Modern Horizons Set Review - Colorless
(Morophon, the Boundless | Art by Victor Adame Minguez)
Colorless, Yet Colorful
Welcome back to the final installment of the yet another set review here on EDHREC. I'll be your captain on this voyage into the colorless cards and lands of Modern Horizons, navigating what I think is most likely to be played in your local groups, and maybe even provide some analogs that we can see between new and existing cards. If you’re thinking to yourself “didn’t we just have a set review?!” you’re not alone - and brace yourselves, cuz M20 and C19 are just around the corner - but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep the adrenaline pumping for another set! Let’s dive right into it.
Sword of Truth and Justice
Voltron and Equipment decks everywhere are cheering for this one. Protection from white means you dodge some of the two most commonly played removal spells in the format, Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile. Protection from blue means the variety of targeted and efficient bounce effects like an un-Overloaded Cyclonic Rift or the increasingly popular Reality Shift and Pongify.
What I am very interested in is how many decks can take full advantage of the triggered ability on this sword. With planeswalkers now showing up all over the place thanks to War of the Spark, it’s not crazy to imagine you could Proliferate three or so counters per combat trigger, not even counting the Sword's own +1/+1 counter. I think if you were running any of the previous Sword of X and Y cards, you’ll want to consider this as well. I’d expect to see a decent amount of these running around, probably more than Sword of War and Peace and somewhere in the realm of Sword of Light and Shadow’s numbers. The protection abilities aren’t as valuable as Light & Shadow, but the combination of +1/+1 counter and Proliferate means your beater will grow consistently, which I’m all about.
Sword of Sinew and Steel
Sadly, this entry into the Sword of X and Y cycle I’m not as hyped about. The protection colors might be some of the most relevant; protection from red means that you don’t have to worry about Blasphemous Act’s or any of red’s damage-based board wipes, and protection from black means you dodge a huge amount of targeted removal as well.
However, the triggered abilities is where the card falls short for me. Yes, planeswalkers will be more common, but I’m not a fan of relying on what the other players are playing to get maximum value. Just compared to Sword of Truth and Justice, this one feels awkward, because Truth and Justice actually allows you to build your deck to take advantage of the ability. I don’t want to think this might be one of the lesser-played Swords - still more than Sword of Body and Mind for sure - but I think the rest of the cycle beats this one out. If the rules ever change to accommodate all planeswalkers as commanders then I start to like this card way more. As is, though, it’s a little more dependant on your playgroup to be a whammy. Feel free to pair it up with Liquimetal Coating to be real nasty, though!
Morophon, the Boundless
A generically good commander for generic tribal support! 'Generic' might seem like an insult to some, but it's not meant as one. Morophon will enable so many different tribes to finally have their time to shine. Squirrel tribal gets a nutty commander. Kavu tribal finally has something to roar about. Heck, even Advisor tribal gets wise to this new morphic pile of everything (one-mana Persistent Petitioners sounds pretty great). If there was a tribe out there that you wanted to make a deck for but never had a good commander to helm the deck, your time has come.
To clarify, Morophon is a colorless card, hence its inclusion in this review, but because it has all five colored symbols in its rules text, it can be a five-color commander, much like General Tazri. You don't have to include all five colors, though! You could make a four-color deck, a two-color deck, or even a mono-color deck with whatever tribe you want! Morophon will not limit your imagination.
Morophon, the Boundless isn’t even a bad commander for creatures that already have a good option as a legendary creature! The cost-reduction ability combined with the +1/+1 for your chosen creature type means that plenty of tribes could nominate Morophon as the leader just for classic value. For example, even though Slivers just got The First Sliver, another legendary leader, a Morophon Sliver deck isn’t the worst idea. Imagine casting Crystaline Sliver for free, along with Harmonic Sliver for just one generic mana. Or maybe you want The Ur-Dragon to cost just four mana instead of nine?
Morophon, the Boundless is very powerful and I am excited to see what new tribes start popping up at the tables once people get hold of a copy. The potential is in the name: boundless. Let me know in the comments below which tribe you're aching to build with Morophon!
I’m not so sure this card is for our format. Sure, Commander players love their mana rocks, but the Tantalite almost certainly needs to be Suspended on turn one for it to really shine. Casting this off a Cascade trigger also probably feels kinda bad. I’d compare this card to Ancestral Vision, where in a typical Commander game, it feels great sometimes, medium a little more often, but most of the time is a terrible topdeck. I’ll be skipping this all but the most specific artifact decks.
This I like this card as much as I don’t like Mox Tantalite - which is a convoluted way of saying I do actually like it. In artifact decks, or even most decks in general, sacrificing an artifact isn't too worrisome. In fact, for commanders like Daretti, Scrap Savant, it can be a bonus!
What you’re able to search up with Recombiner's ability includes some real heavy hitters: Adaptive Automaton, the Kaladesh Gearhulk cycle, Foundry Inspector, Hangarback Walker, Myr Battlesphere, and many more. I’m guessing there are a ton of Breya, Etherium Shaper decks out there jonesing to sacrifice a Treasure token from Smothering Tithe every turn to tutor up their Walking Ballistas. This card is Goblin Welder-esque, though not precisely as strong. Hilariously, it can even fetch things like Scrap Trawler, which can help you salvage back the artifacts you end up sacrificing! I'd expect this to show up in decks even if players only have 3-4 possibly tutor targets, and I'd expect folks will be surprised to see how many Constructs they already have in their artifact decks that this can help them find.
The Talisman cycle is complete at last! The ally-colored Talismans (Talisman of Dominance, Talisman of Impulse, etc.) finally have their brothers and sisters for the enemy color pairs!
These are going to be gobbled up and thrown into decks early and often. Checking the numbers on EDHREC, the mos popular ally-color Talismans are Talisman of Dominance and Talisman of Indulgence - colors that are hungriest for extra ramp and color-fixing - so having these available for blue-red and black-white decks is a huge boon. Talisman of Conviction coming down a turn earlier than Boros Keyrune is a big upgrade. Grab these, play them in your nongreen decks, you'll see them everywhere. You don't need me to tell you how awesome they are, but I will definitely say that I'm stoked for the cycle to be complete at last.
Another excellent cycle! I’m glad Wizards of the Coast gave us the enemy pairings. Horizon Canopy, the inspiration for these new lands, is rather pricey and kept out of many Commander players hands due to the huge demand from Modern and Legacy play. Having the whole enemy cycle printed here hopefully means that players will be able to get the copies they need. The 1-life per mana activation isn’t the worst price to pay, as evidenced by the strong popularity of cards like Mana Confluence and pain lands like Caves of Koilos. That price can be worth it to help escape some mana-flooding late game and sacrifice the land like it's a Mind Stone.
Any deck will use these, but look for them especially in decks like The Gitrog Monster, Boros decks that like the extra draw option, and black-white lifegain decks that don't mind paying extra life here and there. In truth, though, you don't need to build around these for them to be good. Very powerful, these lands. If you pull one, chances are high you have a deck you should to put them into.
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Curious that this card is named after Heliod’s “generosity” when he’s kind of responsible for *SPOILER ALERT* Elspeth winding up dead. But that’s besides the point. The card itself is very good, along the lines of Academy Ruins and my personal favorite, Volrath’s Stronghold. Once the game has developed, recurring the most powerful enchantment from your graveyard on your upkeep to draw it for your turn could be way better than drawing an unknown card. Enchantments are already difficult to remove, and this makes them even more resilient.
If you're in an enchantress deck like Tuvasa the Sunlit or Daxos of Meletis, you already know you want this, but consider playing it even if you have a small handful of important enchantments you'd like to get back, like your Doubling Season or your True Conviction.
IT'S A NEW FETCH LAND YOU GUYS! ZOMG!
Okay, now that we’ve calmed down a bit, let’s get real. This card is going to see a ton of play. Like, oodles upon oodles. We all know that Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse are two of the most popular lands in the format and this while not *strictly* a better card (stop saying things are “strictly better,” by the way) it is *functionally* better and should replace the Evolving Expanses in all but the most Landfall-heavy decks (in which case it will not replace those cards, but supplement them).
The cost of one life to make sure you don’t have to worry about your land coming into play tapped is very worth it. Because the card is rare, and pricey, expect at first to see it show up the most often in those dedicated Landfall decks, but as time goes on, it should filter into less-specialized lists too. Library manipulators like Aminatou, the Fateshifter will appreciate the extra shuffle effect, for example. Truly, though, it's a solid piece of color fixing for just about any deck, provided you're able to acquire it.
Broadening Our Horizons
So what do you all think? Is Modern Horizons closer to 'Commander Horizons'? I am incredibly impressed with the set for both Modern and Commander play. Between Modern Horizons and War of the Spark there is no reason to believe Wizards of the Coast isn’t designing cards with our format in mind at all times. Is there a favorite new staple of yours that you have an itch to jam in every deck? (I know I personally have too many to count and will end up with some decision paralysis about it.) Let me know what you all think in the comments! Thank you for reading, and enjoy the set!