Modern Horizons – Part 2

IMG_1968

By Byron King
@DoneTheMath
 
 
Picking up right where we stopped with Modern Horizons.
 
 
 
 
If you are looking for cheap ways to recur Arclight Phoenix, Lava Dart is the card for you.  Two spells for a single mana is an insane deal, particularly if you can do something good with the individual points of damage.  If you aren’t looking for the maximum spell count, you should stick with the tempo boost from Gut Shot.

We can finally get rid of any lingering copies of Harvest Pyre, that card is an embarrassment.  This is a respectable answer for red and Izzet decks against cards like Tarmogoyf and Gurmag Angler.  I’m not positive how much Izzet Phoenix wants the option, since Set Adrift has started showing up occasionally.  Magmatic Sinkhole is a permanent answer, but Set Adrift hits artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers.  Still, it’s a nice option to have.

 

This card does a remarkable job dodging removal without Gurmag Angler’s drawback of consuming the graveyard.  There are a lot of incentives to play value land decks in Modern Horizons, and this is a nice finisher if the deck wants to beat down with creatures.

 

This combines with Siege-Gang Lieutenant to do a hefty pile of damage if you’ve got a bunch of goblins to sacrifice.  Where is the Patriarch’s Bidding?

 

Pretty sure Ponza just sets down any copies of Stone Rain to play Pillage and Molten Rain.  The mana is a little tougher, but the versatility is great.  However, I’m no expert on blowing up opponent’s lands.  Maybe the mana is harder to manage that it looks.

 

I first read this card and assumed it needed to tap to activate.  That isn’t the case, and Planebound Accomplice is a cheaper Sneak Attack for Planeswalkers.  However, that requires an absolute pile of work for a benefit that is mediocre at best.

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, you can combine Planebound Accomplice, Cloutstone Curio, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and any other planeswalker for infinite activations (excluding ultimates).  That is cool, but you can straight up kill people with combos that need less cards and/or mana.

This is the kind of card you stick in a shoebox for the next decade after it drops to $2.  Eventually we will get some planeswalker that justifies the cost.  Or maybe somebody breaks it right out of the box with Command the Dreadhorde.  If not, I’m sure we will see more Planeswalker recursion down the line.

 

Juzam Djinn, is that you??

 

Seasoned Pyromancer has all the right text to be appealing, but it is still unclear if it has an immediate home.  Hollow One and Mardu Pyromancer both clearly want to try it, but neither of those decks have been making waves recently.  Dredge might be interested in trying it as a sideboard juke, but three mana for four power isn’t exactly a stellar rate.  Arclight Phoenixe decks aren’t exactly interested in turning spells in hand into tokens in play, though the mono red version might want a little more late game punch.

If someone pressed the issue, I’d assume Hollow One is the first deck that Seasoned Pyromancer would show up in.  I’d give a deck list, but I don’t have enough experience with the deck.  I don’t really want to shave the big delve creatures since they enable Flamewake Phoenix.  Clearly Hollow Ones don’t go.  Maybe any of the extra slots like Collective Brutality are the best swaps?

 

Hey Farva, what’s the name of that restaurant you likw with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?

In all seriousness, Shenanigans is a fantastic sideboard option.  Sick of losing to artifact prion decks?  Shenanigans will grind you thorough everything short of a Chalice of the Void on two.  Traditional Lantern Control decks will need to make more of a shift to Pyxis of Pandemonium if people start playing Shenanigans, and I expect they will.

This isn’t the best sideboard card against fast aggro decks, due to the cost and Sorcery speed, but it is still serviceable.  Just a copy or two against the slow artifact decks should turn an unfavorable matchup into something a lot more palatable.

 

I was a lot more excited for this card until I realized that Trade Routes was already legal in Modern.  There are some slight benefits here, as R to cycle is easier to manage than 2 generic mana, and spare copies of Tectonic Reformation can replace themselves.  Even with all of that, I still think this only has a home in a dedicated Astral Drift deck, and I’m pretty confidant that isn’t a good deck.  Maybe whatever Wren and Six deck emerges wants to use this over the cycling lands, but that feels like a stretch.  That deck shouldn’t need situational cards to grind out value.

 

Stick with Exquisite Firecraft.  Hitting Spell Mastery isn’t going to be a problem if you want this card.  Cool reprint though.

 

This is a great addition to Modern, provided you don’t enjoy using Mox Opal.  Stony Silence has been the gold standard for artifact hate in Modern, but Collector Ouphe will slot in right next to it.  Adding the text to a creature does make it more vulnerable to removal, but it isn’t that simple.  Decks that needed to beat Stony Silence would simply board in a playset of Nature’s Claim and work from there.  That doesn’t work now that the opponent could have a mix.

There are additional benefits beyond simply adding the ability to a different color.  Green has several ways to tutor for creatures between Chord of Calling, Collected Company, Finale of Devastation, Summoner’s Pact, and Eldamari’s Call.  If your deck can support it, you can run a single Collector Ouphe and multiple Stony Silences, really putting the squeeze on an Affinity deck.

Humans will also get a boost from Collector Ouphe.  This is a Stony Silence that Ancient Ziggurat can help cast.

 

Any card that can be cheated into play with As Foretold and friends should be at least considered.  I’m still in the camp of doing unfair things if you are going to the effort of cheating them in, but this requires minimal setup.  Ancestral Visions and Crashing Foothills don’t require the same kind of effort that Living End and Restore Balance need.

If you play with this card, remember that the tokens won’t have haste.  That is different from actual creatures with Suspend, which can attack their first turn.

 

Slam dunk in my cube, but probably a miss for Modern.  The biggest note here is the way they are skirting around the Reserved list card Deranged Hermit.  It is clearly different, but not in a lot of noticeable ways.

 

 

This set was not kind to anyone playing artifact decks.  Force of Vigor is absolutely outrageous as a sideboard card against Affinity.  That deck typically has one or two payoff artifacts and a smattering of support, and this blows that plan out of the water.  That’s not even to mention an opponent going all in on an Arcbound Ravager sac plan.

Force of Vigor is still good against the various prison decks, though it is not at it’s absolute best.  Blowing up an Ensnaring Bridge for zero mana can never be too bad, but repeated artifact destruction (like Shenanigans) is best for breaking down prison.  It is a nice bonus that four mana is pretty much guaranteed to get around Chalice of the Void.

Either Collector Ouphe or Force of Vigor would have been a huge blow against artifacts.  Getting both at the same time is almost obscene.  I suppose it’s a beating against Boggles too.

 

I’d be interested in this card if it pumped up like Figure of Destiny.  At the current templating, I’d be surprised if it saw any play.

 

I’ve seen Living End decks that were designed to play Blood Moon in the main deck.  If something like that is ever reasonable, Krosan Tusker does a good job finding basic lands while sticking with the deck’s theme.  Three mana might still be too expensive, but going up a card instead of breaking even is nice value.

 

Why couldn’t this be something good like a Wirewood Symbiote?   The current three drops in Elves are all at a higher power level than Llanowar Tribe, and I don’t really think it has a spot.

 

 

I’m sure there was a point where Nimble Mongoose would have been a great Modern card, but we are well past those days now.  Threshold is not the easiest mechanic to satisfy, and the decks that can often use their graveyard as fuel for Delve cards.  More importantly, a 3/3 creature doesn’t stack up particularly well against the format.  It certainly isn’t winning a game without backup, and green beatdown decks haven’t been doing good for quite a while.

 

The obvious home for this card is Infect.  I think it is an easy assumption that Infect fits in at least one copy of Scale Up, since it is an instant win with any of the four power pump spells.  It doesn’t stack well at all, so every copy after the first requires more consideration.  I expect the final number ends up in the one or two range, with higher counts in metagames where you absolutely need to maximize your speed.

 

Recurring creatures is easy enough that Spore Frog will find a niche home somewhere eventually.  I’ve got no idea what that home looks like, but it is a fog you can Chord of Calling for in a crunch.  That at least bears mentioning, even if that doesn’t ever come to pass.

 

If you can turn the life into something relevant, like Griselbrand activations, Weather the Storm can actually do something busted.  If you aren’t using the life for anything other than staying alive, don’t blow your load powering up this card.

 

Partners in crime with Dregscape Sliver, Cloudshredder Sliver seems like a fairly safe inclusion in the Sliver deck.  Galerider Sliver is currently the best one drop Sliver, so Flying isn’t the best ability to get.  However, Haste is absolutely fantastic.  The deck will be playing some number of Manaweft Slivers and Gemhide Slivers, and giving haste to your mana creatures is a recipe for dumping your hand in a hurry.

 


I’m pretty sure there will be a point somewhere in the future where we are collectively kicking ourselves for missing some busted combo with this card.  It just seems a little too easy to do something completely outrageous with this, but I’m not exactly sure what.  Collected Conjuring will play kind of like card draw with a ritual attached, assuming proper deck construction.  This doesn’t shuffle the deck before resolution either, meaning it can be set up with a Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

It is worth mentioning that Collected Conjuring is another card that works with the free suspend cards from Time Spiral (and Modern Horizons).

 

I went over a long list of green tutors in Modern when I was discussing Collector Ouphe.  This has to compete with Chord of Calling, Collected Company, Finale of Devastation, and Summoner’s Pact.  There is a chance Amulet Titan is interested in this card, since you can tutor for Azusa or Primeval Titan with far less chance of losing the game.  Eldamari’s Call does lose out on the explosive speed of Summoner’s Pact, but the deck is already playing some white mana.

If Eldamari’s Call is going to find a home anywhere, it will be setting up Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies.  That deck could not ask for a better card to be printed, and it will be a slam dunk inclusion.

 

If you are looking for a way to close out a game with your Faeries deck in Modern, Fallen Shinobi is a respectable choice.  I’m not sure you need to devote extra slots to that, but the option is available.  I wouldn’t touch this in any deck that wasn’t playing Spellstutter Sprite.

 

Unlike the other five color Slivers, I’m actually interested in considering The First Sliver in a competitive deck.  The Slivers deck doesn’t need help winning the game when it has a full board, as Sliver Hiveloard and Sliver Legion both encourage.  Slivers needs help when it gets the board cleared and it has to rebuild.  Cascade is a fantastic method of building value, while still closing out a game that you are already winning.  I expect The First Sliver to see significantly more play than its legendary compatriots.

 

You can’t spend mana to cast this spell is a bizarre line of text on a card.  Dredge could theoretically play this, but you need two green or black creatures, and that deck isn’t particularly good at enabling that.  If you really want a Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis deck, you are better off looking at something like Dredgevine.  Stitcher’s Supplier is a fantastic enabler for Hogaak.

 

I am fairly confidant that this card won’t see significant play in Modern.  First of all, there are not a lot of decks that play both black and white mana.  More importantly, I don’t think this will actually win many games where the various hate modes matter.  Four life and sacrificing a creature might be enough against Burn, but a single graveyard exile and any of the other modes shouldn’t beat a competent Dredge opponent.  I would rather identify the decks I need sideboard cards against and bring powerful hate cards for those instead of trying to cover multiple decks with mediocre hate cards.

If you end up with an Esper control deck, I could imagine a copy of this ending up in the deck.  It is an expensive edict effect that could give a few percentage points against other decks.

 


If you are playing a slow Grixis deck (not Death’s Shadow), Kess is a potent late game engine.  It doesn’t take many turns of getting extra spells to completely overwhelm an opponent.  The body is well stated to dodge cheap removal outside of an active Fatal Push.  I’m not sure if this is better than Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but I would believe that a deck that could play both would be more interested in a mix than maxing out on just one of them.

 

There aren’t a lot of dedicated Spirits in Modern Horizons, so it is worth a look at this one.  Repetitive blink effects can be very strong, but the current Sprits deck isn’t really built to abuse this. Soulherder really needs to be paired with something like Reflector Mage to really gain some traction.

Changelings with relevant abilities are considerations for any tribal deck.  This is certainly no Thalia, but it is a nice card to pair with Thalia for additional protection.  Humans should certainly spend some time trying to fit this into the existing shell.  There is a chance that we have enough Humans to move into a two or three color deck that can utilize cards like Giver of Runes.  Thalia and Meddling Mage are a good combo, and Unsettled Mariner could easily fit right in with that pair.

If you want a clear winner in the set, Wrenn and Six is the card for you.  I can’t imagine a world where Wrenn and Six doesn’t make an impact on Modern.  It makes most decks with Noble Hierarch laughable, particularly when you are on the play.  The plus ability is close to draw a card with just fetch lands, and the new cycling lands are just gravy.  The ultimate should even win the game, provided you’ve got a Lightning Bolt laying around.  Even in decks that aren’t specifically built around it, Wrenn and Six has the power level to compete.  Life from the Loam is the clear winner here, as these two seem like a match made in heaven.

 

Free sacrifice outlets are always worth noting.  Blasting Station was already a functional card for decks that need it, but Altar of Dementia does a few things better.  The easiest difference is the cheaper mana cost.  Beyond that, many decks that want sacrifice outlets use the graveyard in some way.  That means that Altar of Dementia can help set up your combo and then function as a win condition when you find everything.  The downside is that milling an opponent with an Emrakul won’t work very well.

 

If you are playing a multicolor deck with snow lands, put four of these in your deck.  The card is great.  It cantrips for a single mana and it should fix your colors for the entire game.  Tron plays this exact card, but the card draw is delayed and it only makes a color once.

 

Waiting for Stoneforge Mystic to make these relevant.  This sword doesn’t feel as good as Sword of Feast and Famine or Sword of Fire and Ice regardless.

 

Masticore has a long tournament pedigree, but those days are long, long past us now.  At this point, Lesser Masticore’s best chance of being relevant is the discard outlet.  It does function as a win condition for infinite mana that can be found with Collected Company or Chord of Calling and still win through Ensnaring Bridge.  Currently, Walking Ballista and Rhonas the Indomitable were the choices, but each had a problem.

 

We’ve come a long, disappointing way from Chrome Mox and Mox Opal.  If you are interested in waiting three turns for mana, the boost from Lotus Bloom is probably much more beneficial than a recurring mana source.  Disappointing for a card with the word Mox in it, this seems poised to see even less play than Mox Amber.

 

See Sword of Truth and Justice.

 

It feels odd that that Prismatic Vista doesn’t already exist.  It is a nice tool to have, and there are some intriguing possibilities for decks with snow basic lands.  I’m not sure how often this will be better than a regular fetch land, but the Magic hivemind hasn’t had a reason to consider decks that don’t rely on fetch and shock lands.  Prismatic Vista makes a deck with more basic lands an interesting consideration.

 

These are a big boost for Life from the Loam.  Forgotten Cave seems like the early frontrunner for the most useful of the cycle, since Dredge will want to try a few copies out.  Between Life from the Loam and Wrenn and Six, I’d be surprised if some sort of Loam deck didn’t emerge in Modern, and I’m sure some number of cycling lands would be included.

 

This is another puzzle for the Magic hivemind to solve.  Currently, green and white were the only colors that had access to these lands.  They are clearly strong, but how many can a deck support before the life loss is too great?  Playing one of these as your first land is probably going to cost a solid five life over the course of a game, and that clearly isn’t worth the cost.  These will definitely see some play in Modern, but the quantities are going to be up in the air without some testing.

I do think the easiest bet is Burn playing a full set of Sunbaked Canyon.  Elves will play a set of Nurturing Peatland.  Storm might want to try the set of Fiery Islet.  Pretty much any land that is interested in enemy colored fast lands probably wants to at least consider switching to Horizon lands.  Things get a lot more murky after that.

 

Thanks for sticking with me through all those cards!  Good luck with your new brews and updated Modern decks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *