Modern Horizons 2 Set Review - Gold

(Dakkon, Shadow Slayer | Art by Richard Kane Ferguson)

The Horizon's Return

Now that spoiler season is done, I can safely say that Modern Horizons 2 looks to be a success from the sheer variety and powerful cards its bringing to the fray. While it's probably too early to say, there doesn't seem to be any immediate outliers like Urza, Lord High Artificer or Force of Negation. Does that mean the power level dropped? Hardly! It's just spread out more evenly. I'm here to talk about how it's spread into all those lovely multicolor cards.

Also, with the sheer number of new cards in Modern Horizons 2, a few of the gold cards are going to get cut off. That doesn't mean they're not good! However, with so many cards in this set, there's only a finite number of cards we can cover. If you notice one missing that you would've included, drop a comment below! Also, if this is your first review you've read on EDHREC, we will not be covering reprints, either. With no further delay, let's jump into the den of gold cards Modern Horizons 2.


Mythics


Dakkon, Shadow Slayer

Sensible players, beware, I absolutely love Dakkon, Shadow Slayer, and I will not mince words over it. Honestly, the only negative is that he can't be a legal commander (Rule 0 discussions, notwithstanding). I love planeswalkers that provide incremental value, and that's exactly what his +1 provides. Surveil 2 is solid card selection if Dakkon comes out early. Coming out later in a game, Dakkon presents the threat of removal (and surviving) or the ability to cheat or return in his fated sword, or, if we're being honest, a better artifact. Being able to bring in any artifact for three mana and potentially leave a planeswalker that Surveils every turn is solid.

For homes, Sharuum, the Hegemon is probably the most obvious, thanks to her similar payoff, although it's tough to put lots of nonartifact cards into artifact decks. However, she isn't the only Esper commander that could conscript this warrior. Aminatou, the Fateshifter could easily churn out value from Dakkon, repeatedly putting free artifacts into play or reclaiming them from the 'yard, then resetting Dakkon each turn with higher and higher loyalty.

Geyadrone Dihada

While I can imagine how much of a thorn Geyadrone can be in Constructed and Limited formats, I don't have high expectations for her in Commander, with just one exception. Hitting opponents for two and gaining two life is low-impact for a planeswalker ability, and I have little faith in how much a single corruption counter will protect her in multiplayer. A four-mana Threaten that leaves a corruption counter is fine, but you have better options for the cost. Even her ultimate is a nonfactor: threatening an ultimate is what makes loyalty duplication scary, but Dihada needs several turns of setup to even take advantage of it. Plus, that's all before we take into account that the things we put corruption counters onto, with the goal of stealing later, may not even survive long enough for us to take them.

The exception I alluded to earlier that I think could be a decent home for Dihada is Marchesa, the Black Rose. The plus can provide a dash of stabilization while (usually) not affecting whomever needs to be dethroned. The minus ability also plays into the theft theme that sees play in over a third of Marchesa decks, with the likes of Mark of Mutiny and Zealous Conscripts.

Garth One-Eye

Black Lotus is legal is Commander! Kinda. Garth One-Eye is the definition of nostalgia. He gives us access to six spells, one of each color and one colorless, all of which were originally printed in Alpha: Disenchant, Braingeyser, Terror, Shivan Dragon, Regrowth, and the infamous Black Lotus.

Most Garth decks are going to build around playing the mythic Lotus, but the utility he provides when that's not an option is still solid. Disenchant, Regrowth, Terror, and Braingeyser provide natural resources that you won't say no to: recursion, draw, and removal. The venerable Shivan Dragon is likely the clunkiest option, but still fun.

While the utility is phenomenal, I expect Garth to be a combo-piece commander that uses haste-enablers (such as Fervor) and blink engines (such as Deadeye Navigator) to re-enter the field and reset his abilities, since he counts as a new game object. This allows him to create a new Black Lotus every time, causing an infinite mana loop, so all he has to do is find a means of using all that mana to win, and... oh wait! Garth has access to Braingeyser, which can target opponents to draw 5,000 cards! There we go, a win condition in the command zone!

Grist, the Hunger Tide

"Weird" is the best way to describe Grist, the Hunger Tide. This planeswalker brings an extremely unique aspect to the table. Grist is an insect collective as opposed to a single being, which is represented by the way it counts as a creature in every zone but the battlefield. Which means... Grist can be your commander! More details on this are coming soon, but that's the ruling we've been given by the RC. If you were thinking of building Blex, Vexing Pest Insect tribal, Grist may be an alternate contender.

Grist's abilities are fairly standard for a planeswalker. It adds loyalty to create a body (with an Insect-tribal payoff), it has a minus ability that operates as removal, and its ultimate can deal a chunk of damage. If you're playing with planeswalkers, Grist can be a good inclusion, but Superfriends decks are packed pretty hard already, and may not have tons of creatures for Grist's ultimate to be a proper payoff.

Grist's static ability is where things get weird. When you count as a creature is every zone, you add lots of interaction points. This planeswalking bug-mass is fetchable with cards like Green Sun's Zenith, revivable with Meren of Clan Nel Toth, able to trigger Sidisi, Brood Tyrant's ability, and much more. Even Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Kethis, the Hidden Hand get extra mileage from it. However, while Grist is certainly novel, the most defining thing about it will be the table's reaction as you get creature-based value off a planeswalker card.


Rares


Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar finally makes her debut after receiving a single mention in Alpha and being a meme ever since. Her thirty-one-letter name is so long that she was printed as our second no-mana-value commander. The cost of getting Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar to field requires discarding a card, but this likely won't be too difficult, since this legend is going to be built with Madness, Cycling, and other discard payoffs in the 99. As a rules note, casting her with her ability is subject to the commander tax.

She also tutors her trusty The Underworld Cookbook, which definitely helps enable her, since Food isn't as common in black without green's support. Unlike Gyome, Master Chef, who bolsters his patrons, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is trying to make them burst at the seams. With cards like Brash Taunter and Stuffy Doll, we can toss damage directly at our opponents, or if we're looking to spread the pain, Toralf, God of Fury is certain to leave splash damage at the dinner table.

Carth the Lion

Carth the Lion is a favorite of mine from Moderns Horizons 2. Planeswalkers have always fascinated me as a card type, but they are fragile. Without consistent value, they can be over-costed or require resources just to keep them alive. Beyond his beefy toughness, Carth negates this downside in two ways. The first is that each death among your Superfriends brings another to hand. The second is the real standout, though: a planeswalker's threat level is dictated by their starting loyalty and how many turns it will take to get to their ultimate. While I tend to believe gunning for the ultimate is a trap, Carth makes that a realistic goal.

The additional cost of adding loyalty not only accelerates your 'walkers, but will allow some to threaten their ultimate abilities immediately. Nissa, Vital Force and Garruk, Cursed Huntsman can pop off right away. Not only that, but Carth will also go grab another 'walker to replace them. Plus, there are tons of planeswalkers that Carth allows to ultimate after just one turn. Vraska, the Unseen will be ready to ult after just one activation. Vraska, Relic Seeker will climb to 9 loyalty after just one tick upward, which allows her to use her -10 ability at just 9 loyalty. The same goes for Garruk, Cursed Huntsman and Liliana, Dreadhorde General. Personally, I'm very excited to have a mechanically resonant home for Vraska, Golgari Queen.

General Ferrous Rokiric

Niv-Mizzet Reborn struck me as fun in concept on release, due to being a "gold"-focused deck. General Ferrous Rokiric brings that same style to red and white. This obviously limits the breadth of options you have, but it certainly smooths out your mana base. If you've stuck faithfully to this theme, each of your spells will come attached with a 4/4 token. Frankly, this ability on a three-mana commander in the most aggressive color-combination will likely overrun slower pods.

I mostly suggest using removal spells as the best source of creating 4/4s. Rip Apart, Duergar Hedge-Mage, and Wear // Tear negate enemy cards while advancing Rokiric's plan. Coupled with some anthems like Balefire Liege, Glory of Warfare, Legions' Initiative, and even Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, the power can add up quickly. Oh, and definitely use Idol of Oblivion and the new Losheel, Clockwork Scholar to stay up on card advantage, not to mention Showdown of the Skalds, or even Tome of the Guildpact.

Rokiric is ultimately very fair, and that both helps and hurts him in the landscape of Commander.

Lonis, Cryptozoologist

Judging from initial reception, Lonis, Cryptozoologist will likely be one of the most popular commanders from Modern Horizons 2. The Investigate mechanic is quite popular, and player affection for it has only grown over time due to the lack of a proper legendary creature to build around it. While our dear friend Angelo Guerrera will be sad that Lonis is from the plane of Ravnica instead of Innistrad, the rest of us will gladly accept a Simic commander that isn't just a value machine. Even if we only focus on the Clue generation ability, we already have several angles we can take: nontoken creatures matter, blink, self-bounce, artifact-tokens, Clues-matter, artifacts-matters, etc.

Lonis is going to vary greatly across every table, and that's what makes it so exciting. I'm personally excited to run this with Inspiring Statuary to keep the value train rolling, but I know someone who is planning an artifact beatdown build with cards like the new Rise and Shine. I'm excited to seek out all the cryptic builds that Lonis brings to the table.

Moderation

 Drawing a card off every spell is very strong, but you need to be casting spells on at least one opponent's turn to not lose out on tempo. My initial guess would be this finding as home in Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage or Ephara, God of the Polis. The former gives flash to a variety of spells, and the latter encourages an "every turn" pace.

If we're being honest, though, this will end up being donated by Zedruu, the Greathearted to gut the player who has the least instants at the table.

Piru, the Volatile

Finally getting a card to go alongside Chromium is one of the great Vorthos moments of the set! Piru certainly has a powerful death trigger. Dealing seven to each nonlegendary creature will almost always clear the board, and when it doesn't... you may have bigger worries. However, fear not, because you just gained a metric ton of life to cushion yourself alongside that board wipe. Piru deals the 7 damage, and Piru has lifelink. Even hitting one creature per player nets 28 life, and I don't have a calculator to math through what this will do to a board full of tokens.

That said, the original Elder Dragons hardly see play anymore. While Piru is a cool throwback, an eight-mana commander in Mardu is certainly a hurdle in itself. Also, if you want to use Piru and Chromium as a Partner pair at a table with me, I'd be fine with it. I would say Piru is kill-on-sight, but that's exactly what the Piru player will want when they have a Sanguine Bond effect in play.

Priest of Fell Rites

Another temptress pulling me toward playing Lurrus of the Dream Den. Priest of Fell Rites is a new take on Apprentice Necromancer and Doomed Necromancer. Personally, I really loved these cards and their interaction with Chainer, Nightmare Adept. However, being two colors is a cost in EDH. A two-mana creature with 2 power is the bullseye for white's recursive abilities, so there'll be no shortage of options to revive this for consistent reanimation. You'll need haste to do so quickly, but regardless, this is going to be a solid performer in many Orzhov reanimator decks.

Sythis, Harvest's Hand

If you ever wanted a Selesnya plug-and-play commander for Enchantress, you got it. We've seen this effect before over and over; Sythis, Harvest's Hand is basically a reimagined Tuvasa, the Sunlit. Losing a color in favor of "unlimited" card draw is a trade I'm willing to make, and that's before considering our commander will also trigger Constellation effects. Two-mana commanders are my favorite, as they tend to be innocuous and will impact the game consistently since they're so easy to play. Sythis is a fairly uninspired design, but that isn't a deal-breaker for an archetype that's defined by these effects. She'll do exactly what you ask of her, and you won't regret fielding her as your commander. Plus, people can't resist the allure of Flickering Ward and Whip Silk to draw consistently.

Yusri, Fortune's Flame

Yusri, Fortune's Flame is our third coin-flipping commander in almost as many years. If you haven't stocked up on your staples like Krark's Thumb, it's probably too late. Yusri stands apart, as he adds a more destructive element to coin flipping to really reinforce the dangerous thrill of gambling. Even though there's only a 3% chance of winning all five flips, I am fully prepared to encourage Yusri players to choose five every single time. Will I tease them for their cowardice if they don't? Absolutely. Will I revel in their success when they win all five? Absolutely.

Yusri is definitely the best Chance Encounter commander, and the self-immolating act lets you bring the never-thought-about Blood Hound into the fray. Also, if you want to mitigate Yusri's downside, give him lifelink! Basilisk Collar, Witch's Clinic, and Shadowspear negate the damage, so our attack step is all upside!


Uncommons


Arcbound Shikari

While this is going to be played in Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp until the format dies, Arcbound Shikari would be a great inclusion for many of the new Lorehold commanders. While Osgir, the Reconstructor, Alibou, Ancient Witness, or even Hofri, Ghostforge can all leverage this Boros artifact, they do it in different ways. Osgir can duplicate it to quickly put counters on a growing board of artifacts. Alibou can charge into opponents recklessly with it as a fellow attacker. Hofri requires more support than the other two, but being able to loop this consistently with a Goblin Engineer or Goblin Welder can give a build a more aggressive and recursive focus. I've always liked Modular, and this is a great support for many decks.

Combine Chrysalis

That second ability is just slow. Turning a 1/1 or a 2/2 into a 4/4 is all good, but for four mana, and as a sorcery? That's a real cost. Luckily, that's a bonus ability. This is a two-mana flying buff. That's a really solid anthem for a color pair that just got a lot of token manipulation in Commander 2021. This pleases Adrix and Nev, Twincasters, though perhaps not many others.

Ethersworn Sphinx

I am not someone who really plays a lot of Cascade, but this seems really sweet for Artifact swarm decks. Maybe those decks already have too many moving pieces, but it seems pretty nice to recur this card over and over with a Crystal Shard and/or Master Transmuter.

I also suspect that a Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign player or two may set up the top of their deck with a Brainstorm or two so that they can attack, get a successful Yennett trigger, and use the Cascade for something sweet off the top of the deck too.

Lazotep Chancellor

Lazotep Chancellor is a beautiful card, but not for the reason you'd expect. It's a perfect blend of not only the blue and black archetype from Amonkhet, but also the same color pair's archetype from War of the Spark. Combining both Amass and discard synergy, Lazotep Chancellor is a walking factory of Eternals for a deck that can fuel the triggering condition. Paying one to create a body off of discard is nothing new, but potentially turning an opposing Windfall into a 6/6 or larger is a lot of fun to me. And it only costs two mana? Sold.

Ravenous Squirrel

I've been constantly telling my friends about my desire to see another sacrifice-permanents-for-value commander in green and black, and this little buddy is going to be a great role player for those decks. One mana is a good rate to get this body out early, or to play late without disrupting our mana. Three mana is expensive for a sacrifice ability, but a sacrifice outlet that draws cards on an expendable body is the type of gear that turns the machine. We already know Chatterfang, Squirrel General decks want this, but Treasure decks in particular and perhaps even Glissa, the Traitor or Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest might find themselves impressed at how fast this little guy can grow.


Commons


Goblin Anarchomancer, Chrome Courier, Dihada's Ploy

  • Goblin Anarchomancer: These cost-reduction effects are very good. I've played Nightscape Familiar in Kess, Dissident Mage for a long time, and I can tell you now that the mana you save adds up. While green is the undisputed champ of ramp, don't underestimate what you'll be able to pull off here. In a set where Storm is the Limited archetype for red and green, it shouldn't be a jump to say that this card is great for any commander that likes to cast multiple spells a turn. Wort, the Raidmother will really make this card shine, as it lets you Conspire spells as well as powering out those spells a tad earlier.
  • Chrome Courier is a fun little card. ETB-card-selection is a great role-player, but nothing that will define a deck. Being an artifact gets bonus points, but mostly, check for it in the occasional Brago, King Eternal deck.
  • Dihada's Ploy is one of the coolest commons as it had many layers. Lifegain is weird to see in Dimir, but that is secondary to its card-advantage. At three mana, it's priced out by other methods of draw, so I'll pass unless I have specific discard synergies. It does give you three discrete instances of discard for a single card which is nothing to scoff at.

Foundry Helix, Terminal Agony, Wavesifter

  • Foundry HelixWe know Lightning Helix is an all-star in other formats, but it lacks a bit in Commander. Four damage is quite a lot for three mana, but when you're stacked against white's suite of removal, you need to have a larger impact. Bonus points to Foundry Helix for being a sacrifice outlet for any permanent! That is the main reason to play this, if at all.
  • Terminal Agony will only be seen in Madness decks, but you should have better options unless you're heavily committed to theme. Anje Falkenrath decks that churn through Madness cards to locate combo pieces will have more redundancy now.
  • Wavesifter: I like this card, but it really only has a home in Lonis or a UGx deck with an artifact focus. It will shine in those decks, but for other decks, I'd reach for Mulldrifter first.

The Sun Sets on the Horizon

As I mentioned at the beginning, I certainly had to leave some cards off. What card do you think should have made the list over what I included? Let me know in the comments!

Mason is an EDH player from Georgia, who is a self-proclaimed Johnny and Vorthos. His MTG career started with a casual lifegain deck with only a single win-condition. When not consuming MTG, he spends his time being a full-time student, an avid sports fan, and a dabbling musician. Mason can be found on twitter @K_Mason64