Modern Horizons 3 Set Review - Enemies & Wedges

(Grist, Voracious Larva | Art by Chris Rahn)

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Colorless | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & WedgescEDH | Reprints | Minotaurs

Hello and welcome back to another set review! I'm Brian, your usual host of Brew For Your Buck, but we're taking a break from value engineering decks to look at a bunch of cards in the enemy and wedge color identities from Magic's newest set, Modern Horizons 3 (MH3). As someone that plays primarily Commander and Limited, I'm extremely excited for this set, despite its precursors seemingly breaking Modern over and over again. Keep in mind that we're going to look at the cards based on their applications in Commander, not Modern. This is good since my understanding of Modern is from when Mardu Pyromancer was a thing. We have a ton of awesome cards to look at so let's dive in.


Ajani, Nacatl Pariah

The first of the five "flip-walkers" we have in this set, Ajani's Commander home is very obvious: Cat decks. He brings along a Cat token with him and he'll flip whenever a Cat you control dies. Cats tend to be small creatures so getting that to happen shouldn't be too hard. His Planeswalker side buffs your Cats, makes more Cats, shoots things with your Cats, and can even give you a pretty good wrath if you can protect him for a turn cycle. All this means Ajani looks great as a Cat commander, or for the 99 of Rin and Seri, Jinnie Fay, or other Cat decks that touch his colors. To be clear, Ajani's color identity is Boros (red-white) so don't think you can slot him into your Arahbo deck, despite how badly you might want to.

Cayth, Famed Mechanist

Cayth is the alternate commander for the "Creative Energy" preconstructed deck, though outside of the bad proliferate ability, it doesn't actually have anything to do with Energy. However, if you're looking to do stuff with artifact tokens, I don't think you could ask for something more fun. To start brewing I'd look at Brudiclad's page, since there will be a lot of overlap between these two. White adds things like Oltec Matterweaver, Tempered Steel, and token doublers like Mondrak. Each creature you cast is going to bring a Servo or a +1/+1 counter with it, so this also seems like a sweet place for something like Hangarback Walker and friends. Honestly, there are so many directions you can take Cayth, and it'll be sweet to see what people come up with.

Grist, Voracious Larva

Grist is back, and is asking to be included into some sort of self-mill deck, since seeing something enter from the graveyard will trigger the flip. Once she does, we get a call back to her original card that mills and makes a creepy-crawly. The second ability isn't as great compared to the original, but being able to Naturalize something isn't the worst by any stretch. The real fun comes from the ultimate, which "reanimates" your entire graveyard. Sure they're all 1/1s but getting all those ETB triggers has me salivating, plus all those creature cards remain in your graveyard for more payoffs. Grist slots nicely into a Zask deck (like this one) or something like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. Of course, Grist can also lead her own self-mill deck, functioning as an easy to cast payoff in the command zone. Again, these "flip-walkers" are the color identity of their back side, so you can't put her into your mono-green Reanimator deck (do those exist?).

Jyoti, Moag Ancient

Oh look, a Simic (blue-green) Landfall commander! Where have I seen that before? I actually think Jyoti will go better in the 99 of Landfall decks, ideally with a cheaper commander (or partners) so it can enable a bunch of Landfall triggers from the Dryad Arbors it creates when it enters the battlefield. That being said, it does give your land creatures some pretty big buffs, so if you're looking to one-shot someone with Inkmoth Nexus, there are worse choices to head up your creature-lands deck. You could put in stuff like Halimar Tidecaller or Embodiment of Insight right along with it. Ooh, you could even make copies of Inkmoth Nexus with blue's cloning effects. Be on the lookout for synergies with Forests as well, since this will make a lot of them at later points in the game.

Omo, Queen of Vesuva

Omo is a wacky card but I know exactly where I want it to go. A lot of people will use it for kindred decks, and rightly so, but I want to finally build the land deck. It would need to be a five-color list, but would include all the awesome payoffs for having land types: Valakut, Emeria, Cabal Coffers, Dread Presence, just to name a few. Back them up with Prismatic Omen, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Realmwright, and a bunch of the best Domain cards we've really got a stew going. Look for this in an upcoming Brew For Your Buck article, as this is a deck I've been noodling on for a long time.

Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury

Phlage is... kind meh. As with Kroxa and Uro, Phlage can avoid the commander tax so long as you can keep your graveyard full to cast it. Red can do this via discard effects, so I guess it's doable, but the payoff is just Lightning Helixing stuff. Maybe this can go in the 99 of a burn deck, or can lead some strange Boros lifegain deck, but otherwise I don't see this titan having a big impact on Commander.

Ral, Monsoon Mage

Did someone call for a Storm commander? On first look, Ral is seemingly one of the best ones out there, but let's hold our horses a little bit. First of all, in order to get him to flip, you need to flip first. It's not guaranteed that he's going to transform, and he'll be pinging you in the process. Sure, you can ultimate right away if you cast six spells that turn (and win the flip on the sixth one) but by that point you're probably already winning. Otherwise you need to protect him, and Izzet (red-blue) is not really the best color combination for protecting planeswalkers. Considering all this, I'd much rather slot Ral into the 99 of any of the literal thousands of other Izzet spellslinger decks.

Satya, Aetherflux Genius

Satya is the head of our second Jeskai (red, white, blue) Energy precon this year, though he brings a much different flavor than Dr. Madison Li. I'm a fan of commanders that incentivize attacking, and when you do so with Satya you'll be getting a token copy of something no matter what. Then you get spotted the energy to keep it around! Creatures with enter the battlefield and death triggers are ideal here, in addition to all of the energy generation you can find in the precon and the main set. Check out Cadric, Soul Kindler or Saheeli, the Sun's Brilliance decks for some inspiration!

Sorin of House Markov

Angsty teenage Sorin is not something I had on the bingo card for this set, but here we are. Fortunately, he's pretty sweet. Casting one spell and paying the Extort cost will be enough to flip him, which happens at the start of your second main phase so his planeswalker side is ready to use right away. Once flipped, Sorin's greatest strength is his second ability. Gaining life generally takes a very low mana investment, so decks built to gain a lot of it tend to do so pretty quickly. Crucially, that second ability says any target, so you could theoretically cast a Beacon of Immortality and then bazooka an opponent into the shadow realm. Making Food and Mind Controlling stuff is fun too. Sorin clearly belongs in a lifegain deck, so if you have one, I'd find a slot for him.

Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student

Tamiyo is actually the only one of these flip-walkers that I think I'd rather keep on the front side. Having a relevant one-drop in your deck is underrated, since most decks take off turn one to ramp or play a tapped land. She can generate a constant stream of Clues as early as turn two, which goes well in any kind of artifact deck. If she can't connect, you can always flip her, but I don't feel as though her planeswalker side synergizes well with the decks that care about her front side. She does a bunch of little things so you can definitely include her in a deck, but in my opinion, being less focused on a specific strategy means she'll be less impactful overall.


Abstruse Appropriation

Poor Utter End. This new removal spell just blows its 2015 counterpart out of the water. That being said, four mana to deal with one target needs to have some significant upside in my book, and I don't think Abstruse Appropriation has it. For this mana value, I'd rather be playing a board wipe or something that deals with multiple threats. In Limited, this does a decent impression of Fractured Identity, but I don't think I'll be slotting it into my Ratadrabik deck any time soon.

Aggressive Biomancy

Well, if Simic is going to get a board wipe I guess this is what it looks like. Ezuri's Predation is a similar effect, only this time you're getting creatures you care about and getting to reuse enters the battlefield triggers. It gets better if your creatures actually survive the fight, and hoo boy, does this color pair has access to some fatties. My first thought is to throw this into a sea monsters deck like Kiora or Kenessos (you can find an article for the latter here) where you generally have a ton of mana and giant creatures to maximize the effect. Another obvious home is a token deck like Adrix and Nev, Twincasters. Since you'll make two copies of the creatures you target, they can fight down opposing creatures twice their size! Throw in some populate cards like Life Finds a Way to keep the fun going.

Infested Thrinax

The lone, non-reprint, enemy colored card from the Graveyard Overdrive precon, Infested Thrinax is a callback to one of my favorite Jund cards: Sprouting Thrinax. Of course, we need to power creep it a little bit, so the 2024 version essentially gives all of your creatures the Sprouting Thrinax ability at instant speed. If you're actively sacrificing creatures, you can use this kind of offensively, popping all of your nontoken "pinatas" into little vegetable candies (ew). An obvious home for our new Thrinax is decks that care about Saprolings like Slimefoot or The Mycotyrant which will love this to make more sacrifice fodder. Or just cast this in response to a board wipe, untap, and slam Craterhoof Behemoth to win the game. Not flashy, but effective.

Invert Polarity

Yet another addition in the long line of goofy, chaotic, coin flip spells. My cousin would love this for his Okaun and Zndrsplt deck. It's a sort of a combination of Counterspell and Redirect on a single card, so it's a bit modal in that sense, so long as you don't really care about knowing which mode you want. Either way, it tends to be a positive effect for you. Also, gaining control of the spell means that if you're targeting a permanent spell, you'll actually just get it on your side of the board. This card screams fun via chaos, which I'm totally here for.

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

Well, we come to the elephant (or in this case Bird Wizard) in the room at last. Nadu has generated a ton of hype and discussion, especially amongst the cEDH community. Check out that article over on Commander's Herald if you're interested, but long story short: Nadu is extraordinarily powerful. It basically casts a Growth Spiral every time one of your creatures is targeted with something. The text on Nadu says that EACH of your creatures get this ability, so they EACH can trigger it twice EACH turn. There's also not a nontoken clause on Nadu, which means Scute Swarm plus something with an equip cost of zero like Lightning Greaves or the lesser known Shuko means you're basically going to draw your entire deck. You can also go pretty hard with Unctus, Unnatural Selection, and Sea Kings' Blessing. I have a hard time imagining any kind of casual build if Nadu is at the helm. Otherwise, Nadu is an obvious inclusion in the 99 of a deck like Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief or other "self-targeting" decks, but I imagine he'll be the most popular commander from this set.

Shilgengar, Sire of Famine

This is my front-runner for best art in the set. I don't think you can get more savage than a Demon sitting on a throne made of Angel wings. Having a Demon lead a deck full of Angels is also a great opportunity for some artistic deckbuilding, and I can't wait to see a beautifully crafted and blinged out Angel deck across the table from me. Being a free sacrifice outlet which you can access from the command zone means it would be easy to include any Blood Artist-type combos that exist in Orzhov (white-black) too. The other place I think Shilgengar is an auto-include is in Kaalia of the Vast decks. You can easily cheat him and a big Angel in, sacrificing the Angel to hit that six Blood threshold. Chances are that reanimating an entire graveyard full of Angels, Dragons, and Demons means you're probably winning the game.

The Necrobloom

"Land cards in your graveyard have dredge 2." Keep speaking my love language, Wizards. If you've followed my usual series at all, you can probably guess that this guy is my favorite commander from the set, bar none. It turns all your lands into Dakmor Salvage, allows for my pet cards of Riftstone Portal and Flagstones of Trokair in the 99, and the tokens it creates gives you an easy win condition. Lands decks are already a popular theme, and I like that this gives us an option in a new color combination. Check out the EDHREC page for The Gitrog Monster, Knight of the Reliquary, and Field of the Dead, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of options for brewing. I absolutely love this card, and it will certainly be featured on Brew For Your Buck in the near future.

Wight of the Reliquary

Speaking of Knight of the Reliquary, we have her twisted, undead form much like what happened to Champion of the Parish/Perished. This Knight cares about creatures in the bin instead of lands, but can still grab any land you need in a pinch while pumping itself too. Sacrificing creatures instead of lands means you're also ramping too. It'll definitely go into my pending Necrobloom deck, allowing me to to play a toolbox of lands like Glacial Chasm, Homeward Path, and Bojuka Bog. Play it alongside Field of the Dead, Scute Swarm, or Zendikar's Roil to keep a steady stream of lands hitting the battlefield.

Uncommons & Commons

Modal Double-Faced Cards (MDFCs)

We've been through so many cards already so I'm going to zip through these pretty fast, starting with the MDFCs. They're pictured in my personal power ranking order, but most of them deserve a look if you're in those colors. My personal rule with MDFCs is to count them as half a land when I start building a deck, but tweak from there after I see how they play:


These are nice since they come into play untapped and cycle later in the game. I love them as budget options for decks in that exact three color combo, so if you're playing Evolving Wilds, it might be time to move on.

Good Grief, that was a long one. Thanks for sticking with me till the end. This set is going to make me do a complete overhaul of my personal decks, and I can't wait for all the deckbuilding fun it's going to lead to. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am. If you think I'm right, wrong, or missing something, let me know in the comments. You can check out my previous Brew For Your Buck articles here every other Tuesday on EDHREC, and you can follow me on Twitter @BrewForYourBuck. Happy Horizons to you all, and I'll see you next time!

Brian played Magic intermittently between 2003 and 2017 when he fully embraced his love for Commander. Finding ways to maximize the value of each piece of cardboard in the deck is one of his favorite things to explore, especially if it involves putting lands in the graveyard! Outside of Magic, Brian works as a consultant in the marine industry, turning his passion for boats and ships into a career.

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