If there’s something you should always look out for in a new set spoiler, it’s fast mana or cost reduction. R&D hasn’t had the best track record on balancing these. Affinity, storm, delve, and cascade have broken formats in half, and the old Moxen are the core of Vintage. Mox Opal might also be one of the most broken cards in Modern at what it does.
Mox Amber is one of these cards.
When the early leaks came out—surprise, surprise—Mox Amber was one of the first cards spoiled. I knew that this card either was going to be a rock solid staple of the format, broken, or not played at all. Understanding which of these three outcomes is in store for Mox Amber may be crucial to understanding the upcoming Standard metagame.
With Mox Amber, even though I was interested in its power level, I chose to wait to brew with it. Since its conditions seemed heavily affected by the options in Dominaria, there wasn’t much sense in jumping to conclusions. Still, the first deck I thought of doesn’t include any Dominaria legends at all…
R/W Legendary Pilots
When I researched all of the legends in Standard for the first time, I noticed that many of the ones that have already seen a fair amount of Constructed play were in red and white. Not only are they in red and white, but they also work well with Vehicles like Depala, Pilot Exemplar and Pia Nalaar. We’ve seen Kari Zev, Skyship Raider and Hazoret the Fervent do wonders for red aggro decks lately, and they seem to fit the curve quite well. Sram, Senior Edificer hasn’t seen a ton of play in Standard, save some fringe play in U/W Auras or Aetherflux Reservoir decks, but its potential upside is high. Chandra, Torch of Defiance doesn’t really need any introduction!
While many of these cards are decent to great, what really glues it together is Mox Amber leading to some pretty absurd starts.
The real power from Mox Amber in this deck comes from how often you can double-spell when you play it. With fourteen 1-drops in your deck, that will happen a fair amount. For example:
The absurdity begins when you draw multiple Mox Ambers. How about:
Turn 1: Land, Toolcraft Exemplar.
Turn 2: Land, Sram, Senior Edificer, Mox Amber make a mana, Mox Amber, Heart of Kiran, draw a card, attack for 3.
Turn 3: Depala, Pilot Exemplar, crew the Heart of Kiran, attack for 12! Got a land? Use Depala’s ability for 1 while you’re at it!
As you can see, Mox Amber leads to some pretty absurd starts much like Mox Opal does in Affinity. It lets you cheat on mana and effectively cast double spells early in the game, which is game defining. What goes well with emptying your hand? That’s right—not only does Mox Amber help you accelerate Hazoret the Fervent into play, but it also helps you get cards out of your hand a lot more quickly and attack with her more reliably. Drawing multiple Mox Ambers will make these kind of curves even more absurd, and even if you draw them after you don’t need the acceleration, Hazoret is a great way to make use of an otherwise useless card by pitching it for 2 damage, making her Mox Amber’s best friend.
Much like Mox Opal in Affinity, it requires some underpowered cards to get that extra boost in synergy. But Mox Amber also lets you play fewer “bad cards” in this particular build as well. Mox Amber naturally increases your artifact count, meaning you can play fewer cards like Aethersphere Harvester or Walking Ballista. The complicated part will be figuring out how to construct your deck around it to maximize its power when you draw it versus mitigating how much worse your deck becomes when you don’t draw it. That’s why you can see so many curve fillers and non-legends to avoid going all in on Mox Amber, but when you draw it, it still gains you extra mana to make room for those curve fillers like Toolcraft Exemplar, Shock, or Bomat Courier.
Next up, I have another version of a Mox Amber deck I’m quite excited about. Instead of aggression, it’s a whole lot more synergistic and tries to get some really explosive draws.
W/G Legendary Monument
Okay, okay, this looks crazy, but bear with me. The main game plan is to cast turn-2 Oketra’s Monument. With so many mana accelerants, there are tons of ways you can curve out.
So Oketra’s Monument is clearly great on turn 2, but are there other ways to use your mana? How about…
Yep, that’s two 2-drops on turn 2!
Turn 1: Land, Llanowar Elves/Oviya.
Turn 2: Land, Mox Amber, Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy, Legion’s Landing.
Turn 3: flip Legion’s Landing.
All right, let’s turn it up a notch.
Turn 1: Land, Oviya, Mox Amber, Llanowar Elves.
Turn 2: Land, Oketra’s Monument, Adanto Vangaurd.
Turn 1: Land, Oviya, Mox Amber, Llanowar Elves.
Turn 2: Land, Oketra the True.
And I haven’t even started with the multiple Mox Amber draws…
As you can see, this deck is explosive, but can it go for a longer game? Does it flood easily?
This is where we enter the 4-drop territory. Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle is especially sweet at at recovering in a game and works well with your threats. Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Fairgrounds Warden, and Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy are pretty much must-kill targets in this deck, and then Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle is there to pick them right back up. Remember that Teshar triggers off of any legendaries you cast, even Legion’s Landing and extra Mox Ambers, which is historic, leading to some extreme comebacks. Even Oviya costs 1 mana to trigger it. It can look something like this…
Turn 1: Llanowar Elves.
Opponent’s turn 2: Fatal Push.
Turn 2: Adanto Vanguard.
Opponent’s turn 2: Glint-Sleeve Siphoner.
Turn 3: Exile Glint-Sleeve Siphoner with Fairground Warden.
Opponent’s turn 3: Use Field of Ruin to enable Revolt, Fatal Push your Fairground Warden.
Turn 4: Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle, Mox Amber, return Llanowar Elves, Legion’s Landing, return Fairground Warden, exile Glint-Sleeve Siphoner again.
Not only does Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle provide card advantage, but it lets you come back on the board at the same time. Things get even more extreme if you have Aviary Mechanic in your graveyard. Once returned with Legion’s Landing, it can then bounce Legion’s Landing to return another creature. Throw a Oketra’s Monument in there and it starts to look like a real party.
Besides Teshar, there are more ways for the deck to go long. It’s filled with additional mana sinks. Oviya is mainly in the deck to enable Mox Amber, but don’t forget that she triggers Teshar as mentioned before and becomes a great mana sink later in the game. The same goes for Shefet Dunes, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, and Oketra the True—they serve both as their individual effects as well as mana sinks.
Last, but not least—how good is Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy in the deck? Needless to say, the most important thing about her is that she’s a legendary creature that turns on Mox Amber for both green and white mana. But she’s also a Scion of the Wild for 2 mana in a deck with basically only creatures, token generators, and mana. All right, that doesn’t seem too bad. Does her ability do anything though, or is she “only” a glorified Scion of the Wild for 2 mana? After searching through Standard for abilities that won’t be able to target her, I was shocked by how many abilities she shuts down.
Not so glorified after all!
Mox Amber has tons of exciting homes to explore and might be one of the strongest cards in the upcoming Standard format. What do you want to enable with it?