We are now deep into War of the Spark previews, and it’s shaping up to be a powerful set which will leave an impression on Magic for years to come. Last week I looked at a few contenders. More revealed cards have a chance to see play in Modern, so I’m back to review them as well. I’ll be evaluating once again.

As before, I’ll be looking at previews mainly from a perspective of fringe strategies, but there will be a minor focus on established archetypes this time around. This time I will talk a bit more about some of the new planeswalkers.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer

Speaking of uncommon planeswalkers, we have a three-mana powerhouse in Saheeli, Sublime Artificer. Each non-creature spell generates a Servo, which can act as a pseudo Empty the Warrens in the correct build. And while Affinity is not a fringe deck, it’s difficult to ignore Saheeli’s potential in the archetype. More traditional Affinity builds have flex slots, currently favoring Karn, Scion of Urza and Experimental Frenzy, but I can see Saheeli being thrown into the mix too.

The Servo tokens make excellent Arcbound Ravager fodder, and using Saheeli’s minus to copy Master of Etherium sounds devastating. I expect Saheeli to see play in Affinity, Blue Steel, and maybe even Puresteel Paladin or Cheerios strategies that seem popular with the London Mulligan test on Magic Online. However, Saheeli competes with Sai, Master Thopterist for the artifact value engine slot, so it’ll be interesting to see where she fits in Modern. Hybrid mana makes her a bit easier to cast, but the double-color requirement may be difficult for some decks more than others.

Finale of Promise

Finale of Promise is one of the cards I am personally excited to try out in Modern. A new addition to the family of effects that can abuse “free” suspend spells. Living End will be happy to join forces with Finale of Promise, but Ancestral Vision and Restore Balance offer much promise as well. I’ve been theory-crafting with As Foretold Living End, and will be testing this going forward.

Emma's As Foretold Living End

Creatures (17)
Curator of Mysteries
Desert Cerodon
Street Wraith
Faerie Macabre
Striped Riverwinder

Spells (23)
Ancestral Vision
As Foretold
Cryptic Command
Restore Balance
Living End
Lands (20)
Cascade Bluffs
Steam Vents
Scalding Tarn
Spirebluff Canal
Tolaria West

Sideboard (16)
Anger of the Gods
Finale of Promise
Tormod’s Crypt
Chalice of the Void
Fulminator Mage
Ravenous Trap

I don’t expect Finale of Promise to start with all four copies in As Foretold Living End, it helps fight against discard strategies out of the sideboard. If the format slows down, one or two copies could join the main deck. Budget variants like Mono-Red Living End will be happy to add Finale of Promise, especially the way it meshes with Faithless Looting and Tormenting Voice.


Izzet Phoenix could also find good use of the card for value, and it can get you to cast three spells out of nowhere. There’s plenty of value for spell-dense archetypes that abound in Modern, so this promises to be a big one.

Ashiok, Dream Render

Finally we have a second version of an overlooked Planeswalker. Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver proved to be a nuisance in old Standard and is a popular Cube inclusion. Now Ashiok returns as an uncommon with two very useful abilities. The obvious first home for them would be Dimir Mill, but they don’t exactly play nicely with current archetype staple Archive Trap. You can still trigger your traps from shuffle effects you control, such as Field of Ruin, though. Perhaps you can catch opponents fetching early in game one, then swap out your Archive Traps post-board. One copy of Ashiok can mill up to twenty cards if given enough time, so they may be a more effective path to victory in long sideboarded games.

Ashiok does not have to mill opponents, however. Many decks may be interested in self-mill, especially when combined with exiling the opposing graveyard. Blue-based control and disruptive strategies such as Grixis Death’s Shadow come to mind. They could also see play in Esper Control in combination with Kaya, Orzhov Usurper, and many decks will be happy to disrupt fetch-heavy manabases or tutors with their static ability. Without a shadow of doubt, I expect Ashiok to see play in Modern. Their abilities are potent, especially in eternal formats where searching your library is relevant.


Neoform will receive plenty of comparisons to Eldritch Evolution and Chord of Calling, cards featured creature toolbox strategies such as Kiki-Chord and Abzan Vizier Combo. Despite the competition with these two cards, I can see Neoform offering some upside in these silver bullet creature decks. Compared to Chord of Calling, Neoform only costs two mana and doesn’t require a fully developed board state. Neoform can function in a deck with a lower creature density.

Eldritch Evolution will probably be better than Neoform however, by skipping up the curve more quickly. Neoform doesn’t exile upon resolution, so it can combo with Eternal Witness or Snapcaster Mage, so at least it has more flexibility and long-game value. Vannifar Pod-style decks probably offer the best home for Neoform, using it for value rather than a major combo piece.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria has made such a large impact in Modern that he has pushed Jace, the Mind Sculptor out of the limelight. What about Teferi, Time Raveler? I don’t think it will see substantial play in the current Modern metagame. Modern is close to being a sorcery speed format right now, so his static ability does not offer much. Ad Nauseum could be interested, but Grand Abolisher achieves the same effect for one less mana and the additional abilities on Teferi aren’t as useful in Ad Nauseum.

Then again, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir has seen sideboard play, and this planeswalker version is easier to cast. Still, I’d be surprised to see Teferi, Time Raveler outside of being a mirror-breaker in Control match-ups or maybe somewhere in Bant or Azorius Spirits. Teferi is one to look out for as I think there is a Modern metagame where he would thrive in, but not at this current time.

War of the Spark looks to become as pushed and as powerful as any set we’ve seen. It should be a fantastic addition to the ever-expanding format that is Modern, and I can’t wait to play with these new cards in existing archetypes.

Emma is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She has been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir’s release back in 2014, but won’t shy away from Cube and MTG Arena. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

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