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Fate Reforged Eternal and Modern Playables


Second sets do not tend to do well when it comes to playables in non-rotating formats. Born of the Gods had only Brimaz King of Oreskos, Spirit of the Labyrinth and Searing Blood to write home about, which is not the worst but not great. Gatecrash had shock lands... and Boros Charm / Skullcrack, which meant that the set sucked equal to or less than Born of the Gods since Death and Taxes is more relevant than Burn. Dark Ascension was better than both Gatecrash and Born of the Gods put together since it had Lingering Souls and Lingering Souls is really really good. Dark Ascension also had some other all-stars like Grafdigger's Cage, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Thought Scour, and Huntmaster of the Fells.

The question here is Fate Reforged a Dark Ascension, a Gatecrash, or an in-betweener like Born of the Gods? This set being a small set means that the expectations for eternal formats is rather low in terms of playables. My initial impression is that Fate Reforged is slightly better than Gatecrash, but not as impactful as Dark Ascension. In this article I will evaluate ten different cards with eternal playability in mind.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang

As many pros have already mentioned, this seems to be the grandaddy of the set in terms of constructed playability. The potential of a 4/5 for 1-2 mana on average makes him already a mini-Tarmogoyf with upside. For Modern this will be a strong card since you can hit 4-mana fairly often, for his ability. This guy seems like he would be insane in any Jund/Junk deck, since he's both an aggressor and card advantage.

I see this being Legacy playable since if you're going to cast Tarmogoyf for 2-mana, why not cast this guy for 1-mana and get a similar body? The odds of being able to use Tasigur, the Golden Fang's ability in Legacy is pretty low since hitting 4-mana is quite rare, but the body alone with the potential upside for the ability is good enough. There was a lot of talk by many pros of Hooting Mandrills being eternal playable when it first came out, but this is obviously a lot better since it has five toughness and has a relevant ability. I can easily see this guy going into BUG Delver, since this is a cheaper Tombstalker with a relevant ability. BUG Midrange could also play him and he would work perfectly in the deck since BUG Midrange likes to hit 4-mana to cast Jace, the Mindsculptor, so Tasigur, the Golden Fang has a realistic chance of using his ability. He can also easily make it into Jund and maybe even Esper Stoneblade as well.

In terms of Vintage, he may show up here and there. With Treasure Cruise now restricted, people will go back to playing Tarmogoyf decks again in Vintage. He could make some splashes in decks like Grixis Control or anything that is playing Tarmogoyf since his ability is usable with fast mana.

 

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

The obvious thing that comes to mind with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is Modern Tron. Ugin has zero chances anywhere else, so the main focus would be Modern. The other deck could be Mono Green Devotion, which sadly is not really a deck that too many people bother with anymore. This card will be pretty insane in Tron decks. Being able to play All is Dust and have infinite ghostfires left over is pretty ridiculous. I do not think Ugin will replace Karn Liberated since Karn Liberated is busted and can come down as soon as turn three.

 

Monastery Mentor

There is a lot of talk about this card in Modern and I really don't see it getting there. Yes it's a white Young Pyromancer, but at 3-mana I do not think it is as good. 3-mana vs 2-mana is a big difference in Modern (let alone Legacy). To me this card seems a little similar to Talrand, Sky Summoner in that it's midly expensive but very strong if you can pull it off. Granted Monastery Mentor does not require only Sorceries or Instants, I just don't see it being worth 3-mana. At 3-mana we already have Liliana of the Veil, Electrolyze, Maelstorm Pulse, Splinter Twin combo, etc. Obviously this is a great Standard card since the whole format is warped around whatever you can do at 3-mana, but this I do not see Monastery Mentor being played in Modern. Monastery Mentor is nowhere near playable in Legacy since at 3-mana you could just cast True-Name Nemesis, while Monastery Mentor takes a Swords to Plowshares to the knee. Surprisingly, this guy can be very strong in Vintage. Not terribly hard to cast at 3-mana and then you can go off with Mental Misstep, Moxen, etc.

 

Temporal Trespass

With Treasure Cruise gone almost everywhere, this could potentially make it into some Modern Delver. Being able to Time Walk is pretty good for tempo-based decks, and since you can't play Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time anymore, this is a reasonable way to spend your graveyard. This would be worth a try, but I could see it easily not working out since having to get 8 cards into the yard is a pretty big pain. The old Treasure Cruise shell for Modern decks is still a reasonable shell to play with, since Snapcaster Mage is still a real card which makes Thought Scour not completely embarrassing. Triple blue is not horrific for Delver, since you would want to jam a bunch of fetch lands in your deck. Temporal Trespass is not playable in Legacy since Dig Through Time is still legal there. Just play Time Walk in Vintage and stay away from this.

 

Temur Battle Rage

Now we start to dig deep. Temur Battle Rage plus Glistener Elf plus 2 mutagenic growth = GGs. That is Magic Christmas land we are talking about, but at the same time that does not sound terribly unrealistic. The other obvious deck that comes to mind is something with Kiln Fiend, but why play that when you can just kill your opponent with infect? This would not be terribly unreasonable in Legacy infect either. Temur Battle Rage plus Invigorate plus Glistener Elf is also game. I would not surprised if this actually makes it into Legacy infect since it enables an easy 3 card kill.

 

Dark Deal

Probably another card that is not a serious contender for Modern or Legacy, but it does have some interesting interactions. Surprisingly, even in Standard right now, this can be paired with Spirit of the Labyrinth to almost Mind Twist the opponent. The home for this card would be Mono Black rack, a deck that is not relevant in any format. This also combos with Waste Not producing a ton of triggers. I thought this was worth mentioning since it has some interesting combos, but I would not hold my breath for this to do anything in any format.

 

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a long shot for Modern. Similar to Monastery Mentor, this feels way too slow. Alesha, Who Smiles at Death's ability is relevant since there are plenty of quality two power creatures: Snapcaster Mage, Dark Confidant, Splinter Twin combo pieces, and Geist of Saint Traft. On the other hand, she's hard to setup and is very fragile. She could get there, but it's extremely unlikely and was only worth a mention because she is efficiently costed.

 

Manifest

Soul Summons [FRF] Lightform [FRF] Cloudform [FRF]

The dream with this is to get Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on top of your deck somehow, Manifest him, and then use Flickerwisp, Restoration Angel, Cloudshift or some other type of blink effect to flip it up. There is also the more practical approach with Phyrexian Dreadnought in Legacy, which is easier to pull off with Enlightened Tutor. I do not think this will see any serious play, but it's fun and interesting to say the least. The best place for these to show up would be something like UW Counterbalance for Legacy since you can use Sensei's Divining Top and Brainstorm to manipulate Manifest. This type of deck seems more likely in Legacy than in Modern since Modern lacks an efficient way to manipulate the top card of your library.

 

Reality Shift

I doubt Reality Shift will make it anywhere, but it was worth a mention. This is slightly better than Pongify / Rapid Hybridization, since your opponent gets a 2/2 instead of a 3/3, but there are 3 problems with this. First is the 2-mana cost (vs 1-mana), second, the exile is not terribly relevent now with Treasure Cruise gone, and third, the potential of the opponent hitting a Dark Confidant or Tarmogoyf is very real. This card was worth mentoning since it is cheap psuedo-removal for blue, which in itself is pretty rare.

I saved the best for last....

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

They are technically in Fate Reforged!

Conclusion

Tasigur, the Golden Fang is the front runner for competitive cards in Fate Reforged. A 4/5 that can be cast for as little as 1-mana that can also give you card advantage is where you want to be. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon will make Tron better, and Temur Battle Rage has a lot of potential in infect. Everything else has pretty small chances of making it anywhere. Overall, Fate Reforged is not the most exciting eternal/modern playable set, but it's not the worst either. I am interested to see if Temur Battle Rage will be the real deal, since it leads to some insane damage stacking with Infect. I am also interested in seeing if Monastery Mentor is remotely playable in Modern, since I am pretty sure it's not.


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