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Modern Horizons 3 Ten New Brews Part One: 3 Historic and 2 Timeless Brews



The decks you are about to see are mostly untested first drafts! They were played Wednesday on the early access Streamer Event on MTG Arena and are my first stabs at the new Modern Horizons 3 Timeless and Historic formats. Most are brews jam packed with Modern Horizons 3 cards, while there are also a few updates to previously established archetypes, but it's important to note that these are the first steps and not finished products! Use them as stepping stones for your own deck brewing process, but play them card for card at your own risk!

Note that because of the different formats being played (Timeless, Historic, and Modern) as well as the separate events on the two different platforms, this Ten New Brews will be split into two parts. I'll be covering the MTG Arena formats today, and Modern next Friday!

Modern Horizons 3 is coming to MTG Arena!

While obviously awesome because we can draft it on a platform that has more visual appeal than Windows Excel, it also awesome as a huge influx of awesome cards for Timeless and Historic, the two Eternal formats on the platform. With Timeless existing somewhere between Legacy and Modern, and Historic being a more carefully curated brewers paradise, this is very exciting!


Aside from the main set, the Special Guest bonus sheet is also being added to MTG Arena, which is a huge deal for Timeless with the Modern Horizons 2 pitch elemental being added alongside a few other goodies. Some of these are being prebanned alongside a few other cards in the main set for Historic, but we'll get to that in a little bit.

Today we are going to go over the five MTG Arena decks I played as part of my Ten New Brews on YouTube and stream, briefly going over each list and my thoughts on how it was, giving it a letter grade, and talking about what kind of potential it has going forward. I played five games of best of one with each deck so the deck's record will also be included, but do note that these matches were played during the Early Access event not on the open ladder. My opponents were all other content creators also trying out all sorts of fun Modern Horizons 3 stuff.

Let's start with Timeless!


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd

It's a scam!


Grief has obviously been quite the issue in both Modern and Legacy. Somehow it dodged the bullet itself but got Fury banned in Modern, providing the turn "scam" effect of evoking it on turn one and then immediately bringing it back with a card like Not Dead After All. Double Thoughtseize and a threat is obviously quite powerful, but far more common in Legacy is to use the far more flexible Reanimate to return the Grief on turn one. Either way however, it's a problem.

So, this deck has much of the usual Scam stuff going on, with Grief and Solitude both being scammed by Reanimate and Ephemerate, as well as many of the format's staples like Deathrite Shaman, Swords to Plowshares, and Orcish Bowmasters.

But what else is new?

Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd
White Orchid Phantom
Emperor of Bones

Well, if you watched my set review, you'd know that despite the silly and whimsical art, Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd is the real deal. The obvious use is to blink your own things, from Grief and Solitude to Orcish Bowmasters, but don't discount the power of blinking your opponent's things too! In this set of games Phelia was able to kill a Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki token as well as an Orc Army, which is excellent upside. White Orchid Phantom and Emperor of Bones were also interesting, but may be a bit below the bar in a format as powerful as Timeless.

I'm curious to see how long Grief lasts in Timeless, as it was in almost every deck we played against in the format.

Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: C+

Deck Potential: Medium With Upgrades

Standout Card: Devourer of Destiny

One the things about Timeless is that it is definitely a "power" format, not really a "brewers" format.

Because such an unbelievable array of powerful mistakes from Magic's long history are legal, deck-building often needs to start with getting as many of those as possible into your deck and then just filling out the rest with whatever your theme is.

Arboreal Grazer
Flare of Cultivation
Ugin's Labyrinth

The idea here is to use some of the new potentially broken ramp tools like Flare of Cultivation alongside Ugin's Labyrinth to try and cast some Eldrazi ahead of schedule, but each comes with it's own unique deck-building restriction. Needing Green mana on turn one, enough Green creatures to sacrifice, as well as enough seven+ drops to enable Ugin's Labyrinth isn't easy.

Devourer of Destiny
Kozilek, the Broken Reality
Thief of Existence

There were some new standouts, with Devourer of Destiny being perhaps the hardest to properly evaluate. Devourer of Destiny is fine to cast, but also offers a sort of Once Upon a Time effect as the game starts to help you put together all of these elements you're trying to assemble. Kozilek, the Broken Reality was also awesome, putting a ton of power on the board while casting Mind Rot on your opponent and drawing four cards.

Thought-Knot Seer
The One Ring

The failing here though was trying to play the smaller Eldrazi. Without Eldrazi Temple, Matter Reshaper, and Thought-Knot Seer are underwhelming, and when there are busted cards like The One Ring, Once Upon a Time, and potentially Karn, The Great Creator that could be played instead you're just leaving too much power on the table.


Moving on to Historic, which is the much more heavily curated Eternal format on MTG Arena. Historic has a much more liberal ban list, removing ubiquitous cards like Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, and the fetchlands, as well as the broken ones like Oko, Thief of Crowns and Natural Order.

As such, these cards are pre-banned in Historic from Modern Horizons 3:

This makes a lot of sense with the spirit of the format; no free spells, no fetch lands, and nothing extremely hateful like Blood Moon. There may end up being some very overpowered cards that are banned as time goes on, but for now this is a very logical starting point.

Historic certainly languishes a bit as the red headed stepchild of MTG Arena formats, not getting nearly the attention and upkeep it deserves, but it remains one of my favorite formats in all of Magic.

Deck's Record: 2-3

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Wight of the Reliquary

I love Bloodghast. You know who else loves Bloodghast?

Wight of the Reliquary

Wight of the Reliquary! This callback to Knight of the Reliquary seems like it should also cost 3 mana, but power creep dictates that it shall cost two. Wight of the Reliquary does basically everything; it's huge, has a powerful and synergistic ability, and even has vigilance so you can attack and still use it. Wight is extra cute with Bloodghast, because the land you get immediately triggers landfall to return the Bloodghast, giving you a near limitless amount of triggers and fodder.

Grist, Voracious Larva // Grist, the Plague Swarm
Buried Alive

The other big Modern Horizons 3 card in the deck is Grist, Voracious Larva // Grist, the Plague Swarm, the Green entry into the flip-planeswalker cycle. With so many ways to return creatures from the graveyard Grist is fairly easy to flip, turning into a planeswalker that mills, makes bodies, and can also interact with your opponent's artifacts and enchantments. Lastly from Modern Horizons 3 we get the "new to Modern" Buried Alive, which is a card with a nice pedigree that can fill your graveyard with Bloodghast and Prized Amalagam, as well as bullet one-ofs like Masked Vandal or Souls of the Lost to then return with Jet Collector or Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler.

Unfortunately, this deck took a few losses from decks that were presenting fast, wide boards with tokens, which made Priest of the Forgotten Gods not as effective as it would usually be. There's a lot of awesome stuff happening here, but some tuning is definitely needed.

Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: High

Standout Card: Kozilek's Unsealing

Kozilek's Unsealing is a pretty wild Magic card. Alongside Ugin's Labyrinth, you end up with the deck-building puzzle of "how many seven-drops can I put in my deck?"

Kozilek's Unsealing
Simulacrum Synthesizer
Ugin's Labyrinth

While you get a bonus for playing four, five, and 6 mana creatures, the real draw to Kozilek's Unsealing is when you play a seven-mana creature and draw three cards. Add this alongside Simulacrum Synthesizer, which also wants to see you play lots of 3 mana+ artifacts, and you've got a pair of three-mana engine cards that can go crazy. The third piece of the puzzle here is Ugin's Labyrinth, which allows you to play either of these engine cards on turn two and get the ball rolling.

So, what's the ticket to breaking these cards?

Myr Enforcer
Frogmyr Enforcer

It's a classic... Myr Enforcer! And of course, the new Frogmyr Enforcer. Affinity allows you to play a seven-mana card for zero mana, which obviously plays very well when each of these also draws you three cards. This of course leads us down the artifact path, wishing that Seat of Synod and friends were legal. However, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum, and Mox Amber will have to do.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch
Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student // Tamiyo, Seasoned Scholar
Mox Amber

Emry, Lurker of the Loch needs no introduction in the deck, providing you with a constant source of artifacts as well as a legendary creature for Mox Amber, but the new Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student // Tamiyo, Seasoned Scholar is also very interesting here as well. Also a 1 mana legend for Mox Amber, Tamiyo makes an artifact every turn to help with affinity as well. While there aren't many spells to recur with her planeswalker side, Sink into Stupor // Soporific Springs is a really awesome way to get some interaction into the deck while just being part of the mana base.

It's going to be tough to figure out exactly what the right mix of cards here is, but there is certainly something very explosive possible.

Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Ugin's Binding

Aetherworks Marvel is a terror.

Aetherworks Marvel

The Standard format where Aetherworks Marvel was legal was a disaster, with games often being decided on turn four or five based on if Aetherworks Marvel hit something big like Ulamog, the Ceasesless Hunger or Emrakul, the Promised End, or whiffed. However, outside of Standard the card has never really been able to make a mark due to the parasitic nature of energy as a mechanic and there not being enough good energy cards.

Uh... about that.

Tune the Narrative
Solar Transformer

Tune the Narrative is as good or better than Attune with Aether, which was good enough to be banned in Standard, and the two together form a very low opportunity cost one-two punch of energy makers to help power up Aetherworks Marvel. Add in Solar Transformer, a far more powerful ramp piece and energy maker than Servant of the Conduit, and we're seriously starting to talk here.

However, this deck is more than just an all in Aetherworks Marvel deck, it also ramps well!

Ugin's Labyrinth
Kozilek, the Broken Reality

Casting Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Kozilek, the Broken Reality is very reasonable in this deck with the extra mana acceleration, and a totally worthwhile plan B to Aetherworks Marvel. Ugin's Labyrinth also allows for faster Aetherworks Marvels at a very low opportunity cost.

Ugin's Binding

However, one pleasnt surprise that I overlooked was how effective Ugin's Binding is alongside Nulldrifter. Both cards obviously fit well in the deck, with the former helping deal with things and then wipe your opponent's board when you go big, and the latter drawing cards early and being a fine hit off of Marvel, but putting them together is something special. Just evoking Nulldrifer to draw two counts as casting a 7 mana colorless spell, which gives you a very cheap way to trigger Ugin's Binding from the graveyard.

There's a lot of cool stuff happening here, and while the details need to be iron out this was a nice one.


Which brings us to Modern next week!

As you are reading this, the Magic Online Early Access event is happening, where I'll be doing the remaining five Modern brews for Ten New Brews, which you can read about right here on CoolStuffInc.com next Friday!

While certainly spend more time on MTG Arena these days and don't play Modern nearly as often as I used to, those five brews are perhaps even more important given that Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 is at the end of the month and Modern is the format, so it's a big one!

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