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Modern Horizons 2 Commander/EDH Set Review – White and Blue

It’s already time for another set review? Seriously? Well, if it’s going to be like this, at least we’re working with a set as sweet as Modern Horizons 2. This set is really delivering on all fronts, from lore-based to mechanically interesting and everything in between. As far as ratings go, I don’t use numbers or grades – instead, I use this more subjective set of categories (though what really matters is what I write about the card, as I suspect most reviewers will tell you). Let’s take a look at some Modern Horizons 2 Commander goodies!

 

Header - Ratings Scale

  • Commander: You want this card in the command zone at the start the game. Its best use is to lead the charge as the cornerstone of your deck, but it can probably fit into your 99 as well.
  • Build-Around: This card can be a huge player in the theme of your deck. It either enables the theme by itself or is something you’re looking to take advantage of over the course of your ideal game. It’s probably worth dedicating other slots in your deck to cards that work with a build-around.
  • Powerhouse: This card’s not really about synergy, but it’s good all by itself.
  • Role Player: This card might not be the cornerstone of a deck list, but it’s an important part of the engine or strong enough on its own to merit potential inclusion. This category also covers cards that look good enough to try out but don’t seem like obvious winners.
  • Tech Card: Counterplay is important, and if a card doesn’t fit into one of the above categories but is good enough at countering other strategies, it’ll be included here.
  • Niche Inclusion: This card might make your deck if you have a deckbuilding restriction, whether it’s self-imposed based on theme, a power level consideration, or a card availability concern. 

As a reminder, my focus is on social Commander rather than competitive EDH. That means you’ll be hearing about cards largely from that more relaxed perspective. My goal when playing Commander is for everyone to have fun but also for me to have a good shot at winning the game, so if that’s your mindset as well, these ratings will probably resonate with you.

I won’t be reviewing reprints, so you can just assume I feel the same way about Nevinyrral’s Disk as I did before we found out it was in this set. I also don’t review every card – if I feel they’re not worth mentioning, I don’t give them a write-up, but we all know there’s a deck out there for every card. When you inevitably disagree with a rating or omitted card, please feel free to tweet at @RagingLevine with your thoughts!

 

Header - White

Arcbound Mouser
Rating: Role Player
Selesnya and Abzan counter decks often want early plays like this to stack counters on, and a little redundancy with Arcbound Worker et al isn’t a bad idea. Lifelink is a nice addition in exchange for the tougher cost.

Barbed Spike
Rating: Niche Inclusion
This is interesting in so far as it provides two artifacts in one card for a low cost. Beyond that, there’s not much here.

Break Ties
Rating: Niche Inclusion
It’s nice to see white getting a piece of the Return to Nature pie, but it’s already flexible enough that the increased cost isn’t really offset by the reinforce 1.

Constable of the Realm
Rating: Role Player

This is a great way to add some flexible removal to your +1/+1 counter deck, especially if you can protect it. As with all cards of this nature, the longer it sticks around, the larger the hellstorm it releases on death, and the more opponents whose cards you nab, the more likely it is to get targeted. Five mana is a lot, but in the more social Commander landscape, it’s worth the investment.


Esper Sentinel
Rating: Role Player

In a +1/+1 counters or Auras deck, growing this can make the cost unpayable, but players often avoid paying these costs anyway, especially in the early and mid-game as they’re trying to use all their mana to gain an advantage they can snowball. This also gets some extra value as a cheap artifact you can easily search up and recur.


Late to Dinner
Rating: Role Player
My past articles should tell you about my love for four-mana white reanimation spells, and Late to Dinner is another great addition to that group. If you’re self-milling, looking to recover from wraths or cycling/discarding expensive creatures for value and further reanimation, this is an interesting part of a reanimation package.

Nykthos Paragon
Rating: Build-Around
This is an incentive for life gain decks to move away from the Soul Sisters model into large-scale life gain. Of course, since you can do this once per turn, you can actually mix and match, choosing to use this trigger when you have your largest instance of life gain in a single turn. On other players’ turns, it’ll be nice to get a trigger here and there for a life or two. The fact that this puts counters on your whole team is a really big deal.

Out of Time
Rating: Role Player
An interesting temporary wrath! Out of Time phases out all the creatures, with the length of time they’re gone changing based on how many creatures it hits – as a reminder, as of the printing of Teferi’s Protection in Commander 2017, tokens phase out and in just like nontoken permanents, so don’t imagine you’ll be wrecking a tokens player with this. Obviously this card’s biggest vulnerability is point removal, but if you can blink it, that’s a little less worrisome.

Prismatic Ending
Rating: Tech Card
The more colors you’re playing, the better this card gets, though I would say it also improves the faster your local meta is. It suffers a bit relative to other removal spells thanks to being sorcery speed, though. 

Resurgent Belief
Rating: Build-Around
It’s not Replenish, but that’s on the Reserved List, so let’s be happy about this one. Suspend 2 isn’t such a long time, and if you can cheat this out with something like As Foretold, so much the better. That said, as soon as you suspend this – and if your opponents are paying attention, even beforehand – your yard is in grave danger, so as with all of these hugely telegraphed effects, defensive countermagic and ways to refill your graveyard should be at the top of your mind (and hopefully your library).

Sanctifier en-Vec
Rating: Tech Card
This is definitionally a tech card, and kind of a frustrating one at that – more aimed at graveyard decks in other formats, this is a silver bullet that’s so specific it might make more misery at your table than it saves you.

Search the Premises
Rating: Niche Inclusion
If you can make some serious use of the Clues you’re given, then this will be a serious deterrent – but that’s a pretty hard needle to thread. This is a very soft disincentive to being attacked – Ghostly Prison is more serious, and Blazing Archon tops the charts – but it’s an interesting way to support a deck full of planeswalkers and get a little extra value when they do fall in combat.

Serra’s Emissary
Rating: Powerhouse
Dropping this into play and choosing “creatures” can blunt a lot of attacks, but that leaves the Emissary vulnerable to instants and sorceries. That said, if you have other ways to protect the Emissary, this takes the power of Blazing Archon to a whole new level. Obviously reanimating this early will not make you many friends, but in an Esper list with some cheap defensive counters it could be a game-changing play.

Solitude
Rating: Role Player
A blinkable Swords to Plowshares isn’t bad, even if the body itself is a little bit unimpressive. If you’re going deeper on blink than Ephemerate and have a critical mass of white cards for the circumstances where you need to cast this while tapped out, I’d take a look at this one.

Thraben Watcher
Rating: Niche Inclusion
Many people love anthems, Angels or both, and this lives at the intersection of those without being super great.

Timeless Dragon
Rating: Role Player
Plainscycling this on turn two nearly guarantees you a 4/4 flyer on turn four that you can start to pressure others with, which is great in – or against – decks that put the monarch token in play early. This is very much a solid value card, and I expect it to show up in midrange white decks looking for consistent plays.

 

Header - Blue

Dress Down
Rating: Tech Card
If you’re up against infinite activated ability combos, Dress Down can buy you some time, but I think it’s at its best when you want to thwart the ETB value of a big Eerie Interlude or Brago, King Eternal trigger. It’s quite specific, but if this is a weakness your deck has, Dress Down can help solve your problem. Plus, it cantrips for two mana, so if it’s irrelevant, you can cycle it.

Etherium Spinner
Rating: Niche Inclusion
Decks looking for flying tokens or artifact tokens might stretch to include this, but most won’t.

Fractured Sanity
Rating: Role Player
Obviously this goes in a mill deck, and for three mana, you’re getting some really good value. Bruvac the Grandiloquent decks will be seriously interested, as will any deck looking to leverage opposing graveyards, though they’d still have to be ready to pay the UUU cost here – mono-blue is best positioned to do that in a timely manner.

Inevitable Betrayal
Rating: Niche Inclusion
I’m already not the biggest fan of Bribery – just as Gaby and Luis find it to be un-fun in Cube by virtue of punishing players for having cool cards, I feel the same about it in Commander. If you’re looking for this effect though, you’re either already playing Bribery and probably not interested in this much worse version or you can’t get your hands on a Bribery and chose to settle for this one. That said, as with all the no-cost cards with suspend, you can still cheat it out by virtue of its mana value of zero.

Junk Winder
Rating: Build-Around
Throw this in a deck with Academy Manufactor and watch the value roll in. As long as you have consistent ways to generate tokens turn after turn, you can really lock a board down for the long term. A Pirate deck that can produce a serious number of Treasures would be a perfect fit for this card.

Lose Focus
Rating: Tech Card
If you’re up against people who love to storm off, and just one Flusterstorm isn’t enough, this can be useful, and it also works as a much more efficient Clash of Wills. It’s nice to have a flexible counterspell that can work against multiple types of threats.

Mental Journey
Rating: Niche Inclusion
A draw spell that also fixes your mana early can be really helpful in multicolor decks, especially ones that don’t have access to a ton of other fixing options.

Murktide Regent
Rating: Build-Around
This is yet another reason to play a spellslinger-style deck, albeit one that produces a single big threat instead of an army of tokens. This could be a fun way for Talrand or Kykar to diversify their threat profiles, and the “leaves your graveyard” clause is an extra bonus for decks that recur their spells or get nasty with Mizzix’s Mastery.

Rise and Shine
Rating: Build-Around
Fill your board with artifacts – especially tokens, as they’re easy to generate en masse – and then overload this for a quick victory! There’s not much of a case for casting this without the overload cost, and as win conditions go, this is an artifact deck’s Craterhoof Behemoth, albeit a little harder to cheat directly out of your library.

Said // Done
Rating: Role Player
Do you already play Call to Mind? If so, perhaps you’d like to replace it with a card that happens to also do something else in a pinch, or perhaps you’d like another copy!

Scuttletide
Rating: Niche Inclusion
I wouldn’t mention this card if it didn’t make Crab tokens. It’ll find a home in theme-over-function decks.

Subtlety
Rating: Niche Inclusion
This is an okay tempo play in the vein of Venser, Shaper Savant, but that’s a bit of a tough sell with multiple opponents and the creature or planeswalker only restriction.

Suspend
Rating: Niche Inclusion
This blue Swords to Plowshares analogue might send an important creature away for just long enough in 60-card Constructed or shorter, more powerful games, but in longer, social Commander games, I doubt it’ll have much of an impact.

Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Rating: Commander
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is a solid Simic Merfolk commander, but if you’d rather go mono-blue, this is an amazing choice. The indestructibility protects Svyelun from wraths as long as you have critical merfolk mass, the addition of ward is a big deal, and of course, the card draw with a (likely) indestructible attacker is a huge boon. It’s nice to see Merfolk getting another push in both Modern and Commander here!

Thought Monitor
Rating: Role Player
In an artifact-heavy deck, this Thoughtcast-on-a-stick will still be castable for just U in the late game and can be returned to your hand via something like Master Transmuter or sacrificed and recurred via any artifact graveyard synergies. The effect isn’t enough for a build-around, but it should slot in solidly to blue-based artifact lists, especially ones that generate artifact tokens.

Tide Shaper
Rating: Role Player
It may not draw you a card like Spreading Seas or Aquitect’s Will, but if you find a need for more ways to give opponents Islands so your islandwalkers can stomp all over them, you could do worse than a two-mana 2/2 that messes with mana and activates your evasion.

 

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