Card evaluation in Modern can be complicated. There are so many moving pieces in the format, so it can be hard to account for every interaction. When you add a card to a deck, it not only changes that deck, but all of that deck’s matchups. It’s an infinite web of chaining events. With a set like Modern Horizons 2, this is even more magnified. Typically, sets have a handful of cards that can impact Modern, but there’s no question that Modern Horizons 2 reshaped Modern as we know it. Brand new decks have been made, and old ones have been left by the wayside. I want to break down why the Modern metagame has played out the way it has. What caused black midrange to come back? Why is Murktide Regent a premier threat? Where are the creature decks? These are the questions I want to answer in today’s article.
The adoption of Prismatic Ending changes what types of permanents control and midrange decks can answer. Prismatic Ending can answer any nonland permanent, but only cheap permanents. Cards like Aether Vial, Wrenn and Six and Hardened Scales are the biggest losers from this transition. Back in the day, playing a weird card type on turn one or two was safe from game one interaction; now, those cards are vulnerable.
The most significant factor of Ending over Path to Exile is that the white player never generates a tempo advantage. It becomes safer to play more expensive cards because you won’t lose so much tempo if your opponent has to answer them for the same amount of mana you spent to play them. Cards like Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and Omnath, Locus of Creation are beneficiaries of less Path to Exile and more Prismatic Ending.
However, Murktide Regent is the most annoying card for P-Ending players. Murktide is what I like to call “artificially expensive.” It says 5UU in the top right of the card, but you usually only pay UU thanks to the delve ability. So it gets to be a cheap threat that also gets around Ending.
Lurrus’s presence in Modern deck building means that the number of decks that can play expensive creatures is artificially limited. Even if you don’t play expensive cards to circumvent Ending, there are still ways you can punish them. Consider not playing your Sigarda’s Aid, Hardened Scales or Amulet of Vigor on turn one. Ending is a sorcery, so you can try to set up one big turn without exposing a pivotal card to removal.
Another strategy is to fire up some creaturelands. AspiringSpike popularized an RB midrange deck with Den of the Bugbear in its mana base. We’ve seen Inkmoth Nexus have a bit of a resurgence as well. Finally, we’ve seen some pro-white creatures come out from the bulk bins. Tourach, Dread Cantor, Phyrexian Crusader and even Knight of Malice have seen play as countermeasures to controlling white decks. There are plenty of work arounds we’ve seen get adopted because of Prismatic Ending.