Modern Horizons previews will begin at the end of this month and of course the community is buzzing with anticipation. We have covered fresh card ideas that we would like to see in the set already. What is more exciting though are the cards that could come over from Legacy. This week we reached out to our discussion group and had them vote for their favorites. Today we will be looking at the Top 5 and render our verdict on their potential in the Modern format.
#5 Innocent Blood
Before the printing of Fatal Push, black lacked access to a quality one mana removal spell. The best option was probably Disfigure which saw sporadic play but was never quite good enough. Innocent Blood would give black access to another quality one mana removal spell. The card requires both players to sacrifice a creature so this will limit the number of decks it can go in. Decks with low creature counts are best able to take advantage of Innocent Blood. Being one mana is a huge advantage over other edict effects. If you are on the draw, a two mana edict such as Liliana’s Triumph would not get rid of an opposing Noble Hierarch or Champion of the Parish. A two mana edict and Innocent Blood can both remove an opposing one drop on turn two, but only Innocent Blood can do it and also allow you to cast a second spell such as Thoughtseize. If you are not playing many creatures, the edicts stay about the same the rest of the game with cards like Liliana’s Triumph having a little upside. Generally, edicts fall off as the game goes on and are not very good against go wide strategies. For these reasons, I feel like Innocent Blood would be safe to put into Modern. It will help to strengthen non-Blue/White control strategies and it has plenty of matchups where it is not good. Innocent Blood would be an excellent inclusion in Modern Horizions.
#4 Wirewood Symbiote
Wirewood Symbiote is part of one of the best decks in Legacy, Elves. While the Modern version would not be nearly as powerful, Symbiote already has some friends in Modern. Heritage Druid is already legal as is Nettle Sentinel. It also has two very viable shells to slot into. Nettle Sentinel would see play immediately in both the Shaman of the Pack and Devoted Druid builds. People have always loved the Elves archetype. It seems very likely that Wizards would give them some love in Modern Horizons. Another thing going in its favor is that it just recently got new art for Eternal Masters. The only remaining question is whether it is too good for Modern. While Elves shells are viable, I do not think this is the thing that breaks them. The card is fairly safe without Glimpse of Nature and Quirion Ranger in my opinion.
#3 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
Leovold is also a fairly unassuming card on the surface. It is a three mana card that requires three separate colors to cast. It is a 3/3, legendary, and dies to the common removal in the format such as Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt. The text on the card is what really matters. The first ability prevents your opponents from drawing more than one card a turn. This means cards like Serum Visions and Faithless Looting are shut off. Notably, it does not prevent casting cards like Opt and Thought Scour when it is not their turn. Another important thing is that this ability does not really interact with Dredge. Leovold’s ability only prevents drawing cards. A replacement effect is not drawing a card. As long as the dredge player has enough replacement effects to replace their draws, Leovold’s ability will be irrelevant. His next ability is what would make him really stand out in Modern. The two most important words in that ability are “you” and “permanent”. The you side of it means cards like burn spells and targeted discard will draw you a card. Drawing for any permanent means opposing cards like Field of Ruin and Nature’s Claim will trigger it in addition to creature removal. Another thing to keep in mind is that cards like Searing Blaze and Forked Bolt with two targets will trigger Leovod’s ability twice. Despite these great abilities, I think the restrictive casting cost, legendary status, and fragile body make him reasonable for the format. My opinion on this one might be a little biased though as I am definitely going to play Leovold in Modern if he is ever legal in the format.
#2 Mother of Runes
Mother of Runes is a perennial Legacy all-star. Death & Taxes is a tier one deck in Legacy in large part due to how good Mother of Runes is. She literally has a Stave Off stapled to her. Targeted removal is far more common than board wipes. Getting down two Mother of Runes protects your creatures almost as well as two Drogskol Captain. The ability also can make your creatures virtually unblockable. Mother of Runes can block a creature and activate its ability targeting herself to fog damage from a creature. Finally, Mother of Runes is a human which would trigger all of the other synergies with the Humans deck. Is Mother of Runes too powerful for Modern? That is difficult to say, but she would instantly be one of the best cards in the format. Anyone who does not think that card is good has never played with or against it. I personally would lean that it is too good for Modern right now, specifically because of the Humans deck.
Verdict: Too powerful
Counterspell is one of the most iconic cards in the history of Magic. It is no surprise that it was the most voted card in our poll and a shame that we do not have access to it in Modern. Currently, Modern has access to Mana Leak, Logic Knot, and Remand as the three best catch all counterspells. Counterspell would be an upgrade over Mana Leak and Logic Knot in almost all instances. However, Remand is unique and there will still be decks that want it over Counterspell. Prominent cards in Modern like Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial help to limit Counterspell’s effectiveness against creatures. Negate and Dovin’s Veto will still find homes as the casting cost and uncounterable clause will often be more relevant, especially out of the sideboard. People have been complaining about Modern’s lack of catch all counterspells for years. Printing actual Counterspell is an olive branch to that community. UW Control is a very good deck but I do not think that Counterspell is going to be the thing that puts it over the top. The rest of the format is going to be getting new tools as well and control decks need a way to combat them. Mark Rosewater has gone on the record saying that Counterspell was considered for Dominaria but they didn’t want to print it into Standard. The fact that Modern Horizons is bypassing Standard is amazing for Counterspell’s chances of getting into Modern. I would be incredibly surprised if they do not include it in the set.
Verdict: Yes please
At the time this was written the poll results had these as the Top 5. However, since then Goblin Lackey has climbed the poll but was too late. Do not fret though. We will have our own personal wish lists in the coming weeks and Lackey will absolutely make the cut. For now though, these are the Top 5 as voted by our readers and our verdict on their printing. Do you believe that the group overlook anything though? What would your personal Top 5 look like? Share your thoughts with us in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back with more content after the weekend. Until then my friends.