If you’re interested in an article about Commander theory, check out this week’s Dear Azami column. In it, I take a Zedruu the Greathearted deck through the wringer, talking about how it’s more fun to use that type of commander as a kingmaker, rather than a lockdown engine. Perhaps people even agreed! That article displays some of my more manipulative tendencies, and it’s probably going to get me killed next time I actually get to play Magic.


I do not have faith that such a day will be soon. Life intrudes. I work hard during the day, and it makes the prospect of doing anything other than coming home and being horrified by the nonconsensual installation of a lady AI into a breeding robot while playing Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel. I know the whole point of the story in that game is to show how the primary villain in Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack, became such a outlandish psychopath… but still, that’s pretty fucking rapey, and mandatory. Every PC and non-Jack NPC is disgusted by it as well, but I think it makes it a little bit worse that Jack’s position at that moment is basically right.


Anyway, here are ten cards I think should make it into Modern Masters 2, as spoiler season begins:


I wouldn’t mind new art for this. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s also not good either.



1) Austere Command


Austere Command is far and away my favorite Wrath of God effect in Commander. It’s broad in its potential and surgical in its precision. As a six mana spell it seems like it wouldn’t be overpowered in a Limited environment, and while it doesn’t see play in Modern, neither did Demigod of Revenge.


Seriously, I played that version of the Burn deck in Extended, and it has not been a viable contender in Modern at any point in the life of the format. Demigod of Revenge was fetch, so Austere Command could be too!


Look how lovely it looks in the new frame! Imagine that, but in foil.


2) Solemn Simulacrum


I was shocked when this card didn’t make its way into all the monocolored Commander preconstructed decks after their decision to put Sol Rings all over the place, I thought it would be a given that they would include the premiere colorless ramp creature played in Commander. Everyone plays that card, and it gives colors like monowhite a way to ramp up to keep up with the Sultai decks.


You can play Land Tax, but that card is both broken and expensive. Unpleasant combination when you’re trying to moderate your threat profile.


Anyway, they only included the sad robot in the Daretti, Scrap Savant deck, which was on theme but a missed opportunity. Since they clearly don’t want to commit to putting one of these things in every Commander deck that comes out one year, it seems like the best way to increase the supply of this relatively innocuous card would be to add it to MMA2 and drop the commonality down to uncommon. It would be a good uncommon in Limited, but I don’t think it would be a broken one.


It was definitely a good decision to move away from white borders.


3) Bribery


Back when Modern was fresh and new, Bribery was a super important card for blue decks to run in their sideboard. Breaching 12 Post, or whatever the name of that quickly-crippled deck happened to be, was the monster of the hour. Well, that and the equally irritating turn one kill deck that ran no lands (and that, kids, is why Blazing Shoal was banned). Both of those decks involved running some huge monsters, like Progenitus and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Bribery, which is in Modern thanks to 8th Edition, could snatch those cards out of their deck and beat them over the head with them.


If you could survive that long. Usually you couldn’t; thus, the ban.


It’s annoyingly expensive, and yet we know they’re including Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in there. If they’re not just throwing the old girl/flying spaghetti monster in there as a reprint strategy, and instead actually intend to support Eldrazi as an archetype, then Bribery seems like a solid reprint. The card is too damn expensive as is, for what it does. It’s a jujitsu card in Commander, and I dislike seeing it so out of the average player’s price range.


We have some weird oversized promotional cards from a Minimasters tournament we played at Pax East. It was when Worldwake was newly released, and nerds seemed less willing to support bullies and abusers in the community. A simpler time, for sure.


4) Kozilek, Butcher of Truth


We know Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is going to be in this round of MMA, but I have yet to see confirmation that the other Eldrazi are going to be making an appearance. It doesn’t bother me all that much about Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, as it was reprinted in From the Vault: Legends, but, as I have written in this column previously, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth has exploded in price ever since Rise of the Eldrazi went out of print. It’s a shame, because it’s in many ways the most acceptable Eldrazi to play in Commander; unlike its siblings, it isn’t a pain in the ass to kill, and everyone likes drawing cards, right?


Also, if they do include more than one Eldrazi, that might lead to the aforementioned inclusion of Bribery and a rarity-shifted Solemn Simulacrum. Can you imagine a Limited format in which you can put Splinter Twin on a Solemn Simulacrum with reasonable regularity? I can, and in my head it’s wonderful.


Is that the Eye of Ugin in the art? It’s not a very distinct image at printed resolution.



5) Genesis Wave


Speaking of big mana cards that are due for a reprint, Genesis Wave is well positioned for a comeback. If MMA 2 is going to support the Eldrazi, you’re going to have to see a fair amount of ramp for a cycle of three playable mythic rares. Sure, we might see Ulamog’s Crusher and some of the other ones to fill out the top end of the curve, but if you’re building the infrastructure to support these cards, it’s all the more reason to add in something ridiculous like Genesis Wave.


And the Q factor of Genesis Wave is at its highest right now. Genesis Hydra, a callback to this iconic card, has been all over Standard since it was printed. That’s a lot of people who might be potentially happy to play with the card that inspired the card, no?


Plus, it can be a lot of fun in Commander!


I would love to see Bloom Tender reprinted, but I’ve honestly never had the opportunity to play with it to instill the requisite love. It’s just always been too expensive for what it does.


6) Farhaven Elf


I’ll admit, half the reason I want this reprinted is because foils of the card have gotten absurd. $10 for a MP copy? For a common?! Unacceptable!


Although, I get the market forces buoying it so. Farhaven Elf is Solemn Simulacrum’s green little sister. Most green decks in Commander aren’t champing at the bit to play Rampant Growth, but that effect starts to feel more reasonable when attached to an Elf body. And the Elf thing is relevant! They’re almost certainly not going back to Faerie, Fungus, or Giant tribal wells, but they might enjoy adding in some tribal mechanics. If you want tribal without having to play changelings, sticking to Elves and Goblins seems like a smart choice.


If that’s the case, you could reprint Imperious Perfect (U) and Elvish Champion (R) on the Elf side, because those cards are unlikely to be printed again in a Standard-legal set, and reprint Siege-Gang Commander (R), Goblin Guide (U), and Warren Instigator (M) on the Goblin side to balance things out. That would be a format I’d like to see.


Plus, it’d be ripe for combination with Splinter Twin in Limited. It would be a brilliant move if the best Splinter Twin archetype in Limited was Gruul and not Izzet. It certainly would cut against peoples’ expectations, and reward those with the initial wisdom to see past the Modern deck.


Well they’re certainly not paying for the art! Also, Shadowmoor’s foiling was absolutely terrible. It was murky as hell! Imagine how much these would pop with modern foiling techniques.


7) The Filterlands


Speaking of cards that are randomly expensive, the filterlands are a problem. As all ten were basically introduced at the same time, it’s not easy to reprint them. You’ll either have to reprint them at two different times, which would create a completely arbitrary price differential, or you have to print them all in the same set, which takes up a lot of slots. At rare this is unreasonable. However, I have a thought! Who cares if these things stay rare? Tank the value… the lands aren’t being played in any great volume as is, and the paper ones are only retaining value due to the stickiness of their price.


Maybe you do it as an uncommon, like the Vivid land cycle. But I think they should be bold! Crater the rarity, bring them down to common. Not only would that really open up Pauper manabases, which seems quite beneficial from what little I know of that format, but it would make it less likely that there would be the dramatic spread in the price of this card. Rugged Praire is a $3.25 card and Twilight Mire is a $26 card… and that’s online. The split’s like $12 to $40 in paper. This is not a rational market worth preserving.


Flood it. Flood it with foils.


I’d have linked the FNM promo art, but SOME IDIOT DECIDED GATHERER SHOULDN’T INCLUDE PROMOTIONAL CARDS. That was a decision a person made, at Wizards. They looked at the concept and were like, “you know what this should be? Less comprehensive or complete!”


8) Lightning Greaves


Lightning Greaves is a $5 uncommon and this is ridiculous. I think there are Limited reasons to include this, particularly if there is any sort of ramp/acceleration theme. Mana dorks get a heck of a lot better when you can give them haste for free, and it’s really nice when your gigantic monster can’t get blown out by the inevitable Path to Exile.


I’m not the biggest fan of the Future Sight set symbol when divorced from the futureshifted border.


9) Tolaria West


So long as Amulet of Vigor is a relevant deck in Modern, Tolaria West is going to be a relevant uncommon land. As much as incomplete cycles make my eye twitch, the designers of Modern Masters don’t seem to have my hangup… or at least they didn’t last time around, when they only reprinted Dakmor Salvage from the very same pseudo-cycle. It’s a utility land, and it’s particularly good in monoblue decks that otherwise struggle to search up relevant lands.


I’d also like to see Vesuva reprinted, but I debate the wisdom of including a land like Vesuva in what is supposed to be a good Limited format. I mean, what does Vesuva look in Limited, without other interesting nonbasics? Is it just like a weirder version of Evolving Wilds or Terramorphic Expanse? Either way, Vesuva seems like it’d be a pretty shitty rare to open at GP Vegas.


The same can’t be said about finding Tolaria West in an uncommon slot. Unless this format is blisteringly fast, that’s the type of card that makes it into all the blue decks. At least as a one-of.


But I can show you this promo artwork of the card, because it was reprinted as such in a preconstructed deck. THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME! It’s a database in an era of free digital storage! If the secondary market store websites can be comprehensive, why can’t you, Gatherer?


10) Ghostly Prison


At this point it’s a safe bet that we’re going to see Deceiver Exarch reprinted in MMA 2. They’re including Splinter Twin, it’s the first opportunity to reprint Deceiver Exarch in a MMA set, and I don’t see Pestermite coming back without a tribal Faeries theme. This means that you might get Twinned out in Limited, something which previously only really ever happened in Cube.


On a completely related note, Ghostly Prison is currently $7 because it’s played in the sideboard of white decks like Martyr of Sands as protection from the infinite attackers represented in Splinter Twin. Oh, and it’s naturally an uncommon.


Seems like an obvious inclusion for me!


Jess Stirba loves her country, but hates the carceralization cartel that has seized control of it.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.