Today, Modern Masters 2 spoiled a game-changer. At least, it was a game-changer for me. I take close care of my Pauper Cube, and they just reprinted Scion of the Wild at common.


This is a good thing.


This is big news, because typically cards that are printed at rare don’t see their rarity drop to the common level. But it makes sense, and it opens up a world of possibilities. Scion of the Wild was quickly left behind as Magic’s power level scaled. It’s a win-more card, in that it’s good when you have an established board presence. As a common, it’s going to be a valuable roleplayer in the Eldrazi Spawn deck, and not much more than that.


In my cube, it’s going to be a more complicated addition, although it’s going to be an addition all the same. At the moment, my cube is not constructed such that green is a tokens color. The three main tokens archetypes are all in the Mardu wedge, with Rakdos being token sacrifices, Boros being token anthems, and Orzhov being the more traditional token beatdown. Green’s token makers can’t compete with white or with red in my Pauper Cube… unless I wanted to introduce a Thalid theme (which is about as appealing to me as bringing in morphs). Green only has one truly great token generator, Sprout Swarm, and I cut that for being overpowered.


It was just too hard for most decks to deal with that card.


I’ve experimented with other green token generators. Sporemound had a run before I gutted the landfall theme. Night Soil was a solid one, but it doesn’t exist in foil so it didn’t make it through the great upgrade. (The Enfoiling?) That basically leaves Selesnya Evangel, which is in the cube, and Scatter the Seeds, which is not. The difference between Scatter the Seeds and Triplicate Spirits comes down to two factors: evasion and Anarchist. Anarchist is a relatively interesting card in my cube. It’s restricted to returning sorceries, unlike Archaeomancer, and as a result it has fewer synergies. Especially when all the best spells are instants. As such, it tends to return spell-shaped bodies, rather than direct damage spells.


This whole thing has me thinking… what other eligible rares from the MM2 period might I be interested in seeing reprinted at common?


To help, I constructed a Gatherer search, which brings up something… why did they screw up Gatherer? I use visual spoilers almost exclusively, because I recognize cards and can consume more information this way. Unfortunately, they started rate-limiting the visual spoilers, only putting some number of cards on a single page.


I could count, but I don’t feel it’s worth my time.


This would not be so glaring an issue, were it not for the fact that the number at which the page cuts is not divisible by three. As in the three columns that display in the visual spoiler. It’s the type of jarring visual display that any user-focused designer should have caught, and yet it’s there.


Hasbro really needs to hire Wizards some competent web developers. I’m sure they’re overworked and underpaid as is, but they’re making plenty of bank off us addicts. They can funnel some of that into web staff, no? What digital product does Wizards do well? Their app was a failure, MTGO is a disaster, and their website is impossible to navigate. Even Duels of the Planeswalkers runs like trash on my Xbone, and the tech specs for a game platform are standardized!


Terrible. Anyway, back to the issue at hand. After some internal debate, I’ve come up with the following list of 15 cards I would enjoy seeing at common, and why I think it might be reasonable:


I wouldn’t mind all new art in the next edition of Modern Masters. Artists are better now, I think it would be less of a disaster.


  1. Birds of Paradise – G


Birds of Paradise is a good mana creature. It’s been a rare since its initial printing, oh so many years ago. But since then, it’s been eclipsed by Noble Hierarch, Sylvan Caryatid, and even Bloomtender. It has evasion, but lacks power and a relevant tribal identity. I think it would be a powerful common, a first pick common, but I do not think it would warp a draft format if it were at common.


Turbocharge, maybe, but not warp.


Rules text: (none)


  1. Isamaru, Hound of Konda – W


Isamaru, Hound of Konda is no Vampire Lacerator. The explosive limited plays surrounding the Lacerator involved dropping one on turn one, followed by one or two of the damn things on turn two. That was an explosive start, and Zendikar block was a very fast format between Vampire Lacerator, Steppe Lynx, and Goblin Guide. But each of those cards are better than Isamaru, Hound of Konda. In a format not blisteringly fast, that might enough to make it viable as a common.


A format with Isamaru at common is a format where that deck reliably has a turn one play, but can’t follow it up by piling on with the same card. Like Glory Seeker, I feel like the advantage you get from dropping it early would be well-outweighed by the speed at which it becomes an irrelevant body.


I mean, evasion is good, but this is going to be what, a 5/5 for seven mana? That’s too much, man!


  1. Broodstar – U


How many 10-drops would you run in your Limited deck? I think, outside of constructed or Limited formats specifically designed for it, affinity is a less powerful ability than convoke. Affinity tends to push you away from the creatures that generally let you win in Limited, while convoke’s major restriction is the opportunity cost lost by tapping. At ten mana, Broodstar is generally going to be worse than Siege Wurm or Kavu Primarch. Those were not format-breaking commons, and the chances of Broodstar being totally warping at common seems similarly unlikely. At most, you play two Broodstars, and it’s not the type of card that fits into every deck.


I once played Commander with this dick who was rocking a foreign language version of this card, and then insisted he could use it to pop our commanders when they came into play. No.


  1. Renegade Doppelganger – U


The issue with Pauper Cube is that some of the colors have very key pieces of their identity that haven’t been printed at common. For blue, this issue pops up with Clone. To the best of my knowledge, which is vast but holey, there has never been a Clone-type effect printed at common. And, for the most part, I get this. Clones are hella powerful, and having three or four of them in a Limited deck could make for a very frustrating format.


So that’s why I gave Renegade Doppelganger a second look. There were plenty of Limited decks in which Renegade Doppelganger rode the sideboard for me, and half that’s due to how slow it is. It’s terrible on defense, and its most useful effect is to give pseudo-haste to creatures you play. If ever a Clone could be printed at common, Renegade Doppelganger would be that Clone.


I mean, it’s worse than Cryptoplasm!


In general, I am not a fan of cards that winnow your possibilities so dramatically.


  1. Grid Monitor – A


I have a hard time evaluating this card. I feel like the worst case scenario with Grid Monitor is having it pacified or arrested. People don’t tend to maindeck Naturalize in Limited, and if they do it’s usually something like Reclamation Sage that’s going to be useful even in the absence of a valid target.


Grid Monitor denies you the out from those Mulldrifters. It’s powerful on its own, but the chance of locking yourself out of the game is a real risk. It has such a serious drawback, and it’s pseudo-legendary in the way you basically can’t get two of these things on the board at the same time, which makes it a card that wouldn’t be format warping at common. In my opinion, at least.


I feel like this card could use some new art.


  1. Heat Shimmer – R


Heat Shimmer could be a common in the same way Act of Treason is a common. Sure, you get the enters-the-battlefield trigger with Heat Shimmer, but your opponent keeps their creature, better positioning them to block against your assault.


Heat Shimmer would be a good common, but I don’t think it would reliably be more than a fourth or fifth pick. I think that’s true whether the card is rare or common.


Is there a card that gives graveyards hexproof? It’s certainly shut off by Ground Seal, though. Or Aegis of the Gods.


  1. Loaming Shaman – G


Loaming Shaman is an interesting card. I see it as potentially being similar in power to Invasive Species or even Centaur Courser. It’s definitely combat-relevant as a three-drop, but it’s not so far beyond the curve to make it an unreasonable card to see at common. Yes, it comes with an ability, and it’s a decent ability that can hose graveyard decks… but in the absence of delve, where the raw number of cards in the graveyard is the key factor, it’s no more oppressive than Faerie Macabre.


I see it as being the type of mid-pack card that green decks would be happy to pick up, but not super torn up if they had to pass it for something better. That’s a decent place for a downshifted rare to be.


Walls, walls, walls, walls, wall.


  1. Molten Sentry – R


Primal Clay is not the powerhouse it once seemed to be. When I was a child, I thought Primal Clay was super cool. Shocking, considering my background, but I really was into all the different cards that were capable of being different things. I think my favorite card at that time in my life was Vesuvan Doppelganger, and I can still remember bawling like a child (which I was at the time) when one of my two Doppelgangers got water spilled on it.


My point is that modal cards, even when they’re not amazing, have the potential to captivate minds. If Primal Plasm wasn’t overpowered as a common, given the degree of choice you have, the random red version (Molten Sentry) doesn’t seem like it would be particularly format warping. People pass red 5/2s for four mana all the time; when the best mode of a card isn’t amazing, it seems like that card would be fine as a common.


I anticipate this being my second most controversial choice, after Birds of Paradise.


  1. Oona’s Prowler – B


On paper, a 3/1 flier for two mana seems ridiculously good. That having been said, I’ve never particularly loved Oona’s Prowler in Limited. Even if you’re hardcore in on the reanimation plan, there’s always the chance that your opponent will make better use of the ability than you will. Even if they’re not on a discard-friendly game plan, Oona’s Prowler is unreliable in combat. Instead of trading, it usually trades off with a lesser card from your opponent’s hand. And there’s nothing you can do about it.


Maybe if you had five of these things it would be irrelevant, but I still think this would be a less powerful common than Lightning Bolt, and that’s never been rare.


Craw Wurm with a minor upside (that is also potentially a downside).


  1. Roaring Slagwurm – G


Giant wurms for seven mana are usually reliable commons in a draft format. They go late because decks rarely want more than one of them; even if you can make it to seven mana reliably, they trade down more often that a person would want.


That having been said, if there’s a heavy artifact theme in this block, which appears to be true, Roaring Slagwurm could work well in this format. Artifact decks are usually going to be racing anyway, but robbing them of the ability to play defense is still valuable.


That’s good advice for multiplayer formats.


  1. Spawnbroker – U


Did you know there’s not a single common with “exchange” on its rules text? That should change, and if you’re into exchanging things, Spawnbroker is basically your on ramp. It’s cool, but not particularly powerful. In theory your opponent should always be making out on the trade, and it’s particularly interesting in a format with Eldrazi. You’re never going to snag an Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn with Spawnbroker, and if you’re getting Kozilek, Butcher of Truth it’s likely because you’re giving away Emmy herself. That does not seem like a good gameplan.


It’s a good way to steal creatures that are doing work as your mana accelerators, though, so that’s something. It’d make for an interesting Limited format if stealing your opponent’s ramp was an option.


Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, not Daretti, Scrap Savant. All goblins don’t look alike, you know!


  1. Trash for Treasure – R


Is this card advantage? I think it’s not, but I am unsure. If they include cards that reward you for sacrificing artifacts, this has the potential to be a great card; if they don’t, it seems like it’s net-negative for your resources. And that’s why I like it; it’s a card that holds true to its name.


And again, if you run more than two copies of this spell, it would seem to imply your deck contains way more trash than treasure, no?


It is pretty horrifying.


  1. Vermiculos – B


Most of what made Glaze Fiend such a potentially explosive card was its evasion. The remainder was its low casting cost and ability to trigger other copies when you were playing with multiples. Vermiculos has none of these issues. It’s a five-drop, so it’s not going to be triggering off that mana rock you play on turn three. It’s not an artifact, so a deck full of vermiculi would be useless. And it has no evasion, meaning that you can drop a ton of artifacts and have your plan totally wrecked by a single chump blocker.


It’s not a bad card, but it no longer has that rare feel to it.


Landfall, it has not.


  1. Vinelasher Kudzu – G


As a common, Vinelasher Kudzu would be excellent. It’d be the Tarmogoyf of my cube, for sure, if it were Pauper-legal. But is it too good to be a common? Outside of a format with significant land-ramp or fetchlands, Vinelasher Kudzu is slow. It’s a terrible top deck, and it will usually give your opponent plenty of time to respond to it. It has no relevant tribal synergies, and even if you play it and immediately drop a land you’re just getting a 2/2 for two mana.


I don’t think it’s overpowered, and I think proof of that is how it was included in the Jace vs Vraska Duel Deck. Duel Decks are no longer really known for having powerful non-foil rares. It was like the seventh most powerful card in what was a mediocre and forgettable Duel Deck.


The art makes for an interesting concept that the card doesn’t have the resolution to really show.


  1. War Elemental – R


This card is weird. Is it good? I don’t think so, but I think it’s interesting. First, it’s rare to see a casting cost like that on a common. But this could potentially be Pauper’s Ball Lightning! The complication is that it’s demanding to play, a terrible topdeck, and even if you hit your opponent, drop War Elemental, and Lightning Bolt their face, you’re still just getting a 4/4 for four mana and two cards. That’s not particularly good. Sure, it gets out of hand quick, since its ability lets it double as a super-Slith, but it’s nowhere near as frightening as letting Fangren Marauder get out of hand.


That was a rough Limited format.


Anyway, I look forward to hearing more. Maybe Scion of the Wild is the only card that’s newly common, but I doubt it. This set is likely going to provide more solid fodder for the cube, and with a foil in every pack, that’s a lot of supply for me to demand!


Jess Stirba is considering upgrading other foils, too, since she’s a fan of the rounded borders on the new frame.

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