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Top Ten New Cards from Modern Horizons

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Hello folks! I hope you are having a great day today! Now that the full spoiler has been, um, spoiled, we've had some time to sit with the cards. There are loads of interesting cards in here that would help make cuts elsewhere across a number of formats and decks.

Let’s take a look at some of the best that are hitting my radar.

Now, to be fair, my list is being considered from a kitchen table viewpoint. I am not making a Modern deck and taking it for a spin at next week’s local tournament or FNM. I’m not grabbing these cards for Legacy or Vintage either. This list is exclusively for my local kitchen table, with formats such as multiplayer, Commander, and general chaos as well as more in mind. Ready?

Universal Automaton

As an FYI, I once submitted this exact card design to an online site as part of a casual online tournament back when Invasion Block was in print. It was before Mistform Ultimus had been made, and it was 1/1, artifact, and shapeshifter, with every creature type. I was told that it was too complicated to print, and if I won, I’d need to submit another design to add to Apprentice (a form of software used for playing MTG at the time). I didn’t win, so we never had to worry about it on our side of things, but I thought you might enjoy the story!

Honorable Mention - Ball Blightning Lightning Skelemental

Lightning Skelemental

One of the great things that I enjoy about this is that unlike many other Ball Lightning variants, Ball Blightning here adds another element without making it more expensive. It’s still three colored mana, just one of those colors shifted on you. But the result is a card that’s better than Ball Lightning. I am going to love casting this thang on folks who are sitting on counter-magic such as Negate or Spell Pierce that won’t do anything to this, because it’s a creature-based form of damage and discarding. Welcome to the kitchen table, my Skelemental friend!

10. Serra the Benevolent

Serra the Benevolent

I feel like Serra feels a little by the numbers. She +2’s for a Serra Aviary. She -3’s for a Serra Angel. And she -6’s for a Worship which includes her in the scene and the flavor text. I don’t know that I really like Serra as the flying lord. How about, instead, she did this for her first ability: “Creatures you control get +1/+1, flying, and vigilance until end of turn.” Pumping, flying, and vigilance are her M.O. She is the 23rd card in the game with “Serra” in her name, which is big. Of those first 22, 10 have or give flying, and 9 have vigilance, including two cards (Serra's Blessing and Serra's Guardian) that give vigilance to your whole team! I think her first ability giving flying and vigilance to your team would have been more her. But she’s in print now, and the rest of her is fine. We don’t have a Worship ‘walker or a Serra Angel maker, and both of those feel on point.

And hey, Serra has now arrived. Magali’s art does her justice, so good job! Note that she can ultimate the turn after arriving if you +2 her on the first turn, so you can get that emblem quickly.

9. Good-Fortune Unicorn

Good-Fortune Unicorn

Many a Selesnya Deck is going to look happily upon the inclusion of Good-Fortune Unicorn. One obvious example is Selesnya Tokens. Now, all of your 1/1s are 2/2s permanently. Unlike an Anthem, you can’t stop the pumping by taking out the Glorious Anthem effect. It also works well in decks like Bant or Selesnya Blink, Abzan counters, and lots more! Enjoy the many possibilities of getting lucky as you see this Unicorn!

#8. Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

Hall of Heliod's Generosity

Do something once, and it’s a fun one-of. Do something twice, and it’s a fun call back. Do something three times? It’s a cycle! Now we’ll need to have the Green and Red version of this coming up soon. Meanwhile, we have a new Volrath's Stronghold and Academy Ruins for enchantments. I have listed Volrath's Stronghold as the best multiplayer card ever printed, and I still haven’t seen a card dethrone it since. Academy Ruins? It’s not bad! It’s no Volrath's Stronghold. I’d bump it back because artifacts don’t have the same presence. Every creature printed with a power of at least one can win the game outright by swinging. But several artifacts won’t. Nobody cares if I am getting back my Darksteel Ingot after you made me sacrifice it by swinging into me with an annihilator laden Eldrazi; that Ingot is unlikely to shift the balance of power at the table. While many commonly played artifacts are powerhouses - such as Mind's Eye or Oblivion Stone, and the card has power, it’s not ubiquitously nasty like the Stronghold.

And that’s where I suspect this card will fall. It will be about as worse from Ruins, as Runs is from Stronghold. That’s still a strong level of power. You can recur enchantments in White like Land Tax or Aura of Silence. But unless you are running an enchantment deck, you are unlikely to have enough targets to make sense running it. Most decks at the kitchen table will run a higher number of artifacts, but fewer enchantments. Those enchantments tend to be very strong. But if your normal deck only has 2-4 enchantments in it, then this is a tool for a more specific type of deck. But in those? It is going to sing! It gives a lot of post-removal options.

Now, I do think that choosing White for enchantments was a rough decision Wizards probably faced.

Let me explain how:

We have five permanent types in the game:

  • Creatures - Black
  • Lands
  • Artifacts - Blue
  • Enchantments - White
  • Planeswalkers

Now we have a cycle that just showed three separate permanent types begin put back on top. What’s next? Green for lands is obvious, as creatures and enchantments were already done. We’ll see a land called something like Heart of Llanowar that’s legendary, taps for colorless, and then can spend 1g and put a land from your graveyard on top of your library. But then what for Red? Planeswalkers? Or instant/sorcery and skip walkers? But sorcery and instant are way too powerful. I can’t imagine wanting to give Red a land that can put Lightning Bolt on top of its library every turn until the Burn deck finished you off. Or a sorcery one either. But ‘walkers would make sense and would likely be fine. By giving White, the only solely pro-Walker color, the enchantments, you remove it from having ‘walkers in the future.

By locking in White with enchantments, I suspect that you’ll be creating an issue with Red later. I also would have enjoyed this card putting planeswalkers on top of your library, this close to War of the Spark.

7. Winds of Abandon

Winds of Abandon
Plague Wind

In most cases, Winds of Abandon is massively better than Plague Wind. At 4ww, it’s a big reduction in cost. Plague Wind is 50% more than an overloaded one of these. You often don’t get to nine mana in a normal game, but six? Plus, Winds will exile them, rather than destroying them, and you keep your dorks. Now there may be times when the grabbing of lands is prohibitive, and winds up handing the game to your foe as they blow you out with a giant Secure the Wastes or cycled Decree of Justice that makes 17 dorks off the 9 new lands you gave them as they ran a deck that went wide with tokens. But hey, that’s a fun way to lose. And the likelihood is that’s your denuding of everything you can target at the table save for your stuff won’t be handing the game for others.

6. Kaya’s Guile

Kaya's Guile

The Guile of Kaya is strong. Like the various Command cycles, it lets you choose two of four options, most of which do not suck. Diabolic Edict on steroids? Tormod's Crypt on steroids? Create a 1/1 flying dork? Gain some life? The first three are more likely, but the final one can have some value here and there. But entwining to get them all? That’s nasty good! And a six mana instant like that in multiplayer or Commander could be a card that pushes the game state strongly to you. By the by, this is my favorite card for Type Four in the new set.

5. Soulherder

Soulherder

Soulherder is fun! It’s a self-blinking engine on its own, without any additional investment of mana. It’s like a three-mana Conjurer's Closet on legs, that turns into a face-destroying level of size quickly if you aren’t paying attention. If you have exiling removal such as Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, or Reality Shift, then you can also grow your Herder of Souls. If you have mass removal such as Winds of Abandon or Settle the Wreckage and then mass bump its size with alacrity. Soulherder is awesome. Welcome to the kitchen table my new Spirit Friend!

4. Tectonic Reformation

Tectonic Reformation

I love this card! Giving every land in your hand cycling for a single mana is a great way to fill up your hand with good stuff rather than that yucky land. We have a love/hate relationship with lands. We want them in big numbers for the first few turns, but then? Nope! We love drawing them when we are mana screwed; we loathe drawing them when we are mana flooded. Well now? No worries! Drop this as soon as turn two, and then turn any future dead land into an actual, proper card, until the game ends in your sweet victory, or this is destroyed. Or you could lose, that can happen as well (although it’s much less likely with Tectonic Reformation on your side!). I also enjoy this as fun Fill Up Your Graveyard Card for Commander. Enjoy the possibilities of Tectonic Reformation.

Oh! Is anyone else reading this card as Teutonic Reformation? Such as the Reformation of the Teutonic Order during the Protestant Reformation? Nope? Just me?

3. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Yawgmoth is a strong card. Protection from Humans is great as it’s the most common tribe in the game. Paying a life and sacrificing a dork to lay a 1-/1- counter on some dorks and drawing cards is where he’s awesome though. He can do it multiple times, and it’s not a tap effect, nor a mana requirement. You can easily sacrifice three or four dorks in the face of mass removal or after blocking to draw cards. Note that the counter is optional, so you do not have to have a creature to target, which improves him tremendously! You can toss in many a token creature or other effect to improve his power. Then you can also proliferate as well, so you can discard the cards you just drew (or others) to proliferate all day long and kill opposing dorks. The combination of a strong pair of triggers with the protection from Humans means that he has value from the early game to the latter.

2. Sword of Sinew and Steel / Sword of Truth and Justice

Sword of Sinew and Steel
Sword of Truth and Justice

I prioritize the Swords that have some form of built-in card advantage such as Sword of Fire and Ice. That’s why I rate the Sinew and Steel Sword higher as it can destroy stuff on face-smashing. But both are fine. You get the expected bump in size twinned with the two protections that keep them safe from roughly 40% of spells and potential blockers. And then two saucy combat damage triggers as well. Right now, the Truth and Justice one is preordering for more, but I disagree with that sentiment. I don’t think it’s nearly as strong. But they are all Swords of X and Y. They will all suit us nicely! It’s been a while since we’ve had strong equipment made, since WOTC has moved to not making strong equipment any more as it can be too dominant, so you get Limited or tribal equipment such as Pirate's Hook instead. I appreciate that we got two new, strong, Swords to add to the Sword canon.

1. Morophon, the Boundless

Morophon, the Boundless

Everybody loves Morophon! There are an infinite number of builds that want him. Slivers? Sure! Make your Slivers cost little, or in some cases, nothing at all. Elves? Avatars? Goblins? Merfolk? Wizards? Soldiers? Allies? Warriors? Barbarians? Apes? Bears? Cats? Antelopes? Whatever want, Morophon has got you covered. Morophon is. In Commander, I suspect Morophon will crack the Top Ten Most Played Commanders very quickly. It’s that strong of a swiss army knife. And that good of a card.

We have entered the Era of Morophon. Long May (it?) Reign!

And there we go! I hope you enjoyed my review of the top cards of Modern Horizons! Anything in here you agree or disagree with? Just let me know!