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Commander Review: Modern Horizons | Part 1 | White, Blue, Black


Modern Horizons is fully spoiled and that means it's time for the Commander Review! These are my picks for the best cards in the set for the Commander format. Let's go!

 

WHITE

 

Astral Drift

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Astral Slide is the defining card of the Cycling archetype, controlling your opponents' creatures while also protecting your own creatures from removal or reusing ETB triggers. We now have a second copy of Slide with Astral Drift, a slightly better version since it can cycle itself in the rare case that you'd want to. Having an extra copy of our most important card is huge for the archetype! If you're interested in seeing what a Cycling deck looks like, I did a Budget Cycling Zur article that shows off the power of Slide/Drift that you can check out.

 

Ephemerate

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Cloudshift is already a solid card for cheaply blinking a creature at instant speed, reusing any ETB/leave trigger and protecting it from targeted removal. I've seen it show up as protection for Feather, the Redeemed and sometimes in Blink decks like Brago, King Eternal as well. Ephemerate does the same thing but better thanks to rebound. This is an easy upgrade to any deck looking to run Cloudshift, and some decks may want to run both!

 

Force of Virtue

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I don't think I've ever considered running Glorious Anthem in any deck before. The effect is just so minimal. When I want to pump my creatures in a Go Wide deck, I'm looking first at stuff like Cathars' Crusade or True Conviction, or anthems that come with other utility like Caged Sun or Marshal's Anthem. If I'm really digging deep then there's Dictate of Heliod. But just giving my creatures +1/+1 and nothing else? Eh, nah.

Force of Virtue is significantly better than Glorious Anthem. Having flash means you can catch your opponents by surprise, but more importantly is being able to cast this for no mana at all which can be a huge tempo swing. In decks absolutely swimming in card advantage and are slowed down only by mana, this alternate cost is a big deal. But even then ... it's just a Glorious Anthem. It's just too low-impact for me to run in most decks.

Force of Virtue might have a home somewhere. Maybe in some funky Devotion deck. I dunno. This is a card to keep an eye on and maybe come back to if it randomly is amazing in a future deck.

 

Generous Gift

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Beast Within has long been a Green Commander staple. Threats come in all forms in this format, be it creatures / artifacts / enchantments / planeswalkers / lands, and you need to have answers for all of them. Beast Within can handle all of that, at instant speed, for a reasonably cheap casting cost. The downside is negligible since a 3/3 creatures simply isn't as scary here as it can be in other formats.

Unsurprisingly, a colorshifted Beast Within is going to be fantastic in White as well. Generous Gift is likely going to see a good deal of play in many decks. I also love the "white elephant" flavor of it; everything about this card is a home-run in my books.

 

Giver of Runes

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Giver of Runes is the "fixed" version of Mother of Runes: she can't protect herself, but she can offer protection against colorless spells/abilities like Spine of Ish Sah and Duplicant. I think she's generally a little worse than Mother but it depends on your personal playgroup. 

I see Mother of Runes popping up in decks that want to protect their commander at all costs, like Feather, the Redeemed and Kaalia of the Vast. Or in Weenie decks that have high synergy with her, like Alesha, Who Smiles at Death. Or in Cleric Tribal like Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. Also any deck that happens to run other 1 cmc utility creatures like Weathered Wayfarer and Soul Warden so you can make a little Ranger of Eos toolkit.

I think Giver of Runes is a fine inclusion in any deck that wants a second copy of Mother of Runes. She serves the exact same function roughly as well, so if you want two of the same card, this is perfect.

 

On Thin Ice

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Modern Horizons is making a strong case for upgrading all your basic lands to snow lands, and On Thin Ice is just another reason to do so. We've seen this enchantment before with Chained to the Rocks, an excellent removal spell that I believe is still underrated in Boros decks. On Thin Ice I think has more of a chance to be played since it's available to more decks if you swap to snow-covered basic lands. Being able to exile a creature for just one mana is amazing. It's sorcery-speed and the creature can come back if either the aura or the land it's attached to is destroyed so it's not on the same level of Swords to Plowshares in White but nothing else is and this is a great second / third / fourth cheap targeted removal for your deck. 

 

Ranger-Captain of Eos

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ranger of Eos is back, now older and wiser, having been promoted to Ranger-Captain of Eos. The new version is one mana cheaper and also tutors 1cmc creatures, but can only get one instead of two, and has the added ability of letting you sacrifice him to stop your opponents from casting noncreature spells for a turn. They both fit into the same deck -- basically any deck that runs multiple 1cmc creatures like Weathered Wayfarer and Giver of Runes -- and I'd run both in those decks, but Ranger-Captain is even better than his younger version. You can sacrifice him on your own turn to stop a Blue player from countering an important spell, or you can use it on an opponent's turn if, for example, you have a winning board state and know an opponent plans to board wipe, or you know they're going to try and combo off.

Being 3cmc also means you can easily recur him with the White staple, Sun Titan. Also with Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle. I expect to see Ranger-Captain of Eos in any deck that runs Ranger of Eos plus any Sacrifice/recursion deck that has enough tutor targets and runs things like Sun Titan. Excellent card.

 

Serra the Benevolent

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Serra the Benevolent's most interesting ability to me is her -6, basically a Worship emblem. If you use her +2 ability the turn you cast her, then you can use her -6 the turn after, which is pretty great. Her other two abilities -- a small anthem for your flying creatures or making a Serra Angel token -- are fine but not exciting. 

Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen Worship played in a single Commander game, but I'm sure there's some spice you can pull off with the card, like playing a Boros Earthquake deck with Stuffy Doll or something. Some version of Firesong and Sunspeaker or Anya, Merciless Angel. I'm sure any deck that plays Worship will want a second copy of it in Serra the Benevolent. Angel Tribal decks will run her for flavor reasons alone. 

 

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Captain Sisay is back as the new and improved Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. Just like her previous version, Sisay tutors up legendary permanents, but her method of doing so is wildly different. Captain Sisay's tutor requires her to tap, costs no mana, and puts the card into her hand. Sisay, Weatherlight Captain's tutor is restricted based on her power, doesn't require tapping, requires mana (WUBRG), but you put the card directly onto the battlefield. New Sisay gives you access to all five colors if she's your commander, whereas Old Sisay only gave you access to two.

So, which one is better? They both have their own strengths and weaknesses: Captain Sisay is better at tutoring up low-cmc legendaries like Gaea's Cradle and can be abused with Paradox Engine, while Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is better when cheating into play high-cmc legendaries and straight-up wins the game if you have infinite mana. I haven't researched either commander yet so I can't give a definite answer, but my gut reaction is that Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is probably stronger. Having access to all five colors is huge, as is her ability to end games if you generate infinite WUBRG mana. I could be totally wrong though.

One thing is for certain, however: both new and old Sisay are going to attract immediate hate at tables, especially more casual ones. Sisay is a kill-on-sight commander because she immediately swings games after just two or three activations. I've never seen Captain Sisay lose a game after activating 3+ times in a row and I expect the exact same schtick with Sisay, Weatherlight Captain.

So if you're looking for a sweet Legendary Matters commander, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is probably your best option. She's incredibly powerful. Just be mindful that she will be hated out by playgroups and you need to be okay about it.

 

Vesperlark

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Reveillark's little buddy also happens to have tons of Commander potential. Vesperlark can see play in any deck filled with 1-power creatures, such as any deck with Ranger-Captain of Eos packages (Mother of Runes, Weathered Wayfarer), etc. It's only 3 cmc so it plays nice with Sun Titan and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle. It has potential in Cleric Tribal decks such as Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. There are also infinite combos as well: with Vesperlark in the graveyard, Body Double can infinitely recur itself if you have a sacrifice outlet, like making infinite mana with Phyrexian Altar. Or if you stay Mono White, Vesperlark + Felidar Guardian + a sac outlet is infinite blinking/recursion too.

Vesperlark won't show up in a ton of decks, but it's going to be a powerhouse in decks that do want it.

 

Winds of Abandon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Winds of Abandon is being talked about as White's Cyclonic Rift and, well ... nah. Not even close. It's more like White's Plague Wind -- it's no coincidence that they both have "wind" in the name. Winds of Abandon is cheaper and has the added flexibility of being able to cast it as a sorcery-speed more expensive Path to Exile. Exiling opposing creatures instead of destroying them is fantastic, since it gets around indestructible creatures, denies death triggers, and stops any potential recursion. But the downside of ramping all your opponents is very real. I'd hesitate to recommend running a card that ramps your opponents so heavily unless you're taking steps to mitigate it.

How do we mitigate it? A couple ways: first, we can deny them from getting those lands with anti-search cards like Aven Mindcensor, Leonin Arbiter, or Stranglehold. We can also follow up the ramp with some good ol' MLD like Armageddon. Second, we can turn our opponents' superior land counts by running cards that activate when your opponents have more lands than you: Land Tax, Knight of the White Orchid, Isolated Watchtower, and Surveyor's Scope are prime examples of this. In decks that run lots of these mentioned cards, Winds of Abandon starts looking way more appealing.

Most White decks are just gonna stick to generic board wipes like Wrath of God to deal with opposing creatures. But creature-heavy decks that don't want to kill their own board, and decks that can properly mitigate the downside of ramping opponents, will find a ton of value from Winds of Abandon. No, it's not even close to the level of Cyclonic Rift, but in the right deck this card can be your best board wipe.

 

BLUE

 

Archmage's Charm

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Archmage's Charm is absurdly good in Commander and is a new staple in any Blue-heavy Draw Go deck like Talrand, Sky Summoner and Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage. Not all decks can regularly hold up UUU mana for this spell, but decks that can now have the ultimate swiss army knife: Cancel + Inspiration + my favorite, Steal Your Opponent's Sol Ring. I love it so much!

 

Bazaar Trademage

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Bazaar Trademage looks like a solid inclusion in self-mill decks such as Muldrotha, the Gravetide and perhaps Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. Although in both decks I'd assume Magus of the Bazaar is superior and I don't often see that card played. Bazaar Trademage's looting is an ETB trigger so it has more value in Blink decks, but I can't think of any Blink commander that would want this.

 

Cunning Evasion

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Cunning Evasion is Reconnaisance for Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow Ninja Tribal. It allows you to swing with all your creatures without fear since anything blocked can just be bounced back to your hand, saving them from a combat death and in some cases benefitting you if you return a creature with a good ETB/LTB trigger (Faerie Seer). This is a great inclusion for the deck.

 

Echo of Eons

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Echo of Eons is one of the most absurd cards I've seen in a while. You're going to see this card pop up a lot in the most high-powered Commander decks.

Most of Echo's power comes from its flashback, which is literally Timetwister from the graveyard. Paying a mere 3 mana to refill your hand, shuffle combo pieces back into your library, and deny your opponent's graveyard synergies all in one is just gas. You can easily set this up with looting effects like Frantic Search and Faithless Looting, or if you're getting really fancy then there's Lion's Eye Diamond into this. Hardcasting Echo isn't as busted but it's still perfectly acceptable, and then you can still flashback it later.

Echo of Eons will be played most fairly in Wheel decks, where it's a new auto-include staple. The Locust God, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Nekusar, the Mindrazer, all will free up a slot for it. But its power scales up exponentially the more money you throw into your deck. The most busted thing you can do is turn one unload your entire hand full of Sol Ring / Mana Crypt / Mox Diamond / etc., then either hardcast Echo or discard it with Faithless Looting / Lion's Eye Diamond and flash it back, immediately refilling your entire hand with a gross amount of mana on the board.

Echo is a gross card.

 

Faerie Seer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Faerie Seer is the best version of Zephyr Sprite we've seen so far. An ETB Scry 2 is a big deal, and they even added a Wizard subtype alongside Faerie, which opens up other random synergies like being able to bounce it back with Riptide Laboratory. I expect Faerie Seer to see regular play in Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow decks as one of the best ninjutsu enablers. I'm also instantly adding it to my Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck as one of the best new evasive 1cmc beaters that also makes Spellstutter Sprite even better. Fantastic card.

 

Force of Negation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Force of Negation is no Force of Will, but it's still an excellent card in Commander. I play Negate a fair amount in Commander and a 3cmc version isn't the worst, especially in Draw Go decks that can consistently keep up 3 mana like Talrand, Sky Summoner. But being able to cast it for free by exiling another card is what really makes Force of Negation so appealing, allowing you to stop crucial spells from resolving, be it a Wrath of God that might deny you victory or stop an opponent from combo'ing off. If you're heavy into Blue I'd highly recommend considering adding this to your deck.

 

Marit Lage's Slumber

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We've never really had a Snow Archetype in Commander. The only snow cards that have seen regular play are snow-covered basic lands (Snow-Covered Mountain), usually to break the symmetry of Extraplanar Lens, since your opponents can't benefit from its ability unless they also have snow-covered lands of the same type. Snow-covered basics also let you run Scrying Sheets, essentially free card advantage, and Skred if you're in Red. There's zero reasons not to run snow-covered basics over regular basics, but up until this point, there wasn't much reason to make the swap outside of those few cards.

Things are changing now. Modern Horizons has brought with it a few more convincing arguments for making the upgrade. The biggest one of these has to be Marit Lage's Slumber. For just 2 cmc, you have an enchantment that scries for you, and as soon as you have 9 snow-covered lands you get a 20/20 flying indestructible creature. FOR 2CMC! Ridiculous!

Again, all a deck needs to run these powerful payoff cards is snow-covered basics, and there's realistically zero downside for swapping your basics to snow-covered versions. Literally zero. Nobody plays cards like Avalanche or Legions of Lim-Dul and that won't suddenly change until WOTC starts printing flexible snow hate cards. Until that happens, take advantage of these insane cards!

 

Mirrodin Besieged

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Mirrodin Besieged is the best "opponent loses the game" card ever printed for Commander. Getting 15+ artifacts in your graveyard is trivial for a Blue Artifact deck; you can immediately fulfill this requirement by just Traumatizeing yourself, but you'll naturally meet this requirement over the course of the game and perhaps a Windfall or two. And unlike most lose/win cards, this triggers at your end step, so you can cast Mirrodin Besieged during your main phase and kill someone on the same turn. If you meet the requirements and your opponent doesn't have an instant speed response, they just lose! Bananas! Honestly, I think this is too easy.

If Mirrodin Besieged only had the "opponent loses the game" mode it'd already be a powerhouse in Commander. But it has another, equally insane mode, creating 1/1 artifact tokens each time you cast an artifact spell. As someone who has played Sai, Master Thopterist, I can assure you that this gets out of control immediately. Artifact decks are masters at spewing out hands full of artifacts onto the battlefield at record speeds, so this enchantment will be creating an army of 1/1's you can use for defense / offence / combos in no time at all.

Mirrodin Besieged is a busted card. It's an auto-include in Artifact decks. It's cheap, it's flexible, and both modes get out of control fast. If you see it played by an opponent, kill it immediately.

 

Mist-Syndicate Shinobi

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Mist-Syndicate Naga is the Ninja version of Spawnwrithe, a favorite pet card of mine, so it's no surprise that I love this card too. It's not an insane card, at least not for the first couple of turns, but the chance to fill the board with Naga clones makes me grin like an idiot. This card will probably only see play in Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, but it's an excellent threat there. To get the most out of this you'll want evasion, which Yuriko provides, and additional triggers like the double strike (Fireshriekr) or doubling triggers (Strionic Resonator) which there aren't a ton of great options in Yuriko but whatever. It's a neat card! I like it!

 

Moonblade Shinobi

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Moonblade Shinobi is one of the weaker new Ninjas, but it's still an okay inclusion in Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow Ninja Tribal. The card pool of good Ninjas is low enough that this one probably makes the cut in a lot of lists.

 

Phantom Ninja

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another okay inclusion for Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow. It's a Ninja that trigger Yuriko and enables ninjutsu of other Ninjas. Not great, but it's good enough.

 

Scuttling Sliver

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Scuttling Sliver is a new staple for Trilobite Tribal. It might be decent in Sliver Tribal. Perhaps combined with Earthcraft and a land that produces 2+ mana like Gaea's Cradle? Surely there are better combos with those cards but I dunno, flavor win? Let me know if you have better plans for this one.

 

Smoke Shroud

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another sweet inclusion for Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow Ninja Tribal. Since you can attach it from the graveyard to any Ninja that enters the battlefield, this allows you to enchant a creature to give it evasion to enable ninjutsu, then bring it back attached to the Ninja you snuck in. And even if that Ninja dies, Smoke Shroud keeps coming back for free. Really sweet support card and exactly what the tribe wants.

Side rant: I really like all these Ninja Tribal inclusions in Modern Horizons. Before this set, there honestly wasn't enough on-theme cards to make a compelling case for Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow Ninja Tribal, and instead the most common build of her were just 1cmc evasive dorks that you turned into "Ninjas" via Arcane Adaptation. And that's fine, but it was disappointing that the Ninja Tribal deck ran barely any Ninjas. Now with the new set and all these cards I can absolutely see lots of Yuriko decks being filled with actual Ninjas and that's exciting to me. It's probably still less powerful than the Adaptation Yuriko builds, but I'm far more interested in playing that over wannabe Edric.

Also the art on this card is sick. Thank you, Micah Epstein!

 

Tribute Mage

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

First we got Trinket Mage, then Trophy Mage, and now we've got Tribute Mage. A quick browse of 2cmc artifacts this card can fetch shows some notable choices including Altar of Dementia, Isochron Scepter, Krark's Thumb, Nim Deathmantle, Scroll Rack, and much more.

All the Mages are equally good and figuring out whether you should run them is pretty simple. Do you have 3+ tutor targets? Are those targets vital cards to find for the deck? Does your deck have any synergies with the Mage itself (creature, wizard, etc.) that makes it better than otherwise superior tutors like Fabricate? If you said "yes" to two or more of these questions, then run this card.

 

Urza, Lord High Artificer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Seeing Urza, Lord High Artificer for the first time was such a bittersweet moment for me.

When I was a wee lad, my older brother introduced me to Magic. I was a very casual player building decks out my brother's leftovers that he kept in a shoebox. I didn't have the income to buy tons of cards from the latest set, Urza's Saga, but my parents did gift me a book based on the card game, The Brothers' War. I loved that book as a kid. And I loved the character the book centered around, Urza. He was essentially a superhero, but a deeply flawed one, and I loved reading about him and the world he lived in. I've always had a soft spot for Urza ever since.

Urza has already appeared as a legendary creature, kinda: Blind Seer. And while I love that card, it wasn't the "real" Urza I wanted. But now it's here: Urza, Lord High Artificer lives up to the Urza in The Brothers' War. Overpowered af. And this makes me so happy. I've never had such an immediate urge to build + buy a commander deck like I did when I first saw him.

But then it dawned on me: he's too good. Way, way too good. This is the most overpowered commander they've printed in ... gosh, I don't know, the partner commanders maybe? He combos off a billion different ways, most notably with Paradox Engine. He effortlessly breaks the symmetry of stax cards like Static Orb and Winter Orb, tapping them at the end step before your own turn so all your permanents untap while your opponents' stuff do not. He's absurd. Even if you collected random artifact cards that people literally throw out after a draft, tossed together some Islands to make a deck, Urza would still make that deck a fighting force. He's that good.

And that's when I knew I'd never build my own Urza, Lord High Artificer. I simply don't have any playgroup at a competitive level where I wouldn't feel like an asshole for bringing him out. He's archenemy incarnate, combos by accident, and enables the most staggering stax locks. I can't bring him to my playgroups. Maybe one day. One day.

 

Watcher for Tomorrow

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In the right decks, Watcher for Tomorrow is a Sea Gate Oracle that digs twice as deep for a card and costs one mana less. It's an LTB trigger, not an ETB trigger, which means you have to work a little harder for the payoff, but abusing the trigger is much the same: blink! This is a new auto-include in Brago, King Eternal decks. I'm also a fan of it in Wizard Tribal, specifically Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, since the copy Inalla makes will trigger the ability as soon as it's exiled. It works great with Riptide Laboratory as well. Oh, and Skullclamp.

It seems Watcher for Tomorrow is flying under a lot of people's radars for now, but I expect that to change soon. It's a low-key powerhouse for a few decks.

 

Windcaller Aven

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Despite Cycling being a key archetype in Modern Horizons, we don't actually see too many new cycling goodies from the set. Windcaller Aven is a nice pickup though. It cycles for just U and has an okayish effect when doing so. This is an easy inclusion in the Cycling decks that want to win by cycling creatures and finishing with a giant Living Death.

 

BLACK

 

Azra Smokeshaper

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Azra Smokeshaper is one of the better new Ninja cards for Ninja Tribal. Ninjutsu only costs 2 mana and it can potentially save a blocked creature from dying. I suppose you could also blink or flash it in response to removal, perhaps with the aid of Leyline of Anticipation, which is kinda neat too.

 

Changeling Outcast

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The most powerful Ninja for a Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow deck ends up not having the word "Ninja" written on it: Changeling Outcast is the absolute perfect Yuriko card. It can't be blocked so it always enables ninjutsu, it allows you to pull off a turn 2 Yuriko, and it counts as a Ninja so it benefits from all Ninja synergies, most notably Yuriko's trigger. If you could only add one card to the deck from Modern Horizons, it would be Changeling Outcast.

 

Cordial Vampire

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We move from the best Yuriko staple to the best Edgar Markov staple from the set: Cordial Vampire. The strongest Markov decks are the ones with the most aggressive curves; the best Vampires are ones that add strong utility with low mana costs. Cordial Vampire fits that criteria perfectly. You can never have enough high-power 2cmc Vampires and Cordial Vampire provides a perfect anthem to your Go Wide strategy, giving them +1/+1 counters whenever any creature dies. The more creatures you have the better the anthem becomes, and Edgar Markov is all about that creature swarm.

I'm firmly in the "Edgar Markov is way strong already, please lay off the powerhouse staples" camp, but whatever. As DJ Khaled says: another one!

 

Dead of Winter

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dead of Winter is not quite Toxic Deluge territory of generic overpowered board wipe, but it's pushing it, and in some decks, it's even better. The fairest comparison would be Mutilate, which has a similar ability but costs one more mana and only counts Swamps, while Dead of Winter counts all snow permanents including nonland ones. Mutilate is a bit easier for decks to get full value out of when you can reliably tutor up Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, but Dead of Winter is rather easy to get full value out of too if you're running a good amount of snow-covered basics in your deck. And as we've covered before, there are literally zero good reasons not to switch to snow-covered basics at this point.

Things get far more exciting if you run more snow permanents than just lands, however. There aren't a whole lot that get played regularly; I can name Coldsteel Heart, and if you're Richard then you've always got Dark Depths ready and waiting, but that's about it. However, with Modern Horizons we've got a few more snow permanents like Marit Lage's Slumber, and if I'm right about the next standard set being snow themed ... well, Dead of Winter might get a lot more interesting. It only affects nonsnow creatures, so if we get to a point where a Snow archetype becomes legit in Commander, this becomes a one-sided board wipe! For 3 mana! Wow!

Keep an eye on this card.

 

Dregscape Sliver

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dregscape Sliver might be good enough for some Sliver decks. It pairs very well with one of the best Slivers in the archetype, Necrotic Sliver. This could be sweet value!

 

Force of Despair

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Force of Despair is kind of like a Black Essence Scatter; it only works on creatures that entered the battlefield this turn, but you're potentially killing multiple creatures this way. It's also a great answer to mass reanimation (Rise of the Dark Realms) or a huge token turn (Finale of Glory). It's not easy for most decks to have 3 mana ready to cast it, but it's definitely doable for Draw-Go decks, and best of all you can always cast it for free by exiling another Black card.

I see Force of Despair as a single creature removal spell with potential upside. I still prefer Snuff Out over this, and perhaps Malicious Affliction, but if I wanted a third instant creature removal I'd seriously consider this. I think Force of Despair will work best in Draw Go decks such as Toshiro Umezawa.

 

Sling-Gang Lieutenant

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Sling-Gang Lieutenant is a sweet callback to Siege-Gang Commander. Like the Commander, this is a mana-efficient way to drop multiple Goblins on the battlefield and comes with amazing utility attached to it, making it perfect for Goblin Tribal decks. Sling-Gang Lieutenant's ability is actually even more powerful than Commander's because it costs zero mana to activate, begging you to combo off for infinite draining; pair it with Ashnod's Altar and Nim's Deathmantle for easy wins, for example.

Sling-Gang Lieutenant is an auto-include in any Goblin Tribal deck that is in Rakdos colors; so basically Wort, Boggart Auntie and maybe Grenzo, Dungeon Warden for now. This sprinkling of Rakdos Goblins might be a teaser for later sets too, and the most notable time we've gotten Rakdos Goblins has been in Shadowmoor block ... please oh please could we go back there soon?

 

Throatseeker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Throatseeker isn't the most impressive Ninja support card. It doesn't do cool things like blow up potential blockers or draw cards. But gaining extra life means we can draw more cards off Necropotence, so that's good. So yeah, I'd run this in Ninja Tribal.

 

Undead Augur

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Modern Horizons is going really hard on giving a new auto-include staple to a whole bunch of archetypes. Undead Augur is a new Zombie Tribal staple. Just 2cmc, draws you cards in a super efficient way, yup, this is exactly what you want in your deck. 

 

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The best sacrifice outlets have three main characteristics. They are:

  • Repeatable
  • No mana cost to activate
  • Have a useful payoff

That's why some of the most common sac outlets are Phyrexian Altar, Ashnod's Altar, and Viscera Seer. Cheap, repeatable sac outlets with no mana costs and give you something decent for sac'ing.

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician ticks all those boxes. He costs a bit more than the other popular options, but boy oh boy is that payoff spicy: you draw a card! Oh, and you get to start killing creatures, but more importantly, you draw a card! Sweeeeet! Paying 1 life is minimal already in Commander, but it's completely irrelevant in decks that want to run Yawgmoth because they always run lifedrain staples like Blood Artist anyway.

I see Yawgmoth, Thran Physician as a staple in basically any Sacrifice decks. He's fine as a commander or the 99. But to truly maximize his potential, stick him in Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, where you also get to maximize the value out of those -1/-1 counters! Put a -1/-1 counter on an opposing creature, make a 1/1 snake, sac the snake to draw a card and put a -1/-1 counter on an opposing creature, make a snake ... draw a bunch of cards and wipe out all your opponent's creatures! I'm sure there are nastier things you can do, but that's what I'm looking forward to the most.

Oh, and you can discard a card to Proliferate. Infect, anyone?

 

Next Up: Part 2! Red, Green, Multicolor, Colorless!

Thanks for reading the first part of the review! Disagree with any of my assessments? Think I missed anything, or skipped a card that you think should've been highlighted? Let me know in the comments section!


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