Modern, being a diverse format, gives brewers a multitude of options. Many Standard cards get experimented with in Modern, but very few actually hold a slot past this testing phase.
Claim // Fame is no exception. Once HOD spoilers were released, brewers locked into
Claim // Fame as a possible Modern up-and-comer.
The hype even pushed demand yielding a $2 price tag after release, but this quickly dropped below a dollar. Now the card has been relegated to brief appearances in Affinity and Shadow decks.
So the question becomes, is this card bad or has it just not found a home? I believe the latter.
Claim // Fame’s first half is very mana efficient for what you get. You're effectively getting a fifth copy of
Dark Confidant or
Death's Shadow. Given that the two decks best suited to use this card (Jund and Grixis Shadow) are light on creatures, these fifth copies make a awful lot of sense.
Second, adding an efficient
Unearth effect to Modern opens up a lot of options. Before, the effect was mainly committed to creature cards and high cost spells. With the first half hitting 2 CMC creatures, getting the extra mileage out of
Snapcaster Mage or
Vexing Devil will turn the corner in most games. Also, looking at the most recent Modern GP in Oklahoma City, if the meta continues shifting to larger threats, this will decrease the amount of
Lightning Bolts and
Fatal Pushes floating around which primarily has kept
Vexing Devil at bay.
Aftermath effects in HOD are generally over cost for what they do, but this is the trade-off for utility and throughout Magic’s history cards with versatility have been proven very powerful. That being said, Claim – a worse
Uncanny Speed – is nothing to reject either. The second half gives you velocity without taking up a whole slot. Perhaps
Claim // Fame can give Mardu the shot in the arm it needs to break from the Online scene and into tier status.
Sure, who wouldn't it rather be an instant? For high temp decks, the loss in speed by spending a mana to bring a creature back, without haste (or 3 mana to grant haste), can be unwanted. However, decks such as Counters Company (Creature Toolbox) where haste is not critical, one mana to reanimate a
Vizier of Remedies or
Tidehollow Sculler can be very impactful.
As sleepers often go, an innovative approach can take down a tournament. If you recall,
Death's Shadow did not start hitting the Modern scene until 2015 as a fringe zoo variant – five years after Worldwake. That being said, if
Claim // Fame is currently destined to sit on the sidelines, it will only be temporarily. More sets are being printed all the time, who knows what the future holds.