Today, ChannelFireball.com is pleased to present our exclusive preview card from Modern Horizons II: Priest of Fell Rites.
Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for allowing us to share this card with you. And thanks to ChannelFireball for giving me (Reid) the privilege of writing about it!
I’ll start by saying flat out that this card is extremely powerful and highly efficient at what it does. That’s not just me drumming up excitement. The closest we’ve come to this in the past is Doomed Necromancer, which is a good card in its own right that’s seen competitive, Constructed play. Priest of Fell Rites is a massive upgrade due to being cheaper to cast, cheaper to activate and having the amazingly useful unearth ability. Crucially, unearth brings your creature back with haste, meaning that you can activate Priest right away, giving the opponent no opportunity to shut you down with a Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push.
Priest of Fell Rites is one of the most direct ways to get Griselbrand onto the battlefield in Modern. It can also pair well with Velomachus Lorehold, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or any of a dozen other game winners. Since Priest is efficient and doesn’t demand a ton of resource investment, you can also profit by pairing it with “intermediate” targets like Obzedat, Ghost Council. It can also be helpful in assembling combos like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker plus Restoration Angel.
Perhaps the most natural fit for Priest of Fell Rites will be in Esper or Mardu Goryo’s Vengeance decks. These decks operate in the gray area between midrange and combo while tapping into powerful graveyard synergies. This means using cards like Lingering Souls, Magmatic Channeler and/or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Incidentally, they make use of Goryo’s Vengeance to return either Griselbrand or Obzedat, Ghost Council to the battlefield. Priest of Fell Rites will be an awesome addition. It’s both powerful and synergistic, and you’d be happy to look down and find it either on the battlefield or in your graveyard in virtually any situation.
I believe Priest of Fell Rites is also strong enough to spawn new archetypes in Modern, but I’ll leave some of that leg work to intrepid deck builders like you. Beyond that, don’t be surprised to see it make appearances in Legacy, Vintage and Commander. I particularly like how you can deploy Priest while you’re waiting to assemble your combo or fight through opposing graveyard hate, rather than having to craft everything in your hand for a flurry of action. Being a creature can be useful against cards like Flusterstorm and Force of Negation, possibly allowing Priest of Fell Rites to hit some opponents where they’re unprepared. Enjoy!