach Through Mists, or Ideas Unbound.
Continue doing this, making more and more mana with each card cast, until you finish off your opponent with a lethal Grapeshot.
The deck is affordable, resilient and able to win games on turn three, making it a great choice for anyone looking to play something different from Modern's other archetypes.
Nicknamed "Commander Horizons," the set that was intended to mostly shake-up Modern has ended up having an impact on just about every Constructed format under the sun.
Bazaar Trademage seems to have found its calling in Vintage, where it gets to shine alongside Survival of the Fittest and the original Bazaar of Baghdad, intentionally discarding creatures for value.
Could a similar strategy be adapted to Modern? Hogaak dredge decks already attack along a similar axis, and without the support of the lands and artifacts you'll only find in Vintage, Bazaar Trademage makes you jump through more hoops than it may be worth. But at less than 50 cents per copy, it's not too late to get in on the ground floor of this one, despite weeks of appearing on our Top 10 list.
The London mulligan rule has been in effect for a while now, and the Leylines haven't broken the game wide open, despite initial fears. They do remain an interesting deck building inclusion though, as getting a "free" card can't be ignored.
Even more exciting is how you can make playing your spells with flash into an advantage, and The Command Zone picked this leyline as an upgrade to the Sultai Morph deck from Commander 2019.
With Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer in play, the first face-down creature that enters the battlefield each turn gets a three-mana discount. Giving all your spells flash with Leyline of Anticipation means you can now play a face-down creature for free on each opponent's turn as well, letting you quickly establish a board without emptying your hand because Kadena also draws you a card for every morph you play.
It's unlikely you'll get to drop the Leyline for free, being just one of your 99 cards, but the value it generates once it's on the battlefield next to your commander is just too good to pass up.
The Commander's Quarters is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enter the format on a budget. Their ability to identify cards that are both useful and affordable has been a strong influence on our weekly Top 10 Sellers, and that's not changing today.
The Gitrog Monster is a green and black legendary creature that encourages players to think about their deck construction a little differently than what's typical for those colors.
With such a huge emphasis on lands, players often dig deep to find cards that synergize with the Frog Horror, and one example is Cryptic Caves. Since the deck can easily get five lands on the battlefield, you'll almost always have access to the activated ability, and when you do use it, The Gitrog Monster will actually feed you a second card as he sees you sacrifice the land to its own ability.
An effective two-for-one for under 20 cents is good enough for The Commander's Quarters, and good enough to make our list this week.
An alternate win condition for the Twiddle Storm deck, this enchantment benefits from all the cheap spells you're able to cast even if you somehow fail to draw a Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens.
It also shows up in more creature-centric decks, like Blue-Red Arclight Phoenix. These lists also play a ton of cheap spells, but tend to use Faithless Looting and Thought Scour to try and put their own Phoenix into the graveyard, or to quickly flip a Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror.
Adding Aria of Flame lets them pile on damage, even without being a dedicated storm deck, and it lets them avoid some of the graveyard hate everyone is already packing for Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis.
White loves its symmetrical effects, and it also tends to have the best answer cards for an opponent's strategy. Rule of Law manages to be both, and it interacts with a surprising number of strategies in Modern.
Consider for a moment all the cards hurt by this enchantment: Vengevine? Never going to see a second creature spell cast. Arclight Phoenix? Never going to see a second, much less third, instant or sorcery cast.
Snapcaster Mage? Sure, go ahead, give something in your graveyard flashback. You'll never see it cast this turn.
Finale of Promise, or any spell that lets you cast copies? Useless. That Twiddle Storm deck we talked about earlier? Absolutely silenced. You get the idea.
Some of the most degenerate decks in Modern depend on being able to cast more than one spell per turn, which makes Rule of Law a widely useful sideboard card for any deck able to generate just one white mana.
With so many creatures having great abilities that trigger upon entering the battlefield, Soulherder was bound to find a home in Modern. The best shell to emerge so far is Bant, which gives access to Wall of Blossoms, Coiling Oracle, and Eternal Witness.
Ephemerate, also from Modern Horizons, provides another way to trigger all these great abilities, and the whole package is backed up with Force of Negation, Path to Exile, and a card once considered so good it had to be banned from the format: Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
This one didn't quite crack the Top 8 at GP Birmingham, but came close enough that it's worth keeping an eye on.
That's our Top 10 this week: plenty of hits for Commander, Modern, and even Standard. There's still time to experiment before rotation, or to upgrade your favorite 100 card stack with the Commander 2019 preconstructed decks.