On the Horizon: 5C Humans (Part 1)

This site’s favoritism for Humans is no secret and I will not shy away from it. I love the deck and Modern Horizons has provided so many options to test. I have been on the grind and while there have been stinkers, I do see some potential among them. Today I will cover the first handful of Modern Horizon cards that I have been testing in Modern Humans.

Bazaar Trademage
I honestly think this one is just bad in Humans. A 3/4 flyer for three mana is a fine rate, worse than Mantis, but it comes with what will usually be a drawback. You need to have two or more cards in hand for it to be an upside and even then it is inherently negative card advantage. If you have one card in hand and cannot cast both it and Trademage that turn, he will force you to dump it for nothing. At least when you are hellbent there just is not a drawback, but that is just a bad rate for the body you get. I do not have much to say on this one because it is simple and simply bad.

Watcher for Tomorrow
I am sorry but I think this one is not very good either. I only mean that in regards to Humans. If you can blink this, you can net some serious value. But in Humans I see a Bugler that comes into play tapped, lost vigilance, and was hit with -0/-2. The upside is that in can grab Mantis Rider. The downside, and it is significant, is that he must leave the battlefield before you get your card. This is quite similar to the punisher mechanic; you do not want to give your opponent a choice. They know you want that exiled card so they will not kill Watcher unless they absolutely have to. By entering tapped it also guarantees that you cannot just immediately chump block with it for value. Unless your opponent makes a poor decision you will not see your card until the second mainphase of your next turn. Even that requires your opponent to block and kill it. Just play Bugler and get the card immediately.

Unsettled Mariner
This is an interesting card and we featured it in a recent brew. It does a solid impression of Thalia for decks that lack the effect. The upside is that some creature abilities, Reflector comes to mind, do target and Thalia did not stop that. You can also stack multiple copies of it and/or stack it with a Thalia as it is not legendary. The drawback is that most non-creature spells in the format are non-targeted. It is inferior to Thalia and we are the best Thalia deck in the game. I think it is in that Harsh Mentor area where it does a little against every deck but not enough against any one in particular. There is cute utility from being a changeling. No matter what Cavern/Territory is on, it will cast Mariner. Although they are rare matchups, Slivers and Merfolk run old template lords that will boost your Mariner. There are a lot of little neat things it does but I think we have too many good options to make room for it.

Ranger-Captain of Eos
Now we get into the cards that have a fair shot. This take one Ranger of Eos costs one less and has half the ETB but was given +0/+1. The ETB ability is fairly medium in the standard build as a Turn 4 Noble Hierarch and Champion of the Parish are not particularly exciting. Regardless, it is still card advantage and if played on curve the Champion can easily grow. In corner cases the Noble can fix your mana for sideboard non-Humans as well. The main point of difference is the sacrifice ability though. Admittedly, Silence effect have traditionally been weak in Modern and a conditional one that forces us to give up a 3/3 is quite medium. But against control it can buy a turn by preventing a board wipe, just watch out for Threeferi, or counter a Snapcaster ETB on-demand. Any lone part of this card is underwhelming. However, with card advantage and utility on a 3/3 for three we have a fair flex slot option. If I were to play it though I would try to find room for a Kytheon or Dauntless Bodyguard to add some options to the ETB.

Seasoned Pyromancer
This one is my personal favorite but my judgement may be clouded by the role it plays in other decks. Right out of the gate you should ignore the second half of the text box. This deck is incapable of generating RR outside of Blood Moon shenanigans. Furthermore, you should not be terribly excited about the first half. We do not net any value from discarding cards outside of the elementals he spawns. Due to the deck’s tribal synergies, pretty much any creature is better than the elemental you will get from pitching. So you really only want to pitch superfluous Thalias and Vials. So why even play this card? Well you should just be looking at it as a three mana double Elvish Visionary. You pay one more for it to be a Human, with doubled P/T, that draws twice as many cards. Ideally you want to play it empty-handed and rip value. The closest approximation, again, is Bugler. It loses vigilance, gets -0/-1, and is harder to cast. But you draw two cards rather than pulling one out of the top four. It is a matter of quantity versus quality and if you add just one more red source, the tradeoff can be worthwhile.

I have been doing a ton of Humans testing leading up to the set’s release but honestly I do not feel any closer to solving it. Among today’s picks we have flex slots at best and Bugler is stiff competition. Which do you think is the real deal? What does your post-Horizons list look like? Come share it 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. Do not fret my vial humans. This was only part one and I will cover the rest of my considerations tomorrow. Until then my friends.

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