Hey everyone, and welcome to another Modern Musings! Spoiler season is in full swing, and already it’s looking pretty clear that Wizards has really upped the power curve with this set, printing what look to be some very powerful cards for Standard, but what about Modern? Today we are going to be taking an in-depth look at how these new cards might affect the Modern metagame.
For those of you who are familiar with with LSV’s ranking list, I’m going to be ranking today’s cards on a pretty similar scale:
- 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)
With that out of the way, lets get into some spoilers:
First up, we have a potential new sideboard card. This card does a couple of things right for a hate card, like the fact that it’s colorless and costs 1 mana. It also has a nice reset button attached to it just in case the graveyard does start getting out of hand or you draw a second copy and want the cantrip. Now when it comes to graveyard hate there are a couple of different decks to consider in Modern, but the most important is Dredge. Unfortunately, with the exception of Life from the Loam, Silent Gravestone doesn’t do anything to stop dredge before you have 4 mana, and considering that Rest in Peace sometimes comes down too late on turn 2, 4 mana isn’t going to cut it. What this card does do though is stop Snapcaster Mage and Goryo’s Vengeance from targeting anything. Ultimately though, I think that Relic of Progenitus and Grafdigger’s Cage are better 1-mana colorless anti-graveyard cards and this won’t be replacing them anytime soon. There are some potential fringe cases that Silent Gravestone handles better than either one of those cards, but none that pop up often enough to warrant its play.
Induced Amnesia is a really interesting, but janky-looking card. Effectively, its a targeted Windfall where you actually have the ability to do some work to get the exiled cards back. All the sudden cards like Crack the Earth seem really good. I could see this being used alongside Hatching Plans or Auratog for some crazy value-generating plays. But using it on yourself is only one potential application, as you can use it on your opponent as well! Now why would you want to have your opponent draw cards? Well, the easy answer is that you can use things like Spirit of the Labyrinth or Notion Thief to make sure they don’t! You can even use this to fuel cards like Blight Herder or Ulamog’s Nullifier and ensure they don’t get anything back to boot. I’m excited to brew with this card, as I think it has a ton of potential, and probably wins the award for my favorite card of the set so far.
Admiral’s Order might be the best card we see out of this set. It very well could push Infect back up to tier 1 status and is probably the closest thing to Counterspell that Wizards is going to give us in Modern. I fully expect that any blue deck that wants to protect spells that it casts either during combat or its post combat main phase will be using this card. That being said, if you want to stop you opponent from doing things on their turn, then this is fairly inefficient. The fact that it isn’t restricted to noncreature spells is interesting, and there have been times when I’ve looked at my Spell Pierces with disdain as my opponent casts Spell Queller.
On the surface Azor doesn’t look particularly exciting, but when you pair it with Goryo’s Vengeance or Through the Breach it becomes a lot more interesting. Being able to cast this at the end of your opponent’s turn via one of those spells will lead you into a turn where your opponent can do very little to disrupt you. This is on top of getting a 6/6 flying beater that might draw you some cards. This could be a very nice addition to the Esper Goryo’s Vengeance deck that’s been going around for a while. It might give the deck a little more inevitability that it was lacking before. On the other hand, he doesn’t really end the game by himself like some of the other reanimation targets do, and it might be better just to cast Silence. Azor does get 10/10 for flavor because lore-wise he a former planeswalker who also happens to be the creator of the Azorius guild (hence the name). He also is the one responsible for creating the Immortal Sun (using his own spark to do so), which keeps planeswalkers from being able to planeswalk away from Ixalan. So, you know, he hasn’t been up to much.
Functionally, Sphinx’s Decree is very close to being a worse silence, but it has the one redeeming feature of not eating up your mana the turn you don’t want to be disrupted. I’m not sure that this is enough for it to see play, but it is a factor that some combo decks might consider more important that the versatility of being instant or disrupting your opponent’s turn. I’m kind of doubtful.
Finally we have Nezhal, Primal Tide, the blue Elder Dinosaur in the cycle. Like Azor, this card is on the list for it’s potential to combo with Through the Breach and Goryo’s Vengeance. It’s particularly useful with those cards because it can exile itself and avoid the sacrifice triggers that those cards create. The downside is that discarding three cards is a pretty hefty price, especially considering that Obzedat, Ghost Council gets to do it for free. Still though, the Esper Goryo’s deck could sometimes utilize the extra discard outlet, and having this guy sit in play is pretty intimidating for most decks. It’s possible he sees a little bit of play.
That’s all the spoilers for this episode! Let me know what you think in the comments. Have I drastically undervalued anything? Join me next week when we continue looking at these juicy, juicy spoilers!