What would modern be without its hate cards?  They can define and sometimes even warp the meta game.  This week we are going to be looking at some modern hate cards that I think see less play than they should.  This is not to say that these cards don’t see any play, just less play than I think they deserve to see.

So before we get into the list, I should define what I mean by a “hate” card.  A hate card is a card that usually has a very narrow but powerful effect that negates certain strategies or styles of play.   For example, Rest in Peace is a hate card because it keeps your opponent (and yourself) from interacting with the graveyard.  Hate cards can make unwinnable match-ups winnable and often times a match can be decided by which side draws more of their hate cards.

The List:  


Ensnaring Bridge is a card that doesn’t really see too much play outside of 8 rack and lantern control because of how annoying it is to get around its effect.  Basically how this card works is that if you have 1 card in hand, creatures with power 1 or less can attack.  If you have 0 cards in hand, then creatures with power 0 or less can attack.  Frequently decks that play this card can both empty their hand quickly and be able to win without creatures.  Because there aren’t many decks that can do that Ensnaring Bridge sees only a modest amount of play.  I think that there are more opportunities to abuse this card because there are many decks that cannot beat this card without their sideboards e.g. Merfolk.


There’s no arguing the ability to shut down your opponent’s fetch lands is big game. Suppression Field does a pretty good job of doing just that, taxing your opponent’s (and your own) activated abilities.  Sadly, this doesn’t shut down mana abilities, but it still does stop the Devoted Druid + Vizier of Remedies combo.  Similar to Harsh Mentor, Suppression Field keeps a large number of decks from operating how they want.  The downside of Suppression Field is that your deck can’t really run fetchlands, which means that your deck is limited to how many colors it can run.


Some of you might be surprised to see Chalice of the Void on this list, as there are a couple decks that use it currently. However, I think there is probably room for 1 or 2 more decks that feature Chalice of the Void.  If you’re not familiar with this card, how it works is that you build your deck with few to no cards with a converted mana cost of 1, then cast it for X=1.  This shuts down or severely handicaps most decks in modern as a huge number of cards in the format cost 1 mana.  There is kind of a soft limit though to how many decks can run Chalice of the Void, as the more decks that run it, the worse it gets in the meta.


Runed Halo is the first card on this list I think that probably should be in almost every white midrange or control deck.  To be fair, this card has been getting some attention of late, having its price spike a bit, and seeing a bit of play in some esper decks.  The simple reason is that Runed Halo is so good is that most decks in modern have just a few key cards that they rely on to win.  For example, the Death’s Shadow decks rely on well…Death’s Shadow, Goryo’s Vengeance relies on Borborygmos Enraged, Ad Nauseam on Lightning Storm.  While these decks have other ways they can win, the idea is that you can shut of your opponent’s most likely avenue of victory.  There are two issues with a card like this though, the first being that it costs WW, the second that it requires you to have a precise knowledge of the decks in the meta game and how they try to win.


The prison favourite and mortal enemy of many a combo player, Trinisphere.  The fact we see so little of this card is a travesty.  This card is good for many of the same reasons that Chalice of the Void is good.  It takes players that have a large number of cheap spells in their deck and makes all those cheap spells worthless.  Instead of countering them however, it makes them cost 3 mana apiece.  There are a swath of decks that stop functioning with Trinisphere on the field as modern is characterized by cheap spells.  The problems you run into with Trinisphere though are that it is difficult to find a deck that can both get it down early enough to matter while also not being hurt by the effect.  I suspect that like there are many decks that can’t beat an early Blood Moon, there are also a high number of decks that can’t beat an early Trinisphere .  An idea for a future deck I think.


That’s all for this week, let me know if you think I missed a hate card that you think is undervalued in the comments. I’ve no doubt I probably overlooked some.  Finally, don’t forget to tune in next week when I talk about the brewing process I use for modern and look at some applications of the hate cards we looked at this week.

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