Modern Horizons 2 Set Review – Green

(Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar | Art by Andrew Mar)

It’s… Pretty Easy Being Green

Nope, no time for intros. Too many good green cards to get to!


Mythics


Chatterfang, Squirrel General

We finally have a black-bordered Squirrel commander, and it’s… kinda too good to be just a Squirrel commander? Even the most casual of Squirrel enthusiasts would have trouble not including Pitiless Plunderer in their Chatterfang, Squirrel General deck, given that it synergizes with both of this Squirrel Warrior’s abilities. In fact, it synergizes with them so well that it instantly goes infinite!

Even if you avoid that pitfall, however, then you’ll still want to include other token types besides Squirrels. There are only 19 Squirrel token-generators in the color combination, two of which are on the Reserved List and cost a combined $150 (unless that’s doubled since this writing), and another of which costs $50 because it just hasn’t been reprinted in the last 20 years.

So, now that our friendly neighborhood Squirrel deck is sporting an Avenger of Zendikar, Field of the Dead, Revel in Riches, and a Scute Swarm, it’s more like an all-around token deck with some Squirrels thrown in. Or it’s going infinite in more ways than one with the classic Earthcraft and Squirrel Nest combo. OR it’s taking advantage of the Pitiless Plunderer tech to stuff the deck full of Aristocrats payoffs like Blood Artist to make that combo more lethal. Which is fine and all, and some of these options sound fun as all get-out. What I’m really saying is that if you want to go full Squirrel tribal, it’s going to take some will and dedication.


Endurance

People have been obsessing a bit over how Endurance‘s enter-the-battlefield effect might feel a bit underwhelming when you use the “free” Evoke cost, and I agree, but it is still an option that will take a player entirely by surprise. More importantly, Endurance is an almost strict upgrade to Loaming Shaman, a card that shows up in only ~2,200 decks. Sure, the mana cost is one pip more restrictive, but the addition of flash, reach, and the cards going to the bottom of the library instead of being shuffled in seems like a heck of a deal, and that’s before you even get into the fact that it’s a bigger body, one with a flexible option to get your ETB effect without having any mana open.

This stunts a Mizzix’s Mastery or a Living Death, and it can be used on ourselves before a Green Sun’s Zenithand it’s a good blocker. At its current price, it’s not something to rush out and buy, since there are lots of cheaper cards out there with this type of ability, but rest assured that whenever you do see it, it will be quite the nuisance.


Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar

Luckily, if you are looking for more of a niche kind of mythic, there’s Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar! As a commander, this Dino will either be a crazy beatdown of Storm-y aggro, routinely getting slammed down as the fourth spell of a crazy turn for a mere three mana, or a degenerate combo deck, doing the same and then going infinite with the likes of Food Chain.

As fun as that sounds, however, I think we’ll actually see this legend a bit more in the 99 of aggro decks, where it will be more of a surprise from hand and will still be a cheap beater that can swing in for relevant damage immediately. While it might remind folks of Ghalta, Primal Hunger, the addition of haste and hexproof is an absolute game-changer, even if getting Thrasta down to two mana might be a bit more difficult. Still, it’s not like you’re unhappy paying six mana for all this beef, right?


Rares


Aeve, Progenitor Ooze

Speaking of cards that Nikya of the Old Ways is going to love, Aeve, Progenitor Ooze! Green Storm went from being non-existent to a full deck archetype in Modern Horizons 2, and I, for one, am here for it. While resolving the multiple copies of this Oozy boy is going to be a chore (the tokens enter first, one at a time, with the first getting no counters, the second getting one, the third getting two, etc.), Aeve can be more than worth it in a deck built around it. Only, wouldn’t you rather throw it in the 99 of another commander that can enable your creature-Storm shenanigans? Folks who don’t mind mono-green Ooze tribal will happily pair this up with Biowaste Blob, Biogenic Ooze, and since all the copies of this token retain its mana cost characteristic, I highly recommend checking out Karametra’s Acolyte in the 99, too!


Chitterspitter

So. Acorn counters. That’s a thing.

Anyhow, Chitterspitter is obviously a favorite in any aspiring Squirrel deck. Outside of Squirrel tribal, however, I don’t think this quite gets there. A token deck might be happy to make progressively larger Squirrels, but only getting one token a turn and having to pay each time you do it, just isn’t quite worth the cost of entry.


Gaea’s Will

“Green absolutely did not need a Yawgmoth’s Will” takes aside (no matter how correct they are), Gaea’s Will is pretty interesting. It’s difficult to cast without waiting the four turns in green, although Simic and Temur decks will probably do it accidentally all the time with the likes of Mind’s Desire and Sunbird’s Invocation. What really has me thinking of the crazy possibilities is that, when you do wait the four turns, you’re getting a Yawgmoth’s Will with all of your mana available. That, and a full graveyard, spells victory. Then again, if a table lets you go four turns filling the graveyard while watching this thing tick down, they deserve to lose.

Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder decks are infamous for going a bit crazy with Cascade into free spells, and Cascade theme decks might be one of the first places this card rears its head. Codie, Vociferous Codex is probably more than a little intrigued, too.


Ignoble Hierarch

If you’re not aware of the relation, Ignoble Hierarch is a reference to Noble Hierarch, and man, did that one ever stick for me.

Not much needs to be said about this card. If you’re in Jund or more, it’s a one-drop mana dork that will color fix you and randomly make a creature a bit more of a threat in what might be unexpected fashion for those that aren’t paying close attention. Our format is already full of Birds of Paradises, Elves of Deep Shadow, and so many other one-drop mana dorks that this card, while fun, doesn’t make such a significant splash.


Sanctum Weaver

Similarly, there’s not much I can say about Sanctum Weaver apart from the extremely obvious: if you’re playing an enchantment deck, you want to play this, full stop. It feels like about the 20th card that could be said about in the last couple years. Tuvasa the Sunlit felt like it brought a breath of fresh air to the Enchantress archetype, but Sanctum Weaver does kinda start to feel like the deck builds itself. You’ll see this card all over the place, from Karametra, God of Harvests to Estrid, the Masked to Sythis, Hand of Harvest to Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, and it will perform well in all of them.


Sylvan Anthem

Huh. A green card that is a strict upgrade to a white card. Where have I seen this before?

Could have sworn WotC told us white was going to become primary in the scry ability. Anyhow, setting aside the criticism of WotC’s handling of the color pie, Sylvan Anthem is going to be absolutely killer in aggro decks and token decks alike. Pumping the entire team while digging through the library for more threats at the same time, and for a mere two mana, is astoundingly powerful. Surprisingly, though, Sylvan Anthem isn’t just replacing an offensive old white card, it’s also taking a solid shot at Cream of the Crop in the mono-green decks, which isn’t too shabby either. This card doesn’t say ‘nontoken’ on it, so I expect those decks will make the very most of this ability first. Tacking a scry 1 to every trigger of Tendershoot Dryad sounds real dang good. Tacking a lot of scry 1 triggers to the casting of an Avenger of Zendikar seems just obnoxious.


Verdant Command

Verdant Command might be my favorite Command spell to date, and there is some serious competition out there. Not wanting Sylvan Anthem to have all of the fun, its first option is Raise the Alarm, with cuter tokens. That’s a card that only sees play in 2,000 decks, but it’s not a bad baseline. From there, its second option will see barely any play, but when it does, it will stop a planeswalker ultimate from winning the game, which seems worthwhile. Similarly, Cremating a single card might not seem all that powerful until it’s in response to the beginning of a game-winning Animate Dead or Regrowth loop. And finally, gaining three life. It probably won’t save your life in most scenarios, but it’s there for when it does. This card could have been printed at three mana and I would have been more than happy with it. At two mana, it’s got some good options, but probably only the decks with token themes – especially Squirrels – will really feel forced to play.


Uncommons


Blessed Respite

Unlike some of the other options we’ve seen today, Blessed Respite is an excellent example of the exact kind of card we need more of in Commander. It’s a solid effect that is similar to an already-played effect, but doesn’t just replace that effect.

For a lot of folks, Fog being one mana will always make it better than Blessed Respite. Others will prefer Tangle over it because they know they can get the crack-back immediately. Still others will appreciate Winds of Qal Sisma for its ability to be a one-sided board wipe. But the ability to remove cards from other players’ graveyards at instant speed becomes more popular every day, and for good reason. Having that effect stapled onto a Fog is undoubtedly good, and will be the new option for a lot of brewers. Let’s just not discuss the option of Constant Mists, okay? Blessed Respite is two amazing defensive options tacked onto one card, protecting us from graveyard and aggro players simultaneously. There are a lot of Fog variants out there, but this one is good. Really, really good.


Fae Offering

Casting a creature and noncreature spell is something you’re going to do routinely anyway in most decks, and there isn’t a deck out there that wouldn’t benefit from repeatedly being granted a triple threat in the form of a Clue, Food, and Treasure token. That said, the place that this card will shine brightest is in any sort of token deck playing the various varieties of Doubling Season. Three tokens a turn is already good enough. Six is bound to put things over the edge quickly. Gyome, Master Chef and Lonis, Cryptozoologist are likely our most common homes for this enchantment.


Foundation Breaker

Speaking of printing options instead of staples, Foundation Breaker is an excellent replacement (or addition to) decks playing Reclamation Sage. For those really in a rush, a two-mana Evoke option will be there for all your Naturalize needs, and will place the creature directly into the graveyard for your repeated recursion needs (hello, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Muldrotha, the Gravetide, et al). If you need a body, you can do that, too, just for an extra mana. If you’re blinking instead of recurring, however, then Reclamation Sage is probably still your better option. All in all, though, this might be a textbook case of “why not both?”


Herd Baloth

You know, it’s only fair that if the Landfall deck gets Rampaging Baloths, the +1/+1 counters decks should get Herd Baloth. Bravo, Wizards, for both an excellent shout-out and an excellent niche card.

Oh, and if you want infinite creatures? Ivy Lane Denizen has a new best friend. Cathars’ Crusade goes haywire, too. Don’t worry, it’s a ‘may’ ability, so you don’t create an unending loop! Ghave, Guru of Spores, Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, and Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest have got to be at least slightly interested in this Baloth.


Scurry Oak

Speaking of +1/+1 counters, Scurry Oak! Sadly, this only makes one token even if you put 20 counters onto it, so while Ivy Lane Denizen is still listening, most +1/+1 counters are more likely to choose something like Iridescent Hornbeetle if they want tokens as a reward for lots of +1/+1 counters.

What I find the most interesting, however, is that this card might not be all that good in Squirrel decks. Out of the whole list of Squirrel cards, only three of them have a power greater than 2. There are several lords that will pump Squirrels up to 2/2s or 3/3s, but that’s still only going to get you two Squirrel tokens unless you luck into a Squirrel Mob or a Krosan Beast, which just doesn’t seem like enough.


Squirrel Sanctuary

Having to pay the one to return this card to hand kept it from being a ridiculous combo engine, but it is still nonetheless a reliable Squirrel-maker that would be fine in any Squirrel or token deck. That said, the place this card really shines isn’t necessarily immediately obvious: enchantment decks. As a point of reference, Mana Bloom sees play in almost 1,500 decks, about two-thirds of which are enchantment decks just looking for a cheap, repeatable way to get their Enchantress triggers. Squirrel Sanctuary provides that while also providing tokens to chump block with, something that is often badly needed in creature-light enchantment decks.


Squirrel Sovereign

I’ll just let another Dug say everything I want to say about this card:


Timeless Witness

Much like Foundation Breaker, Timeless Witness provides a fresh take on an evergreen Commander staple. Eternal Witness has added an extra mana in exchange for the ability to be played again from the graveyard. You can now Birthing Pod from one Witness to another. We have another tutorable blink and recursion target.

Eternal Witness appears in over 82,000 Commander decks. It is the 21st most popular card in the entire format. Our new version will still take a back seat to the original Witness, appearing alongside it rather than replacing it, but it’s not just an ‘also ran’. This is pretty intense redundancy for one of the most in-demand ETB abilities in all of Commander.


Tireless Provisioner

Speaking of chase uncommons, might I introduce you to Tireless Provisioner? Lotus Cobra and Stone-Seeder Hierophant have a new friend, and you don’t have to immediately spend the mana this one produces. Landfall decks are full to the brim with excellent effects, so it’s a little trite to call any card a new ‘staple’ for any strategy… but Lotus Cobra appears in over 23,000 decks, so it’s safe to say Landfall will make room for more versions of this ability.

Gyome, Master Chef and maybe even Willowdusk, Essence Seer might actually use the Food portion of this card, but Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is about to draw a bazillion more cards from all those Treasures, and the Treasures are likely to be a huge appeal for tons of other commanders, too. Every iteration of Omnath, Yarok, the Desecrated, Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait and Tatyova, Benthic Druid, Lord Windgrace, and you know what even Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer are all salivating over the Provisioner.


Commons


Abundant Harvest

Hang on, lemme just run that GIF back real quick:

Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but there’s no denying that Abundant Harvest is better than a lot of blue cantrips out there, not to mention the other colors it just straight blows out of the water. Being able to dig down three cards with Ponder is great and all, but guaranteeing you get a land when you need one is absolutely amazing. Make a slot in your green decks, folks!


Chatterstorm

The fifth green Storm card, Chatterstorm isn’t complicated. It’s a solid means of producing bodies in a token deck, or a great threat for a Storm deck. Just pray they’re not doing both with Xyris! Chatterfang, Squirrel General is interested, obviously, but Rhys the Redeemed, Thromok, the Insatiable, and Wort the Raidmother are also watching closely.


Duskshell Crawler

If you were excited by Pridemalkin‘s printing back in Magic 2021, I regret to inform you that its reign didn’t last long, not outside of the Cat deck anyhow. Bramblewood Paragon has also been relegated to “Warrior deck only” status. Tuskguard Captain at least makes a modest appearance here and there for Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, and Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. Seems like it’ll be a short reign for the Duskshell, though.


Orchard Strider

There are a lot of expensive creatures out there that make up for it by having Landcycling, from Pale Recluse to Valley Rannet to Elvish Aberration. Orchard Strider eclipses almost all of them with its six-mana 6/4 efficiency, and also provides two Food tokens to boot. That’s not a slam dunk in the average deck, mind you, but a five-color Cycling deck might be keen on it, and frankly Gyome, Master Chef is making out like a bandit in this set, so he’ll probably invite the Strider to the table, too.


Green Wave

There we have it! What did you think of Modern Horizons 2? Having now done nine of these set reviews, I can easily say that this is by far the most cards I’ve ever had to review, even counting reviews that went over multiple colors. Things are beyond pushed in this set, and there’s a lot both to dread and to be excited about, all at once. Let us know in the comments which of those feelings is hitting you the most!

Finally, I don’t know about you, but I spent this whole review thinking every time I talked about Clue, Food, or Treasure tokens that I had somehow missed Academy Manufactor. Well, fret not, I didn’t miss it, it’s just not a green card, and Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth is technically a land, so make sure to check in with Bernardo for Artifacts and Lands in another review article!

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.