10 Modern Horizons Cards that Changed Commander Forever

10 Modern Horizons Cards That Changed Commander Forever

Kristen GregoryCommander

Modern Horizons sets generally aim to shake up Modern, but they inevitably appeal to Commander players too. Modern Horizons and Modern Horizons 2 both had a big impact on the Commander format. Here are 10 cards that have changed the face of Commander forever.


Before Modern Horizons, Commander players generally only got new cards in Standard sets and in Commander precons. Aside from the odd set like Conspiracy and Battlebond, new cards were introduced at a slower rate. Modern Horizons sets heralded a dramatic change of pace, and hundreds more cards started to enter the format each month. With Modern Horizons in particular, a big percentage of these cards were playable, compared with Standard sets.

Still, while that number only increases with Universes Beyond, there are some pivotal cards from Modern Horizons sets that have changed how Commander is played, and how decks operate. 


While I still think in vacuum Sword of Feast and Famine is stronger, I think the average use case of Sword of Hearth and Home makes it a better card. Equipment decks – and by extension white decks not in green – had previously only been able to rely on Sword of the Animist for land ramp, and a handful of treasure makers. Sword of Hearth and Home introduced another land ramp option with extremely relevant protection colors and a barnstomping second ability: blinking a creature.

Being able to blink the Stoneforge Mystic that searched this up in order to search again is a power move, and white decks in particular have a deluge of creatures worth blinking, including the Solitude that was printed in this set too. 


The best blink spell ever printed, Ephemerate had a huge impact on Pauper, and has been a mainstay in Commander players’ arsenals since it dropped. The ability to use it both proactively and reactively, as protection, as a value play, and the fact you get a free second copy propel this card to lofty heights. It’s played alongside key roleplayers like Dockside Extortionist, and is at the heart of many a combo. It’s good no matter what.


You know what landfall decks didn’t need? More mana. You know what green decks didn’t need? A second Lotus Cobra that can put that mana away for a rainy day. You know what those decks also didn’t need? Some extra lifegain to survive the pressure from aggro decks.

Tireless Provisioner is an incredible Magic card, and proves its worth in many green decks just by being all in on fetchlands and extra land drops, which you were going to do anyways. It’s responsible for fast starts in all sorts of decks, from Omnath to Miirym


Although Captain Sisay predates her, this Sisay arguably started the trend for Legendary-matters in Commander. It’s a truly broken card, all things considered, giving any deck worth its salt the ability to play an entirely reactive gameplan that can search up a toolbox answer for basically any situation. It’s a card that has aged like a fine wine, and one that has access to win conditions in other players’ turns, through cards like Abdel Adrian and Purphoros. It’s very hard to build a bad Sisay deck, and it’s still a force to be reckoned with in cEDH. 


Sythis gave enchantress players a two mana Enchantress in the Command Zone. Sythis also triggers other Enchantress and Constellation effects, gains you some life to top you up, and is in the best Enchantress colors. While the likes of Sigarda, Host of Herons will always be more attractive for Aura-based win conditions, Sythis is very comfy and remains the most popular choice.


Yawgmoth is like crack-cocaine for Aristocrats players. Never before had there been a sacrifice outlet that provided this much value, on a body that can block reasonably well. Yawgmoth feels like an auto-include in most black decks now, providing unrivaled card advantage, combo potential, and technically removal, too. There’s not much more to say here: he’s one powerful card.


Poetic, perhaps, that Urza comes next. Urza, like Sisay, is a prime cEDH Commander. The only reason it isn’t played much these days is because Kinnan is just better, and arguably the best deck in the format. Urza remains highly competitive in the rest of the Commander format, and is even a great option for budget brews, as Lenny proved with his Urza Gumball deck that sought to bring the power level down to a more casual level. It’s the fact it is both enabler and payoff on one card that makes it so good.


Perhaps one of the most loved white cards printed in recent memory, Esper Sentinel has been a huge pickup for decks across the format. From casual mono white decks, to equipment decks, to +1/+1 counter decks, right the way through to cEDH, where it’s a common turn one play that doesn’t feed the fish. 

Esper Sentinel is, incidentally, maybe my most removed card when I play it early. Yes, it’s that good that players go out of their way to slow its roll. I want to say it’ll be a while before we get any more white draw that’s this good, but we did get white’s true answer to Rhystic Study in Trouble in Pairs earlier this year, so who knows?


Urza’s Saga is technically playable in every Commander deck, and the only thing really stopping people is price. It would cost a serious bomb to put this in all of your decks, and technically you can live without it. In practice? It gets Sol Ring, Shadowspear, The Ozolith, Mox Amber… If you’re playing at higher power levels, up to cEDH, it also gets Mana Crypt, other Moxen, and even combo pieces. Outside of that, it also makes very strong Karnstructs, and triggers many Enchantress effects.


If there’s one card from Modern Horizons sets that changed Commander more than any other, it’s Academy Manufactor. While singularly not as powerful or format defining as some of the other cards on this list, I would argue that it’s pretty format warping. If this card was banned tomorrow, none of the casual Clue or Food decks would miss it, and it would arguably make those decks more consistent at representing what their average game looks like. 

We all know treasure is broken, but very much here to stay. And we all know that Dockside makes Manufactor a win condition with any amount of artifact burn. But, with every new card printed that makes these artifact tokens, Manufactor gets more and more silly, and I personally dislike the card a lot. It limits design space around these tokens. New cards like Officious Interrogation feel quite ridiculous when you can punish a deck curving out by spending two mana to make 18 artifact tokens. If two decks curved out? Well that’s four mana for 36 tokens, twelve of which are treasure. 

It’s too efficient, and when you combine all of the various synergies available with Manufactor as the piece in common, it’s safe to say that it has changed the format fundamentally for as long as artifact tokens are in vogue and for as long as we don’t yet have a good amount of splashable interaction to slow it down. 


Modern Horizons and Modern Horizons 2 both had some amazing cards, and impacted Commander as a format quite heavily. 

Modern Horizons 3 is looking to do the same, and though we won’t truly know how much of an impact it’ll have until we see the full previews, my front runners at the moment are Chthonian Nightmare and Flare of Denial, two spells that will undoubtedly see some amount of play in cEDH and at high power tables.