Hey everyone!  Welcome to another Modern Musings!  This week we are going to look at some cards from the latest core set and the decks they could play a role in for Modern.

It’s been a spicy couple months for Modern with both War of the Spark and Modern Horizons completely turning the format on it’s head.  By the time you read this I assume something out of the Hogaak deck will be banned, so the cards I’m talking about today are with that assumption in mind.

With that out of the way, lets get the potentially playable planeswalkers out of the way first.

First up we have Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

, and she is a strange one.  Her first ability is really really bad if she is the only red planeswalker out, but if you play Koth of the Hammer or Chandra, Torch of Defiance, right after her they both threaten their ultimate abilities if you untap with them.  This is particularly relevant for Mono-Red Prison which tends to run both of those planeswalkers.  This could be the final piece to the Prison puzzle.  She also puts a small clock on your opponent with her second ability, with her final ability offering flashback to a cheap spell in graveyard.  I briefly thought of Goryo’s Vengeance with this ability, but I’m actually pretty happy with the current build of that deck.  So I think that Prison is probably the best fit.

Up next we have the other playable Chandra in Chandra, Awakened Inferno.  I’ve had a couple opportunities to play with this card in Limited and it is super oppressive in that format.  As for Modern though, she is best in decks that are really good at dragging out the game into the late turns.  The fact that she can’t be interacted with on any meaningful axis is rather powerful, as she can’t be countered and she puts on emblem on your opponent as soon as she enters the battlefield.  She’s hard to attack down as she has a +2 ability as well as not one but two board control abilities.  I foresee this being a finisher in Blue Moon and R/G Land Destruction.  That being said 6 mana is a steep cost for anything in Modern, so the deck that runs this must be able to beat most of the unfair decks out there.

Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer might see some amount of play in control decks, but the problem is she competes with both Teferi, Time Raveler, and Narset, Parter of Veils, both insane cards in their own rights.  While Mu Yanling has a lot of things going right for her, existing planeswalkers might just be better.

We finally have the vampire tribal planeswalker that we had hoped Sorin Markov would be.  Coming in at 4 loyalty and having two plus abilities means that Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord is pretty tanky.  He works pretty well with a number of existing vampires like Bloodghast, turning them into Lightning Helixes with his second ability and making them bigger with his first. However, his third ability is what makes him interesting in Modern, letting him cheat massively on mana.  In case you haven’t looked recently, there are a metric ton of expensive vampires to choose from, some of the most versatile being Nirkana Revenant and Chancellor of the Dross.  But that being said there could be some kind of combo with Defiant Bloodlord or Guul Draz Overseer.  It remains to be seen if any of these are good enough for modern.  But running 4 Chancellor of the Dross is pretty spicy as it greatly decreases the amount of work we have to put in.  As it currently stands this probably isn’t viable yet.

Brought Back is one of the cards I’m most excited for in Core 2020 as it gives you a lot of utility as well as potentially ramp if you utilize it with fetchlands.  To me this the best way to utilize this card, fetchlands and Ghost Quarter.  Imagine this scenario:

  • You control Ghost Quarter and Flagstones of Trokair
  • you float a white mana with flagstones then destroy it with Ghost Quarter
  • You get 2 plains one of which enters tapped, tap the untapped one to cast Brought Back.
  • You now control 4 lands at the end of turn 2.

This also works with fetchlands, but I really like the idea of a deck like Martyr Proclamation using this card to mana ramp and recur Martyr of Sands.

Elvish Reclaimer along with Wrenn and Six suggests a long term effort by R&D to make Lands a viable deck in Modern.  Now with cards like Blast Zone this new elf acts like a toolbox, much like Crop Rotation in the Legacy Lands deck.  Being able to tutor any land in your deck at instant speed is a powerful effect especially with interaction like Bojuka Bog or Sejiri Steppe.  Another avenue is using the hideaway lands like Windbrisk Heights or Mosswort Bridge.  It should also not be lost that this card is very often a 3/4 for a single green mana.  I’m very interested in seeing if anything comes from this card.

Fry is a very simple, but very powerfully upgraded version of Combust as it can kill a Teferi, Time Raveler or a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria the turn after they are played.  Both of those cards are big right now.  I expect we will see this in some sideboards that want to improve their Blue-White Control matchup.

Goblin Ringleader is back! At uncommon no less!  This might have been the missing puzzle piece to make Modern Goblins a real deck.  With Goblin MatronSling-Gang Lieutenant, and Pashalik Mons the deck has gotten a lot of extra power in recent months.  With Sling Gang and Pashalik on the battlefield at the same time, your opponent basically takes 2 damage per sacrificed goblin allowing you to kill people from very high life totals.

Leyline of Abundance slots very nicely into existing elves decks, making the deck more mana and providing an infinite combo with Devoted Druid and Ezuri, Renegade Leader.  Not to mention worse case scenario it is its own payoff, putting +1/+1 counters on all your creatures.

Leyline of Combustion is the other new leyline we got this set, punishing decks that want to target you or your creatures.  Ironically, this is pretty good against burn, but is also can be good against control and some combo decks.

Mystic Forge acts like an Experimental Frenzy for only colorless nonland cards and artifacts.  We all know that the effect is powerful, but the question is can it replace what Krark-Clan Ironworks was in terms of power level?  My suspicions are that it is not quite on that level.  The Semblance Anvil deck might want to utilize this, but it might have better options.

Scheming Symmetry is a bit of a strange Vampiric Tutor that has some cool side synergy with Teferi, Time Raveler allowing you to cast this in response to your opponent’s fetch lands or even just casting it end of turn.  It could also work as a sort of mid combo tutor for storm or used in conjunction with Thought Scour to mill what your opponent tutored and draw the card you tutored.

 

If nothing else Core 2020 is a very interesting set, introducing a lot of powerful tools for existing decks, but probably not creating any new archetypes.  Which is probably what a core set should do.

Anyway, that’s all for this week, join me next time when I talk about what got banned (I’m hoping Faithless Looting, but I know its gonna be Bridge From Below)

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