The State of Modern: Quick Hit on Bogles, by Jordan Pollack

Do you like attacking your opponent for with a 13/13 hexproof, first strike, trample, lifelink, reach, vigilance, protection from creatures creature? If so, read on. If not, ALT-F4.

Can all this be done with one lil’ Slippery Bogle? You bet!

While Bogles is a fringe deck in Modern, it’s still powerful enough to be a viable option. I have played and tested this deck thoroughly for six years. My credentials are few because I don’t play a lot of competitive and this deck is meta-dependent, but I did get 101st place at GP Minnesota in 2015. No money because I bubbled. And I used it to win a PPTQ while never dropping a game.

Benefits of this deck: It’s a fast clock so you can get a longer lunch break; it’s fairy easy to pilot and buy; hard to disrupt; and has a very low mana curve. Other than the fetchlands and Horizon Canopy, most of the cards are under $5.

Pitfalls: It’s a glass cannon deck. Either you win easily or you lose easily. It’s non-interactive as well. It’s not solitaire like Storm, Eggs or Krark-Clan Ironworks, but it’s close.

The Deck
Bogles, by Jordan Pollack

 

The Untouchables

4 Slippery Bogle
4 Gladecover Scout
1 Silhana Ledgewalker

The hexproof creatures that make the deck so dangerous.

4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
4 Spider Umbra
4 Rancor

The enchantments that make your creatures dangerous and really hard to kill.

4 Path to Exile

This is a personal choice of mine. It’s more flexible to use this to get through blockers than Spirit Mantle. It can kill annoying creatures in all matchups, such as Spellskite, Qasali Pridemage, Eidolon of the Great Revel, a big Death’s Shadow or a Baral/Goblin Electromancer. It’s even a clean answer to Wurmcoil Engine in Tron. It’s the best removal spell in Modern, period, and I found room for a full playset.

This should force you to play a bit slower (killing them on turn 6 is still a win, people). I would sometimes rather be patient, and knowing when to go — or not go — all-in is important.

The Flex Spots

These include, but are not limited to: Spirit Mantle; Fist of Ironwood; Dromoka’s Command; Suppression Field; Glistener Elf; Dismember; Gaddock Teeg; Ethersworn Canonist; Spirit Link; Noble Hierarch; and Keen Sense (these were at 25 cents before Reid Duke played this deck at Worlds a few years ago; now they are $2-3 each muahahahaa).

In the sideboard, if your meta plays a lot of Living End, play two Relic of Progenitus instead of Natural State. Relic is better than Rest in Peace in that matchup because RIP shuts off your Rancors.

The newbie is Cartouche of Solidarity. I haven’t found room in the 75 and I think it’s a bit underwhelming. Sure, it’s a hedge against Liliana of the Veil, but Jund isn’t that popular, and more and more Death’s Shadow decks are playing her younger and worse sibling Liliana, the Last Hope. Or they are just cutting her entirely.

Gameplay:

Turn 1: G/W land, Bogle, go.

Turn 2: G/W land, Ethereal Armor, Hyena Umbra, attack for 4, go.

Turn 3: G/W land, Ethereal Armor, Daybreak Coronet, attack for 13 you’re dead after a fetch and a shock land. Or just kill them on turn 4. Game 2?

  • Notice the lands. Turn 1 you need G, turn 2 you need WW, turn 3 you need WWW, and that’s just this example. Many games you will need GGG on turn 3. The land base is difficult, so having dual lands that come in untapped is crucial.
  • Horizon Canopy is expensive and can be replaced by Brushland. The draw power on the Canopy is irreplaceable, though. In a deck with zero cards that say “draw a card” outside of your draw phase, you are very limited. You don’t have any search effects to go find silver bullets like in the Knightfall deck with CoCo or Knight of the Reliquary, you aren’t really a combo deck like Living End, and there are some important interactions such as Blood Moon vs. Dryad Arbor, and the intricacies of Daybreak Coronet.
  • You will take 4-8 damage from your own lands per game, so lifelink is important if you are battling against another fair deck.
  • Play your worst enchantments (the cheaper ones) first. Save the Daybreak Coronet until last, because they will want to kill that one first. Make sure you have at least two enchantments on your dude before playing Coronet. If you only have one enchantment on your creature when you try to cast Coronet, they can Abrupt Decay your other enchantment, and then they both fall off. No bueno.
  • Always be ready with a fetchland untapped for Liliana of the Veil, because you can use it to fetch Dryad Arbor in response to her sacrifice a creature ability. Race any other combo, burn, un-interactive deck. Have fun turning your dudes sideways.
  • No Mana Tithe. Too cute and this deck is trying to be proactive, not reactive. You are on the offensive. If you aren’t, you have already lost and you should go to game 2.

Sideboarding

  • I have tested new sideboard plans for game 2 and 3 such as Glistener Elf for a quicker kill. Infect creatures don’t have hexproof, but you can get ‘em when they board out their targeted removal.
  • I have tried mainboarding in 4x Silhana Ledgewalker and then cutting them all for Kor Spiritdancers. I have tried adding blue for Invisible Stalker, Curiosity, counterspells, Cartouche of Knowledge and Spectral Flight. I have tried adding red for Lightning Bolt and haste-granting enchantments. None appealed to me.
  • Natural State over Nature’s Claim. It hits everything you need it to, but your opponent doesn’t gain four life, which is relevant against you the aggro deck.

Good Matchups

Tron

It’s a race to kill them before they assemble Tron. Once that happens there isn’t much you can do against discounted bombs like All is Dust, Ugin, Oblivion Stone, and so on. You have four mainboard Path to Exiles that are huge against Wurmcoil Engine.

No need to bring in Stony Silence, because it just slows you down a lot. At best it delays Tron 1-2 turns. I would rather be strapping up my Kor Spiritdancer. They don’t have a lot of targeted removal, and your Kor Spiritdancer easily gets out of Dismember range.

Death’s Shadow

They have a lot of removal in Terminate, Kolaghan’s Command, Fatal Push, Dismember, etc., so Kor Spritdancer never lives. Cut it for reactive cards. Not a lot of amazing cards in this matchup, but generally their fetches and shocks will do the work for you.

Make sure your guys are big enough to get over a Tarmogoyf. Watch out for Stubborn Denial and Engineered Explosives. Leylines if they go first and you are on the draw. Let them Thoughtseize you after you play your creature turn 1. Your hand will be all multiple enchantments and lands. Take two damage, fool.

Aggro decks

Since I lumped these together I will focus on a few matchups. Leylines for burn; Rest in Peace or Relic of Progenitus for Living End and Dredge; Cage for Elves and Company combo decks, but not for Living End, because it does nothing; Seal of Primordium and Natural State against Affinity. They can out-race you, and you aren’t very good at playing defense against flyers, infecting lands, and god forbid Etched Champion.

Don’t be afraid to cut Dryad Arbor against aggro. I know this leaves us with fewer lands, but it’s definitely my 61st card. It’s needed against Liliana of the Veil decks, but not others. Cut Umbras and leave in Spirit Mantles and Unflinching Courage as they can break the tie in many aggro matchups.

Bad Matchups

Complete blowouts include: Back to Nature; Chalice of the Void on 1; Engineered Explosives; Ugin the giant Tron monster; All is Dust; Spellskite; Phyrexian Unlife; Living End; etc. When I say blowouts I mean blowouts. It’s not like Death’s Shadow where they kill your attacker and then you have a follow-up play. Against these cards you just lose.

This deck doesn’t have a lot of interaction, so combo decks can be tough. Living End, Ad Nauseam, Storm, Krark-Clan Ironworks combo, Cheerios, etc.  Outside of the four paths that I am mainboarding, we can’t stop the creature component of their combos, and we don’t have answers for the spells.

Just try to kill them fast. Sometimes that is what Modern is all about. And thank Death’s Shadow for playing all of the fetchlands and shocklands to do your work for you.

I also don’t like playing against Elves for some reason. Path to Exile you have to save, and even then you can die to a flurry of 1/1 mana dorks. If you don’t have a Rancor or some other way to break a stalemated board, they just chump block you for days. Even if you have a ton of life thanks to Daybreak Coronet, they can deal a lot of damage out of nowhere.

Wrap up

This deck can be frustrating to play. Having to mulligan aggressively for a creature, being stuck on one land, and losing to a random main-boarded Engineered Explosives are feel bads.

On the bright side, you can come back and win on a mulligan to 4-5 cards, which many decks can’t do. You don’t need to play blue cards to stall and draw lots of cards. It is really fun making a small 1/1 into a huge flying monster with lots of important keywords. It’s not too difficult to play with a bit of practice and knowledge of the format. I hope y’all enjoyed this article and in your free time, keep Bogling!

Jordan Pollack is a Tax Accountant and Magic player from suburban Chicago. He holds an accounting degree from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing CPA certification. He enjoys watching the Blackhawks and doing manly things such as fixing a leaky sink, grilling, and making sure his girlfriend has everything she needs (and wants).

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