Is it ALREADY Time to Ban Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis?

Meet Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis from Modern Horizons:

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Clearly Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is chock full of keywords. A one-card synergy squad, Hogaak rewards you for creatures in play, for cards in graveyard.

Ideally set up by Faithless Looting, Hogaak can exploit synergies with Bridge from Below, Vengevine, and a host of fast creatures.

Too fast.

Altar of Dementia isn’t Doing Anything Good for the Format, Either

Altar of Dementia

Altar of Dementia is back!

A source of sacrifice for zero mana; a way to win so long as you have any creatures… And in this deck a way to fill your graveyard (for Bridge from Below, especially)… Altar of Dementia is a powerhouse next to an 8/8 powerhouse.

Together, these cards are prohibitively fast. Check out this (representative?) Tweet:

You’ve got a Rest in Peace in your opener… But turn two is too slow? Eep!

In other news…

Chandra, Awakened Inferno is Just One Chandra in M20

Chandra, Awakened Inferno

After lots of Hogaak talk, Patrick and Michael muse over three new versions of Chandra Nalaar from the upcoming set. This one is particularly cool because of what the [+2] emblem does against a particular hated archetype.

But we’ll let you discover that in the cast. Give it a listen:

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Is Command the Dreadhorde the Biggest Big Spell in Standard?

Welcome to a new era of big spells in Standard!

Sure, Mono-Red is going to try to play Fun Police, but much of the rest of the format? They’re casting big, big, Magic: The Gathering spells. No no – Bigger than that.

Command the Dreadhorde

Command the Dreadhorde – Is it the Biggest?

Certainly not in every deck.

Ben Friedman played a copy in his main deck (and other copy in his sideboard). Otherwise? Just a modified “Esper Superheroes” deck. Yes, there were powerful Planeswalkers to get back (as well as a full quartet of Basilica Bell-Haunts… But this is not really where Command the Dreadhorde shines brightest.

Dedicated Command the Dreadhorde

Command the Dreadhorde is more central to the winning deck of last week’s Classic, played by Robert Hayes.

With a ton of Explore creatures like Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker, the Hayes deck willfylly dumps extra cards into the graveyard, making for potentially juiced commands. On top of this, four copies of Tamiyo, Collector of Tales both fills the graveyard and searches for our key spell.

Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

The card that laces everything together is Wildgrowth Walker!

Wildgrowth Walker can help you gain life along the way, which will either give you fuel to Command the Dreadhorde or a ton of triggers paying you back once you already have.

I’d say keep your Walker safe, but if you don’t you can always get him back later, life-granting Explore triggers and all!

Hayes is so big into having the biggest end game he even played Trostani Discordant.

Oh I get it… Is Mass Manipulation even Bigger of a Big Spell?

Mass Manipulation

Sometimes!

Your size will vary on Mass Manipulation depending on how big and strong and overall powerful the kinds of cards are that it will steal.

But what we do know: Trostani Discordant could be better.

Trostani defends creatures only… So if the opponent lines up to get Planeswalkers? The Selesnya Legend has no opinion πŸ™

Check it all out:

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Everything Great About Wrenn and Six

Meet Wrenn and Six from Modern Horizons:

Wrenn and Six

Wrenn and Six has three Planeswalker loyalty abilities. Two of them are pretty great.

Remembering for a moment that this is one of only two two mana Planeswalkers ever printed… Imagine going first.

  • [-1]: Wrenn and Six deals 1 damage to any target

Your opponent might have opened on Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise, Arcbound Worker, or any number of commonly played one mana, one toughness, creatures. Wrenn and Six comes down and can immediately punish the opponent.

You kill their guy and keep a Planeswalker with two loyalty!

Rakdos Spectacle cards like Skewer the Critics and Light Up the Stage have found fast homes in Modern. Not for nothing: Wrenn and Six and its [-1] ability are a great way to set up Spectacles.

But that’s not what this card is about…

  • [+1]: Return up to one target land card from your graveyard to your hand.

The [+1] ability on this card is one of the closest approximations of the mythical “personal Howling Mine” ever attempted. All you need is a single Wooded Foothills!

You break that Wooded Foothills (or whatever fetchland) in the first two turns to help cast Wrenn and Six and the party almost starts itself. Wrenn and Six almost implies that you never miss a land drop the rest of the game (or at least as long as your Planeswalker doesn’t leave play). Of course there are other applications…

Ayula’s Influence from Modern Horizons

Ayula’s Influence

This enchantment is very exciting!

Somewhere between a Zombie Infestation and a Bearscape, this enchantment is screaming its synergy with Life From the Loam. But! You don’t always have your Life From the Loam. You can slum it with the [+1] ability from Wrenn and Six just fine.

That said, Patrick suggests a combination with Beck // Call.

Beck // Call from Dragon’s Maze makes for a super cool — and super powerful — combination with Ayula’s Influence. Just cast the “Beck” side with Ayula’s Influence already in play. You can make 2/2 Bears — and draw cards! — pretty steadily.

At any point, if you draw (and discard) a Dakmoor Salvage… You should be able to draw your entire deck. Dakmoor Salvage is a land, so you can discard it to Ayula’s Influence. You make a Bear token and, as a result of Beck, can draw a card. Now just dredge Dakmor Salvage and start the loop all over again!

What Kind of Foolishness Can Echo of Eons Bring?

Get Ready for Echo of Eons
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond – There is all kind of material with this potential combo. But the simplest? Just discard Echo of Eons to your Lion’s Eye Diamond and then use the UUU you just made to flash it back.
  • Narset, Parter of Veils – “Seems like abuse” according to Mike. You draw seven, your opponent just discards his hand? Welcome to the new Modern.

More, much more, Modern Horizons right here:

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Ice-Fang Coatl and More Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons is an upcoming set designed specifically for Modern play. The cards so far look to be — in many cases, at least — not just functional, but flavorful as well. There are throwbacks to older sets and favorite mechanics.

So much so that some of the Modern Horizon cards are g-d keyword-tacular. Ice-Fang Coatl, one of our favorite cards, is a great example of, well… Everything.

Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl from Modern Horizons is Awesome

This Snow Snake has two broad things going for it. On the one hand, it is quite reminiscent of Baleful Strix. If you have three other Snow permanents in play, Ice-Fang Coatl is exactly a Baleful Strix once once the battlefield.

It draws a card when it comes down (regardless) and can trade with anything.

Baleful Strix is of course a defining card of the Sultai Legacy deck (forget about Modern)… So presuming you have sufficient Snow, this card is probably overpowered for Modern.

But wait! There’s more!

Ice-Fang Coatl — other Snow permanents or no — has Flash. As long as you are okay with trading in a blue mana for a colorless one, it’s just better than Elvish Visionary; a veteran of the First Place podium.

However when you combine Flash and Deathtouch… The card overall is largely a “cantrip Terminate” that can sometimes attack. Not bad. Not bad at all…

But What About That “Snow” Clause…

Haven’t collected enough Snow lands from the original Ice Age or Coldsnap? Not to worry! Modern Horizons has you covered!

Snow-Covered basic lands are back, with new art to boot!

Check out the Modern Horizons method for getting your Skred on…

Snow-Covered Mountain

Snow-Covered Mountain

But Wait! There’s still more!

Prismatic Vista is the Dual Land of Our Dreams

How about Prismatic Vista from Modern Horizons?

Prismatic Vista
Prismatic Vista

As long as you’re not, say, hunting for a Temple Garden or Godless Shrine, Prismatic Vista is the most flexible fetchland in the history of the Modern format.

Or, put another way, it’s what Evolving Wilds always wished it was!

Subtly, though not itself a Snow permanent, Prismatic Vista can get any basic land. That includes the aforementioned Snow-Covered Mountain (or any relevant Forest- or Island-types you might need to summon your Ice-Fang Coatl.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of Modern Horizons, but would love for you to join us. Give us a listen?

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Karn, the Great Creator Demolishes Modern

Meet Karn, the Great Creator from War of the Spark

Karn, the Great Creator

This week, Michael and Patrick review, among other things, the results from last week’s Modern MOCS.

The most impressive innovation — and there were a boatload of innovations — is around Karn, the Great Creator.

Karn, the Great Creator gets Mycosynth Lattice

BY FAR the most important interaction for Modern is Karn’s [-2 ability]…

[-2]: You may choose an artifact card you own from outside the game or in exile, reveal that card, and put it into your hand.

This ability lets Karn play “toolbox”. You can get all kinds of stuff, from Wurmcoil Engine (a giant, lifelink, monster to attack with), Walking Ballista (a threat, and an answer), or any number of so-called “Silver Bullets”.

But!

It is also a two-card combo.

Remember Mycosynth Lattice?

Mycosynth Lattice

Don’t worry, neither did we. Well, Patrick did because he helped design it way back when he was at WotC.

Mycosynth Lattice works with all three of Karn’s abilities.

Of course, as an artifact that presumably lives in your sideboard… Karn can go fetch it. But once it’s in play?

Because Mycosynth Lattice turns all permanents into artifacts, it becomes a one-two punch with Karn’s static ability.

Activated abilities of artifacts your opponents control can’t be activated.

Lands, too!

Your opponent will not be able to activate their lands — now artifacts — meaning they can’t tap for mana. This is a two-card Armageddon lock combo!

Liquimetal Coating: A Faster Mycosynth Lattice?

Believe it or not, WotC R&D thought Liquimetal Coating “might be a problem” back when it was about to hit Standard play. Liquimetal Coating could quickly enable some of its set’s signature interactions, and certainly turn on the specialized removal of the day.

How about now?

Well Mycosynth Lattice costs six. You might not have the mana to immediately go Karn into Lattice into Armageddon combo. Liquimetal Coating isn’t a full-on Armageddon, but it can certainly play Stone Rain machine gun.

Liquimetal Coating

Liquimetal Coating can turn the opponent’s lands — one at a time — into artifacts. Then we can combine with Karn’s last as-yet-unmentioned (in this blog post) ability:

[+1]: Until your next turn, up to one target noncreature artifact becomes an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost.

Land: You are now an artifact!
Artifact [Land]: You are now a 0/0 Artifact Creature!
See ya!

Conclusion? Karn, the Great Creator has already upended Modern. Both Patrick and Michael are excited to brew with this card in other decks than green-based Ramp. Colorless, it can go into many other strategies.

And poor Affinity… Karn doesn’t even need to spend loyalty to mess that once-storied strategy up.

Plus!

Give it a listen:

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Is Narset, Parter of Veils the Best Card in Standard?


ο»ΏIs Narset, Parter of Veils the best card in Standard?

… Probably not.

But we might be able to have a fun discussion around the topic!

Mike advocates for Teferi, Time Raveler as the best card in Standard, and Patrick largely counter-points with Narset… But he has a few points.

Narset, Parter of Veils in the Red Deck Metagame

Narset looks fantastic against many blue decks. In and against [other] blue decks, that is. You’ll see some cutting Chemister’s Insight to make room for Narset. Narset both fills in Chemister’s Insight’s old job and makes life difficult for other folks trying to draw two cards at the end of your turn!

But where this card might really shine is Mono-Red!

The consensus among War of the Spark red mages is to play Risk Factor. The first big event featured three Red Decks in the Top 4. Wow. Yowza! All of them played three Risk Factors, whether in the main deck or sideboard.

Surely those Risk Factors will be in against a blue control opponent, as soon as they can make their way into the deck.

But look at Narset’s static ability:

Each opponent can’t draw more than one card each turn.

That means that when the opponent casts Risk Factor, you can decline to take four damage… But they will not get all that much value. Certainly they will not be peeling three cards.

Another Red Deck casualty of Narset is B/R midrange. Generally featuring Rix Maadi Reveler (which is a superior two-card combo with Risk Factor generally), this deck is even more vulnerable to Narset. Why?

You can’t even filter one card with Rix Maadi Rewveler if it’s on your own turn!

Narset, Parter of Veils as a Card Advantage Engine

We know this card has some built-in card advantage just by virtue of messing up other people’s card drawing plans. But no one would play it if not for the powerful [-2] ability.

βˆ’2: Look at the top four cards of your library. You may reveal a noncreature, nonland card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

As a three mana Planeswalker, there are many implementations that make sense proactively. In the Simic Nexus deck alone, there are at least two amazing four mana spells — Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and Wilderness Reclamation — that can complete a vicious three-four punch.

This ability is generally stronger than drawing a card in the abstract. Even when you spend it twice, leaving Narset depleted, you will generally still have a powerful, disruptive, asset.

The Best of the Rest

Everything from the ins and outs of the new-look Red Decks with Chandra, Fire Artisan to how to build a Niv-Mizzet, Reborn control deck!

Check it out here:

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God-Eternal Kefnet is the Most Underrated Card in War of the Spark

Where do you play God-Eternal Kefnet?

Mike starts out with the idea of replacing cards like Crackling Drake or Niv-Mizzet, Parun in control decks. Or, if you want to get really out there… At 4/5, God-Eternal Kefnet is actually a bigger body (and arguably more durable) than a Rekindling Phoenix.

But he’s just not thinking big enough.

Patrick’s answer? EVERYWHERE!

Play it in Dimir. Play it in Grixis Play it especially in Jeskai!

So tell me about God-Eternal Kefnet in Jeskai Control?

This Legendary Zombie God is good in all kinds of places, but has an especial synergy with the sweepers in the Jeskai deck.

It’s got a nice front for a four mana control creature, and more than three toughness… That makes it stick to Deafening Clarion like peanut butter to sandwich bread. The good God-Eternal can live through the Clarion… And also net some nice lifelink attacking through… Presumably nothing.

It’s also great with the new Boros sweeper Solar Blaze. Why? Simply because it has higher toughness than power! The new Wave of Reckoning variant simply lets this God-Eternal live to fight another day (or later the same turn, depending).

That can’t be all, can it?

Not by a long shot!

The most important piece of “secret tech” around God-Eternal Kefnet is that it works on both players’ turns. That’s right! You can draw extra on your turn “naturally” but really get some nice extra card advantage with Opt, or Chemister’s Insight on the opponent’s turn.

Don’t sleep on this card: It’s a Top Five for Standard according to Patrick.

Also The Wanderer play patterns for Modern

Per usual there is a LOT going on in this week’s podcast. It’s like an hour and a half actually. But we just wanted to shout out new and nameless Planeswalker “The Wanderer”.

The Wanderer is going to bedevil players primarily in Standard… But its Modern applications are really exciting, too.

  • It’s hell on Burn – Turns off all their direct damage spells, turns off Eidolon of the Great Revel, etc.
  • Valakut decks – Not only does it turn off the Molten Pinnacle… You get a free shot at straight up killing Primeval Titan!
  • If you’re really greedy you can bounce and replay the thing to get even more removal action… But that’s probably not necessary

Check out “God-Eternal Kefnet is the Most Underrated Card in War of the Spark” now!

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Your Top 8 War of the Spark Questions… Answered!

So many questions. Like… What do decks even look like in this brave new world of War of the Spark [Standard]? Pro Tour Champion (and Hall of Famer) + the lovable Michael J. Flores discuss the Top 8.

  1. Is Planewide Celebration just a Draw 16?
  2. How good is Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark?
  3. “Is Flux Channeler just Monastery Mentor?”
  4. Is Narset’s Reversal the sweetest thing ever against Nexus of Fate?
  5. How many copies of The Elderspell will each of us have in our first Nicol Bolas, Dragon God decks?
  6. How do we feel about Knight of Autumn for our Selesnya card with Niv-Mizzet, Reborn?
  7. What is green bringing to the table that white doesn’t already have?
  8. Will Mike have the ONLY Army?

Let’s go!

Is Planewide Celebration just a Draw 16?

Planewide Celebration

Planewide Celebration
5GG
Sorcery
Choose four. You may choose the same mode more than once.

  • Create a 2/2 Citizen creature token that’s all colors.
  • Return a permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
  • Proliferate.
  • Gain 4 life.

It might not look like a “draw sixteen” on its face; but choosing to gain four life four times is a heck of a combo with Lich’s Mastery.

Lich’s Mastery may be getting even more of a bump with War of the Spark, as Bond of Flourishing makes of a bananas redundancy to Revitalize that might just.. Revitalize the archetype. Abzan Mastery anyone?

How good is Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark?

Narset, Parter of Veils

Pretty good.

Narset’s card drawing ability might be stronger [on a three mana Planeswalker] than Jace Beleren; plus she puts tremendous pressure on opponents who want to cast things like Chemister’s Insight or other card draw.

Not for nothing, but she also punishes the poor manascrewed opponent looking to cycle out of a weak hand [albeit maybe not in the current Standard].

Completely unwitting splash damage victim? The beatdown player running Rix Maadi Reveler. Sorry πŸ™

“Is Flux Channeler just Monastery Mentor?”

Flux Channeler

Michael certainly doesn’t think so.

His general argument is something like this:

  • It doesn’t get big itself.
  • It doesn’t make material; though it does make existing material bigger.

Patrick thinks this card might have a home, regardless.

Is Narset’s Reversal the sweetest thing ever against Nexus of Fate?

Narset's Reversal

The new Fork + Remand certainly looks sweet, and sweet for this purpose. But…

Not if they already have 14 lands in play.
Not if they already have a Wilderness Reclamation.

But otherwise? Pretty sweet.

How many copies of The Elderspell will each of us have in our first Nicol Bolas, Dragon God decks?

Patrick: One
MichaelJ: Three

How do we feel about Knight of Autumn for our Selesnya card with Niv-Mizzet, Reborn?

Niv-Mizzdet, Reborn

  1. Boros: Deafening Clairon. Down.
  2. Orzhov: Mortify or Oath of Kaya. Sounds great.
  3. Golgari: Death Sprout? Might actually help us cast this thing!
  4. Selesnya: Knight of Autumn? Okay maybe we just skip Selesnya?
  5. Gruul: Um, we have to be able to do better than Knight of Autumn, right?

Okay, okay. Maybe we don’t have to draw ten cards. Or even nine. Eight is a nice number too, isn’t it?

For further discussion: Modern

Wait until you hear Patrick’s suggestion for Simic!

What is green bringing to the table that white doesn’t already have?

Ahem. How about the ability to exile exactly one card?

Return to Nature

Take that, Disenchant.

Will Mike have the ONLY Army?

Mike will not have the only Army. He might be stuck as the only one with an 11/11 Army being brickwalled by a 2/2 Army, though.

Patrick argues that Amass is actually a drawback, not a feature. His argument is that you’d rather have three 1/1 creatures for three mana (like a Hordeling Outburst) than a single 3/3 for three mana… But then again he is talking to the only person (aka Gnarled Mass fan) on earth where this might be a dense argument.

Hot take: Is Lazotep Reaver better than Dreadhorde Invasion?

Woah.

Shots fired, am I right? It’s “Amass Nekrataal” versus “Amass Man-o’-War” (or “plus” in Mike’s universe) and more, so much more, in the cast itself:

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Oath of Kaya is Pretty Horrible

Oath of Kaya

Oath of Kaya is Pretty Horrible… For anyone who wants to play fair Magic

In this episode, Mike reveals his favorite card from War of the Spark

It’s Commence the Endgame!

Commence the Endgame

Here’s his thinking: Commence the Endgame is a hefty six mana, yes; but it does everything he ever wanted. It draws “only” two cards. But instead of the other two cards he might get from, say, a Dragonlord’s Prerogative, the rest translates into a kind of Maro. This, of course, feeds into his new pet mechanic: Amass.

Patrick is a little less impressed. “It’s just another card draw spell that makes a dude,” says the Hall of Famer.

“I don’t know if it’s the best card; but it’s my favorite.”
-MichaelJ

Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Oath of Kaya from War of the Spark

  • Don’t love Commence the Endgame? Mike posits Oath of Kaya might be the actual best card in the set.
  • It’s like a slow Lightning Helix. Throwback to fourteen years ago: Mike wrote the original preview for Lightning Helix on the Mother Ship!
  • But it’s not just a slow Lightning Helix. This card is a massive disincentive to anyone wanting to play fair Magic at all. Remember all those shiny Viashino Pyromancers WotC gave away to MTG Arena players a few months back? They’ll never see the light of the stage or the ning of a strike again. Not with this around.
  • “Well if they never trigger the second ability it’s just worse than a Lightning Helix.” -Patrick

God-Eternal Oketra is… Very Difficult to Kill

God-Eternal Oketra

It’s not actually unkillable. It is, in fact, very difficult to kill.

God-Eternal Oketra is also an amazing card advantage engine! “People have built their entire deck design around much worse value than ‘cast any creature'” in the past.

This card seems tailor made for G/W. It prevents you from being punished for drawing a late game Llanowar Elves. In fact, you’ll get a nice five-damage-for-one-mana return on one of those!

Additionally, cards like Growth-Chamber Guardian will be extra useful as they can help ensure a steady stream of triggering creatures. Just a great card.

Our intrepid duo talk more and more great cards! War of the Spark just keeps giving them to us! We have no idea what Standard will look like in a couple of weeks; but it’s going to be… Different for sure.

Check out our new episode in full:

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The Most Exciting Feather, the Redeemed Combos

Feather, the Redeemed

Feather, the Redeemed requires little-to-no actual redemption.

Normally when someone tells you they have a 3/4 flyer for three mana you ask them how much damage you are expected to accept in return. This one actually gives you an insane card advantage engine in exchange for being charged negative-one mana in creature casting cost.

Some of our initial Ideas on How to Break (or at least exploit) Feather, the Redeemed:

  • Modern: Aurelia’s Fury – Remember this card? It’s like a Fireball and an Abeyance fell in love, got married, and had an instant speed baby. Conveniently, Aurelia’s Fury is already in R/W! At four mana you can ping Feather, ping your opponent for one, and lock them out. Until they can break up this combo, the opponent will be unable to cast non-creature spells on their turn. Because you ping Feather, you get this one back; because you ping the opponent, the clock gets one faster while ruining their plans.
  • Modern: Lightning Helix – Nice job having four toughness, Feather! At four mana you can just hit Feather on your turn AND on the opponent’s turn to gain six per turn cycle. Obviously at its most effective against an opponent who is unable to deal the fourth point but also is trying to kill you with damage.
  • Standard: Defiant Strike – An Opt machine!
  • Standard: Reckless Rage – Perhaps the most exciting showcase of what Feather can do, Reckless Rage from Rivals of Ixalan gives you a “Slaughter with buyback” for one mana per cycle.

Sweepers and Other Topics

As you might suspect, we go over several topics from War of the Spark. But one of the more interesting ones is around all the sweepers available. Here are some cool takeaways:

  • Time Wipe – You can cast this even if you don’t have any creatures. No surprise there. But what if the opponent doesn’t have any? Time Wipe to bounce your own Augur of Bolas is… Not horrible. A five mana Boomerang is way better than a dead card.
  • Solar Blaze – Is it good at all? It’s certainly good with Aurelia… Only Deafening Clarion is better. “Closer to Ritual of Soot than Kaya’s Wrath.” -Patrick

Give it a listen:

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