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Commander Masters 4.0 Hot Takes

Today I’m super excited to go over my favorite picks from the Commander Masters 4.0 expansion from Wizards of the Coast. What’s that? What do you mean, “what are you talking about?” You know what I’m talking about. The set with the enemy canopy lands and a literal, actual-ish Timetwister reprint.

Don’t sass me with that “actually, it’s called Modern Horizons, Johnny” crazy talk. You and I both know this is as much a masters set for EDH as Conspiracy, Conspiracy: Take the Crown and Battlebond ever was. In fact, I'm confident we can count on seeing more badly-needed high end EDH reprints and new bombs in non-standard sets like Modern Horizons instead of the Commander Preconstructed decks. Not that we can’t expect sweet goodies in the precons. I just personally feel Wizards is more likely to keep future Commander decks more entry-level like the Commander 2018’s that synergize with recent past and near future product lines vs something like the Commander 2016’s.

Tangents aside, I would encourage all EDH player to plan ahead for purchasing or trading for key cards in supplemental sets like Modern Horizons going forward, as they have proven to be rich in EDH resources. So let's take a look at some of the goods Modern Horizons is bringing to the table.

Wow Factor

mh1-46-echo-of-eons

I think it’s safe to say one of the most profound cards Modern Horizons brings us is Echo of Eons. For anyone newer to Magic, you just need to look to the past at Timetwister to get a feel for what I'm talking about. Timetwister doesn’t command the price it does just because of its rarity. It is a strictly better version of Wheel of Fortune and an insanely powerful effect in a format like EDH. Even with the doubled casting cost Echo of Eons is automatically going in any EDH deck running blue. The fact its flashback cost matches the cost of the original Timetwister makes this the closest we'll probably see to a reserve list reprint.

EDH also lends itself to filling the graveyard, so it's usually not going to be much of a challenge to skip the casting cost, and play this out of the yard. This card is going to break stalemates, combo like a boss, and see heavy abuse in any world with Narset, Parter of Veils. This is also a windmill slam for anyone running Nekusar, the Mindrazer as a commander.

mh1-57-mirrodin-besiegeda25-232-strionic-resonator

Next on Johnny’s Wow List is Mirrodin Besieged. The Phyrexian mode is busted even with the 15 artifact stipulation. As I mentioned, filling the graveyard's not a difficult task in EDH. Existing decks already run plenty of cards like Wayfarer's Bauble and Burnished Hart. Muldrotha, the Gravetide decks can easily shift into value artifact creatures like Wurmcoil Engine and Noxious Gearhulk if they haven’t already. Though what makes Mirrodin Besieged truly frightening is that fact that its second ability takes place on the end step.

This means if the artifact quota is met, players can expect less than one main phase to deal with this enchantment once it resolves. That is very significant considering this card is more likely to be kept in hand until that quota is met meaning spot enchantment removal and counter magic is more likely to be used up by the time it's played. This card also means graveyard hate just got WAY more important (as if it wasn’t already). This card will be hiding behind control shells so be ready.

By the way, be sure to run Strionic Resonator for extra value if Mirrodin Besieged is your kink.

mh1-217-wrenn-and-six

The third card I feel is significantly mind blowing from this set is Wrenn and Six. Lord Windgrace decks just got even more ridiculous with yet another Crucible of Worlds style effect in this card. Unlike Crucible of Worlds however, Wrenn and Six creates a sustainable yet fair draw engine with cycling style lands like Forgotten Cave. It also makes land-on-land destruction a bit more scary and efficient with Strip Mine effects, too. Then, as if Wrenn and Six wasn’t already the best 2 mana planeswalker in the game, its ultimate pops out an emblem giving all your instants and sorceries Retrace which is straight up bananas in Lord Windgrace. We’re talking deck-wide Retrace in brews known to run cards like Torment of Hailfire, Exsanguinate and Blasphemous Act according to EDHREC.com. Just stew on that for a minute as you imagine facing off against Lord Windgrace in the coming months. Make no mistake. Wrenn and Six is a kill-on-sight planeswalker.

Some Legendary Notes

mh1-29-sisay-weatherlight-captainuma-93-demonic-tutor

For the love of god! I get it! Urza, Lord High Artificer and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician finally have their own cards and all the vorthos junkies are losing their freaking minds. I’ve given them some thought and here are my hot takes.

Anyone who builds Urza, Lord High Artificer for EDH will quickly find out they built an Archenemy deck instead. Blue has numerous ways to loop out infinite mana making this deck an easy “Oops-all-spells” brew. If your EDH play group hasn’t figured this out already it will only take a single game to make you public enemy number 1. If finding yourself on the bottom of a dogpile is your thing, brew away my friend. As for Yawgmoth, Thran Physician I like the design of the card. Though I feel it is best suited to a lieutenant role for Aristocrat strategies. If I had to run a mono black commander designed to draw me cards, I’m more inclined to go with God-Eternal Bontu personally. These aren't my hottest takes however.

How about instead I make the case for Sisay, Weatherlight Captain as the coolest new commander showing up to the playground. Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is the latest installment of monochromatic legendary creatures with a WUBRG activated ability. In this case we are getting a specially curated Demonic Tutor on a stick. Now, at first glance this card may seem to have more drawback than upside versus the original iteration of Captain Sisay. Being restricted to only tutoring legendary permanents with converted mana cost less than the power of Sisay, Weatherlight Captain for a cost of WUBRG may seem like too much of a hurdle/limitation, but I think this is an easy puzzle to solve. With so many valuable targets for this ability to target the challenge is worth it. Boosting Sisay’s power beyond her built-in power buff with equipment and aura cards is an easy and early fix to make. Think Rancor and Bonesplitter as your budget friendly yet highly efficient starting points.

The other hurdle of the WUBRG activation cost is probably the bigger head game for players. Still, this one doesn’t scare me. Just think of it this way. For the cost of one Demonic Tutor and a Woolly Thoctar, you get to put a legendary permanent into play at instant speed. We have many options for getting this activation paid through mana-rocks, mana-dorks, specialty lands and enchantments. Some of my favorites for this problem in no particular order include, but are not limited to:

  • Signets (Dimir Signet)
  • Talismans (Talisman of Hierarchy)
  • Filter lands (Shadowblood Ridge)
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Bloom Tender
  • Smothering Tithe
  • Cryptolith Rite
  • Chromatic Lantern
  • Joiner Adept
  • Crystal Quarry
  • Cascading Cataracts
  • Literally every dual Land

Now we examine the final hurdle of the legendary requirement and why this card is so powerful. As I have mentioned already, and unlike Captain Sisay, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain tutors up AND puts into play ANY legendary PERMANENT, not just creatures. This matters in several ways but the biggest upgrade is probably the fact that you can tutor up your planeswalker of choice at instant speed. This is pretty huge. This new version of Sisay is a big step up for legendary tribal. I would even go so far as to say Sisay Super-Friends could give Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice a run for its money. Maybe more subtle but just as exciting for me are all the other legendary options you can fetch up.

I can see this flashing in Paradox Engine for infinite mana loops to tutor out half the deck. I can see equal amusement to be had when someone drops Dark Depths as a combat trick or at the end of someone’s turn with Thespian’s Stage in play. In the end this version of Sisay really allows legendary tribal substantial breathing room to better explore the options with direct support from a single commander. I feel Bant Control will be good starting point for this deck. Not sure how, but that’s my hunch.

From the Cheeky Factory

One of the other things I greatly enjoy about Modern Horizons are tributes to the history and pet archetypes. Newer players may miss some of the older references but the fun is there to be had by all. There are also some great synergies with old cards that showed up in the set. The following are some of my favorites.

mh1-161-deep-forest-hermit

Deep Forest Hermit is easily one of the funniest throwbacks to a tribe best described as nutty. Granted, squirrel tribal is a pretty niche archetype with a relatively limited card pool even with Modern Horizons, but I like where this is going. This is actually a slower version of Deranged Hermit which can be applied to graveyard brews to crank out squirrel tokens every turn. Still it is nice to get a second squirrel lord for all the EDH fans of chittering madness.

mh1-118-aria-of-flame

When I saw Aria of Flame my first thought was Tainted Remedy and how funny it would be to combo these cards in a Rakdos, Lord of Riots deck. In my head it’s all Magical Christmas Land, Rakdos in play with both of these cards AND all the EDH legal Eldrazi titans in hand. I know it’s crazy but I dream. Give it a spin. I think there’s fun to be had here.

mh1-138-pashalik-mons

In Pashalik Mons we get a goblin legend reaching all the way back into Magic history paying tribute to not one, but two of the oldest Goblin cards that ever existed in the game. The first of course is Mons Goblin Raiders, a 1/1 vanilla goblin for 1 CMC with a wall of flavor text that was nothing more then a place holder in the earliest days of any goblin deck ever. The second is only apparent in Pashalik’s activate ability which is a companion ability along side Goblin Warrens. Having a second version of the Goblin Warrens ability that cost one more mana to activate, only requiring 1 goblin to sacrifice and having a build in death trigger is actually an upgrade in my opinion. It doesn’t unseat Krenko, Mob Boss as the go-to commander for goblins in EDH but it sure does belong in the 99.

Finally as a parting note. For those of you out there thinking it’s going to be cute to go full Rite of Replication ham with your Unsettled Mariner in your Grand Arbiter Augustin IV deck, guess how many fingers I’m holding up right now ;)

Thank you once again for joining another installment of EDH thought soup by Johnny. I hope you enjoyed. Please feel free to check in with me on Twitter @JohnnySlivers.

Until next time, may your top decks be epic.

John

John Humphreys

John Humphreys

Husband | Father | Red Mage | Pauper Rube | EDH Casual | Tin Street Hooligan talking head | Cardsphere blogger impostor | Follow me on Twitter @JohnnySlivers at your own risk ;)

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