Top Trades: June 17-June 24

Harvey McGuinness • June 27, 2024

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope y'all are doing well. The numbers are in, a week has gone by, and now it's time for another installment of Top Trades chock full of even more Modern Horizons 3 than last week. How, you ask? Well, let's get right into it and find out what's been moving here at Cardsphere.

Honorable Mention - Evolution Witness

Number of Trades: 20 --- Number of Cards Traded: 26

Just like last week, this week's honorable mention is also our previous week's most traded card. A pseudo-Eternal Witness with +1/+1 counter synergies, Evolution Witness combines two potent ingredients that make for a popular card: a nod to nostalgia (I mean, who among us doesn't know Eternal Witness) and breakability. Sure, it won't be flickered in endless loops the same way Eternal Witness often is when deployed on the strongest of tables, but it will most definitely trigger over and over again when placed into the right deck. Who doesn't want to just pick up their graveyard every turn?

#5 - Winter Moon

Number of Trades: 19 --- Number of Cards Traded: 20

Speaking of synergy-laden nostalgia nods, let's talk about Winter Moon. With a name that harkens back to two of Magic's earliest stax pieces (Winter Orb and Blood Moon) and an effect that makes me miss my days of playing Back to Basics in Legacy, Winter Moon promises to both reward decks that play fair mana bases and punish those who do not. While it may at first seem weaker in comparison to its namesake Winter Orb due to its comparatively restricted effect (restricting the untapping of nonbasic lands vs all lands), this is actually an excellent opportunity for breaking parity. Slot it into any and every low-color deck and voilà - a one-sided Winter Orb.

#4 - Disruptor Flute

Number of Trades: 19 --- Number of Cards Traded: 22

Next up on our list is another stax piece, and that's Disruptor Flute, the newest noncreature spinoff of Meddling Mage.

Where to start? Well, let's begin with the wild amount of flexibility which Disruptor Flute offers. Containing no colored mana in its cost definitely helps here, but the real potential of Disruptor Flute comes in the flash keyword. It's rare to see a stax piece that can be cast at instant speed, especially one that lasts beyond the endstep, but nonetheless Disruptor Flute is here to stay.

Once you've actually resolved Disruptor Flute, you're left with a single-card cost increase that just short of makes whatever you name uncastable (is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger still viable at thirteen mana?), at least for the time being. Plus, even if someone does decide to cast the named card, then its non-mana ability is going to be turned off as well, further neutering a key threat.

Again, I can't stress how much the flash keyword matters here - use Disruptor Flute as a response to a spell with spooky activated abilities, in an opponent's early phases of the turn to preemptively shut off something from being cast, or even in an end step to make use of unspent mana. It's all upside here.

#3 - Vexing Bauble

Number of Trades: 21 --- Number of Cards Traded: 29

Truth be told, I'm still not sure how to feel about Vexing Bauble, but the people over here on Cardsphere and beyond sure are loving it, so there's definitely something here.

For one generic mana, Vexing Bauble is an artifact that reads "Whenever a player casts a spell, if no mana was spent to cast it, counter that spell," as well as "One Generic, Tap, Sacrifice Vexing Bauble: Draw a card." That first line of text has proven popular in many non-blue higher-powered Commander lists, as for one mana Vexing Bauble shuts down all free interaction that might otherwise disrupt your combo turn. Force of Will, Pact of Negation, etc. - all shutdown thanks to this little Bauble. Plus, if things go awry and you need to enable your own free interaction (or another player's, if making a deal in a multiplayer pod), Vexing Bauble's got you covered there, too. Not too shabby.

#2 - Four Mono-Color MDFCs

Total Trades: 83 (Max: Witch Enchanter - 22, Min: Fell the Profane: 20)

Total Cards Traded: 106 (Max: Witch Enchanter - 31, Min: Fell the Profane: 23)

Alright y'all, this one's a doozy so settle in. This week we have not one, not two, but four MDFCs, each of which shares the oh-so-popular (and powerful) ability to enter the battlefield untapped at the cost of three life. So, where to begin?

In our first week of Top Trades, we saw just how powerful the combination of an untapped land and a card that did basically anything half decent was. I'm talking, of course, about Disciple of Freyalise, our first week's most traded card as well as last week's honorable mention. Well, the momentum definitely hasn't stalled on this one, as it has now reached our list for three weeks in a row. Quite the record.

Expanding on this sentiment, each week has seen some member of the Modern Horizons 3 mono-colored MDFC cohort pop up, with last week's breakout star being Hydroelectric Specimen. Unlike Disciple of Freyalise, the momentum on Specimen has cooled a bit, but blue is far from giving up a spot on the list this week - instead, we have the instant Sink into Stupor, a powerful Unsubstantiate with a mana cost that is very reasonable considering the flexibility which being an MDFC offers. Honestly, I'm surprised it took so long for this member of the cycle to pop up on our list, as it is by far one of the most popular MDFCs in competitive circles.

But wait, there's more! Beyond Disciple of Freyalise and Sink into Stupor, our list also contains another creature courtesy of Witch Enchanter as well as another noncreature MDFC via Fell the Profane. Both are removal effects, with Witch Enchanter being a Disenchant stapled onto a four mana 2/2, while Fell the Profane is a good ol' fashioned Hero's Downfall that costs just one generic mana more.

#1 - Urza's Cave

Number of Trades: 28 --- Number of Cards Traded: 34

At first, I didn't think too much of Urza's Cave, but then I lost to it twice in a row this week after a Thrasios, Triton Hero player in my cEDH pod was able to crack it for a Gaea's Cradle and go nuts. Needless to say, I won't second guess a land-based tutor least for a while. So, what exactly makes this such a good card? Well, let's take it piece by piece.

The first most important thing about Urza's Cave (other than being an Urza's land, for all you Urza's Workshop players out there) is actually the line of text it doesn't have: "This card enters the battlefield tapped." Despite being an uncommon, Urza's Cave enters the battlefield ready for action, and that makes all the difference. Couple that with its first line of text - the simple mana ability of "Tap: Add a colorless mana" - and now you really aren't punished for playing this card. Sure, it isn't a colored mana, but that really doesn't matter here, and we'll see why in just a moment.

Outside of the Gaea's Cradle players I mentioned above, the plurality of uses for Urza's Cave will be to fetch up a a key land for a larger gameplan revolving around colorless mana. Missing a Tron land? Sacrifice Urza's Cave and go find it. Twelve-Post need another Locus? Well Urza's Cave has got you covered.

Urza's Cave is an excellent land that packs both the flexibility and immediacy necessary to make it a truly viable card across power levels. Don't sleep on it like I did - it really can shift a game in an instant.

Wrap Up

If this week taught us anything, it's to never underestimate the potential of untapped lands. Whether they only add colorless mana or bolt you upon entering the battlefield, it hardly seems to matter. Providing mana along with doing just about anything else is a powerful combo, so keep an eye out when you come across these cards in the wild.