Commander Set Review – Modern Horizons (White)

Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 by KingRamz
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Posted in mtg, serious business

Good evening, folks. Poster KingRamz here. I pretty exclusively play Commander and Limited, and I have a problem – I fall in love with new cards constantly. Every time Wizards prints a new set, I ooh and ahh over all the new goodies and I start dozens of decks in my head and I think of all the reasons you might want to play a card like Glorifier of Dusk over, you know, a good card.

Recently, I had an epiphany. The Commander format is massive, but most of the cards in it are mediocre. Unexciting. Some of them are downright shit-ass terrible. And you know what? This is true of the new cards, too! I used to wait for prices to bottom out on a new set, then grab all the cards that looked interesting to me, figuring I’d save money that way. So I bought a lot of cards that got thrown in a lot of piles that they ended up getting cut from because they just didn’t bring enough to the table. Nowadays, I’m saving a lot more money by not buying the cards at all. Not until I’ve got the deck built and I know the card is going in, anyway. So I thought it might be fun to review all the new cards to help figure out ahead of time which ones are actually going to make it into a deck, and which ones are just going to end up as the 65th card every time. Or the 80th. Or the 129th.

If I didn’t talk about a card, you can assume I think it’s obviously unplayable (or at least, as unplayable as cards get in Commander).

 

Answered Prayers

First, let’s get this out of the way: do not play this for the life gain. If you want that effect, you can get it for one mana on Ajani’s Welcome. You probably also want to consider Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant and Auriok Champion. No, if you’re playing this, it’s because it’s a 3/3 flier that’s hard to kill with sorcery-speed removal. And that doesn’t really seem good enough – compare to Halcyon Glaze, a card which sees no play. If you’re looking for an early drop for your Angel deck, this card is not the answer.

 

Astral Drift

We already had Astral Slide. This is a slight upgrade overall if you’re a cycling deck, though realistically you’ll probably just run both. If you aren’t a cycling deck, Acrobatic Maneuver exists. This is probably better – you get to dodge mass removal and possibly remove a blocker, versus untapping a creature to block and triggering an ETB immediately. But I wouldn’t pay more than bulk price for this just to upgrade that card.

 

Enduring Sliver

Outlast for two mana is not good in this format. If you try to use Enduring Sliver to outwit and outplay your opponents, you are not going to survive.

 

Ephemerate

Cloudshift isn’t quite dead because it can blink Threatened stuff back to you to let you keep it permanently. But I mean, it’s pretty much dead. If you’re blink, strongly consider this card. You won’t find a better rate on two blinks anywhere.

 

First Sliver’s Chosen

Granting a bunch of creatures exalted is a powerful effect, and we’re all into new, shiny things. But it’s five mana, and for five mana you can cast Coat of Arms and then all of your slivers get to attack with an Exalted bonus.

 

Force of Virtue

This card doesn’t make me think any impure thoughts. For one more mana you get Dictate of Heliod. Yeah, you can cast it for free if it’s not your turn, but how often does that actually come up? The only thing that comes to mind is wanting it in response to damage or toughness-based mass removal, but this isn’t helping your stuff survive Blasphemous Act or Star of Extinction.

 

Generous Gift

Is this the first mono-white spell that can destroy target land? I think it might be. I don’t think that’s enough to save this card, though – white decks have plenty of tools to remove troublesome nonland permanents that don’t give your opponent the gift of a 3/3. The trick of killing your own thing to make a 3/3 is cute, but I’ve never really had it come up with Beast Within. Remember this card if you’re building a white deck that wants to make sure its opponents have creatures for some reason, but otherwise, just let the sleeping elephant lie.

 

Giver of Runes

Sure, I’m in for some runes. Turn one gets wasted so often in this format; I love one-drops that are still relevant on turn ten. We already had Mom, and she’s better than the Giver because she can protect herself, but any deck that wanted her probably also wants Giver (barring Human tribal). There’s enough artifact decks and Eldrazi running around that the colorless is not irrelevant, though the extra toughness usually will be unless your meta is pinger-heavy. I wonder if that Kor tribal deck I kick around periodically is at critical mass yet?

 

Irregular Cohort

Four mana for two warm bodies of whatever offbeat tribe you’re trying to build around is… not good, but irregular tribes like Scarecrows will take what they can get. At least it’s better than Changeling Sentinel. Just make sure you understand what you’re in for if that’s the bar a card has to clear to make it into your deck.

 

King of the Pride

Goes in a Cat (or Changeling) tribal deck and nowhere else. If you’ve got a Cat tribal deck, pick one of these up and put it in. No worries.

 

Lancer Sliver

Three’s too much. Run Striking Sliver or Talon Sliver (or both). For three mana you can get haste, Naturalize or shadow instead.

 

On Thin Ice

If you’re not snow-themed, the reasons to play this over Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile start looking pretty thin. It’s not that hard to kill a basic land in this format. If you are snow, then sure! It’s cool to be able to hit your removal spell off Scrying Sheets.

 

Ranger-Captain of Eos

I dunno, this guy isn’t doing it for me. If you’ve got one-drop creatures you want to go find, this guy’s underling will give you better value. I guess if you want to do something filthy on your turn you can sac him and make it a lot harder for your opponents to interfere with you. But if you want to lock your opponents down, there’s better ways to do it.

 

Reprobation

If you enjoy playing cards for meme value(you reprobate), this is a playable removal spell. It doesn’t compete with the premier white removal spells, but there’s something to be said for slapping it on someone’s Surrak Dragonclaw and loudly declaring said khan to be a coward. If that’s not what you’re into, I suggest looking at Darksteel Mutation instead – it’s a way more annoying way to lock down an opposing commander, since a lot of commonly-played sweepers will not put the afflicted creature back in the command zone.

 

Segovian Angel

It’s so hard to find good early drops in Angel decks; you might actually want to run this if you have enough stuff that cares about Angels. I mean, you probably don’t, but dammit, it’s a one-drop Angel! Yes, this card has definitely hooked me and run a line ’round my tongue. But outside of theme decks or a deck that just wants as many cheap evasive creatures as it can get (like maybe Derevi), don’t bother playing Segovian Angel – you’re just not going to get a card’s worth of value out of her.

Serra the Benevolent

Planeswalkers are pretty bad in Commander because people will take any opportunity they get to kill them for free. They soak a lot of hits from stray fliers or from early ramp dorks, and if they’re really threatening, the table will work together to remove them. Serra the Benevolent is different, though – she’s secretly a Serra Angel that comes with a free planeswalker. That’s something you can spend four mana on and feel pretty good about. Her ultimate makes you harder to kill but doesn’t directly threaten to kill anyone, so your opponents might be less inclined to spend resources to remove her. I wouldn’t run her unless my gameplan involved attacking with multiple fliers, but I could see her making it into an Angel tribal deck or a deck based around populating sweet tokens. And I mean, we’ve wanted Serra forever, and here she is! As for you lore nerds out there who’re upset we didn’t also get Feroz: You’re banned.

 

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
This is a Commander set review. Sisay is a WUBRG card. She’s with all the other multicolor stuff.

 

Splicer’s Skill

This card looks really interesting just because we’ve wanted to be able to splice onto anything for fifteen years now. Four mana is too much, though. I’ve never cast an instant or sorcery in Commander and thought to myself, “You know, I really wish I could also cast Hill Giant right now.”

 

Valiant Changeling

The body is reasonable, but the price isn’t. If you’re filling out a sparse tribe like Kithkin and you can reliably cast this for three or four mana, give it a shot. It’s probably pretty good if you’re doing a Changeling theme deck, and there’s some stuff like Kalemne or Rush of Knowledge that play nicely with 7 CMC spells that cost two or three mana.

 

Vesperlark

It doesn’t go infinite as easily as Reveillark, but there’s still plenty of value to be had here, if you’ve got the right mix of creatures. I wouldn’t run this if I didn’t have… oh, I dunno, at least ten potential targets.

 

Winds of Abandon

I really like the flexibility of this card. Two-mana sorcery Path of Exile is acceptable if unexciting. It gets a lot more interesting when you add a six-mana Plague Wind mode. Make sure you focus on your opponents with full grips first, because if you let them untap they’re going to dump their hands and you’re gonna have a bad time. I think it might be fun to cast this with something in play that punishes land drops – Ankh of Mishra, Polluted Bonds, Zo-Zu the Punisher, Sire of Stagnation, you get the idea.

 

Top Three

3. Vesperlark
2. Giver of Runes
1. Winds of Abandon

Winds is the only card I think has potential to go in most decks that can run it; it drops off pretty sharply after that. Serra’s close and when I first typed out the list she was third, but I think Vesperlark is more universally applicable. Ephemerate, Astral Drift and King of the Pride only go in one archetype, though I think they’re great in their respective archetypes. Overall, we get a solid addition and some role-players; there isn’t anything here that’s going to make waves in the format. White was the worst color in Commander before Modern Horizons, and it will continue to be so.

 
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