Praise be to to Wizards of the Coast for taking action against one of the more degenerate decks we’ve seen in a while in Modern, Hogaak Bridgevine. Since the release of Modern Horizons, the somewhat relevant at the time Bridgevine deck had jumped to arguably tier 0.5 status, where you were likely making a mistake by not running the strategy. It was so bad that WotC has decided that the titular “bridge” in should be banned. It’s not particularly surprising, given the amount of degeneracy that card can be involved in.
The main strength of the deck was how three of its engine pieces, , , and played together. Each of the pieces fed into the next, making a loop that would either put effectively infinite power on the board (more like 20-30+) or mill your opponent out.
Hogaak as a future problem
I’m of the mind that Hogaak should have been the card to bite the dust, though even preemptively recognized how unlikely it would be to ban a card that had only recently been printed. The way I see it is simple, is often easily a 0 mana 8/8 trample that doesn’t put you down a card.
I think that the combination of delve and being able to be cast from graveyard is going to become problematic in the future. I like Wizards pushing the envelope on card design, but am slightly worried if that comes with no recourse for correcting those mistakes directly, and instead making changes in decks that have other pieces around them.
Altar of Dementia as a future problem
The third engine piece for the new Bridgevine deck was . This was a reprint, but was a new card for Modern. This was the third likely candidate for ban today, however like Hogaak, it also had a brand new printing in Modern Horizons. It’s bad press to have a banned card in packs that are still currently sitting on shelves at local game stores.
I think that this card could be problematic in the future, but I think that the most likely candidate to abuse Altar by far is Hogaak. Time will tell if the card is an unplayable meme or unstoppable engine, since I think it’s unlikely for its playability to be somewhere in between.
Overall I think that Modern is going to be in a much healthier state than it was even just last week, and here's hoping for less nonsense like Hogaak Bridgevine in the future. Do you think that the banning was enough, or will there need to be some other steps in order to ensure a good Modern future.