Modern Set Review: Magic 2020

Another spoiler season has come and gone. Now we wait for Magic 2020 to become legal and the London mulligan with it. As is normal for core sets, M20 looks to make a very modest impact on the Modern format. Most of the set’s Modern excitement came from reprints which we see no point in covering. However, we have chosen five new cards that may just have a shot at making an impact in Modern.

Honorable Mention: Leyline of Combustion
From creature removal, to land destruction, to discard spells, Modern is a format rife with targeted effects. Take a deck like Jund for example, Leyline of Combustion punishes them incredibly hard. All of their removal, most of their discard, and their land destruction is targeted. A single Leyline of Combustion could easily deal 6+ damage if left unchecked. With that said, their are plenty of decks in the format that are virtually goldfishing and are not attempting to interact with you much if at all. Because the power level varies so much from matchup to matchup, I think Leyline of Combustion would be relegated to sideboards.

I think Leyline of Combustion’s biggest issue is how much competition their are for sideboard slots. Generally, you want to try to run 3-4 copies of Leylines to give yourself a reasonable chance of having one in your opening hand. One of the fundamental problems with Leylines are this push and pull between wanting one in your opening hands and it being a terrible top deck. Shrine of Burning Rage, Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and Exquisite Firecraft are all cards that are also competeing for sideboard slots in the grindy matchups. It remains to be seen if Leyline of Combustion will be good enough to see play. My current feeling is that it is not quite good enough to dethrone the other options in red. Perhaps a brewer might be able to take advantage of this card in an unexpected shell.

Tanner’s Note: Scheming Symmetry
I think it will be awesome in mill decks. You can just mill the opponent’s tutored card and a forced search helps to enable Archive Trap. Unfortunately, mill is still a slow Burn deck and gets savaged by graveyard deck so it may not matter. Perhaps some combo deck will be able to use it alongside a cantrip to win before the opponent can draw another card. Time will tell.

#5 Mystic Forge
Powerful artifacts always have the potential to make a splash in Modern. Mystic Forge definitely falls into that category. For decks that want it, Mystic Forge is going to virtually be an extra card in hand. Decks like Lantern and artifact combo decks are the prime candidates to add this card. These decks naturally have very high artifact counts and fairly low land counts which is exactly what Mystic Forge needs. When paired with Ghoulcaller’s Bell, the combo enables you to look at up to 3 extra cards every turn which is insane. The mana cost of this card is the biggest restriction on it. Four mana is a lot in Modern, but it is not a deal breaker. The artifact decks have some of the best mana ramp in the format in Mox Opal. They also don’t have to play multiple copies of it if they don’t want. Artifact decks in Modern have access to some amazing tutor effects like Whir of Invention and Inventor’s Fair which help to enable a toolbox shell. I think Mystic Forge is going to see a lot of play going forward.

#4 Brought Back
Brought Back appears to be a powerful enabler. Keep in mind that it can bring back any permanent type which greatly increases the number of decks that it can go in. Lotus Bloom, fetchlands, and anything with a powerful ETB seem like prime candidates to pair with the card. The synergy I’ve heard discussed the most is between lands and Brought Back. Fetchlands, Flagstones of Trokair, and canlands all interact well with the new card. Knight of the Reliquary and the next card on our list both fit perfectly into this gameplan as well. Martr-Proc and Eggs style decks are the existing decks boosted most by the card. Whether Brought Back finds a home in existing strategies or eventually creates something new remains to be seen. I am fairly confident it will eventually find a home though. The double white casting cost is a real restriction, but I think the card is good enough to overcome that. Brought Back just smells like the type of card that is going to go into a degenerate combo deck. M20 added a ton of new cards to brew around and Brought Back is definitely one that I will be experimenting with.

#3 Elvish Reclaimer
Elvish Reclaimer is another card that benefits massively from quickly getting land cards into your graveyard. Having a 1/2 base body is a decent start. That means that it won’t get picked off by things like Gut Shot or half of a Lava Dart. Elvish Reclaimer can fairly reliably be a 3/4 on turn three. This is generally going to be too slow so I think the decks that want Elvish Reclaimer will pair him with something like Grisly Salvage. I think a Abzan deck with Reclaimer, Knight of the Reliquary, and Traverse the Ulvenwald has the potential to be a very real deck. The ability to tutor for a utility land like Bojuka Bog on turn 2 is another big reason why I think Reclaimer will see play. A one drop that can tutor any land is a prety powerful effect, but not necessarily one that every deck wants access to. Reclaimer will be a key piece of some strategies, but I do not think that it immediately fits into every deck. I already have some plans to pair this card with Boom//Bust and an Aggro Loam style shell with Life from the Loam.

#2 Tale’s End
We’ve seen several two mana Stifle‘s in Modern. People have tried to make things like Trickbind work in the past, but it is never quite good enough. Tale’s End has one very defining feature that its predecessors lacked, it counters legendary spells. Planeswalkers are definitely the most relevant legendary spells for Modern. Recent cards like Narset, Parter of Veils and Teferi, Time Raveler are very good against blue decks, so having a card that is relevant against them both before and after they resolve is nice. There are a myriad of counterspells to fill your sideboard with so Tale’s End does have a lot of competition. Tale’s End is at its best in the U/W mirror so I can see it being meta dependent. Tale’s End is definitely a card to remember that we have access to in Modern. While it’s not going to make massive waves in Modern, it’s always nice to get playable Modern cards from the core set.

#1 Colossus Hammer
One card that has piqued the interest of brewer’s everywhere is Colossus Hammer. A one mana equipment that gives +10/+10 has the potential to do a ton of broken things. The eight mana equip cost is ridiculous so Colossus Hammer definitely needs some way to enable it. Fortunately, cards like Puresteel Paladin, Kor Outfitter, and Sigarda’s Aid are all able to make the equip cost irrelevant. Popular cards like Abrade are incredibly scary for Hammer which is a knock for it. It also doesn’t grant any form of evasion so it is susceptible to chump blocking.

Normally, equipments are good because they do not lead to two-for-ones. If your creature gets removed, you only lose the creature unlike most auras. Colossus Hammer loses that, however. Because it requires a setup card to equip it, you have to invest more resources into Colossus Hammer than your average equipment. For example, if you use Magnetic Theft to attach Hammer to your creature and your creature gets removed, you were two-for-one’d. This is the cost of having such a huge power and toughness boost. I think the raw power level of +10/+10 early is going to be enough to overcome the flaws in the card. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking or perhaps we will have a Colossus Hammer brew for you very soon.

Overall Magic 2020 does not look poised to have much of an impact on Modern. However, that was never the point of core sets and we did just have Modern Horizons. We cannot complain too much either as it did contain powerful reprints such as Leyline of the Void. Can you see any spoiled cards that we may have overlooked though? Or does the London mulligan boost an older card? Tell us about it 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. Have a wonderful weekend and we will see you again on Monday. Until then my friends.


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