We've had a fair amount of Amonkhet spoiled already, and I'm intrigued by what I see. I like the Egyptian flavor and the feel of the cards a lot. I've always been a big fan of modal, Charm-style cards and this set has flexible utility cards in spades.
I don't feel like there's enough of the set spoiled to start focusing on building too many decks, but there is enough to start thinking about what I might want to do with some of these cool new spells. Since I'm not quite ready to jump into Standard, I figured that finding Modern applications for some of the spiciest cards is a good place to start!
Gideon of the Trials in Ad Nauseam
"I said I wanted to try it—don't judge me!"
The new Gideon is kind of a wacky planeswalker. He is also, importantly, a 3-drop planeswalker, which is typically a big game in a format like Modern…
Gideon does a couple of neat things. First and most obviously, he can create a Platinum Angel emblem that lasts as long as you control a Gideon. I imagine a line of play where you can untap, play a Gideon, and use the +1 mode on whatever creature your opponent has in play to prevent it from dealing damage until your next turn. Then, you can untap and use the 0 ability to create the emblem and try and win the game with Ad Nauseam. It's also cute that the new Gideon is very good against Liliana of the Veil, which can be very problematic on the play.
It seems like an interesting sideboard option worth exploring.
As Foretold Suspendless Suspend Deck
"Somebody As Foretold me that I played Restore Balance that felt like regular Balance that I played in February of 1995."
As Foretold is a powerful Magic card. It does the most important thing in Magic: it makes and often badly cheats mana in a very real way.
"HOW LUCK!? CMC=0"
The card would be decent if it only did fair things. It would basically cost 3 mana and generate +1 mana every turn. It is also worth noting that it says "once each turn," which means you can cast a spell on your turn and your opponent's turn. I wasn't able to find much posted online about potential lists, but I did find this counterspell-based deck to think about as a starting point.
As Foretold Control
In particular, Restore Balance is something I will almost certainly be working on in the coming weeks.
Drake Haven in Grixis Shadow Decks
"You used to call me on your cell phone."
Drake may bring some pretty sick beats to the radio, but I'm thinking Drake Haven might also bring some great beatdowns!
There are a few interactions, in particular, that make me very excited about Drake Haven.
- Pay 2 life, cycle Street Wraith; pay 1, make a 2/2 flyer. Gross.
- +1 Liliana of the Veil, pay: 1, make a 2/2 flyer.
The Grixis version of the deck struggles with Lingering Souls and Drake Haven seems like a comparable sideboard card for grindy matchups. I'm not sure if the cost is worth it, but the effect feels powerful, and desirable in matchups where you'd want to be grinding out value.
Harsh Mentor as a Harsh Hate Card
"Harsh" is a perfect description…
I that this card will have a presence in Modern. It's extremely punishing against strategies that are trying to abuse lots of activated abilities: I'm looking at you Abzan CoCo, Affinity, and Eggs!
The card also punishes fetchlands, since sacrificing a land to find another land isn't a mana ability! Fetchlands have gotten a free pass for too long and there should be more cards that prey on using lots of them.
The fact that the card is a 2/2 for 2 probably relegates it to sideboard play but it is going to be a real powerhouse out of the board against some of the great decks in Modern. I'm inclined to say that burn decks got a very, very key new sideboard card in Amonkhet!
Soul-Scar Mage and Enigma Drake in Burn or U/R Thing in the Ice
"Creatures that are good with spells. I dig."
Soul-Scar is worse than Monastery Get Schwiftyspear, but I think there is a decent chance it is still solid in U/R Burn decks. Haste is obviously huge, but so is 1/2 prowess. At the very least it is another warm body for R if you are looking for one. It's hard to determine without having cast the card whether I'd rather just have Stormchaser Mage. Maybe I want both?
The Drake also strikes me as borderline playable. With 4 toughness it doesn't die to Lightning Bolt, and it seems like a great Modern blocker the turn that it comes down. If you are Thought Scouring it's possible that this card can come down on turn 3 and attack for a huge chunk of damage on the following turn.
Manglehorn in CoCo/Chord Decks
Who would have thought that exactly zero puns can be made about being excited for a card that has "horn" in the name?
I think this card will really shine as a toolbox tutor target for decks like Abzan Company or Elves. It seems like a no-brainer to at least try out.
Cut // Ribbons in Jund Control
"Ribbon of darkness over meeee!"
Marty Robbins is great. If you don't know who he is, I strongly suggest heading over to YouTube later on when you have a free moment.
Do you know what else is great? Cut // Ribbons.
I have already seen Roast see fringe play in random midrange decks as an efficient removal spell. I really like that this card is cheap removal and then also just a Fireball to the face at the end of the game. Not bad value at all.
I love cards that continue to have value after you've already gotten some out of them. It is unfortunate that the card causes loss of life, rather than dealing damage, since you cannot use it to kill opposing planeswalkers. But I think just having a random removal spell that can blast away a huge chunk of life late in the game feels good to me. I'll be trying this card out for sure.
Amonkhet feels pretty cool. I'm really looking forward to the full spoiler so I can cherry pick new selections for my Danger Room/Battle Box. There are a lot of cards I'm excited to try out there, as well as in Limited and Constructed. What do you all think? Would you give these a go in Modern? Did I miss anything that you think is going to be a slam dunk?
Either way, I hope you're enjoying spoiler season. I know I am!