Now that Hour of Devastation has been fully spoiled, I get asked questions about which cards will see the light of the Modern, Legacy, and Vintage battlefields. Today I’m going to analyze the cards that I like best in those formats.
Oketra’s Last Mercy
Many identified this as a pure hate card versus Burn in Modern. The problem is that it suffers against Skullcrack and Atarka’s Command effects, since any positive life adjustment is considered life gain, and since it’s a sorcery, it’s very likely for them to have one of the two.
Life Goes On
This is a way better life gain card. It’s instant, so you can get your opponent when they’re tapped out at any moment.
It’s very close to Feed the Clan, a card that was played in Modern Jund’s sideboard for a period of time. This is a straight upgrade since it’s cheaper and it’s easy to gain 8 life since even an opponent’s creature triggers the second clause.
It’ll depend of course on how much Burn is played, but it looks like a tier 1 card to me, and this can easily earn a spot in the sideboard of a B/G/x non-Death’s Shadow deck.
Luis Scott Vargas wrote about this card a little bit when he previewed it, but in my opinion he was too high on it.
Nimble Obstructionist is a fine card but it’s nothing compared to Vendilion Clique. Some people compared the Bird to Stifle, but they missed the main strength of Stifle. which is to get early fetchlands and mana screw your opponent. 3 mana is just too much, and will render this effect way less effective, even if you get a 2-for-1 out of it.
Last week I wrote about this card in Legacy, and as soon as I have time I will record this brew for ChannelFireball.
But to reiterate briefly, the card is sweet and there are plenty of ways to abuse it.
Vintage Mentor is looking for ways to replace Gush and Gitaxian Probe, and this could be one of them. You now see Esper Mentor with 3 Night’s Whisper and Jeskai with Compulsive Research, so while this card is pretty expensive and doesn’t gain you two extra cards, it’s an instant, and bouncing a land can power up your Library of Alexandria or give you some junk to discard with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.
It will probably never see play in Vintage, but it’s one of the possible playable cantrips in a format where almost everything is restricted.
Abrade is incredibly versatile in a format like Vintage, where the top 2 decks by miles are Stax— full of artifacts—and Mentor, where every creature dies to it.
Claim // Fame
Paulo Vitor wrote about how good this card is in Modern Grixis Death’s Shadow, and Luis Scott-Vargas even talked about how this card could instigate a Death’s Shadow ban since it’ll put a top tier deck through the roof.
I don’t think Modern needs another ban, and I do think that having a tier 1 like Death’s Shadow is healthy for a format without Force of Will to keep combo decks in check. Death’s Shadow plays like a Grixis Delver deck in Legacy. It’s the best deck, and everyone is okay with that since it keeps the format healthy and fair.
To play those Claim // Fames, Paulo Vitor cut 2 Kolaghan’s Command and that made a lot of sense to me. This card is very similar and it’s way cheaper. Also, don’t underestimate Fame, as having a free card once you mill yourself with Thought Scour is nice value.
Dredge Vintage can use this card to cast it for free off an activation of Bazaar of Baghdad. If you have this card in your opener you can cast right away on turn 1, but if you don’t you’ll have 4 dead cards in your deck since Dredge never gets any actual draw steps and this can only be cast from your hand.
The obvious comparison to this card is Bojuka Bog, which does come into play tapped, but doesn’t require any extra mana to exile your opponent’s graveyard.
Legacy Lands will still prefer Bojuka Bog since you want to be able to Crop Rotation for it and get your opponent’s combo deck without having any spare mana, mostly because they will likely try to combo as early as possible.
Also, because Scavenger Grounds exiles both graveyards and Legacy Lands makes good use of its graveyard, this land might be better utilized as a silver bullet colorless land in decks like Modern Eldrazi Tron, or Legacy MUD and Eldrazi, since they have some slots free for colorless lands like Ghost Quarter, Rishadan Port, or Tower of the Magistrate. Modern Eldrazi Tron’s Expedition Map could really abuse graveyard decks with this card.
I don’t see very big changes with Hour of Devastation for Eternal formats, but if you find some good cards that I missed, point them out in the comments!