The rest of Modern Horizons has been spoiled, which means Team Nova members Drake Sasser and Chad Harney are back for Part 2 of their first impressions. (Don’t forget to read Part 1.)

Nimble Mongoose

Chad: The optimist in me wants Nimble Mongoose to be playable in Modern so badly. The realist tells me it just doesn’t have what it takes to compete. Traditional Green decks don’t have the means or the desire to get Threshold or even play a 3/3 with Shroud. As much as I’d love to sleeve up RUG cards I own, I don’t think that’s it chief, as the kids say.

Drake: A fan favorite but unfortunately Modern has not been about a Nimble Mongoose style of gameplay for a long time. Since the rise of Death’s Shadow and Gurmag Angler, the rate for one mana beat down creatures is much more demanding. There are better things to be doing with your graveyard in Modern, too, so I’m afraid the ‘Goose will not be loose without some drastic changes to the format.

Potential Modern Archetypes: None 😢

Canopy Lands

Chad: I think Horizon Canopy is inarguably the most powerful land in Modern, restricted only by its color combination of Green and White. Losing a game to flooding never feels good, and converting extra lands into new cards for one mana is a great rate. If your deck is fast enough or has some way to offset the life loss, you should play as many of these as you can.

Drake: Wowsa! It’s no secret that these lands will change the way Modern decks are built. Horizon Canopy was already a format staple, and it produced arguably the two worst colors a land can produce in Modern. I expect these lands to be a consideration when building essentially all manabases. The question of course is not whether to play any, but how many to play.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Most of them, but emphasis on Burn, Phoenix, Humans, Infect and Dredge

Urza, Lord High Artificer

Chad: The text box for Urza, Lord High Artificer has a lot of things going on and none of it screams “fair.” All your artifacts are Mox Saphires. Five mana activated ability for a mini Mind’s Desire. Four mana for two bodies. This card has a lot of potential, someone just needs to find the right shell.

Drake: A four mana creature that spits out a Cranial Plating on a stick and is a constant Tolarian Academy cannot be ignored. If I were to label any card in Modern Horizons “Most Broken” it is easily this one. However, the nature of this kind of card is that it must be built around and doesn’t really slot into any existing decks well. If it does not spawn a competitive archetype, it will always be close and will have to be watched as more and more artifacts are added to Modern. For now only time will tell.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Artifact Combo, Whir of Invention decks

Echo of Eons

Chad: I don’t have much to say on this card beyond please don’t be tricked again, Modern community. This is Day’s Undoing all over again. Timetwister isn’t playable in Modern—even if actual factual Timetwister was legal in Modern it wouldn’t see competitive play.

Drake: This card is one of the most pushed Timetwister effects we’ve seen in Modern thus far. I am much more confident this card will be good in Legacy, though, where there are not only more free spells, but also Lion’s Eye Diamond as an absurd enabler. In Modern, I can see some decks trying this card due to its synergy with Faithless Looting, but current iterations of U/R spells decks already rely too heavily on the graveyard. For a deck like Storm to play it would require a bit of a fundamental rework of the deck. Other than that there is an obvious synergy with Narset, Parter of Veils that is certainly worth exploring.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Storm, Mono Blue Narset

Astral Drift

Chad: Astral Drift is a relic of a past era. Modern has very little incentive to grind, instead rewarding getting your opponent dead as quickly as possible. I’d love for Modern to move to a more midrange- and control-oriented format, but in the current landscape you’re signing yourself up to lose playing this card.

Drake: I don’t really understand the hype behind this card. I was not playing Magic competitively the last time Astral Slide was a competitive card so I have no nostalgia for this archetype. To be frank, I don’t really see the payoff being anywhere near high enough to justify trying to get this to work in Modern, so I have no illusions about this card seeing any play.

Potential Modern Archetypes: N/A

Giver of Runes

Chad: A lot of people have their eyes on Giver of Runes in Humans, but I want to play it in the sideboard of Infect. I believe splashing White in the sideboard of Infect for Teferi, Time Raveler and Giver of Runes is a very potent plan. Giver can do an okay Spellskite impression while also giving unblockable. It’s something I definitely want to test.

Drake: Being relatively invested in the Humans community, I have spent a lot of time talking about this card. Obviously it is a far cry from Mother of Runes, given it is unable to protect itself, but being able to protect from colorless is a very relevant addition. Overall, I believe the card to be too hard to cast in Humans in the current manabase, and I suspect the card is not quite powerful enough for the maindeck anyway. I do expect the BW Taxes decks to want this card, though. I am far from an expert on those decks but it seems more castable and more cohesive to that deck’s main plan.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Humans, Eldrazi and Taxes

Scale Up

Chad: Speaking of Infect, we have Scale Up. Scale Up is pretty analogous to Berserk in Legacy Infect. It’s not great in multiples, but it’s lethal in combination with any +4/+4 effect. I easily see Infect playing two, maybe three of this card.

Drake: This one is certainly powerful. Infect in both Modern and Legacy will play at least one of these. However, I am also interested in decks that may want to use this as an Overrun effect. I am unsure if it can actually work there but it is something I would like to see tried. The card will certainly see some amount of play in both formats no matter what.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Infect, Elves


Chad: A lot of people are making comparisons to Claim // Fame with this card and immediately dismissing it. I think that’s a bit disingenuous for two reasons. One, there are a number of great threes to hit, but Fulminator Mage is one of the big ones that come to mind. Two, being able to cycle this away when it’s a dead card is much better than the second half of Claim // Fame. I’m not sure that this card will see play, buts it’s miles better than Claim // Fame.

Drake: I love this card. It is situationally very powerful and cycles if it is dead. Big fan of the potential this card has but again, I don’t really think this card is what Modern is about. Unearth has seen play in Legacy decks supporting Snapcaster Mage and Leovold, but those decks have much more effective supporting tools in Legacy compared to their Modern counterparts. Black-based fair decks may be interested in some number of these anyway, but I suspect even then it will be in low numbers.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Death’s Shadow, Grixis Control, BGx Midrange

Kess, Dissident Mage

Chad: Grixis? In this economy? Sorry, it’s a no from me and that’s all I’ve got to say.

Drake: This card has a lot of the same problems as Unearth, but I actually think this card has a little more potential in the Grixis archetype. I would be interested to see if a discard-based Grixis midrange deck like the ones that used to support Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy can see a resurgence with this upgrade to their top end. Casting one mana spells out of your graveyard with Jace and Kess offers a lot of late game staying power using the same efficient, one-for-one spells you cast in the early game to survive. Those decks still may not be powerful enough, but I think it is certainly worth exploring.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Grixis Control, Grixis Midrange

Eladamri’s Call

Chad: The biggest potential of this card is in green creature combo decks. I could see applications for this card in Amulet Titan, Vizier Combo, Naya Breach, or Neoform Splashing white. For fair decks, it’s probably a bit too slow.

Drake: This card is a little less exciting to me than others. It’s a redundant tutor effect for decks that contain Devoted Druid, but it comes at close to the same rate that Finale of Devastation does and that card doesn’t see play. It is an instant and you can pay in installments, but it still does not seem like it will make the cut over cards like Eldritch Evolution or Collected Company.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Devoted Druid decks

Mox Tantalite

Chad: This card is pretty bad, there’s no way around it. However, if we reach down into the depths of tier three decks, I could see the Taking Turns deck using this. Turn one suspend Mox and Ancestral Vision is big game.

Drake: I know there is a common sentiment among Magic players that “all moxen are busted.” This is often a safe bet. The “fixed” moxen like Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, and Mox Opal have all proven to be very powerful cards. Recently though, moxen have taken a turn for the worse. Mox Amber has fallen flat, and I suspect this card is even worse than that. For the exact same rate, you can have a Black Lotus in the form of Lotus Bloom to power out combos. This card is not going to see play without some form of enabler printed.

Potential Modern Archetypes: N/A

Onslaught Cycling Lands

Chad: The Canopy lands are busted, I have no doubt about that. Having tap lands in your deck is slightly more precarious. I’d love to see these utilized in a Loam deck as a card advantage engine. However, I don’t think these should be played as incidental lands with cycling in decks beyond that.

Drake: This is evidence that they are really trying to push some iteration of a Lands deck in Modern. Life from the Loam is the clear thing to do with these cycle lands, but that kid of slow card advantage has not been what Modern has been about. There is a chance dredge plays one to two of these, but even there the cost of having a land that enters tapped in your deck is very high. I suspect these will see little-to-no play in Modern.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Life from the Loam decks

Wrenn and Sixx

Chad: Similar to the cycle lands, this card is powerful but needs to find the right shell. It’s a two-mana Crucible of Worlds that can gun down X/1s. Do not underestimate this card.

Drake:  This card is another fantastic enabler for all of the cycling lands and canopy lands we have talked about so far. Ironically, I am still more excited about the potential this card has in Legacy when paired with Wasteland. The Legacy Lands deck also may want some number of this card in their deck as another, cheaper Crucible of Worlds. In Modern, there is not enough disruption in lands to really make this card a primary strategy. I doubt this card will see play in Modern unless it has an entirely new archetype built around it.

Potential Modern Archetypes: N/A

Unsettled Mariner

Chad: Any time a reasonable one- to three-mana creature is printed, we have to look at the type line to see if it says Human. Changeling? Close enough.

As far as maindeck slots go, Humans is pretty locked at the moment. The last few flex slots typically come down to Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Kessig Malcontents, and Militia Bugler.

Against Burn, this card can be great on turn two. It either eats a burn spell or significantly taxes your opponent’s mana. Unfortunately the later you draw it, the worse it gets. It’s fine against Valakut, Ad Nauseam, Storm, and some other combo archetypes. I still believe the tools Humans have are much more potent than this card.

Drake: There is a lot to unpack with this card. First off it is a changeling, and as such the humans community was in an uproar about how good this card is. Likewise there was some conversation from the spirits and slivers communities with some of the same sentiments. Overall I feel like this card is very situationally powerful, but a little low on power level to make the maindeck of a deck like humans. The effect is very good against things like Valakut, discard spells, spot removal, and Burn. But the card certainly falls short when the disruptive element is ineffective. I am excited to try this card in the sideboard of humans, but I certainly am much lower on it than much of the others in the community.

Potential Modern Archetypes: Humans, Spirits


There’s certainly a lot to unpack with Modern Horizons and a lot of testing to he done. Where will you be starting? Did we miss any cards you’re excited about? Be sure to let us know on Twitter @TeamNovaMTG.

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