A New Modern On The Horizon

by Andreas Petersen on 17 June 2019, Monday

Andreas Petersen

 

Modern Horizons is finally fully spoiled, so I thought I would go through ALL cards that I find Modern playable and say a few words about each. Please feel free to add to my description and chime in if I missed something exciting. Let's go!

 

Serra the Benevolent

Serra is playable in a world where Lingering Souls, Spectral Possession and Bitterblossom are the backbone of a White-Black Tokens strategy. We are not by any stretch of the imagination at the point where such a strategy is prominent, but it's something to keep in the back of our heads.

 

Urza, Lord High Artificer

Way smarter players than me quickly discovered Urza's synergy with Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry. My experience with decks like this tells me that they can be good until the metagame reacts and starts packing Stony Silence, Rest in Peace and other hateful cards to stack the deck against the powerful artifact strategy.

 

Seasoned Pyromancer

This card is an extremely powerful design which is good against spot removal because it creates numerous bodies, but also interacts favorably with graveyard shenanigans like Arclight Phoenix and flashback cards. I can't wait to see what clever deckbuilders have in store for this one!

 

Ranger-Captain of Eos

This card has two uses in the Humans deck. It provides the deck with card advantage that will come in handy against Control and Midrange strategies, and it stops combo decks and the occasional Terminus. The deck has been playing around with different options in the three-drop slot for a while, but I expect a few copies of the Captain to become mainstays. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised to see lifegain fanatics play around with it in Martyr of Souls decks.

 

Echo of Eons

This card has "break me" written all over it. With Faithless Looting as a naughty enabler already, time will tell if Storm will implement this Timetwister wannabe and become a major player in the metagame again. With little to no free interaction available, going all in on a draw seven might be a viable strategy in the future.

 

Force of Negation

Speaking of free interaction... This card is very contextual in the sense that it is very bad in a world of Humans, Phoenix, Midrange and Control decks, but will be great if there is a lot of Tron and Combo at the top tables. At first I thought you could power your Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria through counter magic, but I guess that would be too powerful. Look out for Blue-White strategies to toy with this one.

 

Giver of Runes

I had a good laugh when my friend, fan favorite and Magic Pro League competitor Andrea Mengucci, missed the magic word "another" on the card and called it an instant Legacy staple. Unfortunately, this is not a Human and can't target itself, so I predict this will only be a neat little toy for Devoted Druid combo where it acts as a one mana Spellskite to protect your combo creatures. Sure, a new disruptive creature strategy could surface, but the manabase of Humans, not to mention the creatures themselves, really set a high bar.

 

Dead of Winter

A three-mana sweeper is great, but I think the cost is too high. Who knows, maybe there will be a Tarmogoyf deck in the market for sweeping for 3 with a manabase to support it, but it doesn't seem very likely.

 

Collector Ouphe

This little Null Rodney (a name invented by either Stephen Menendian or Kevin Kron) will see play in toolbox decks to fetch out against pesky artifact strategies. And it will make an impact in Vintage - a format much more about expensive jewelry.

 

Nether Spirit

The old spirit will be a freeroll in 8-Rack (or is it 10-Rack these days?), but I don't know the correct number for sure. I assume one or two to see play.

 

Plague Engineer

Engineered Plague that gets around Thalia, Guardian of Thraben might be good if Humans stay at the top of the metagame. I think the card needs more targets like Goblins from Empty the Warrens or Spirits from Lingering Souls to warrant its' inclusion in sideboards, though.

 

Fact or Fiction

A few years back, Fact or Fiction would be assured to see play in Control decks, but these days it has Jace, the Mind Sculptor to compete with. If the setup for a miracle Terminus or the card advantage spell that allows for untapped mana on the opponent's turn is more important, only time will tell. All I know is I’m going to jam it in my Temur Scapeshift deck until I'm out of playpoints on Magic Online!

 

Pillage

A nice blast from the past that will pop up in Red-Green Ponza decks and will make its' way into my Izzet Phoenix sideboard instead of Molten Rain to buy a slot or two. I think being able to kill opposing Chalice of the Void, Cranial Plating or other nonsense is more important than the two damage.

 

Scale Up

This card is brilliantly designed because it's very powerful for Infect, but drawing multiples is bad. In that way, it reminds me of Become Immense which is not a four-of either. It is lethal in combination with a +4/+4 or a couple of Mutagenic Growth, so prepare yourselves to lose the game on turn two in the months to come. When you evaluate cards like this, it's extremely important to remember that this is just roleplayer showing up in just 2-3 copies which will improve Infect a little bit, so it needs to be a playable deck in the first place to be effective. Since Infect has traditionally been a great choice in a field of unfair decks, I will keep this one in my mind.

 

Magmatic Sinkhole

At last niche decks like Blue Moon and Temur-colored Control decks get a hard removal for Tarmogoyf and Gurmag Angler that isn't outright embarrasing to play. I think a shell like this can support two copies. Right now Blue-White plays a lot of planeswalkers, so maybe this card will be even more impactful than that.

 

Eladamri's Call

I already brewed up Devoted Druid combo with a playset of this tutor and can't wait to field it in the coming weeks. I imagine it will glue the combo together nicely and make it even more consistent, but I'm aware it might be too clunky to effectively pay two more mana for the desired creature.

 

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

When I read this card the first time, I immediately thought about Dredge and Bridgevine, which both should have no trouble playing a few copies. It would be a snap four-of if it wasn't for its Legendary status, so shout out to Wizards for balancing the card a bit this way.

 

Ice-Fang Coatl

I wish this didn't say "other" snow permanents, because then I could actually see it do a nice Baleful Strix impression in Sultai Midrange. As it stands, I will give it a go in Temur Scapeshift, but I don't have high hopes aside from that.

 

Lightning Skelemental

First of all, I loved that the initial name on spoiling websites was "Ball Blightning". It has potential in Rakdos Burn, but that version is even more focused on jamming one-mana "Bolts" and turning on Light up the Stage, and the reincarnation of Ball Lightning conflicts with that plan. If Burn players get rid of the Stages alltogether, maybe this can find a home and punish tapped out Control opponents in the months to come.

 

Unsettled Mariner

So you're saying I can run this card in Humans, Spirits and Merfolks and have it disrupt a majority of the metagame? Go, Changeling! I don't think this is a maindeck card, but I think it will find a way into some sideboards and stack nicely with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Mausoleum Wanderer in removal heavy matchups or simply against Burn. It also counters Grapeshot as a nice little bonus.

 

Fiery Islet

This cycle of lands is a great addition to Modern. The Izzet one specifically will find a home as a one- or two-of in Izzet Phoenix and Dredge, and maybe even Grixis Death's Shadow. Mono-Red Phoenix will be in the market for a number between two and four, depending on how aggressive strategies do in the upcoming metagame.

 

Sunbaked Canyon

I would order a playset and look forward to adding them to by Boros Burn deck if I were a Red mage these days. It lets you keep three-land hands with more confidence and is not a useless topdeck like lands usually are later in the game. The lifeloss should be no problem in 95% of the games where you are the aggressor.

 

Nurturing Peatland

I'm not sold on this one, but I think Black-Green Midrange decks should at least try out a single copy and see if the damage is acceptable. The deck has a pretty high land count and doing even a little work to mitigate flood in a drawn-out game might be worth it.

 

Prismatic Vista

I have a very hard time evaluating many cards, but this one is particularly hard. Blue-White Control might want a few more "copies of Flooded Strand". Also, three color midrange and control decks might want it to make sure they have their colors on time, but don't take too much damage from shocklands, and it is an excellent counter to Blood Moon if that card is heavily played. Because of the logic applied to the "Canopy" land in Burn, this will most likely only see play in slower decks where the damage from shocklands is more significant.

 

Wow, that was quite the list and I didn’t even talk about the cycling lands and the synergistic cards for that supposed archetype. I don't like it on paper in a world where the fear of not untapping for your third or fourth turn is a concern, but I've been wrong many times before, so why not this time? Thanks a lot for reading and let me know what I missed!

 

This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mage.market.

 







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