Modern Horizons will have one of the biggest impacts on Modern of any set, ever. Between powerful reprints that are new-to-Modern and new designs that aren’t limited to what Standard can handle, this is one exciting set. Today, I want to outline five new decks that wouldn’t exist without Modern Horizons cards.
4 Polluted Delta 2 Tolaria West 2 Watery Grave 2 Steam Vents 4 Spire of Industry 2 Island (335) 3 Misty Rainforest 1 Academy Ruins 1 Darkslick Shores 4 Goblin Engineer 3 Urza, Lord High Artificer 2 Tribute Mage 2 Sai, Master Thopterist 3 Thopter Foundry 3 Sword of the Meek 3 Whir of Invention 1 Ensnaring Bridge 1 Damping Sphere 4 Mox Opal 4 Chalice of the Void 2 Mishra's Bauble 1 Grafdigger's Cage 3 Welding Jar 1 Tormod's Crypt 1 Engineered Explosives 1 Sorcerous Spyglass Sideboard 1 Sai, Master Thopterist 1 Urza, Lord High Artificer 1 Bontu's Last Reckoning 1 Torpor Orb 3 Unmoored Ego 1 Witchbane Orb 3 Collective Brutality 3 Ensnaring Bridge 1 Spellskite
Goblin Engineer and Urza are two of the most-hyped cards in Modern Horizons, and for good reason. A combination of Entomb and Goblin Welder is no joke, and Urza is also a potential powerhouse. Tribute Mage is another new addition that helps you find the Thopter-Sword combo and can offer silver bullets like Damping Sphere and Spellskite.
Once you’ve assembled Thopter-Sword, Urza turns it from a powerful value engine to a truly winning combination. With Urza, you can both tap Sword and the created Thopter to produce mana, netting you one mana on each rotation. With infinite mana, you can use Urza’s “Temporal Aperture” activation infinite times, flipping your whole deck into play.
In addition to powerful combos with tutors for consistency, this deck also offers a lot of lock pieces. Being able to lock your opponent out while setting up is ideal. The deck also has a pretty good “fair” plan, as Urza and Sai are pretty good at grinding through the prevalent artifact hate.
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse 1 Tomb of Urami 2 Ifnir Deadlands 20 Swamp (339) 4 Carrion Feeder 3 Yawgmoth, Thran Physician 4 Butcher Ghoul 4 Geralf's Messenger 4 Cryptbreaker 4 Gravecrawler 4 Relentless Dead 4 Undead Augur 4 Thoughtseize 1 Inquisition of Kozilek Sideboard 3 Duress 2 Leyline of the Void 3 Fatal Push 3 Liliana's Defeat 2 Liliana, the Last Hope 2 Surgical Extraction
Carrion Feeder and Undead Augur are both powerful new Zombies from Modern Horizons. If you have Augur, Carrion, and Gravecrawler out, you can pay 1 to draw a card and put a counter on Feeder over and over.
Yawgmoth isn’t a Zombie, but it does work with the various graveyard synergies in the deck. In addition to the traditional grindy Zombie plan, there’s also some potential to go infinite. After all, it wouldn’t be a Matt Nass deck without an infinite combo. Yawgmoth can allow you to “reset” undying creatures by negating their +1/+1 counter with a -1/-1 counter. For example, if you curve turn 2 Butcher Ghoul into turn 3 Geralf’s Messenger, and follow it up with a Yawgmoth, you can then sacrifice the messenger to the Yawgmoth and deal 2 to your opponent. Then, sacrifice the Ghoul to undo the counter on the Messenger. Each of these cycles causes both you and your opponent to lose 2 life and you draw two cards. If you’re at a higher life total, you can win the game on the spot. Otherwise, you can use the powerful draw engine as needed.
Even with the combo, Zombies isn’t the fastest deck, so to compete up with Modern’s lightning-fast combo decks, you need to offer some disruption. Fortunately, Zombies are black and Thoughtseize and Inquisition are just what the doctor ordered.
4 Inkmoth Nexus 4 Misty Rainforest 4 Windswept Heath 2 Verdant Catacombs 1 Temple Garden 2 Breeding Pool 2 Pendelhaven 1 Forest (347) 4 Glistener Elf 4 Blighted Agent 4 Noble Hierarch 3 Teferi, Time Raveler 4 Scale Up 4 Might of Old Krosa 4 Vines of Vastwood 4 Groundswell 4 Mutagenic Growth 4 Blossoming Defense 1 Spell Pierce Sideboard 2 Shapers' Sanctuary 2 Ravenous Trap 2 Stony Silence 2 Spellskite 2 Spell Pierce 2 Dismember 1 Teferi, Time Raveler 2 Force of Vigor
Infect was already one of the fastest decks in Modern, and Scale Up is only going to make it faster. A simple hand of Forest, Breeding Pool, Glistener Elf, Scale Up, and Might of Old Krosa can win on turn 2! Scale Up is like a Become Immense that doesn’t require a full graveyard!
In addition to some gains from Modern Horizons, there is also a War of the Spark card I’ve been eyeing: Teferi, Time Raveler. It can remove blockers and ensure that your opponent can’t interact when going for lethal infect kills. The cost to the mana is meaningful, but I think it may be worth it. cycling lands is a nice sideboard pickup that will help fight the powerful artifact decks that may pop up.
4 Wooded Foothills 4 Bloodstained Mire 3 Stomping Ground 1 Forest (347) 3 Mountain (343) 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Ghost Quarter 4 Forgotten Cave 2 Tranquil Thicket 1 Sheltered Thicket 4 Simian Spirit Guide 4 Tarmogoyf 4 Countryside Crusher 4 Chalice of the Void 4 Wrenn and Six 4 Life from the Loam 4 Faithless Looting Sideboard 3 Flame Jab 3 Ancient Grudge 3 Ravenous Trap 2 Force of Vigor 2 Ghost Quarter 2 Life Goes On
Back in old Extended, Assault Loam decks with one-cost cycling lands were quite powerful. One-cost cycling lands have returned and there’s a brand-new planeswalker to go with them. Wrenn and Six is just what the doctor ordered in a deck like this. It’s a mini-Loam that threatens to ultimate as the game drags on. Once it does go ultimate, a retracing Life from the Loam gets insane pretty fast.
One other card from Horizons I considered is Ayula’s Influence. It’s pretty appealing, but I think dealing 2 is better than making a 2/2, and it’s tough to make a mana base that supports RRR and GGG.
4 Bloodstained Mire 4 Verdant Catacombs 4 Wooded Foothills 1 Swamp (339) 2 Mountain (343) 3 Blood Crypt 1 Stomping Ground 1 Overgrown Tomb 4 Carrion Feeder 4 Stitcher's Supplier 4 Vengevine 3 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 4 Insolent Neonate 4 Bloodghast 3 Greater Gargadon 3 Mayhem Devil 3 Altar of Dementia 4 Bridge from Below 4 Faithless Looting Sideboard 3 Force of Despair 3 Lightning Axe 3 Ancient Grudge 3 Leyline of the Void 3 Collective Brutality
Modern Horizons has no shortage of powerful sacrifice outlets, with both Carrion Feeder and Altar of Dementia. Altar offers an additional way to fill your graveyard with Vengevines, Bloodghasts, and Hogaaks.
Speaking of Hogaak, it’s a huge addition to this deck. Vengevines, Bloodghasts, and Bridge tokens can all convoke it out, and this deck fills the graveyard pretty easily to delve with. The huge power is great for Altar of Dementia, which can allow you to mill nearly your entire deck in one turn. While most of the additions come from Modern Horizons, War of the Spark also had a nice offering for Bridgevine: Mayhem Devil can deal huge chunks of damage out of nowhere. It’s particularly strong with Greater Gargadon, as it can even sacrifice your lands to throw extra damage at your opponent.
Five decks, and this is just where the brewing starts. There could be snow decks, Goblins, as well as additions to current Modern staples. There’s other build-arounds like Aria of Flame. What will you do with Modern Horizons?