Modern Horizons Shopping List

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By Byron King
@DoneTheMath
 
There is no longer any doubt that Modern Horizons made big waves in Modern.  From a set that many players nicknamed “Commander Horizons”, the list of cards appearing in various decks is absolutely staggering.  War of the Spark was justI maintain my Modern collection a little differently than a lot of people.  Instead of building a decks, I maintain a collection that can field almost any deck in Modern.  Essentially, I can build whatever is good at the time, but I don’t own more than one set of Scalding Tarns.  Maintaining this collection is fairly easy, as most sets provide no more than half a dozen cards with the power to compete in Modern.

Modern Horizons took that plan and threw it out the window.  My list of acquisitions just continues to grow as decks incorporate a seemingly endless list of new cards.

My shopping list for just rares and mythics in Modern Horizons consists of:

4x Altar of Dementia
2x Archmage’s Charm
4x Aria of Flame
1x Cabal Therapist
4x Cloudshredder Sliver
4x Collected Conjuring
4x Collector Ouphe
4x Crashing Footfalls
4x Dead of Winter
1x Deep Forest Hermit
4x Echo of Eons
4x Eldamari’s Call
4x Fallen Shinobi
4x Fiery Islet
2x Flusterstorm
2x Force of Despair
4x Force of Negation
4x Force of Vigor
4x Force of Virtue
4x Giver of Runes
4x Goblin Engineer
1x Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
4x Hexdrinker
4x Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4x Ice-Fang Coatl
3x Kaya’s Guile
2x Kess, Dissident Mage
4x Lightning Skelemental
2x Mirrodin Besieged
1x Mox Tantalite
2x Nether Spirit
4x Nurturing Peatland
4x On Thin Ice
4x Plague Engineer
4x Planebound Accomplice
4x Prismatic Vista
4x Ranger-Captain of Eos
4x Scrapyard Recombiner
4x Seasoned Pyromancer
1x Serra the Benevolent
4x Silent Clearing
4x Sunbaked Canyon
1x Sword of Sinew and Steel
1x Sword of Truth and Justice
1x The First Sliver
4x Unsettled Mariner
4x Urza, Lord High Artificer
4x Waterlogged Grove
2x Winds of Abandon
4x Wrenn and Six
3x Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

If you were counting at home, the only cards I’m not looking for are:

  • Astral Drift
  • Ayula’s Influence
  • Ayula, Queen Among Bears
  • Bazaar Trademage
  • Coridal Vampire
  • Endling
  • Force of Rage
  • Future Sight
  • Genesis
  • Marit Lage’s Slumber
  • Mist-Syndicate Naga
  • Morphon, the Boundless
  • Pashalik Mons
  • Reap the Past
  • Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
  • Spiteful Sliver
  • Tectonic Reformation
  • Unbound Flourishing

 

That is only 18 out of 69 cards that I’m opting not to pick up.  Considering how much time I’ve spent thinking about these cards, it seemed beneficial to share my thoughs.

 

 

4x Altar of Dementia

I originally wanted these before Modern Horizons even released, due to a Body Double combo deck.  Those dreams lasted about a week before Hogaak made it’s presence known to the world.  At that point, I didn’t even bother sleeving up the Vesperlark/Body Double deck and instead assembled this monstrosity.

 

4 Bloodghast
4 Carrion Feeder
4 Gravecrawler
4 Hoggak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Insolent Neonate
4 Stitcher’s Supplier
4 Vengefine
1 Darkblast
4 Faithless Looting
1 Lightning Axe
4 Altar of Dementia
4 Bridge from Below
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp

2 Fatal Push
2 Ingot Chewer
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Nature’s Claim
3 Thoughtseize

 

This deck was absolutely nuts, and it definitely needed to be shown the door with a quickness.  Modern is a better place without 100+ power on turn three with the potential to just mill an opponent out on top of that.

Bridgevine won’t be Altar of Dementia’s last appearance in Modern.  A colorless sacrifice outlet will always find a home.  The fact that it mills is a double benefit as it can win the game on top of enabling certain graveyard combos.  Altar of Dementia is simply waiting for the next degenerate combo to appear.

 

2x Archmage’s Charm

Archmage’s Charm is not the kind of card I ever expect to play many of.  It simply isn’t in a great place to compete with hits like Cryptic Command.  Three blue pips is a tight requirement, and there is almost no room for utility lands if you expect to cast this on curve.  If you accept that it is more of a turn 4+ card, getting two choices out of Cryptic Command is significantly better.

The only time I expect to play Archmage’s Charm is a copy or two in a blue control deck like Blue Moon.  The biggest reason that would happen would be an abundance of one drop cards that need to be stolen.  If something like the Dark Depths combo was legal in Modern, I’d be super interested in Archmage’s Charm to steal 20/20 tokens.

 

4x Aria of Flame

When Modern Horizons spoiler season was in full swing, Aria of Flame was a speculative addition to Izzet Phoenix and to Storm.  It didn’t take long for Gerry Thompson to post a decklist after winning a local tournament.

 

4 Thing in the Ice
4 Arclight Phoenix
2 Aria of Flame
4 Faithless Looting
2 Finale of Promise
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
2 Lava Dart
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Magmatic Sinkhole
4 Manamorphose
3 Surgical Extraction
4 Thought Scour
1 Fiery Islet
2 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Spirebluff Canal
2 Steam Vents

 

The individual card choices have fluctuated somewhat, but Aria of Flame has firm control over the flex spots this deck had for additional threats.  Aria of Flame does not rely on the graveyard like Pyromancer’s Ascension.  It also does not need full playsets of spells to maximize triggering, allowing for a wider variety of spells.

I didn’t a MTGO result for Storm with Aria of Flame, but mtgtop8.com has a few decklists with it.  It seems like an easy switch for Storm, and it might be worth building around more directly.  Even as an incidental win condition, it does the job well.

 

1x Cabal Therapist

Cabal Therapist certainly doesn’t seem to be getting much love.  I don’t believe the card is very good, but a cheap creature with a recurring effect has a higher than average chance of seeing play.  I’m planning to pick up a copy in case a Chord of Calling/Finale of Devastation/Eldamari’s Call deck needs it as a sideboard tutor target.

 

4x Cloudshredder Sliver

Currently, Slivers is a step behind some of the other tribal strategies in Modern.  It’s clock is similar to Humans, but without Human’s disruption.  It is slower than Elves or Goblins, though neither of those are particularly good strategies.  Merfolk is about the same speed, but countermagic gives the fish an edge in a lot of places.  Slivers gains an edge from some of the oddball utility slivers along with a suite of lords.  I don’t expect Cloudshredder Sliver to make the difference, but a Sliver that gives haste will definitely show up if a list ever materializes.

The short answer here is that I’ll be picking up a set eventually, just in case.

 

4x Collected Conjuring

This is a speculative card, but they are very cheap right now.  This is one of many cards that synergize with the manaless Suspend cards.  I probably won’t get to experiment with that deck for a while, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.  Not counting Instants is rough, but I’m out a whole dollar if Collected Conjuring never pans out.

 

4x Collector Ouphe

Rest in Peace and Stony Silence are the two biggest sideboard cards for white in Modern.  Collector Ouphe is green’s Stony Silence.  Being a creature makes it vulnerable to a significantly larger suite of cards, so it initially looks like a downside.  However, green is very good at searching for creatures.  Collected Company, Chord of Calling, Finale of Devastation, and Eldamari’s Call can all find this card.  Being a creature also makes Collector Ouphe playable in Humans.  The Humans deck has very finicky mana for non-creature spells.  Collector Ouphe is more reliable than Stony Silence, since you can actually expect to resolve a Collecotr Ouphe on turn two.  Stony Silence only has about ten mana sources that can cast it, and that includes Noble Hierarch.  Collector Ouphe will be a fixture of green sideboards and a silver bullet target for years to come.

 

4x Crashing Footfalls

Suspend cards are dangerous.  Ancestral Visions was a powerhouse in Standard, and it still sees occasional play in Modern.  Living End is a Modern playable deck.  Hypergenesis isn’t even legal in Modern.  Crashing Footfalls doesn’t have the pedigree of those cards, but it is a fair, powerful card that has the chance to be abused.  We have several cards that can cheat the cost now, between As Foretold, Electrodominance, Dreadhorde Arcanist, and Finale of Promise.  You can realistically play Crashing Footfalls fairly on the first few turns, or do something to abuse it with the cards that cheat it into play later.  You can even slot it into a fair deck like Jund if you really want to.  Eight power for one mana is a lot, even if you have to wait for it for a while.

 

4x Dead of Winter

Modern doesn’t have access to Toxic Deluge, but Dead of Winter does a decent imitation for some decks.  Currently, we’ve seen some Urza, Lord High Artificer decks that use snow lands, and Dead of Winter is the easiest splash card you can imagine.  Between Arcum’s Astrolabe and Prismatic Vista, Dead of Winter only needs a single Snow-Covered Swamp to be reliably castable out of the sideboard.  That is a versatile card that could show up in multiple places.

 

1x Deep Forest Hermit

This one is more of a cheat than a lot of these other cards.  Deep Forest Hermit is a great card in Cube, so I needed to pick up a copy.  I suppose there is a chance that Deep Forest Hermit ends up as a niche sideboard card for green decks that can search, but I can’t see it ever beating something like Thragtusk in Modern for versatility.  There are some rumors about Squirrels making a comeback in Magic though.

 

4x Echo of Eons

The easiest home for Echo of Eons is in Legacy paired with Lion’s Eye Diamond.  Those two cards pair for a zero mana Timetwister.  Plenty of people have already talked about that, and Storm decks are already trying it as a possibility.

Modern might want it for something too.  Faithless Looting puts it in the graveyard if you want to do something unfair and want a Timetwister.  Narset, Parter of Veils is also looking for cards to completely lock out an opponent’s hand.

 

4x Eldamari’s Call

Devoted Druid combo is looking great in a format that doesn’t have a high amount of interaction.  Eldamari’s Call is an incredibly efficient tutor that just happens to be in same colors as Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies.  That alone is a good enough reason to need Eldamari’s Call.

 

4x Fallen Shinobi

Ninjas?  Honestly, I probably don’t need these.  It has some impressive synergy with Spellstutter Sprite though.

 

4x Fiery Islet

I learned years ago that the most important part of a Magic collection is the manabase.  If you are missing lands, you can’t realistically build a large suite of decks.  This cycle of lands is clearly powerful, and they will all show up somewhere.

 

2x Flusterstorm

Flusterstorm is probably worse than Spell Pierce in a lot of places.  That said, there will be times where a blue deck really wants extra cards against Storm.  I’ll make sure I’ve got a couple, just in case I need them.

 

2x Force of Despair

I’m a pretty big fan of the phrase “If it’s free, it’s me”.  Force of Despair doesn’t have a lot of apparent homes, but Bontu’s Last Reckoning does see some play.  Force of Despair seems like a good fit for those decks.

 

4x Force of Negation

If there is a single card that has a long term impact on Modern, it will be Force of Negation.  I know that is a bold statemen, considering the rise of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Wrenn and Six, but I’m confidant.  Hogaak fits into graveyard decks, mainly Bridgevine (if we still call it that) and Dredge.  It is incredibly strong there.  Wrenn and Six have revitalized Jund and probably has more homes elsewhere (including dominating Legacy).  Force of Negation offers more for Modern.  Force of Negation will give every blue deck the potential to tap out and still respond to threats.  In a combo driven format like Modern, the importance of that fact can never be overstated.  If you ever plan to play blue decks in Modern, you’ll need a set of Force of Negation.

 

4x Force of Vigor

Force of Vigor is absurdly unfair against artifact (Affinity) and enchantment (Boggles) decks.  Beyond that, it offers a zero mana opportunity to fight cards like Grafdigger’s Cage and Leyline of the Void.  Collector Ouphe might be the better card in some scenarios, but Force of Vigor will be an important sideboard card for a different swath of decks.

 

4x Force of Virtue

It’s been a long time since an anthem effect was playable outside of Standard.  The closest Modern gets are creatures that happen to pump other creatures like Thalia’s Lieutenant and Lord of Atlantis.  The main reason is that Modern is simply too fast to spend a card and a turn’s worth of mana to provide a global pump effect.  Force of Virtue gets around that by not taking up the mana.  You can deploy creatures and token producers for the first few turns and still get the benefit.  In Modern, the tempo boost matters much more than a replicable card in your hand.  Force of Virtue won’t see a ton of play, but it is still a nice option to have.

 

4x Giver of Runes

Proactively protecting creatures is important, and there are plenty of decks in Modern that only have a token amount of creature removal.  Giver of Runes can tax those decks to the breaking point, requiring multiple removal spells to stop early kills.  Glistener Elf, Devoted Druid, and friends are all interested in this kind of protection.  The single mana makes it a nice tutor target for Ranger-Captain of Eos too.

 

4x Goblin Engineer

The original hype for Goblin Engineer revolved around Trash for Treasure.  Currently, Goblin Engineer is seeing play in the Urza, Lord High Artificer decks to find and place Sword of the Meek in the graveyard.  Since that is exactly where you want it, Goblin Engineer is a great fit for those decks.  There are plenty of abusable potential with Goblin Engineer, so picking up a set seems wise.

 

1x Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

I’ve got no idea what Hall of Heliod’s Generosity will be used for, but it is a nice card to have access to.  Unlike Academy Ruins, there aren’t exactly a plethora of enchantments to recur from the graveyard.  That said, they are making new Magic cards every day.  Seal of Doom isn’t exactly the most exciting card to recur, but maybe a deck in the future will be interested.  I’m not interested in more than a single copy of this card, since it is legendary.  Even Academy Ruins doesn’t typically see play in multiples.

 

4x Hexdrinker

There was a while where Jund decks were experimenting with Hexdrinker.  Most of the Jund decks from Mythic Championship Barcelona did not include Hexdrinker, but there is a chance the metagame shifts to be more favorable to an additional creature.  Having access to a set is nice.  Casual appeal does appear to be propping up the price of this card, so it doesn’t seem super likely that it will get cheaper either.

 

4x Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

“If it’s free, it’s me.”  I don’t think any more words need to be typed about this affront to humanity.

 

4x Ice-Fang Coatl

I already talked about how easy it is to splash Dead of Winter into decks with a bunch of basic lands.  Ice-Fang Coatl is pretty much the same thing, except it is a removal spell that draws a card.  It’s hard to go too wrong with that.

 

3x Kaya’s Guile

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is a messed up magic card.  If you can get away with running graveyard hate without it being embarrassing, you should fit some in your deck.  I’m not sure there is ever a good reason to include Kaya’s Guile in your deck over Nihil Spellbomb, but options are always nice.  Maybe you just need a card that hoses Burn and Hogaak.

 

2x Kess, Dissident Mage

Kess is a Legacy playable card, so it will probably show up in Modern at some point.  It has some stiff competition, but the value can’t be denied.  I can’t imagine more than a copy or two in a deck, since I could just play a copy or two of Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  A copy or two would be a safe bet though.

 

4x Lightning Skelemental

Lightning Skelemental has already shown up in Modern decks.  The synergy with Unearth and Thunderkin Awakener does a brutal Mind Twist impersonation.  Plus, how can you not like a deck named 8-Ball.

 

2x Mirrodin Besieged

Sai, Master Thopterist has a Modern pedigree, so an enchantment that does most of the same thing has potential.  The alternate win condition has some potential too.

 

1x Mox Tantalite

In the newest instalment of “How can we make a card named ‘Mox’ bad”, we have Mox Tantalite.  That said, it has already seen a small amount of play.  There are decks interested in using Reshape to tutor for Lotus Bloom.  Having a permanent mana source that those decks can tutor for is worth a deck slot.  Hence my interest in acquiring a single copy of this card.

 

2x Nether Spirit

Legacy Pox decks, when they actually appear, typically run a copy or two of Nether Spirit.  Modern Smallpox decks could adapt the same technology.

 

4x Nurturing Peatland

See Fiery Islet.

 

4x On Thin Ice

I’ve already talked about how easy it is to splash snow cards.  On Thin Ice likely doesn’t even need a splash, but it is vulnerable in ways that Ice-Fang Coatl and Dead of Winter are not.  Assassin’s Trophy is a very real card, and losing your creature removal to it is rough.  The biggest concern is that Assassin’s Trophy is already good against decks that would consider On Thin Ice, since they will probably be full of planeswalkers.

 

4x Plague Engineer

Plague Engineer is a fantastic sideboard hate card that happens to be good enough for some maindeck play.  Humans, Elves, and Goblins are also probably shut down immediately by this card.  If the opponent isn’t immediately stopped by Plague Engineer, it is still a 2/2 deathtouch creature that might kill off a card.  That is a lot of value from a single card.

 

4x Planebound Accomplice

Eventually, we will get some busted planeswalker with an insane ability, and Planebound Accomplice will be there to cheat it into play way too early.

 

4x Prismatic Vista

If you want to play a two color deck in Modern, you should have some number of Prismatic Vista in your deck.  After the appropriately colored fetch land, Prismatic Vista is a better option than an off color fetch land.  Not the most powerful card, but Prismatic Vista will see play in the widest range of decks.

 

4x Ranger-Captain of Eos

Ranger-Captain of Eos has shown up in Modern, typically tutoring for Death’s Shadow.  A three mana 3/3 that tutors for a one mana 9/9 is pretty hard to argue with.

 

4x Scrapyard Recombiner

Modular is a strong mechanic, as Arcbound Ravager continues to remind us about.  The current build of Hardened Scales doesn’t appear interested in Scrapyard Recombiner, but it is a cheap pickup in case that changes.

 

4x Seasoned Pyromancer

If you like doing fair, red things, Seasoned Pyromancer is the card for you.  Jund and Mardu are both interested in this card, turning dead removal spells into live draws.  Mardu, in particular, has several cards that it is interested in throwing away for value.

 

1x Serra the Benevolent

Worship occasionally shows up in sideboards, and Serra the Benevolent is probably a better version of Worship.  It is a solid defensive card that can still provide a threat if you need it.  If you want to play Serra the Benevolent as a threat, you probably want Gideon, Ally of Zendikar instead.  That means I’m only interested in a copy as a replacement for Worship.

 

4x Silent Clearing

See Fiery Islet.

 

4x Sunbaked Canyon

See Fiery Islet.

 

1x Sword of Sinew and Steel

Eventually, Stoneforge Mystic will be unbanned.  It might be six months from now and it might be six years from now.  Either way, I’d like access to all the swords, just in case.

 

1x Sword of Truth and Justice

Essentially the same reason I’m interested in Sword of Sinew and Steel, having access to the full set seems important.  I expect there will be chances to play with Stoneforge Mystic again.

 

1x The First Sliver

I mentioned picking up Slivers on the possibility that they become a playable tribe in Modern.  The First Sliver is a nice sideboard card for grindy matchups.  It provides an absurd amount of card advantage.  That said, it is a five mana card that you’re looking to play after a board wipe.  That implies that there won’t be any mana accelerants in play, so multiples seems greedy.

 

4x Unsettled Mariner

The Changeling creature type makes Unsettled Mariner playable in Spirits and Humans.  Thalia is still the better card, but Unsettled Mariner can act as additional copies and they can stack without the Legendary card type.  Having a full set around seems reasonable.

 

4x Urza, Lord High Artificer

All of the prison decks all seem to have become Urza, Lord High Artificer decks.  They don’t really lock the opponent out, but the deck wins on the spot when it can resolve Urza, Lord High Artificer with the Thopter Sword combo out.  There is certainly an appeal to making your “prison” artifact deck capable of winning on turn four, so I can see the appeal.  As the backbone of an entire archetype, I definitely wanted the full set.

 

4x Waterlogged Grove

See Fiery Islet.

 

2x Winds of Abandon

It is tough to compete with Path to Exile as the premier white removal spell in Modern.  Winds of Abandon doesn’t change that, but it does act as the next best card if you want more than four copies.  As a sideboard option, it can be removal or a board wipe in bigger mana decks.  That mode is incredibly hard to beat out of the correct decks.  It also has synergy with Chalice of the Void, since you can keep your removal spell unlocked around your own Chalice.
4x Wrenn and Six

This card is busted.  Legacy has already adopted this card as a cheap way to recur Wasteland to lock people out.  Modern Jund has found room for 3-4 copies as a cheap source of removal and lands, while still providing a game winning ultimate.  I’d say this was on my list to buy, but I snapped these up pretty much as soon as I could preorder them.

 

3x Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Yawgmoth combos with any creature with Undying.  A pair of Geralf’s Messengers and Yawgmoth deals your life total minus one times two, so 38 damage if you are at 20 life.  That is more than enough to kill most opponents.  Since Yawgmoth is a creature, it has a chance to slot into various creature combo decks the way that Spike Feeder and Archangel of Thune occasionally slot into toolbox decks.  It is a great source of card advantage to dig for other combos too, provided your deck is filled with Birds of Paradise and friends.

 

 

I think that wraps everything up.  Modern Horizons has already made a huge impact on the format, and I’m pretty sure we are only scratching the surface.

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