I would certainly be remiss if I didn't take an opportunity to pile on with the rest of the writers discussing Modern Horizons! So, I just had to write about my favorite cards from the set and which ones I'm looking forward to seeing enter the fray that is Modern. Modern Horizons promised us an upgrade in power and so far it feels like they've delivered.
First on the list is one of the easiest to understand the combo implications but perhaps one of the hardest decks to build. Artifact decks generally are powerful but lack ways to beat mass artifact hate or Stony Silence effects. Urza, Lord High Artificer offers a way to circumvent that by helping you create mana and offering a mana sink as well as a way to draw cards. Overall I expect this card to help drive artifact hate back into sideboards as the options for playing this card are vast. I also have no idea where to even begin building this so I'll leave that to Kanister and Matt Nass for now.
It feels with every set we get a new Human that is playable in some capacity. Ranger-Captain of Eos fills multiple roles in the deck to help create an insurmountable offense against a variety of decks. Drawing a card is always going to be a worthwhile endeavor and against control decks being able to close off a Wrath turn could mean the difference between winning and losing. With a plethora of combo decks starting to pop up (and be created with Modern Horizons) Ranger-Captain gives another method of tightening the noose that Humans creates against the unfair strategies. I'm now envisioning a scenario against Phoenix during their upkeep to shut them off from clawing their way back in.
Time Twister effects usually are pretty bad, but having a Flashback cost for in a world of Thought Scour and Faithless Looting opens up so many possibilities. With Narset, Parter of Veils being able to find the card it means you can essentially restart the game with the opponent having nothing. I'm much more likely to believe that this card does nothing rather than having any impact but I certainly would believe that some Mono-Blue Tron or Time Walk player will be playing this.
A much fairer Force of Will designed for Modern offers a lot of options for those willing to fill their deck with Blue cards. While I'm on board with what this card offers I think it's a stretch at this moment to play many of them in your Blue decks. I'd start with a 1-2 then see how the format develops first. It seems with the printing of this card we're more likely to see the adoption of the London Mulligan which will certainly help fuel the fire on combo decks being rampant in the format. This card's design is excellent and exactly the kind of card I want in Modern.
I'm a big fan of this card. Folks remarking on its casting cost I think are missing the point. It's a modal card that fits at every point on curve from three up and fills multiple roles for a control deck. There are plenty of ways to build your Azorius deck to cast this card (think Mystic Gate) but just like with Cryptic Command the card is still going to be solid past these initial turns. Being able to steal Aether Vial or Death's Shadow offers another way for decks in the market for this kind of card better ways to leverage their removal. One of the more difficult aspects of Modern has been attempting to build a control deck that answers everything (or at least as much as possible) and Archmage's Charm is a unique way to help bridge that gap.
Giver of Runes, or Step Mom as I want to nickname it, breathes new life into the creature decks available in Modern. My first instinct is to place this card in the Taxes styles list as Leonin Arbiter is usually the card that wants to be killed first. Giver of Runes acts as a magnet for removal and gets to protect your worthwhile threats. However the place I think it makes the most impact is Humans. While Giver doesn't fit the normal motley crew I believe the effect is powerful enough to give Humans more ways to disrupt and push through damage.
Another card that fits with Urza as an enabler. This card seems like an excellent addition to pair with Thopter Sword combo and I'm sure there are plenty of other interactions I'm going to miss. But off the top of my head putting the combo into play or finding Bridge or protect against Surgical!
Cavern naming Ouphe (or Oof as the kids say) is a line I can totally see moving forward. While Stony Silence has been the sideboard card of choice for quite some time instead we will see Collector Ouphe move into its (now) rightful slot in Green sideboards. Being able to Chord of Calling or Collected Company (or whatever you feel like using) to find this bullet is a big old slap in the face to anyone trying to play an artifact strategy. Just feels like Urza and Goblin Engineer were super busted in testing and there was enough cards needed to close them down. Being a creature also means that Humans would love having access to this card and it has just the right power for Bugler to find it.
Claim // Fame was always just a little worse than Unearth and lots of folks were hoping for this reprint. Being able to snag more creatures and never be a dead card means we are pretty likely to see Harlan Firer playing Monastery Mentor at an SCG near you after this is legal. Personally I'd rather just re-buy Dark Confidant and Fulminator Mage in my Jund deck. I look forward to trying this card out in a variety of midrange strategies.
Insert a picture of Liliana's Triumph here and laugh with me.
Lava Dart is probably one of the more unassuming cards but offers an incredible way for the Red Phoenix deck to be able to play deeper into the game and have some more busted starts. Lava Dart isn't a card for Burn decks but it's definitely the kind of card Arclight decks crave to be more consistent. Throw in the new Aria and it's possible you have a new combo deck on your hands.
A way for Green decks to smush Burn is pretty painful but also offers a way to fight through a Grapeshot as well. I'm less likely to believe this is an anti-Storm card, but it is kind of interesting to play.
If you keep saying this card name, legend has it Captain O'Hagan appears and pistol whips you. Really, Dredge needed a card that beats Grafdigger's Cage. Or they didn't; but they have it now! Being able to re-buy your artifact hate piece means you'll always be able to answer these cards when you need. These are scary times for artifact decks trying to play Cages and Welding Jars.
I'm really unsure how much I like this card in Modern at the moment. There are so many ways to use it but none that I'm sure are correct. In Legacy this could be the card Lands, Four-Color Loam, and Temur Delver have been waiting for. A way to kill small creatures, utilize Wasteland, and eventually kill your opponent for such a low investment is at least worth trying. But for now I expect a lot of Loam decks to pop up with Ghost Quarter in Modern. Hope you have basics!
Really I think this is just a combo enabler more than being a good card. Being able to move away from Collected Company means your deck could be leaner and potentially more spell heavy while increasing the consistency or your Vizier deck. This is a card I would love to see make an impact but I'm skeptical.
Horizon Canopy has always been an excellent card and releasing it from Selesnya colors means that plenty of other decks now get powered up. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, though. I think Dredge getting a Horizon land could potentially be disastrous (especially at the time of writing this since there hasn't been any real graveyard hate and instead more toys for Dredge to play with) and I'm worried that Dredge will become an even better deck than it already is. For a deck like Burn, being a little more consistent means we will certainly see some hate pop up after players realize the 5th land is now another Burn spell. I like the consistency these lands add while still coming at a cost. The one life isn't entirely irrelevant and you won't be able to just shove these in for free.
Overall this is a very exciting time for all these new cards and I'm disappointed I don't get to play them at the Invitational. Fortunately we have a triple Modern tournament coming up later this month!
What cards do you think I'm missing? Let me know!