Hey everyone, and welcome to another Modern Musings! This week we are are going to pick up where we left last off time—reviewing Rivals of Ixalan! I’m going to be using the same criterion as last time when rating these cards, but in case you’ve forgotten, here it is:
- Will see very little to no play, not good (Villainous Wealth)
- Will see some play; good, but very niche (As Foretold, Smallpox, most sideboard cards)
- Solid role player, will see play in its deck; powerful, but narrow (Amulet of Vigor , Ezuri, Renegade Leader)
- Will be used across multiple archetypes (Fatal Push, Snapcaster Mage, Inquisition of Kozilek)
- Will create a new archetype on its own, probably too good (Collected Company, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, The Tron Lands)
If this had flash, then it would easily receive a 5, but alas it doesn’t. Despite that, it’s still a really strong card for Modern, probably the best in the set. Modern is a format that prizes efficiency above most else, and thus you tend to see a lot of 1-mana instants and sorceries, which is exactly the thing that Dire Fleet Daredevil preys upon. That being said, we have to look at this creature as if it were a three-drop instead. So, the question becomes is a three-drop 2/1 first strike with a 1- mana spell effect worth it? I can say without much hesitation that it is 100% worth it. In fact the existence of this card makes decks that run Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek actively worse. Running this alongside AEther Vial just seems disgusting, as your mana is freed up to cast more expensive spells that your opponent has played. Without the existence of AEther Vial I think this card would receive a lower rating, but it opens up so many possibilities for the card. The downside to this card is that not every deck runs a lot of instants and sorceries, like Collected Company decks for example. This card get extra points for messing with any deck running Snapcaster Mage, making them wary to leave any spell in their graveyard for long, for fear of you exiling it. This is an exciting card for sure, and I can’t wait to get some games in with it.
Red actually got a lot of gifts this set, as this card is both pretty cool and quite good. The first thing to note is that it is a mistake to think that it’s good against the same things that Blood Moon is. This will not stop Tron lands or Eldrazi Temples and though it can stop fetches, it doesn’t punish greedy mana bases nearly as much. While they do have some overlap, like shutting down manlands, it can also be potentially used to set up mana engines. How you ask? Because of the way that Blood Sun is worded, you can have things like Boros Garrison come into play untapped, still tap for 2 mana, and not return a land to your hand. This card is potentially nuts and I think that when played alongside cards like Arbor Elf, allowing for some really explosive plays. The fact that this also replaces itself by drawing a card is just icing on a crimson cake.
I remember when 2-mana 2/1 fliers had drawbacks instead of strong abilities, Vaporkin anyone? To me, though, this looks like it could go into the Humans deck that’s been so popular recently. The only problem is that that deck is really tight and I’m not sure that this card provides quite enough value to justify going in there. It does ensure that your opponent’s most problematic blocker becomes a 0/1 until end of turn, so it does help you have more favorable combats. If the humans deck does end up running this card, the only reasonable cut that I can see is Reflector Mage, which would make sense since they do similar things. Overall a strong card, but I’m not sure it has a home.
I’m always interested in Exploration effects in Modern, since there are potential abuses for it, and this could be one of the better ones we have access to. What is going to make or break this card is how easy it is to turn on Ascend. Having a 5/5 for 3 seems pretty sweet but if you can’t reasonably get the city’s blessing until turn 5 or 6 then it probably won’t be worth it and you’ll just have a more vulnerable, expensive Exploration sitting about. For this to be good, I think you need to be able to turn it on by turn 4.
And that’s all for the spoilers from Rivals of Ixalan, here’re my picks for the top three cards most likely to see Modern play:
Top 3 Cards from Rivals of Ixalan
1. Blood Sun
I put Induced Amnesia at 3rd because I think it’s one of the most exciting cards to brew with and has a high potential despite the fact I gave it a lower score than some other cards I rated that might deserve to be in the top 3.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Let me know what you think in the comments. Did I undervalue or overvalue anything? Or do you think I didn’t rate a card that I should’ve included? Until next week!