Modern Horizons 2 Set Review - Colorless and Lands
Shine Bright Like a Diamond Lion
Welcome to the colorless, artifacts and lands portion of the Modern Horizons 2 EDHREC Set Review! We've got a bunch of new toys, so let’s just get right into it!
is the "card I wish could be my commander" of the set. It's a new take on an old favorite that we didn't even know we wanted. On its face, it's a seven-mana Equipment that has all the abilities from the Kaldra trio , , and combined, which is not a bad deal for a single card. Attached to a Germ right from the off, it's a solid creature on the field. If that token dies, though, or we have a Voltron we want to suit up, that gets a smidge trickier. The fourteen-mana investment to attach this to another creature might be a bit daunting.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deal with those costs, like, , and . and friends can get the token into play for free, too!
plays really well with , because she counteracts its high mana cost. Her -2 cheats it into play, while her +2 provides fresh bodies in case the Germ token leaves the battlefield. Having access to such a great blocker is also very nice for a deck helmed by a planeswalker, since it'll help defend our commander. The new Partner commander also has amazing ways of getting around Equip costs.
was often played with , which gave him the reputation of being a combo-oriented commander. However, fair versions of Arcum can easily cheat into play early.
Aside from focusing on the Artifact synergies of the card, we can look for synergies with the Germ token too.makes the Germ unblockable! gives it an additional lifelink and vigilance! Just imagine having to deal with an indestructible, vigilant creature that exiles anything it touches.
Scion of Draco
is a powerful support for multicolored commanders. Now that we have the Triomes, which have triple land types (ex: ), casting this Scion for an outrageous two mana is totally possible, if not easy to pull off. Let's do a quick overview on the usefulness of the Scion's abilities: blue creatures get the best out of the deal; white and black creatures get great defensive options; green creatures get evasion; and red creatures get combat tricks. Altogether, these abilities offer five-color commanders a lot in terms of combat, but we'd need a pretty aggressive board to get full value from all these buffs.
It's obvious this card is made for five-color commanders, but some of these effects are more useful than others. Blue getting hexproof is better than red's first strike. Playing this in a four-color deck wouldn't hurt all that much at all. It's still a bonkers card even at four mana. I wouldn't, however, consider this in a blueless list, since blue grants the best ability of the bunch.
will be the commander that likes the most. The combination of cheap body, relevant type, and useful abilities makes a strong contender for any Ur-Dragon list out there. lists are also heavily invested in having their commander out for as long as possible, so is a protection piece that also comes with a heavily discounted price, which is ideal for Cascade shenanigans. Oh, and we might even see the occasional player finding ways to put this card on top of their library, too!
Sword of Hearth and Home
The Selesnya Sword of X and Y is finally here, and it's quite the card. The single-target blink is great for decks that like to reuse ETB abilities. (That said, it's a little bit of the letdown that this doesn't interact all too well with's ability.) The second ability is ramp, and since appears in over 30,000 decks, it's safe to say that's a major selling point. Awkwardly, we don't want this Sword to target its wielder, so we need at least two creatures in play to use this effectively. If one of them happens to be an , well, our opponents are not going to like us very much.
, being a beefy creature with vigilance, is a pretty ideal wielder. Being constrained to one activation a turn, Roon decks are always looking for a consistent way to blink their creatures even more. decks often utilize Landfall shenanigans, so they'll be able to super-abuse both of the Sword's abilities.
Most importantly, these protection colors are amazing. Equipment decks are so, so, so happy for another ramp piece that buffs their creatures, and gives them protection from, , , and all of green and white's many many chump blockers.
is another entry on the "Broken Mana Rocks That Got The Suspend Treatment To Try To Make It More Balanced" list (or the BMRTGTSTTTTMIMB for short). Like the previous versions before (such as , which only appears in about 3,000ish decks), I find it hard to believe that this will see any considerable play in EDH. Cascade can work for it, but Cascade decks also won't need it. seems the most likely home, since he can loot it away form hand, then tap to create two free copies from the graveyard. Maybe , too, to get extra casts from exile, but even then, this Talisman is pretty slow.
If you've ever played againstor a "Karnstruct" token (such as those made by or , then you know these effects can get out of hand real fast. I do think there's a conversation to be had about whether traditional Equipment decks will prefer more reliable alternatives, like , to power out their Voltron victories. I also caution against using this in an Enchantress deck, because those decks prefer enchantment buffs over artifact buffs every time.
Still, this Equipment offers a powerful buff.can suit up any flying Faerie for tons of damage. isn't usually the kind of shell that will grow the to crazy heights, but it's not that hard to assume it'll find an easy 6 or 7 bonus power quite naturally. floods the board with tons of cheap Equipment and Auras, so he'll get a huge kick out of turning them into a truly enormous buff.
is a really powerful token-maker for decks that like to produce any of these token types. triggers seem particularly insane, for instance, and that's before we factor in stuff like . We definitely need the commander itself to be in charge of making those tokens, or else build the entire deck around a very specific theme, lest this payoff become too inconsistent. But when we do have that consistency, it's crazy good. The new is excited to also make mana when we Investigate. will draw some cards with Clues after making Treasure, sure thing! And loves pairing a nice Food token with a lovely Clue curry and Treasure truffles.
is a pretty weird Vehicle that almost acts more as a grave-hating than a traditional Crew card. It's quite a lot like in this way, and provides a lot of utility that will likely frustrate our enemies. I think Lazav might be interested in this card, and of course we're sure to see it in decks. I personally think one of the most interesting places to use it is actually in decks like , and maybe even Mill decks. Those decks put lots of cards right into the graveyard from the hand or library, giving it easy fodder, and it might be nice to give those sometimes-fragile shells some extra brawn on the field to help with combat.
is a more balanced take on (LED). It's safe to say that what makes worse than LED is also what makes it a much more welcoming addition to EDH's arsenal of powerful mana accelerators. Both cards work similarly, but the extra mana and the summoning sickness slow it way down, which open up the doors for interplay and allow this card to show up outside of cutthroat combo strategies. This isn't a card for just any deck, but plenty of commanders enjoy discarding things. might use it as a great discard outlet, and turns the Lion's drawback into an opportunity!
Tired ofgetting a discount on his free spells? Sick of s? Free things have a new card to keep them in check.
This card is... fine. It's ultimately just so narrow that I don't see it getting much play unless a playgroup is very meta-focused. It's a shame that it sometimes locks down the occasionalplayer, but colorless decks make up less than 1% of decks out there, so this is a far cry from . This card is counteracted by players tapping a basic .
Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp
is a new Boros commander with an ability that works similarly to , but for Modular triggers only. Boros has plenty of good commanders for artifact-based strategies, so Zabaz gets pigeonholed into a Modular deck full of and cards. Support like , , and can help the deck keep ticking along. Since Zabaz is a sacrifice outlet, I suspect we'll want to bounce counters around as many times as possible, depositing them onto Zabaz, and then reviving things all at once with a card like to do it all over again. Even if our Arcbound creatures are quite small, we can build up Zabaz for a pretty potent commander damage threat, and an evasive one at that.
is a two-mana rock with minor upside. This is pretty much the baseline for mana rocks, but between popular two-mana rocks that produce colored mana (like and ) and other popular colorless producers (like and ) the Torque has tough competition.
That said, we've seen this ability before on, which can pull off some actually very impressive tricks, especially in red decks. For example, this can turn an enchantment into an artifact, rendering it killable with .
The EDHRECast, can run this rock, just like , to turn her -2 into a !can turn any old thing into an artifact, then duplicate its ability! can switch some new artifacts that didn't look like metal before, but sure are metal now! And to reprise a very old "challenge the stats" from one of the earliest episodes of
is a variation, one of the most iconic spells in the game. How does fare against ? Well... not well. Three total mana for this effect, telegraphed in advance, doesn't have nearly the same utility. Plenty of players also feel that 's strength in 60-card formats is not felt in EDH. We have a smaller potential density of fetch lands to shuffle away unwanted cards, and the spell's defensive applications, like hiding spells from hand attacks, are almost never a factor in Commander. These days, it's even possible for a in EDH to be ed. In other words, we'd have to be really dedicated to this ability to make this effect worthwhile, and since blue already has itself, that relegates us almost entirely outside of blue decks to find this stone a home.
strikes me as a potentially interesting place for this card, doubling up the ability for a little more value. may potentially like it, too. And of course, top-deck manipulation strategies (such as ) always perk their ears up when new potential enablers appear. Since most of those decks are also playing blue, isn't all that impressive, but since a lot of the best top-deck enablers out there are expensive cards, I could see budget-friendly versions of those decks making use of the stone.
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
is a new version of and it is quite an impressive card. This kind of fixing is very powerful, and it'll allow for green-based archetypes, like Elves, to craft a more reliable mana base. Considering that a lot of what makes Urborg popular is its synergy with , what does an all-Forest mana base open up?
There are a few things, likeand untapping nonbasics, granting Forestwalk, and some odd spells like , , and getting more consistent (or in the Kami's case, way more defensive!). This is mostly just epically good color-fixing for green, and that's good enough. In fact, it's great. Just watch out for .
might take the award for the head-scratcher of the set. It's a land and a Saga. Once again, that Construct token shows up to remind us how powerful it can get, especially if we make multiples (which we can do by activating the land again in response to Chapter III). It's worth noting that we can't grab cards without a mana cost, like , because the third chapter specifies that the card we fetch needs exactly a 0 or 1 in the mana cost.
Weirdly, Enchantress decks might like this card for more Constellation triggers. Artifact decks are pleased with the new "Karnstruct" token-maker right there in the mana base, turning tons of little metal pieces (and especially oodles of Treasure tokens) into a big beater. Decks with key cards like, , or are happy to find them more easily, or just default to tutoring out a in the worst case scenario. If you like Populate decks, this is a great token to make multiple copies of. Speaking of which, , meet your new favorite land.
is another five-color land, but for artifact decks. It comes in tapped, so that's a pretty hard sell, but its main selling point is the Modular 1, so if it's destroyed, we get a counter onto an artifact creature. Zabaz probably uses this, but outside of that, I'm not impressed. Blowing up our own land is hard to do, can be a pretty big cost, and is also not worth the tempo loss of a tapped land. Then again, if you're keen to get more artifact lands to increase the deck count for commanders like , that's probably not a bad use of the , all things considered.
The Bridge cycle: indestructible, tapped, artifact lands.
In EDH, artifact lands likefulfill a niche role in artifact-based decks as a free way to get more artifacts on the field, and they don't do much outside of that realm. The average deck doesn't need these, so it's all about the artifact strategy, and those decks will have to contend with whether the tempo loss of tapped lands is worth that marginal upside. I think it's fair to say that there are plenty of artifact players who will be happy to take that trade. Free artifacts are extra fodder for in the 99, for example, or can be sacrificed with instead of sacrificing a key artifact creature, or they can be duplicated by . Maybe they'll even make a easier to cast here and there. And you know, it doesn't hurt that they're searchable with , too!
These are a cool addition to the format. Higher-power artifact decks may value their speed, but there's cool upside on these if you know where to look, and artificers are nothing if not masters of their craft, with an affinity for eking out extra value in even the smallest places.
Coming Off Suspend
This concludes my portion of this set review. Now I want to hear from you! What are your impressions of the set? Which card are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments below!