We are back with a second handful of Modern Horizons cards being considered for 5C Humans. Yesterday’s article covered the more obvious cards to be tested but today we are looking at those that you may have overlooked. Though as we saw yesterday, there are some to avoid and others that at least warrant testing. These are the options I have seen discussed most heavily.
These are a pretty obvious addition to the Humans deck as it utilizes the full set of Horizon Canopy like no other. Unfortunately, we were not given the UW one in this set but we can still benefit. Folks seem to forget that our mainboard contains only four green spells with sixteen blue spells; we run fewer Image-casting sources than we would like to. The immediate inclusion is Waterlogged Grove. Island has never been great but we needed some way to keep Path, Field, etc. from netting card advantage for the opponent. Frustratingly, when these effects are common we usually want to run Gaddock Teeg, who hates Island. Now we have Grove to net card advantage in grindy matchups while making Teeg more castable. Another option is Sunbaked Canyon which is a necessity if you are running Seasoned Pyromancer. You can trim the fourth Canopy for it and it will also reduce the Canopy + Canopy/Plains issue we run into with Mantis Rider. I would not make the change unless you are running a red flex slot though. At most I want a fifth canland as double Canopy hands are very bad against any deck that applies pressure.
What an awkward time for this card to finally show up. Artifact decks have long been a sore spot for us. Kataki was quite poor and Knight was slow, though it was great utility. Folks have even dipped into four-color builds so that they could run Stony Silence. So I am glad that we finally go it. However, it could not have come at a worse time. Stony Silence is the worst it has ever been; it has fallen out of the Top 10, Affinity barely exists, and many players now mainboard a one-sided Stony Silence. There just is not a ton of need for this effect right now. It is still good against Tron, but Damping Sphere is more impactful and affects more decks right now. Do not get me wrong, this is a good card and you should buy some. But I think this is something to keep in your binder for right now. If and when you do play it, do not sweat the mana cost. It is actually easier to cast than Teeg and even Image but keep in mind that you will be shutting off your own Aether Vial.
Force of Negation
I am really not sure on this one. My first instinct is approval. Negate is a powerful effect and something that our deck has never had access to. Even if we could cast Negate we would not want to hold up mana for it. Pitching a card to Negate for free though? That is interesting. We do consistently have a blue card to pitch as well. If you run the typical sixteen blue creatures and your opening hand hast Force, there is an 86.47% chance that there is a blue card among the other six. If this is postboard and you have brought in additional blue cards, Deputy or more Force, the odds get even better. Being able to disrupt the opponent without slowing our own board progression seems ideal and although it is unlikely, it is possible to hardcast it. Do note that Thalia will make you pay one mana to use it though and their matchup overlap is almost 1:1. It is also inherent card disadvantage and cannot be used on our turn so it is iffy against control decks. That being said, it will improve once the London mulligan takes effect. Fast decks that fold to it (Neobrand) will rise, you can make sure that you pair down to keep a pitch card when you mull, and you can just bottom it if you do not have a pitch card in hand.
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Apart from the typeline, I really do not know why this card is being considered for Humans. A 1/4 Human is not a great body for such an aggressive deck. The token created will usually be a 2/2 at best. Tapping a Vial to generate one mana is pretty silly. Five mana to get the top card of our library is costly and weak in a deck full of cheap creatures. I feel like I have to be missing something here because I do not see a reason to even try this one. I do not expect this to see Modern play in general so the high price tag is a mystery to me. The only home for it I have heard is Thopter–Sword. The issue with that deck is that it is a non-infinite combo deck that loses to both artifact and graveyard hate. A four-mana non-artifact finisher does not remedy the issue. That is not the topic for today’s article though. The point is that people are considering it in Humans and I cannot see a reason for it.
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
This one is a bit of a sleeper in my opinion but I cannot say it is great either. Like Urza it is a bolt-proof four drop human with a junky mana sink on it. This one is harder to cast as well but has one more power. So why consider it? Well I see it as a potent mirror-breaker and viable grind card similar to Whirler Rogue. Protection from humans is obviously good making him an infinite blocker and evasive attacker in the mirror, though it will not save you from Mantis Riders. What I find more exciting is the second ability. We are all very aware of how powerful it is to pay life to draw cards. However, we must sacrifice another creature so it is not outright card advantage. Keep in mind though how potent it is against removal and board wipes. You will be able to cash in a creature in response to removal to replace it at any time. The cherry on top is that you also get to shrink opposing creatures when you do it. In the face of a board wipe it is common to pay a chunk of life to scoop a fresh hand. He is a bit of a lightning rod though so there will be times where you must decide what, if anything, you want to cash in before he goes away. I see it appearing in sideboards in small numbers when the metagame calls for it.
With all of these taken into consideration, I do not dare to present a list. I have never felt so lost in crafting a 75 for this deck. The maindeck flex slots will mostly come down to personal preference. But the sideboard is a beast that I am not even close to taming. The format itself is in a very uncertain place as well. I do not envy those that have an event to win this weekend. What does your test 75 look like right now? 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. We will be back tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.