Commander Cards on the Horizon - 2
Welcome to Part 2 of Commander Cards on the Horizon, where we take a closer look at the new cards from Modern Horizons with potential. With spoiler season officially over and all its cards revealed, we can be pleasantly surprised with what this latest set has to offer to the format.
How Many Puns Can We Make?
In my previous article, we looked at some of the new tribal goodies as well as the all-powerful Urza and Yawgmoth. Today, I will be highlighting some more cards that I think are particularly interesting for Commander.
This Is Our Land
While Lands is well known as a strong deck in Legacy for those of us that can afford a The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, we've seen Lands become more relevant in Commander as well. Landfall decks, such as Omnath, Locus of Rage and Mina and Denn, Wildborn or straight up land value/combo decks, such as The Gitrog Monster are popular in the community and for good reason. Last year's Commander precons brought us Lord Windgrace and allowed us to combine both Gruul and Golgari into a Jund commander that does everything a Lands deck wants to do.
Wrenn and Six is a solid addition to most Lands decks, but really shines in Windgrace decks, where you make your commander's plus ability effectively "draw 2 cards". Being able to recycle fetchlands, Wasteland, Strip Mines, and other utility lands at such an effective rate is very impressive indeed.
A very strong aspect of most Lands decks was that they could run the card value engine Life from the Loam and cycle lands like Forgotten Cave. Now, Tectonic Reformation turns all lands into Forgotten Caves and allows you to do interesting stuff with Life from the Loam.
Lands decks also receive a Tombstalker-like creature in the form of Ore-Scale Guardian and a nice little direct damage source in the form of Ruination Rioter. While I'm still not 100% convinced that these cards are good enough to make it in the 99, they certainly are interesting.
Between Steel and Justice
The Swords of X and Y are always very exciting cards. They can be played in nearly any creature-based deck and don't require further equipment support as they just do so many things by themselves. When the first Sword was spoiled in Modern Horizons, I got my hopes up that they would finish the cycle. Alas, this was not the case, but we did get at least two more missing pieces.
Sword of Truth and Justice, while powerful like all Swords, is still a bit underwhelming. Whenever a creature equipped with this sword connects, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature and then proliferate. While proliferate is certainly a very strong mechanic in the right deck, it seems that with the release of War of the Spark and cards like Evolution Sage, having to deal damage with an equipped creature is a steep requirement. I do like that that the card is an engine by itself, however.
Sword of Sinew and Steel gets me a bit more excited. While the ability seems conditional, only getting value when the opponents control one of those permanents, it's still a card plenty of decks are happy to see. Mono blue, mono black, and blue-black Commander decks have a hard time dealing with artifacts (and mono blue decks even with planeswalkers if they resolve). This sword is effectively a removal spell that can be easily splashed in any of those decks that are running enough creatures.
Heliod's Academy Stronghold
With the release of enchantment-matter commanders like Tuvasa the Sunlit in last year's Commander set, we've seen an increase in the popularity of enchantment decks. Academy Ruins is an auto-include for most blue-based artifact decks, while Volrath's Stronghold is a very solid addition to any black-based creature deck. It's only fair that the white land in this cycle cares about enchantments.
Hall of Heliod's Generosity is exactly that – an Academy Ruins for enchantments. I will start by saying that out of the three lands with this ability, Hall of Heliod's Generosity might be the weakest. There are a lot of artifacts and creatures that can sacrifice themselves and then be looped with these lands. (I'm looking at you Mindslaver). Enchantments aren't necessarily known for having a sacrifice cost. With that said, some cool things that come to my mind are cards like Seal of Doom, Seal of Cleansing, Angelic Renewal, Defense of the Heart, and many more. While these plays are not necessarily as impactful as the more broken plays with Volrath's Stronghold or Academy Ruins, Hall of Heliod's Generosity is still a welcome addition and auto-include in all enchantment decks.
Winds of Change
Overload spells are often staples in Commander. Being able to asymmetrically interact with certain permanents is insanely strong in the format and Vandalblast and good ol' Cyclonic Rift are prime examples of this mechanic's use. Winds of Abandon is a decent spot-removal spell at worst and an insane asymmetrical board-wipe at best. At six mana, it competes with Austere Command, Final Judgment, Merciless Eviction, and Descend upon the Sinful, but being able to keep your own board after the dust has settled is very powerful indeed. The downside of your opponents getting to find basic lands is something to keep in mind, though. But if you can make such a powerplay that you win the same turn, it won't make a difference. Oh, try this card in combination with Stranglehold or Shadow of Doubt for some truly nasty results.
It's like a Doubling Season for X spells, so naturally it has Commander written all over it. Unbound Flourishing doubles the value of all your X permanents and copies X instants and sorceries. Strong? Yes. But when you think about it, besides Rosheen Meanderer, there isn't that much support for playing "X-tribal" in Commander. While there are plenty of good X-spells – think of Walking Ballista, Finale of Devastation, Blue Sun's Zenith, Exsanguinate, Genesis Wave, and Villainous Wealth – there isn't that much support for playing any of these decks, other than Unbound Flourishing itself. So, while this is a cool card, I'll doubt it will change the way we play Commander. The best shell I can find for this card is just as a support card for a big mana Kruphix, God of Horizons deck.
More Two-Mana Acceleration!
While they may not be the most exciting or flashy cards in the set, I'm very happy we received the other half of the talisman cycle. Talisman of Hierarchy, Talisman of Creativity, Talisman of Resilience, Talisman of Conviction, and Talisman of Curiosity are a welcome addition to a lot of Commander decks. Two-mana rocks are, in my opinion, so much better than their three-mana equivalents. Now, with the addition of the talismans, you can run both these and signets to accelerate properly on turn 2.
A Love Letter to Commander
Modern Horizons is this year's love letter to more experienced Commander players. While the precons do a great job at getting new players into the format, a set like this really allows us to upgrade our existing decks. For those of you wondering why I didn't include the canopy lands, like Fiery Islet, or the new fetchland Prismatic Vista, they are just good! There isn't really that much to say about them other than what has been said already.
Thanks for reading and until next time!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
Check out our Modern Horizons page if you're interested in picking these up before everyone else catches on!