In an announcement earlier this week WotC shook up the Modern format with a Lurrus ban. I don’t want to speculate the validity of this decision or if Modern will be a better or worse place in a post-Lurrus world. Instead, we’ll take a look at which cards and strategies stand to gain the most from the departure of the Nightmare Cat and which cards will drop off in popularity.
Baubles and Spellbombs
The big losers are the cards that directly synergized with Lurrus. These were mostly cards that sacrificed themselves so that you could repeatedly buy them back once you had Lurrus in play. People playing Lurrus decks shifted their graveyard hate slots away from cards like Ravenous Trap or Surgical Extraction and toward cards like Nihil Spellbomb and Soul-Guide Lantern because they worked so well with Lurrus. For a similar reason, Pyrite Spellbomb replaced Kozilek’s Return as a way for red decks to answer pro red creatures. Engineered Explosives also saw a surge in popularity during the reign of Lurrus.
The biggest card in this category by far is Mishra’s Bauble. Bauble was unique because it cost zero to play and activate. It allowed you to use your Lurrus without having to pay a mana for something like a Spellbomb. This lets you get value even if you didn’t have a fourth land or something in the graveyard to use. A common play pattern against opposing graveyard hate was to play your Lurrus to force your opponent to crack their one-shot hate card and then play a Bauble immediately after to reuse with Lurrus. Bauble will still have a roll to play enabling delve, delirium and artifact synergies, but it’s partner in crime has left the format.