Modern Horizons 3 Review, Part 2 of 3: Monocolor Cards

Magic’s newest set is on the way, the hotly anticipated Modern Horizons 3. Printing a bunch of powerful new cards that can’t go in Standard, the previous two iterations both were seismic events in Modern, Legacy, and Commander massively shifting the meta and providing valuable reprints. This time around we’re getting another bumper crop of cards including a bunch of new Eldrazi and a welcome reprint of fetchlands. A new set means new cards, and we’re continuing our review with the monocolor cards. As usual we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this primarily but not exclusively with an eye for Commander play.




Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ajani, Nacatl Pariah

Marcy: Okay, so hear me out. Get him in a deck with Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second (So maybe a Jetmir deck, just to be easy), and you suddenly have a very easy way to create Cat tokens through Jinnie’s replacement effect, and a few wincons: Jetmir just steamrolls things with huge numbers, or Ajani blows your opponent off the board with the 0 ability once he’s flipped and your bazillion tokens hit like a truck.

Loxi: Cat Daddy is back, and honestly he’s a pretty solid Commander Planeswalker. Flip walkers are handy, since the “may” clause in his trigger means you have a bit more control over when you actually want him to be a Planeswalker, and having a force multiplier and way to defend himself built is a really great touch. His ultimate is a really solid way to clean up a game as well, and he can get there pretty fast. I expect we might see him pop up as a good Commander choice for Cat decks that don’t mind missing out on green.

TheChirurgeon: The flavor on this card is off the charts – I love that he comes stapled to a Savannah Lions and I love(?) the flavor of his brother dying being what sets off his spark. From there he’s a solid Planeswalker add to a Cat deck, though not necessarily a sick combo engine or anything.

BPhillipYork: Strong card if you have a way to turbo out the ultimate, though people will really not like it. As a funsies card to just plug into a Cat deck, or a Rin and Seri, Inseperable deck, good way to build up the power of your Cat army.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Argent Dais

Loxi: I don’t particularly like this purely as a removal spell; it’s quite cumbersome and obviously a bit telegraphed. What I do like this for is a draw spell, since mono white token decks will really easily amass a lot of counters on this and will likely have some sort of chaff- be it creature or artifact- to pitch to this thing. With that as a main purpose, it being removal in a pinch is handy to have, and looking at it that way made me quite like this card.

Marcy: I agree with Loxi; while you can use this as removal, I think this is more for you to actually use to draw yourself cards by sacrificing something to it. That makes sense with the Phyrexian flavor of the card, and I guess it was nice to see Oil counters again for… some reason. I feel like if you can continually get counters on it and have good outlets to exile, it can be a flexible card.

BPhillipYork: To me this immediately just screams a way to draw cards off eating your own tokens, but 2 mana and draw 2 cards is actually not, well, really all that good. It does have a really nice upside for Commander in that you can use it to exile your opponents commanders and uptick their commander tax consistently or else get rid of a really troublesome permanent. So, on balance, it’s a really solid toolbox-y card that’s backup is a draw if you need a mana dump.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Charitable Levy

Marcy: Stax but for Weenies. A hilarious card if you combine it with other Stax effects and your slim amount of Stax creatures are already on the board, making it even more frustrating to get rid of, even if it is temporary.

Loxi: This card is great in the weeniest of white weenie decks. Play this card if you’re a master of the way of weenie, you hooligan.

BPhillipYork: So this is a solid stax effect, and really unusual to see this on a non-creature, which typically makes it hard to take out. There’s also a really solid upside here for any kind of enchantment recursion decks, something like Ghen, Arcanum Weaver would work really great with this (or any of the replenish effects).


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flare of Fortitude

Marcy: This card is insane, which is worth it to remember that this is a card specifically meant to go into Modern and other such formats, which helps with just how strong this effect is. It stops from being completely broken by not appending a “you can’t lose/opponent can’t win”, so infect, poison, and mill can still end your game, but otherwise this is an amazing card.

Loxi: Starting off the Flare cycle of “F- off cheap” spells, we have a contender for one of the best protection spells in white. I think it’s not as strong as Teferi’s Protection face value, but the flexibility to cast it for no mana is really strong. I think it hangs up there with the best of them, really solid card.

Spoiler alert: free spells are really, really good and as to not drive you all nuts repeating that, I’m going to say it once here. These all will likely have some sort of play just due to cost efficiency alone.

TheChirurgeon: This seems bonkers good. Not quite “can’t lose the game” good but still very solid for thwarting your opponents’ attempts to go off and castable with no mana open.

FromTheShire: Shocker about this newest cycle of free spells, they’re really damn good. Like they’d be pretty damn good if you hard cast them, and then sometimes you don’t have to. This one especially will straight up steal you countless games.

BPhillipYork: So anytime you’ve got an effect that’s essentially free that’s quite solid. Pitch spells, sacrifice instead, discard, etc.. all let you react when your opponents see you as “shields down” and they’ll tend to overextend. Also has a lot of potential for something like protecting your own permanents from a wrath (or an Armageddon), or as a way to get something like that off on turn 4.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Guide of Souls

Loxi: First off, this is another card for Soul Sisters, so if you’re a boomer Modern player coming to Commander, you can break out those bad boys from your dusty deck box.

From an Energy deck standpoint, this also is really nice. It’s a cheap and solid payoff to give your board some real threats from nothing and is a nice way to start accumulating energy early. Solid typings to boot; A+ from me.

FromTheShire: Probably worth it for the Soul Warden effect alone in decks that are playing it, with bonus energy upside.

BPhillipYork: Really this seems like a solid way to generate energy for things that really matter, but if you for some reason really want Angels or whatever, totally legit way to do that. 3 energy to give target creature a flying counter, and two +1/+1 counters on an attacking creature is a pretty bad failsafe mode.

Marcy: I can respect that this card is strong even without the energy effect, but I am going to be honest: I hate Soul Sisters and find life gain so insufferably dull as a deck archetype that I hate this card.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Metastatic Evangel

Marcy: Very solid card that you can certainly make great use of; flickering creatures with this card around that you want or need to proliferate with is I think ideal.

Loxi: I think you need to be in the right type of deck to make this one really shine, but if you’re a Blink/Flicker deck that uses any counter payoffs, this is a really good way to make those get way more threatening. Generic counter decks can make this work too if your counters are spread out on enough creatures and you’re going to be going wide enough to make this worth it.

TheChirurgeon: I had to read this a second time to pick up the “nontoken” rider that stops it from being immediately busted but there are still some good ways to break this and generate infinite proliferation.

FromTheShire: May well be playable completely fairly in counters or superfriends decks, and then goes over the top if you have flicker in there as well.

BPhillipYork: Yeah this is potentially a game winning combo piece, since there’s plenty of ways to loop creatures that exile each other, but mass proliferation has a lot of potential to be dangerous in a slower kind of game. Definitely also usable for something goofy like an experience counter deck.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ocelot Pride

Marcy: Does anyone actually ever remember what the hell Ascend/City’s Blessing is ever actually triggered by? I have always found it to be one of the funniest and easiest to forget about. Anyway, this is meant for lifegain and not for token aggro, and it is fairly disgusting for that.

Loxi: I’m pretty torn on this one. On one hand, the ascend effect is really good for token decks, and this is as cheap as an effect like this will get. On the other hand, playing this early to accumulate tokens will likely get it sniped, since it will die to a stiff breeze. I almost feel like the role of this card is actually best to save it for later in the game, but that doesn’t solve how easily it will bite the dust. Being one mana somewhat salvages this, but it’s definitely a bit of a wacky one for Commander. It’s probably solid to jam regardless though.

FromTheShire: Definitely not big baseline stats for Commander, but in other formats this is a huge pile of abilities on a 1 mana creature. Love it.

BPhillipYork: I guess like, Cat deck is a theme in this set or something? That’s fine. I mean if that is what you are doing, then go for it. If not, then you could be using this to double copy permanent spell tokens, which isn’t terrible, and it’s cheap. But there are plenty of more consistent token doublers already, without so many conditions.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor

Marcy: Oh god Lightpaws is going to go so hard with this.

Loxi: Sythis, Harvest’s Hand for players who have a seething hatred for green. This card’s gonna be pretty gnarly, but it likely won’t be anything too crazy being restricted to mono-white.

FromTheShire: Have to love ramp and card draw all lumped together into a single card, and at a great rate too.

BPhillipYork: This would really make a green/white + anything else you want enchantment deck pop off, since early game you can use enchant lands for ramp, then drop this and cast some really expensive enchantments, truthfully though the really expensive enchantments aren’t that good.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd

FromTheShire: Interesting little piece, probably best used for repeating ETB abilities in your Dog deck.

BPhillipYork: It’s a fun Dog card. Another solid enabler for Rin and Seri, Inseperable, decent enough for Brago and other flicker decks as well.

Marcy: …Why does it have Flash? It doesn’t do anything on ETB? Hello?


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Proud Pack-Rhino

Marcy: Isn’t it funny how Rhinos always end up being extremely annoying cards? If you had the ability to flicker this thing, it’s going to make your opponent’s life miserable if they don’t have exile effects or ways to get around endless shield counters.

FromTheShire: I did this as a solid flicker target in decks like Brago, King Eternal to make your board even more grindy and infuriating to successfully remove.

BPhillipYork: Shield counters are okay, and proliferation is decent, if you can get a couple of shields out and then start proliferating via repeat flickers then you could be really annoying.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Static Prison

Marcy: A “get rid of something now and worry about it later” card, I think that’s actually fine, in the sense that Modern (and other formats) are not ones that tend to be sticking around for long periods of time; 3 turns is quite a lot of game time in Modern to swing something back in your favor, especially at 1 CMC.

Loxi: I am not really a fan of this type of card for Constructed, but it’s a nice Limited tool.

FromTheShire: Honestly I wouldn’t be shocked to see it in constructed because it hits basically anything and sometimes you just need a couple of turns worth of tempo to do your thing. More likely if there’s an actual energy deck, probably of the Primal Prayers variant where you’re trying to combo off and this clears a troublesome lock piece.

BPhillipYork: It’s unconditional removal for 3 of your opponents’ turns if that’s what you want, could also be used with any kind of recursion effects, and it’s also just a cheap way to generate 2 energy if you need to quickly get over some kind of threshold.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

White Orchid Phantom

TheChirurgeon: This is a cute callback to Knight of the White Orchid with a more targeted destruction effect. Blowing up a nonbasic is significantly better than fetching a Plains in most games of Commander and adding Flying to this guy is just gravy on top.

Marcy: We love a cute callback, and the updated effect is really pretty strong, and while the variety of lands that are now fetchable is wider, this is still a really solid hatebear against Commander nonbasics.

FromTheShire: Love getting land destruction even if this replaces with a basic. Bonus for playing a Flagstones of Trokair style deck and using it as ramp.

BPhillipYorkThis is pretty solid really, removing a non-basic land can be critical, there’s ways to benefit off your opponents searching, like Archivist of Oghma or benefit off opponents putting lands into play, like Deep Gnome Terramancer and this pairs really nicely with effects like that.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wrath of the Skies

Marcy: Variable sweepers are always a little odd; they seem tooled specifically towards certain archetypes, such as like against tokens, but honestly this is pretty strong. A lot of decks operate with things at 3 or 4 CMC, but casting this anywhere between 0 and 2 is likely game shifting.

Loxi: The flexibility is cool and all, but I think I usually would just prefer a general sweeper to this.

FromTheShire: Very nice, flexible wrath for non-Commander formats. Even paying 0 into it to wreck token decks may be worthwhile for control, and 1 or 2 is going to be devastating to a lot of decks.

BPhillipYork: Really solid way to get a bunch of energy or board wipe, and nice to have the option of one or the other if you need.




Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Amphibian Downpour

Marcy: This art is extremely uncomfortable to look at. It seems like a really odd or hard Storm card to use though, since it feels like this is the card you want as a payoff to your storm, and it… really isn’t that great for it?

Loxi: Cantrippy control decks like Minn, Wily Illusionist might be able to make some fun things happen with this. I like it, it’s a fun and unique way to print storm on a card and not have it seem like it’s going to be game-crushing.

BPhillipYork: This is awesome. Lol. Such a funny card. There’s some funny things you could do with this, stacking a bunch of Auras for various reasons onto one of your creatures, but really this is pretty solid mass creature removal if you can get your storm count up to 2 or 3 before casting.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


TheChirurgeon: This is neat – I like it more than a lot of the blue draw 2 effects and as an instant it’s at least imminently playable on those grounds. Getting to see four cards and put back any two from your hand that you might be able to mill or shuffle away Brainstorm-style is solid, though this also hammers home how busted good Brainstorm was netting you three cards for U.

Marcy: We have Brainstorm at home.

Loxi: Are you a big brain blue player who’s tired of small brain draw spells? I have news for you, this one’s gonna be up your alley. It’s on-rate instant speed draw with all the upsides Rob mentioned, it’s hard not to like this one.

FromTheShire: Yeah this is really damn good in formats where Brainstorm is either absent or banned.

BPhillipYork: This is solid, a bit expensive but the really powerful interaction is putting 2 cards you don’t need on top and then reshuffling your library with something like a fetch land to get rid of cards you don’t really need. It’s instant speed which is pretty much a necessity for a spell like this, but I’m a bit disappointed this isn’t named something like Brain Tempest since this is obviously a Brainstorm upgrade.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Consign to Memory

Marcy: Consigned to Sideboard.

Loxi: It’s a bit too sideboard-y for Commander for a card without a way to cycle it out, but it’s really good when it’s useful. A bit of a meta call, but if you can justify running this it’s a great way to stuff some combos and value engines.

FromTheShire: Probably not a huge piece of the meta and usually not going to be kicked, this seems like a hedge against the possibility of another Eldrazi Winter. Outstanding when the need arises.

BPhillipYork: Really strange, countering triggered abilities is unusual and can be really powerful, and the ability to do it a bunch is decent, and countering colorless spells is occasionally useful, but this really seems too conditional.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Dreamtide Whale

Marcy: This feels like a lot of work for a 7/5 that has no other actual form of protection or evasion.

Loxi: I’m not sure how to evaluate this one. It’s a huge body and can just stick around forever proliferating, especially if you have other cantrippy decks at the table. It’s pretty nice for that alone, and I think likely is more powerful in Commander since it won’t often vanish away without generating a good amount of value first. Really cool design on this.

BPhillipYork: Cool card, to me it’s almost a stax effect since your opponents are going to want it to go away, and they won’t want to cause your proliferates, especially if you have  better proliferation effect than the obvious vanishing. This is probably one of the cheapest proliferation sources, and solid for that reason.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flare of Denial

TheChirurgeon: It’s rare that a free Counterspell isn’t playable, especially when they can come at a reasonable cost when you do pay for them.

Marcy: I think the only negative to this is the requirement of a creature to make it free, but there are quite a lot of easy to include Blue creatures even in mono to make this worth it. Delver and Merfolk may get a lot more annoying, probably.

Loxi: Yeah, this is just pretty silly.

FromTheShire: Instant staple.

BPhillipYork: Yeah, why did this print this, basically auto-include, price is going to rise endlessly depending on reprints. Biggest downside is how a lot of really good decks don’t really run that many spells, but it’s still just a 3 cost unconditional counterspell, and if necessary can be pitched for other no-mana counterspells so just, really good.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Harbinger of the Seas

TheChirurgeon: Hell yeah I love nonbasic land hate. That said, Islands are like the worst land to turn things into in most games.

Marcy: Merfolk REAL.

Loxi: Get ready for Flood Moon, friends. I love Blood Moon, and even though EDH isn’t really the format for a card like this, it’s sweet to see it exist.

FromTheShire: Yeah turning things into Islands is actually far from the worst thing because this is being windmill slammed by the playset into every Merfolk deck in existence, on top of a bunch of other decks that would like this effect but not enough to splash red. Right away, much like Blood Moon, there are a bunch of decks that simply scoop to turning all of their lands off, or take such a huge tempo loss that they might as well concede. On top of that, one of the major angles of attack for Merfolk in addition to mana denial is getting islandwalk with something like a Lord of Atlantis and then punching through. In the past this meant cards like Spreading Seas, and Harbinger is just miles better than that.

BPhillipYork: Yeah, this is rough. Like, really rough, and now Red/Blue can run a really solid anti-basic lands suite, between this, Magus of the Moon, Blood Moon, and Back to Basics.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Roil Cartographer

Marcy: The usages of energy is nice to see, but I don’t see this earning a spot in Merfolk decks, but possibly in an ‘cares about energy’ deck, or a Merfolk Commander deck, perhaps?

FromTheShire: This may be an inclusion in Commander decks heavily focused around energy, in other formats I think this is simply too slow and should be an Izzet Generatorium instead.

BPhillipYork: Really solid energy source for other things, and a decent enough dump of energy if you aren’t getting your combo pieces.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shadow of the Second Sun

TheChirurgeon: I was struggling with this card and had to go back and look up the rules for the Beginning phase. Turns out that phase consists of the Untap, Upkeep, and Draw steps. I’m now going to shake my cane at a cloud and ramble about how Upkeep used to be a whole phase. Anyways, sure. It’s a cool way to reset after your second main phase each turn, and ensures you’ve always got mana on hand to counter things.

Marcy: “So I get a second combat phase right?”

Loxi: I understand that the helper text here does explain what it needs to, but it not actually stating what the beginning phase is and just rambling about when the end step happens feels hilarious to me.

FromTheShire: Neat but weird-ass card that I expect a ton of newer players to play wrong because of the way it triggers.

BPhillipYork: Cool. I mean, it costs 6, so no big deal, and has hilarious implications with the Sphinx and Paradox Haze and a way to generate a lot of untaps and upkeeps and draws… for fun.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Strix Serenade

Marcy: Single mana Dovescape. Pretty good, really, because it’s 1 mana to stop something huge and impactful; you likely won’t care about a 2/2 bird at all if you absolutely destroy someone’s combo with this.

Loxi: A fun play on Swan Song and a pretty sweet 1 mana counter. It’s costed so well that I can’t imagine it won’t see play.

FromTheShire: There’s a reason Swan Song is like a 12 dollar card, and it’s that this effect is fantastic. Slightly less good because generally the absolute must counter spell will be an instant or sorcery, but still very good.

BPhillipYork: Well this is not as good as Swan Song but still decent, but most of the time you’re not going to NEED to counter an artifact, creature, or planeswalker.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student

TheChirurgeon: No trauma here I guess – Tamiyo just reads her way into planeswalking.

Marcy: The trauma comes in how Tamiyo got treated in the latest expansions. Anyway… Don’t really think she’s that great? Maybe you can flip her on end step, and then try and take advantage of her that way on your next actual turn?

Loxi: I don’t think she’s awful or anything, but I think she might be a bit too fragile in planeswalker form to see too much play in Commander.

BPhillipYork: This is fine, I guess, slow for a big payoff, not really impactful enough for Commander, though I think just using the front side to generate clues is decent.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Volatile Stormdrake

BPhillipYork: This is an interesting riff on Gilded Drake, biggest impact for Commander games is just to steal commanders, and if you can’t keep them then sacrifice them. But most of the good commanders cost 4 or less, and the really expensive ones tend to be really critical for their decks.  Downside is handing off a 3/2 flyer with hexproof from activated and triggered.

FromTheShire: This is an odd one. I’ve seen some people testing it in energy shells during early access but hasn’t really wowed so far. Good theft effect in Commander where you’re set to flicker it and steal it back with Homeward Path etc.

TheChirurgeon: I guess this is neat with cards that retake control of Permanents you own but I’m really not feeling it.

Marcy: This feels like junk really.




Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Boggart Trawler

FromTheShire: This is a neat piece for Legacy Goblins at least, graveyard hate on a tutorable tribal body is something it has needed for a long time, and it comes with the upside of having a land stapled on when you need to tutor that too.

Marcy: The 3 life is such a steep price for the land side, it really makes me dislike the card as a land, but at least you get the exile effect on the body part, which does make the idea of using it for that a little more appealing.

BPhillipYork: Another Bojuka Bog is solid to have.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Chthonian Nightmare

FromTheShire: Are you old? Do you remember how Recurring Nightmare combo-d with a ton of stuff and had to be banned from Commander? Well what if they “fixed” it in a way that makes it arguably better? Get ready to see this and Dockside Extortionist and a drain effect a whole lot.

Marcy: Ahahaha cool cool cool. I mean can we really complain? MH sets are all about being somewhat broken, since they’re meant for formats that are themselves inherently broken.

BPhillipYork: Yeah this is a really dangerous energy payoff. Obvious riff on Recurring Nightmare, there’s some really strange abuse cases with cheapy creatures that cause sacrifices, or loops that generate energy, or cheat out a bunch of energy generating creatures. Anyway, fun card, but unfortunately you can’t build a Commander deck around a card like this (well, you can but it’s super dangerous), but totally fits decently into energy themed decks.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Consuming Corruption

Marcy: I think the fact it can only hit things for damage and can’t target an opponent makes it a little weaker overall, but it also is 2 mana at instant speed to gain a potentially game changing amount of life.

FromTheShire: A little bit hampered by the targets, but dealing with a problem and gaining a bunch of life at once can be a crucial swing.

BPhillipYork: This is, well, fine for monoblack.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


Marcy: Crab “mill” effect, check. This card is really kind of scary in an Affinity deck, with so much disruption to the opponent that it may not even matter if what you ‘can’ cast doesn’t matter. And it is an ETB trigger, so you also don’t *have* to cast it, a problem that Black has many solutions for.

BPhillipYork: Well a free spell is a free spell, this is going to obviously be better the better your opponents decks are.  If you have someone who loves to run big haymakers, this can be a very swingy card.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Emperor of Bones

Marcy: Really love how this card has so much going on that they also just don’t explain what “Adapt” does and expect you to just know, which is even funnier as its the ability that requires you to potentially spend mana. Otherwise, I think if he survives, you could really pull off some nasty shenanigans by getting something back with this ability very cheaply.

BPhillipYork: This is a convoluted and vulnerable way to cheat out creatures, but it’ll work. Nonetheless, you’re going to need a repeatable source of +1/+1 counters or a way to remove the ones it gets so it can adapt again.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Fell the Profane

TheChirurgeon: This is such a ridiculously solid card. Four mana is a lot but it’s instant speed and it’s pretty much going to be useful in every single game. The land side is also great, particularly in Commander where the three life just doesn’t really matter.

Marcy: Unlike the boggart, I like this. Sure, 4 mana removal is expensive, but you have options to keep this card around or not, and I think it’s more variably useful in the long run.

BPhillipYork: Just a solid MDFC. Expensive, but solid enough.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flare of Malice

Marcy: “Suffer, like G did.” Anyway, strong Flare like the rest; sacrificing a creature to do it is flavorful in Black, and making your opponent sacrifice is very helpful to get around hexproof and similar.

FromTheShire: Making this hit the greatest mana value is excellent cause most of the time that’s what you want to be targeting anyway.

BPhillipYork: Another really solid sacrifice for free, and black often wants to sacrifice things, this is a fairly nasty forcing your opponents to sacrifice something big, and as an instant castable for free has a lot of added value you can use this in response to a big combo starting to go off.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Marionette Apprentice

Marcy: Fabricate is back, and this time, it’s Aristocrats flavored! Terrifying possibilities on this card.

BPhillipYork: So this is Marionette Master but smaller, obviously, and applies to all the decks that run that, there’s quite a few “when artifact goes to the yard deal damage or opponent loses life” kind of thing.

FromTheShire: Outstanding aristocrats piece, expanding to cover artifacts as well as creatures.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


FromTheShire: Hey what if they also “fixed” Necropotence in a way that is also arguably better with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse featuring prominently in the kinds of decks that also want this effect? Even if you aren’t benefitting from that, the downsides in no way stop this from still being incredible. This is going to see massive amounts of play. Very possibly too massive amounts.

Marcy: I watched a lot of pre-release decks use this card and ahahahahahahahaha. This sure is a card that will have no ramifications.

TheChirurgeon: I’m sure this will be fine.

BPhillipYork: Well I mean, you don’t get to draw, and that seems bad. On the other hand, you can draw your whole deck. If you can’t win the game with 5 cards then, how many does it take? So, on balance, this seems fine.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


Marcy: A Goyf that only checks your graveyard but can keep coming back is an interesting concept for sure.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah, sure. Why not?

BPhillipYork: All these Goyfs are just fun solid things. Gotta get a Battle into your yard. Oh this is the only way that WotC could get people to play Battles, got it.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ripples of Undeath

TheChirurgeon: This feels really strong, like a black version of Sylvan Library. I’m not sure how much that matters in Modern but in Commander it seems solid.

Marcy: Very solild self-mill that allows you to grab things you want back that either you need or can’t get back from there normally. Self-mill protection like this is really strong, and in a format like Commander, is great at thinning your deck to what you want.

BPhillipYork: This is super solid. Solid mill enabler, and getting one of those cards back when you need is really really strong. This will become a staple in many black decks.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shilgengar, Sire of Famine

Marcy: In my head the only thing really holding this back is perhaps card choice to generate Blood tokens and also have Angels available? For example, most Blood token generating Vampires are black or red, and of course, Angels tend to be white, but his free sacrifice trigger is quite strong on it’s own. Also, just above this is the artificer card that would really be nasty with this trigger combination.

BPhillipYork: Well okay. So first of all the ability to sacrifice creatures for no mana is useful in and of itself. On top of that you can do a crazy kind of return all your creatures from the yard. So, this is a super good card. A bit pricy at 5 mana, but it can be your commander with a deck that wins via mass reanimation, there’s any number of Orzhov game winning creature combos. Or it can just be some crazy Blood token thing. Lot of fun ways to go with this big boy.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sorin of House Markov

Marcy: I think in a lifegain deck this is a great actual wincon, which those decks usually seem to forget to include (Have I said I don’t like lifegain decks?). Of the flip Planeswalkers, I’m really strong on Sorin here, I think he protects himself well at 5 and the -1 is really scary.

BPhillipYork: That -1 is pretty solid if you just gain a ton of life and laser beam someone. Kind of an alternate Aetherflux Reservoir. Stealing creatures is also solid but too slow, flip and 2 turns and then grab something might as well be forever. You can wait till your post combat main to cast your spells and avoid transforming if for some reason you just want a decent source of extort.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Warren Soultrader

Marcy: Since it’s Modern legal, I guess this sort of power level should be expected, but this is the type of card that very easily slots into a ‘and then I win the game’ loop. The aforementioned Marionette Apprentice is one way to turn this card into a wincon piece.

BPhillipYork: Another unconditional sacrifice, plenty of looping you could do with this, also works well with Marionette Apprentice or Master or Disciple of the Vault. Also just a combo piece to win the game, if your combo has some kind of life gain attached.

FromTheShire: Yeah this is really strong and absolutely breakable.




Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Aether Revolt

Marcy: What is sort of bonkers here is that the Revolt trigger is great but this card is already deadly if you have some way to generate infinite energy. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do at all, but assuming someone figures it out, this is how you win off of that, and even without it, this is a great way to turn energy generation into value.

FromTheShire: If there’s going to be an energy deck other than Primal Prayers, this is going to be the payoff. In an Izzet shell you’re hoping to spin into this for free off of an Amped Raptor on turn 2, and then start turning your energy generating cantrips into Lightning Bolt+ with fetchlands and the like. I kind of doubt it’s consistent enough to be a real deck for now, but this is the kind of card that goes underground after initial hype until a future piece is printed, and then becomes really good.

BPhillipYork: Wow, this is a dangerous card. Pumping up your damage by +2 off pings is awesome, and having an energy creation deal damage trigger is super useful. There’s definitely a combo with energy, and this is also just an awesome control card.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Amped Raptor

FromTheShire: As mentioned above this is great in energy decks, but low key extremely solid solid in a number of additional decks.

Marcy: Really good little energy generator that you’re looking to flip into something you can cast for free that has impact. Lot of variables into what that might be, or what payoff you get, but it’s a solid and potentially scary ability. A 4 of format and you run the risk of just dropping 2 or more of this on the same turn for 2 mana.

BPhillipYork: Solid for two drop, potentially doubling itself, this seems like it will see big play in red deck wins since you don’t need any more energy to just cast another weenie.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ashling, Flame Dancer

Marcy: A very fun Magecraft card that red shouldn’t have trouble taking advantage of with cheap sorceries and instants. Two damage may not wipe an entire board but it is enough to probably put a sizeable dent in token deck hordes, and then grabbing 4 free mana feels like great fodder for a big burn spell.

BPhillipYork: Really very solid magecraft trigger, though it makes your magecraft pretty dangerous, since you’re going to be virtually board clearing repeatedly.  But this is a solid way to generate a ton of mana to go off with a storm win or something of that ilk.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Detective’s Phoenix

Marcy: I feel like this is actually pretty strong. Red has a lot of looting effects and not always a lot of “get things back” cards, and chucking this into the graveyard off a Faithless Looting or similar only to slap it onto a creature for 1 mana that gives them evasion and haste could be a swing. Not game breaking but I think pretty strong for Red aggro.

BPhillipYork: Well this is okay as a recastable enchantment from your yard, but I just don’t see… why? Fine enough for Constructed but I can’t think of anything really useful to do with +2/+2 and flying and haste.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flare of Duplication

Marcy: Yeah these flares are kind of insane, especially due to the instant speed nature, and this one is certainly up there in contention for most powerful Flare.

FromTheShire: Again, super powerful even if you have to pay for it, which you won’t.

BPhillipYork: Wow. Just um, wowser. Staple. Expensive. Auto-include. This is win the game when your opponent tries to win territory. Or combo off. Or whatever. And it only costs 3 as a basic copy spell, which is only slightly expensive anyway.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Furnace Hellkite

FromTheShire: I don’t know that this slots in anywhere right away, but it’s a lot of stats for potentially 2 mana.

BPhillipYork: Well it’s a big fattie with affinity for artifacts, that never causes problems. But really for Commander it doesn’t do much.

Marcy: I kind of agree on being a little down on this in Commander, but even outside of it I’m not entirely sure this is a game swinger in an Affinity deck otherwise.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Party Thrasher

Marcy: In a red deck with a lot of creatures and a mix of spells, this Lizard could very easily win you the game; a lot of red cards exile, either permanently or temporarily, and turning 1/1 Goblin tokens or other things into mana to burn your opponent out with is a very real possibility here.

BPhillipYork: Another huge enabler for cast from exile spell decks, and a huge one for that sort of thing. Prosper, Tome-Bound and its ilk just get another hugely useful card.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


TheChirurgeon: Ok this is a pretty fun take on a Red Counterbalance. I like it. That said, I hate any reason to put Sensei’s Divining Top into a deck so I’m sure I’ll hate this card.

Marcy: I agree with Rob, this is just a miserable Sensei piece, although the only thing about this one that I like more than Counterbalance is that you could just flip over a card and kill your opponent, so that’s funny, at least.

FromTheShire: Hell yes, love it even if you’re blind flipping.

BPhillipYork: Well this just means you get to cast free spells sometimes, this is probably going to slam right into cEDH since it’s going to be so berserk for 0 and 1 and 2 cost spells. And also really really nice interaction with Sensei’s Divining Top.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ral, Monsoon Mage

TheChirurgeon: I don’t think we really know any of the origin stories of the non-Ajani planeswalkers. At least, I don’t, so these have been interesting. I say “interesting” instead of cool because they’ve been mostly boring, though Ral’s card hints at a more interesting backstory than say, Tamiyo’s did.

Marcy: *Flips coin, loses.* Aw, dangit. *Flips coin, loses.* Aw, dangit. *Flips coin, loses.* Aw, dangit. *Flips coin, loses.* Aw, dangit. *Flips coin, dies.*

BPhillipYork: So this can pretty easily be forced to come out with enough loyalty to turbo off some big fat sorceries. You want a way to put several sorceries on top of your library, but something like Brainsurge or Brainstorm will at least let you stack a couple there.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sundering Eruption

FromTheShire: Love more land destruction, especially because every once in a while you will have someone fail the did you run enough basics test. Being able to punch damage through or be played as a land gives you a lot of upside as well.

Marcy: Deleting a land and preventing blocks is a pretty interesting combo here, since you may even be able to disrupt what your opponent plans to do in response to you trying to attack them.

BPhillipYork: Decent enough to have an option to take out an important land, decent utility as an MDFC. There’s the way to benefit off your opponents getting lands or searching, and those will obviously make this stronger.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Unstable Amulet

Marcy: Cast from Exile is doing well here, even if you can’t generate enough energy to use the effect here efficiently, the basic effect is just a nice ping.

FromTheShire: Great way to close out a game in decks like Prosper, Tome-Bound.

BPhillipYork: Another solid enabler for cast from exile. Really cheap, and also lets you generate exile and then can cast the spells.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wheel of Potential

Marcy: I like Wheel effects, but you need 7 energy to make this really pay off and not just draw you a few cards. Also you don’t get to cast at a discount, so you are spending 3 mana and 7 energy to *maybe* cast a card or two from exile, and you don’t disrupt your opponent’s hands at all unless they choose to draw cards, meaning you could just do them a favor and lose.

TheChirurgeon: The “may” part of the effect makes this mostly jank in my estimation. It’s neat, but it’s otherwise a pretty bog standard “bad red card draw/cast exiled spells” effect.

BPhillipYork: Well this has the possibility to be pretty savage, in some kind of exile / energy deck, but for other uses doesn’t seem super amazing.




Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Birthing Ritual

Marcy: I really like these attempts at slightly reworking older cards, so I get the Birthing Pod thing going on here, but the fact you do this during your end step is a little strange, but actually you get to have a creature ETB, or attack, then sacrifice it as you end the turn and get a free new upgrade, or just filter the top 7 cards of your deck with no consequence.

Loxi: It’s a neat take on Birthing Pod style gameplay, being a bit more restricted but being triggered. It’s cool, I have no clue where to play it reliably.

FromTheShire: Again, what could go wrong printing an allegedly fixed version of a super banned card? At least this one can whiff, though if it does you still get to keep the creature.

BPhillipYork: This is a toolpiece for a kind of Birthing Pod deck, but it’s really more random. There’s probably some decent combo you can build with this in mill and using black and green, but given how the pods are all at sorcery speed, this just doesn’t work very well with them. That being said, if you have a solid suite of +1 cost creatures in a chain that gets you to an important piece, then this is solid enough. There’s also combo of tutoring a creature you want to sacrifice into play. If it’s a low cost creature you could use this to turbo it out fairly fast.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Collective Resistance

Marcy: Really just a solid work horse card. Naturalize Plus, basically.

BPhillipYork: Really solid flexible instant speed removal with the ability to use it to protect a key creature and also to get additional value out of it.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Eladamri, Korvecdal

FromTheShire: Now there’s a name I have not heard in an age or two. Way back on Rath in the Tempest block, it was believed Gerrard Capashen was the prophesied one to unite the disparate Kor, Vec, and Dal tribes to defeat the Evincar. Eventually it turned out it was actually Eladamri, and his card is appropriately powerful for a Chosen One. Casting off of the top is good enough to see play on its own, and then when you staple an Elvish Piper style effect on top of it…

Marcy: ELFBALL IS (maybe) BACK BABY!

BPhillipYork: Well this will let you turbo out something really fat, so if that is what you want to do, then you can do it. Also just a nasty value engine for a mono-green deck.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Fanatic of Rhonas

Marcy: This card is really solid in Green, obviously, and I think it’s very reasonable/easy to get the Ferocious trigger to activate the turn after you initially cast it; there’s a lot of 4 power creatures for 3-4 mana in Green. After that, this thing is probably a must remove, because letting Green have 4 free mana a turn is likely dangerous.

BPhillipYork: Solid ramping mana generator for big fattie decks, which are fun.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Fangs of Kalonia

Marcy: Since this is Sorcery speed, you aren’t going to whip this out to surprise win a fight, but it is still a good way early to perhaps force a bad trade on your opponent who has to block something that suddenly got huge, and later in the game Overload is probably a game ender.

BPhillipYork: Well the overload of this has potentially hilarious amounts of token doubling, for 6 mana. So if you want some kind of go-wide and go-tall via +1/+1 counters (so basically a white/green) deck, then this is solid enough.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flare of Cultivation

Loxi: Of all the Flares, this one is likely the least blatantly strong. While it’s still solid (at worst it’s a Cultivate basically), it really depends on how aggressively you’re pushing out creatures early in the game. It’s a great card regardless, but it’s definitely less of an auto-include type card than some of the others in the cycle.

FromTheShire: I would argue this is maybe actually more of an auto-include than either the red or black ones and is tied with white and blue. It’s nowhere near as powerful as those two, but every single green deck has a Cultivate or similar in multiples, and this is a strict upgrade.

Marcy: I agree that this one doesn’t seem as strong as it is off the jump, but it really is. You’re going to thin 2 lands out, ramp yourself, and only sacrifice a creature for it, which frankly, Green has no problem with in most cases; trading a mana dork for this is even worth it.

BPhillipYork: This is really solid ramp in my opinion. You can ramp it on turn 2 after turn 1 dropping a Gilded Goose and sacrificing it for mana, and there are plenty of other 1 and 2 drops. This is essentially just a strictly better Cultivate or Kodama’s Reach so anytime you would play one of those you could play this instead, or more likely, all 3.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Grist, Voracious Larva

Marcy: Yeah this is just not that interesting. You can argue it protects itself with the +1, but only if your opponent has a single creature (and no other way to hit a Planeswalker off the board), and it doesn’t even get reliable Deathtouch.

BPhillipYork: So the -6 is huge, but there’s no easy way to turbo that out. This seems like the worst of the transforming planeswalkers since it doesn’t really do anything until you transform it, and even then it’s kind of meh. But it’s a 1 cost that you can turn into a planeswalker that mills and generates Insect tokens.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Monstrous Vortex

Marcy: One of the things that Discover decks have run into in Standard is that “or less” is often not understood in the text of the card. That doesn’t mean high discover is bad, but just that you can very easily whiff into something you can’t use or cast right away, or that doesn’t really help you.

BPhillipYork: Well this will let you cast multiple big fat creatures potentially, and it’s fairly cheap as an enabler for that.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Primal Prayers

FromTheShire: Yet another “fixed” card, this time it’s Aluren. It might actually turn out to be okay since so far most of the shells have been playing a bunch of cards that are great in the combo but meh otherwise like Greenbelt Rampager and Shrieking Drake but there are a ton of versions and with tuning something truly busted may well yet appear.

Marcy: Yeah this is the type of card that you look at, go, ‘nah this isn’t that good’, and then someone randomly figures out some disgusting thing it does and ruins the format. Or not.

BPhillipYork: There has to be a way to break this, flashing out 3 or less casting cost creatures for Energy has to have some way of generating energy and having the creatures turn. There’s the obvious Cloudstone Curio combo with any creature that generates energy, generate infinite energy, and … profit? This feels a bit like underpants gnomes. On the other hand, just using this with some energy generators to flash out creatures is useful.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Signature Slam

TheChirurgeon: I know people are going to lose their minds over the Corgi card, but this is the best art in the set and it’s not close.

Marcy: This art is amazing, and the hilarious thought of turning this into a board wipe is pretty easy considering Green and +1/+1 modifications go hand in hand a lot.

Loxi: The absolute fire flames that is this art aside, this card is actually pretty good. If you’re mono-green and short on removal, especially in something like Kosei, Penitent Warlord, this is nice.

FromTheShire: Blah blah blah, card does useful things, whatever, who cares. A god damn gorilla in full plate armor elbow dropping a dinosaur off the top rope is maybe the greatest image that’s ever been put to paper. If we can get a full set of Warhammer cards, I demand a set devoted exploring everything around this immediately.

BPhillipYork: So is this card from the Planet of the Apes Universes Beyond? Because it’s apes fighting a dinosaur, so maybe it’s Universes Beyond Jurassic Park and Planet of the Apes? But anyway, this is a decent enough “fight” style card, though most of the time when you want to fight, you want to fight, versus just blowing something up.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


Marcy: Really great card that helps avoid accidentally punishing you for self-milling.

Loxi: Wow, this is a really strong recursion engine. I think it may have some way to combo if you can keep getting lands back to your hand, but at the bare minimum this provides a really good way to just constantly recycle cards. I dig it, definitely one of the cooler Commanders from the set.

BPhillipYork: Generating retrace is a pretty solid ability, and there are ways to keep recasting a permanent, possibly sacrificing it, and looping that. There are, for example, the egg cards, cards that generate triggers when they enter play and leave play, so something like Golden Egg or Ichor Wellspring.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Springheart Nantuko

Marcy: Honestly you have to give it to them for these just insanely ‘not quite as bad as they used to be’ power crept cards, that are still insanely powerful.

FromTheShire: Hey look, they found a way to make another busted Scute Swarm analog! Enjoy all the ways you can combo kill people with this on like turn 3.

BPhillipYork: So this is a pretty hilarious way to keep copying creatures, you could generate a ton of big fatties, obviously you wouldn’t want to use legendaries for this. There are some fairly nasty red, additional combat phase creatures that could go infinite with this, such as Port Razer or Lightning Runner, and something like World Shaper .


Next Time: Colorless

That wraps up our look at the set’s monocolored cards. Join us next time as we review the set’s colorless cards, picking out our favorites, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at