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Ten New Modern Horizons 2 Brews!

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Warning!

The decks you are about to see are mostly untested first drafts! They were played live on stream this week on Magic Online and are my first stabs at the new Modern Horizons 2 Modern format. Most are brews packed with Modern Horizons 2 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!

This is a very special edition of Ten New Brews!

Every Ten New Brews before this has been done for a Standard-release set on MTG Arena, but Modern Horizons 2 is no normal set. The second ever "straight to Modern and other non-Standard formats" set, Modern Horizons 2 is packed with a much greater density of powerful new cards and reprints than anything we would ever see in Standard. As such, there's a lot to be excited about!

I've already done my compete set review, as well as gone over the cards that I think are being both over and underrated, but now it's time to actually brew! Today as per usual we're going to go over all ten decks I built and played on my stream this week, 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. Each deck was played in a complete Magic Online league and the record will be included.

Let's get started!


Deck's Record: 4-1

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Very High In The Right Metagame

Where else to start but an update to one of my favorite brews!

Nahiri, the Harbinger
Boom // Bust
Flagstones of Trokair

I've written about my pet Modern deck Nahiri Boom a good amount here on CoolStuffInc.com and the deck still is an absolute blast to play. You get to kill lands, cast Mana Tithe, and attack with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn... what more could you want!

Well, the good news for you Nahiri Boom players out there is the deck gets a pair of big upgrades from Modern Horizons 2, with the most impactful being quite surprising.

Rustvale Bridge

Wait... aren't the common taplands just meant to help people mana fix in Limited?

Nope!

Rustvale Bridge is by far the best of the cycle of ten new artifact tap duals in Modern and there's one very important reason why: "indestructible."

Previously the deck used Flagstones of Trokair and Cascading Cataracts to allow for turn two Boom or Cleansing Wildfire on your own land for max value, but with Flagstones only tapping for White and Cascading Cataracts (or Darksteel Citadel) only tapping for colorless, it would sometimes lead to very awkward hands with no or not enough Red mana.

Rustvale Bridge is here to solve that problem while also manafixing!

Obsidian Charmaw

The deck also gains Obsidian Charmaw as a combination of land destruction and a threat and the card overperformed. While clearly insane against decks like Tron or Humans that rely almost entirely on lands that tap for colorless, it was still very reasonable otherwise as both a threat and defensive body.

I've been impressed pretty much every time I've played Nahiri Boom and this time was no different.


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Some Iteration Of This Deck Will Eventually Be Banned

For each Ten New Brews I usually find one deck that interests me from what I've seen people posting and throw that one into the mix, and this one came from fellow content creator d00mwake.

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar
The Underworld Cookbook
Ovalchase Daredevil

You're going to see a lot of this engine in the coming months in Modern.

The "I can't believe I have to write this name on a deck registration sheet at some point" Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is an unbelievably good card, providing a cheap threat, removal, and card advantage all together in one package. The Underworld Cookbook is a very reasonable discard outlet, while also making a bunch of food for Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar as well as being best friends with Feasting Troll King.

But wait, there's more!

Once you add in Ovalchase Daredevil to the mix, you've got something pretty wild. The Ovalchase Daredevil will return every time you make a food with The Underworld Cookbook, turning it essentially into "Tap: make a food."

And we haven't even gotten to the most broken part!

Urza's Saga

Urza's Saga is by far the most broken card in Modern Horizons 2 and there's no chance it is a legal card in Modern by this time next year. Being able to make two huge creatures and tutor up another Cookbook or Witch's Oven is insane value, even if it's not part of the primary plan.

This deck is definitely misbuilt, but the core engine of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, Ovalchase Daredevil, Feasting Troll King, and Urza's Saga will eventually be broken one way or another once the right build is found.


Deck's Record: 4-1

Deck's Grade: A-

Deck Potential: Surprisingly High

For a long time, "Affinity" decks in Modern had zero Affinity cards in them.

Seat of the Synod
Myr Enforcer
Somber Hoverguard

You have to be a real Magic Boomer like myself to remember the days when Seat of Synod and friends were legal in Standard and Extended, but the Modern "Affinity" decks, with the artifact lands banned of course, were much more about Mox Opal and Arcbound Ravager than Frogmite or Thoughtcast.

Well that all changes now.

Thought Monitor
Mistvault Bridge
Sojourner's Companion

The (sorta) reintroduction of artifact lands to the format in the form of the artifact land tap duals, as well as the printing of perhaps the best actual card with affinity ever in Thought Monitor has revitalized the archetype, even without Mox Opal!

Thought Monitor is basically everything in one. The problem with playing colored cards in Affinity has always been they aren't artifacts so they make your deck worse, but a big affinity payoff that's also an artifact threat and draws cards is everything the deck could want. Add this on to new threats like Nettlecyst and Sojourner's Companion and you're looking at "format's most improved old deck."

Urza's Saga
Shadowspear

Oh, and did I mention how broken Urza's Saga was? Just make sure you play four and have a Shadowspear somewhere in the 75 as a fantastic tutor target!


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: C+

Deck Potential: Reasonable, If Unexciting

Merfolk has been a fringe Modern deck basically forever, but it got as many new toys in Modern Horizons 2 as Goblins got in Modern Horizons.

Rishadan Dockhand
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Tide Shaper

The card with the most hype was Rishadan Dockhand, which unfortunately didn't live up to the hype of its namesake. Merfolk is a deck that really wants to spend all its mana on the first few turns of the game, and then turn the corner and attack. Dockhand asking for a mana every turn makes that difficult. However, Tide Shaper is the mana disruption card that Dockhand wants to be, turning a land into an Island and really mucking things up.

The biggest draw however was Svyelun of Sea and Sky, which plays as well as it reads. The fourth toughness is monumental in a deck that is usually vulnerable to removal, as Svyelun is a singular threat that draws cards and gets better if you're doing the tribal thing.

Counterspell

Counterspell also played very well, being just cheap enough but also always on, something that cards like Mana Leak or Spell Pierce can't often say.

Merfolk certainly got some serious upgrades, but it still remains a fairly middle of the road Modern deck.


Deck's Record: 1-4

Deck's Grade: C

Deck Potential: Reasonably High, If Fragile

When I called Glimpse of Tomorrow my "best in show" for the Red section of my set review people laughed. While it's very reasonable that Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer may take that slot, do not discount the raw power of Glimpse of Tomorrow.

Glimpse of Tomorrow

Warp World was an eight-mana sorcery that saw play in a multiple competitive decks, and that cost eight mana! Glimpse of Tomorrow lets you do the same effect (granted only on your side of the board) for far less mana.

Shardless Agent
As Foretold

With Shardless Agent also joining the Modern fray, it's very easy to play a full suite of eight cascade cards in only three colors and have your only spells that cost less than three be a no-mana cost card. Some people are playing Crashing Footfalls, but I want to go a bit bigger. With Khalni Garden and other lands providing the permanents, it's not hard to get off a quick Glimpse of Tomorrow for four or five permanents as early as turn three. And when you do, cross your fingers!

Omniscience
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

The deck has 13 big hits, or about a quarter of the deck (Tireless Tracker is also a very reasonable hit with some lands). A lot of the time, your big hits just win the game; An Omniscience and any Eldrazi in hand will do it, as will pretty much any combination of Eldrazi. There's a fail rate, but it's not too hard to go again even when you miss.

Fire // Ice

However, as built the deck needs some work. We played against a number of highly disruptive decks in this league and also missed our third land drop an inordinate number of times. As Foretold also underperformed as you're much better off just leaning on the cascaders. Fire // Ice feels like a very good addition that can be a two mana removal spell or just a cantrip that mucks up your opponent's mana.

The specifics may be off, but this shell has a lot of potential.


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: C+

Deck Potential: Reasonable But Unexciting

When it was previewed, the internet collectively lost their minds over Grief.

Grief
Ephemerate

"Turn one double Thoughtseize and a 3/2 menace!? With another Thoughtseize next turn!?! That's unbeatable!!!!!11!1!!"

The problem of course is that we live in the real world, not a Magical fantasy world.

Your two card combos in Modern need to be devastating and game ending, not just provide good solid value. And decks in Modern are very powerful and are fully capable of drawing out of being down a few cards in the time it takes a 3/2 to kill them. This is a big reason why As Foretold plus Ancestral Vision never caught on; your "combo" goes off and you get... three cards? It's just not enough for all the times it doesn't come together.

Ephemerate just doesn't play very well in a deck that requires the number of Black cards necessary for Grief to be consistent.

Stoneforge Mystic
Vindicate
Tourach, Dread Cantor

Stoneforge Mystic and friends are still good, as well as newcomers like Vindicate and Tourach, Dread Cantor, but the result is just a medium midrange deck in a format where you can just do so many more powerful things.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either.


Deck's Record: 0-3

Deck's Grade: F

Deck Potential: Very Low

When you're brewing decks there's bound to be duds, and we have our biggest dud here.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Gorilla Shaman
Liquimetal Coating

The idea seemed reasonable enough; Ragavan is very good and can help power out turn two Blood Moon and turn three planeswalkers, and if your deck already wants four Karn, the Great Creator maybe we can just play Liquimetal Coating in the main deck and blow up lands with Karn, Gorilla Shaman, and incidental artifact hate like Abrade and Pillage.

Unfortunately, our opponents had other things in mind, like playing blockers for Ragavan or not caring at all about Blood Moon.

It was a cute idea, but the power level is low and the payoffs aren't realty worth it. We lost to Affinity for god's sake!


Deck's Record: 0-3

Deck's Grade: D

Deck Potential: Much Higher Than Record Would Indicate

Okay, I know we had another 0-3 here, but this one was much different.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Persist
Unmarked Grave

Persist and Unmarked Grave aren't exactly Reanimate and Entomb, but they are very close, and there was a lot of power here. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy also felt like the perfect card to hold it all together, providing both a discard outlet as well as card advantage and a way to make sure all the pieces come together over and over again.

Archon of Cruelty
Terastodon
Sundering Titan

The reanimation targets were also great, with the new Archon of Cruelty headlining a boomer lineup of such old school hits as Terastodon and Sundering Titan. None of them were instant wins like Griselbrand is, but they were all very good and being able to tutor up the right one was nice. Bone Shards was also sweet.

So, what went wrong?

Teferi, Time Raveler
Priest of Fell Rites
Monastery Mentor

The other stuff just didn't work.

Teferi, Time Raveler seemed like it would be great to defend our own stuff, punk on cascade, buy time, and occasionally bounce a hate card. But it just was super awkward and we could never defend it. Priest of Fell Rites was very medium, and the White splash in general just didn't feel good. Monastery Mentor out of the board was meant to be a threat good against graveyard hate but just didn't have the gas to get it done.

There's a lot of potential here in the core of this deck, but the build was way off.

Cabal Coffers
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

I'd like to try a build that goes heavier on the Black and utilizes Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth as a potential anti-graveyard hate backup plan.


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium Reasonable

Magic is a funny game.

I go on a huge rant about how trying to play Grief plus Ephemerate is living in an ideal world and then I go put In Search of Greatness in my deck.

In Search of Greatness

In Search of Greatness looks like it should be so good, but it's just so awkward.

I figured a two-mana enchantment that would help deploy things quickly and provide a relevant card type and two Green pips would be a perfect fit for an enchantress deck, but I think we may have cast about two spells off it in the entire league. It just never lines up right.

Aside from that however, the deck performed quite well.

Sythis, Harvest's Hand
Enchantress's Presence
Solitary Confinement

The new enchantress engine cards were very good, as once the deck got rolling it got rolling. Fistfuls of cards, tons of permanents, and just figure out however way to win you want. Solitary Confinement is also a one card hard lock against a large amount of decks in the format as well, especially with Sterling Grove.

I wasn't thrilled with the win conditions like Helix Pinnace or Emarkul, the Aeons Torn that were only functional when you had basically already won, but Sigil of the Empty Throne and Felidar Retreat were only okay. Destiny Spinner was surprisingly good as a win condition as it was originally just there as a bullet against control decks, but there's another path I'd like to try in the future.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Prismatic Omen

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is already a very reasonable card in the deck, providing a decent body, defense, and an enchantment, but most importantly an Exploration effect to help you dump all the cards you're drawing. As such, it's not hard to imagine a win condition simply based on four Dryads, one Prismatic Omen, and two or three Valakuts in the mana base, that could also provide defense and board control.

Something to try!


Deck's Record: 2-3

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: Higher Than Expected

For the last brew, I really wanted to build a Squirrels deck and I wanted to build a Braids, Cabal Minion deck. So, I did both!

Braids, Cabal Minion

There weren't enough Squirrels to field a reasonable deck, but this path was so much more enjoyable anyway. Braids, Cabal Minion is one of my favorite Cube cards and I'm ecstatic to have it available in Modern. An early Braids against many decks is just lights out if it sticks, and even against decks capable of a lot of early plays this deck still breaks the symmetry very well.

Chatterfang, Squirrel General
Grist, the Hunger Tide
Tireless Tracker

Chatterfang, Squirrel General is our only actual Squirrel, but it is quite impressive. Adding a 1/1 token for every other token generation quickly floods the board with permanents, and the ability to use those squirrels to kill things is phenomenal. The new Grist, the Hunger Tide fits perfectly into this plan, making tons of tokens and killing anything. Tireless Tracker is the same idea, making tons of permanents for Braids, triggering Chatterfang, and being a generally all-around great card.

Arbor Elf
Utopia Sprawl
Thoughtseize

Getting all this running is the now familiar Arbor Elf plus Utopia Sprawl mana engine, as well as some usual suspects like Thoughtseize and Fatal Push. It's not the main plan, but if you're able to cast Braids turn two on the play it's a free win unless they have an immediate answer. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Vraska, Golgari Queen are also along for the ride as very synergistic planeswalkers.

Unfortunately, most of this deck's losses came in deck-building.

Abundant Harvest
Plague Engineer

23 lands was at least two too many, as we were flooded game after game. Straight up replacing four lands with four Abundant Harvest would be a quick and dirty fix that would improve things a lot, although you want to be perhaps a bit more careful than that. Our sideboard was also very weak to creature decks and we played against Humans twice and Elves once. Something like Plague Engineer or even just extra removal would have gone a very long way.

Chord of Calling

Another way to build the deck would be to try and utilize Chord of Calling, which can get Grist or Braids as well as opening up a potential toolbox. This one was a lot of fun and has a lot of room to improve!

So Many Brews!

Oh boy what a ride!

This was much more intense than my usual Ten New Brews, as I played an entire league with each deck (rather than just five best of one games). And the funny part? I feel like I've barely scratched the surface!

There's a ton going on in Modern Horizons 2, which mixes together with one of the largest and most playable card pools in all of Magic. We're going to be brewing with this set and figuring out all the ins and outs for a very long time.

I can't wait to update these decks with improvements as well as build entirely new decks!

Which deck would you want to see updated most?

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