5 Underrated Commander Cards in Modern Horizons

5 Underrated Commander Cards in Modern Horizons

Jacob LacknerCommander

Modern Horizons 3 comes out next month. Like the previous two sets in the series, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that the cards in the set are going to have a massive impact on the format it’s chiefly designed for – Modern. 

However, it isn’t like Modern is the only format that Modern Horizons sets have influenced. In fact, the first Modern Horizons has had a massive impact on Commander. One of the set’s most important contributions to the format was finally completing the Talisman cycle. Now every color pair has access to one of these powerful mana rocks.

However, it’s the legendary creatures in the set that have arguably had the biggest impact on the format. Four of them are among the top 100 on EDHREC: Urza, Lord High Artificer (42), Sisay, Weatherlight Captain (46), The First Sliver (63) , and Morophon, the Boundless (70). 

So, despite not being designed with Commander in mind, Modern Horizons has had an outsized influence on the format. However, there are still some cards in the set that aren’t being utilized to their full potential by Commander players.

Underrated Commander: Pashalik Mons

Pashalik Mons
The 1,389th Most Popular Commander on EDHRec

There are a lot of Goblin commanders out there, but Pashalik Mons is a pretty unique take on one. He’s most interested in having your Goblins die and he even comes with a way to make that happen. While he might not be quite as good at making Goblin tokens as Krenko is, he’s pretty good at it. And making tons of tokens is particularly potent when they ping your opponent any time they die.

The best way to build around him is to lean into the sacrifice angle, and your best friends are going to be sacrifice outlets that don’t cost any mana. This is because adding the ping trigger to every sacrifice is a massive upgrade. Luckily, there are plenty of other Goblin payoffs that have free sacrifice effects.

Goblin Sledder can buff your creatures, Clickslither can buff itself, and Trashmaster can destroy a ton of artifacts.

The best of these free sacrifice effects has to be Skirk Prospector. Ramping your mana is great of course, but the Prospector can also enable some instant-win combos. If you pair the Prospector with Pashalik and Mana Echoes, for example, you end up with as much mana, as many tokens, and as many ping triggers as you want This is because any time you use Pashalik’s ability, you’re going to get a bunch of colorless mana from the goblin token. You need the Prospector to provide some Red mana to use your Commander’s ability again. From there, you just rinse and repeat.

Bazaar Trademage

Bazaar Trademage
Played in .0036% of Blue Decks on EDHRec

I’ve been doing this series for awhile and this is the most shocked I’ve ever been that a card sees so little play. The Trademage references one of the most powerful lands of all time – Bazaar of Baghdad – and while getting the effect on ETB isn’t nearly as good as being able to activate it every turn, this trigger is still pretty insane. And you even get it attached to an above-rate body!

Sure, you need the right deck for it. Otherwise, you end up going down cards. The trick is to play a deck that pays you off for discarding or having cards in your graveyard. When you do that, the Trademage’s ETB feels more like it’s straight up drawing you 4+ cards.

Rielle turns those discards into power and card draw, Muldrotha can easily get the cards you discard back, and Araumi can turn the discarded cards into fuel for her activated ability. Basically, if you’re playing a Commander that has the word “Discard” or “Graveyard” in the text box, you should seriously consider the Trademage.

Kaya’s Guile

Kaya’s Guile
Played in 1% of Orzhov Decks on EDHRec

Modality is inherently powerful, because it means a card can almost always have an effect that matters. And when you give a card a bunch of effects that are normally situational, that can be especially powerful because when those scenarios come up, you get insane value. Modality also tends to be at its best in Commander, because in a 4 player game you’re more likely able to take advantage of each effect.

With Kaya’s Guile, making all of your opponents sacrifice a creature and giving yourself a 1/1 flier is almost always going to be a pretty solid return on a three-mana investment. But sometimes you need life to stabilize or you need to go after graveyards to stop some shenanigans.

What really pushes Kaya’s Guile over the edge is Entwine. In the late game you can just get all 4 of these effects for six mana! And by that stage, it’s fairly likely graveyards will be well-stocked.

Alpine Guide

Alpine Guide
Played in .006% of Red Decks on EDHRec

Alpine Guide is a much more interesting card than it might appear at first. For one thing, it’s fairly unique in being a mono-Red card that can do the Rampant Growth thing. Red usually doesn’t get ramp that isn’t in Ritual form. And in fact, in most Red decks it’s better than that, because it can grab any land with the Mountain type, including a non-basic land.

Now the downside here is real. Because it has to attack every turn, you’re pretty likely to lose your mana advantage. Although you can still hold on to the fixing, since you can sacrifice a basic Mountain.

However, the best way to abuse Alpine Guide is to play him in a deck where you give your opponent your stuff. If you’re using Zedruu or Blim, you can reap the benefits of the Mountain this guy searches up, and then give it to your opponent. It can be especially powerful if they are a Red deck, since you basically end up netting yourself a land while destroying one of theirs.

Cabal Therapist

Cabal Therapist
Played in .009% of Black Decks on EDHRec

They like to go pretty hard on referencing old cards in Modern Horizons sets, and they often do it in a humorous way. That’s definitely what’s going on here, as this card is Cabal Therapy, but in creature form!

Effects where you have to name a card are inherently at a disadvantage in a singleton format like Commander (unless someone is going deep on Rat Colony). However, the Therapist’s ability is repeatable, so being able to name a card your opponent actually has isn’t that difficult. This makes him good alongside Commanders who like discard effects, like Tergrid or Tinybones.

The Therapist also gives you an optional free sacrifice effect every turn, meaning he’s also pretty good alongside sacrifice Commanders like Korvold and Juri.

End Step

All of these cards should definitely be seeing more play in Commander! What do you think, are there any other underrated Commander cards in Modern Horizons? Let me know over on X.