Modern Horizons 3 Commander Set Review

Modern Horizons 3 Commander Set Review

Kristen GregoryCommander

It’s the Modern Horizons 3 Commander Set Review. This one’s a real meaty review, as the set has just that many playables.

You can find other recent Commander set reviews here:

As always, we’re only looking at the all-rounders. For example, we won’t cover cards like Necrogoyf, Detective’s Phoenix, Eldrazi Linebreaker, or Primal Prayers that are very specific or only playable in one archetype. Additionally, due to it being a big part of this set, Colorless gets a section, as do MDFCs (Modal Double Face Cards). 

Let’s get this show on the road.


Kicking things off today with Colorless spells, in an Eldrazi set, is a Kindred Eldrazi Enchantment. Echoes of Eternity does what every Commander nut loves to do: it copies spells, and triggered abilities. It’s strong, and like most “expensive” spells needs to be evaluated in the knowledge that ramping artifacts to get to higher mana quantities is easier than doing it playing any color, barring perhaps green. Will eat removal.

Emrakul, the World Anew gives us another playable Emrakul for Commander. I don’t love that she basically invalidates creature-based go wide strategies; she’ll happily take that deck’s board, and you won’t ever get it back without Homeward Path, and worse, trying to get rid of her will get rid of your board, too. I think this’ll prove more disruptive than you’d think. 

Herigast is a neat Emerge build-around for mono red. Emerging Dragons from dorks and goblins is a sound strategy, and this could be a fun mono-red/artifacts deck in a similar vein to Chiss-Goria.

This Kozilek is kinda neat. For the most part, it’s a nine mana lord, which I’m honestly fine with. Having an opponent Manifesting is a neat way to draw out interaction or sandbagged cards, and most of the time you’ll target yourself with this unless you’re super far ahead and needing to strip hands of interaction.

Kozilek’s Command is a neat piece of interaction for colorless decks, but is kinda playable in artifact heavy decks too. Most of the modes are useable, and I like giving this to mono-red artifact decks as a way to interact on an axis mono-red struggles to: graveyards, and exiling creatures without damaging them. 

Ulamog, the Defiler might end up being more annoying than Emrakul in Casual Commander. In fact, I think this card is kinda nuts. Unless you’re on a combo deck, losing half of your library isn’t the absolute end of the world, but having a 12/12 or 13/13 with Annihilator of, on average, 5 or 6 coming at you with Ward: Sac two permanents is brutal. This thing isn’t a catchup card, it’s a kneecapper for whoever you just don’t want in the game anymore.

Two stax-lite artifacts appear at rare in MH3. Disruptor Flute will be underplayed in Casual Commander, but is actually a great tool to slow down game-ending Commanders like Zacama. Winter Moon is a lot fairer than Winter Orb, and though I think it’s pretty reasonable for mono-color decks to drop, the social contract is likely to keep it away from most tables.

Top 5 Colorless Common/Uncommons:

  1. Vexing Bauble – Will make a huge splash in both Modern and cEDH. Seems good in Casual Commander too.
  2. Null Elemental Blast – Solid removal for artifact heavy decks that will counter an annoying number of spells, not least Commanders.
  3. Glaring Fleshraker – Making spawns every time you cast a spell is excellent, especially when this is also an Impact Tremors for Colorless.
  4. It That Heralds the End – A two mana lord that also reduces cost? Nice.
  5. Breaker of Creation – A bit of cheeky lifegain stapled to a hard to interact with source of Annihilator. Good job it’s easy to trade with. 


Argent Dais is like Culling Dais meets Oblation. If you view this as card draw in a tokens deck with the occasional ability to remove a problem? I’d say this is pretty good. As repeatable removal only? I’m not so high on it.

There’s another cycle of free spells in MH3, and this time they ask that you sacrifice a nontoken creature of the same color. White’s is arguably the best, offering a protection spell and super-fog. Along with Teferi’s Protection, it’s going to make swinging at white decks even harder.

Check it out now, we got a funk-Soul Brother. Guide of Souls is a little tougher than his Soul Sisters, and gives a Kaldheim flavored ascension to Valkyrie for every three energy you can muster each time you attack. I like it a lot, and would play it over a Soul Sister in some decks. Others you probably run them all. 

Ocelot Pride is a boon for Cat decks, but more than that, it’s a token doubler for one. mana. Provided it lasts long enough, or you drop it late enough, it can seriously accelerate your game plan. I like this card a lot, as pushed as it feels.

Light-Paws a little too linear for ya? Well try Pearl-Ear, a more midrange variation of boggles for an Aura-Enchantress deck. This one’s a fun one, and we have an article on some choice Enchantments to run alongside it.

Wrath of the Skies is an energy-payoff wrath that can come down for cheap and wipe the board. What interests me here is that you can still pay five mana to get most of an Austere Command without being in an Energy deck. I think it’s good enough for other decks too. 

Top 5 White Common/Uncommons:

  1. Charitable Levy – It’s a tax piece that replaces itself and ramps you. Seems solid.
  2. Thraben Charm – I love flexible interaction, and this does just enough to be good.
  3. Essence Reliquary – Going all in for an attack in Enchantress will feel more comfortable.
  4. Guardian of the Forgotten – This seems great if you play ~35 creatures in a +1/+1 counters build.
  5. Mandibular Kite – Huge pickup for Nahiri, serviceable in Akiri and other go-wide modified builds.


Blue has some really sweet designs in this set. Amphibian Downpour could be a blue “wrath” if you’re playing cantrips and other low cost spells. Even getting three copies of this total will feel good for three mana; that’s the floor I want you to plan around.

Other blue designs are both interesting and pushed. Dreamtide Whale is basically never vanishing from play in Commander, because Commander players have Goopy Goblin Gamer Brain. That means that unless it eats removal, counters decks, infect decks, and Superfriends decks will have a 7/5 in play on turn three that can do what Atraxa does up to four times a turn cycle.

If this card scares you, let it scare you into running more wraths and more interaction.

Blue’s free spells is less exciting, owing largely to the fact we already have multiple free counterspells. This one’s more for Modern, which only has Force of Negation. A cheaper option, perhaps, and maybe one that’s more flexible than Force of Will for some decks.

“Flood Moon”, or “Merfolk of the Moon”? I don’t care, this thing is good. You’re going to have way more Merfolk players playing this than red players playing Magus of the Moon, and it’ll do a lot of heavy lifting in Merfolk decks, enabling Islandwalk and disrupting opponents. 

Hey, Outlaws of Thunder Junction Obeka players! It’s your DLC. 

Strix Serenade is a really cool one to evaluate. Is it good? Well, yes. Is it better than Swan Song? I wanna say that in Casual Commander it’ll be less relevant than Swan Song, despite being able to counter Commanders. However, in cEDH? Instant staple. 

Eldrazi decks and colorless decks get a free second copy of Cyclonic Rift, if they want it, that’s castable for free when they’re ahead. This card is very strong, and I’m thankful it’s going to be relegated to fewer decks, because it’ll feel backbreaking to be on the other end of. 

Oh hey, it’s one of the many cards from Reserve List: Reimagined Horizons. Volatile Stormdrake seeks to put Gilded Drake tech into the hands of pro-gamers. This is a really strong card, especially because it can be used as removal, too, by declining to pay the energy. Just a super solid card that will see a lot of play.

Top 5 Blue Common/Uncommons

  1. Kozilek’s Unsealing – honestly? Cracked card draw in big mana decks. Ramps you too, I guess.
  2. Emrakul’s Messenger – Free incidental Spawn creation on a two drop? Why not?
  3. Copycrook – Excellent in counters decks that runs creatures who want counters dumped on them.
  4. Roil Cartographer – a staple for energy decks in blue.
  5. Utter Insignificance – it’s expensive, but it’s mono blue removal that doesn’t leave a token behind.


Onto black, and another reimagined card, this time, Recurring Nightmare is Chthonian Nightmare. It’s harder to pronounce, harder to parse, and harder to break. Does that make it hardly worth a look? No, quite the opposite. It has combo lines, and it’s an altogether decent option. 

What is this card? Crabomination is wild. Getting to emerge it earlier off of an artifact is interesting, but you’re playing Californication for the EtB trigger. It’s random, but you’re sure to get at least one card worth casting. This just makes me think of Bou

Emperor of Bones is… really good? You get to set this up for no mana cost, and if you can’t get a counter on it in another way, you can just adapt it and get at least one thing into play for free. I have no words other than that this card is very, very powerful. The only thing holding it back is average game length.

The black Flare is decent, if unremarkable. A free edict, essentially, that you pay for like a lot of other edicts, by sacrificing your own thing. I think it’s good enough to see play, though, as I like Soul Shatter and Olorin’s Searing Light quite a bit.

Necropotence, but sugar free! New diet Necrodominance is less cracked, but just as playable. In most instances, it’ll do the same thing. You just can’t wait and pay life at other times.

Ripples of Undeath is the kind of self-mill I’ve been waiting for. I’ve never found it easy to fit cards like Oversold Cemetery into my lists, and have often found myself wanting some more proactive repeatable self mill that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Ripples of Undeath lets you retrieve an arm or a leg from what you mill for {1} and 3 life. 

Shilgengar is here not only to push the tourism economy of Lavender Town, but also to sacrifice Angels. Angels make a tasty snack, and in a felling-swoop, you’ll be able to engage a bloody stream and resurrect your big-bads as Vampires. Marlon Brando meets… Dio Brando.

Warren Soultrader isn’t the name of Ryan Sinclair and Ian Chesterton’s podcast co-host, though you’d be forgiven for checking twice with all the weirdly normal names in Magic. This Goblin isn’t weirdly normal, though – it’s anything but. It has eminently powerful creature types, and has a way to make a whole host of treasure tokens for a low investment. Finally a combo piece for Gravecrawler.

Top 5 Black Common/Uncommons:

  1. Eviscerator’s Insight – Another version of Thrill of Possibility, but in black, with flashback.
  2. Grim Servant – Tutor on a creature, based on devotion to black. Nice.
  3. The Creation of Avacyn – A slow way to cheat a creature from your deck into play, which seems fun.
  4. Consuming Corruption – Toshiro gets a new removal spell, as do most monoblack decks.
  5. Wurmcoil Larva – Cute throwback, but perfectly serviceable little card.


Ashling, Flame Dancer is a nice throwback to OG Ashling. It won’t go quite as nuclear, but it does keep your vehicle running without being so reliant on gas. She’s Solar powered, for 2024 Commander.

Flare of Duplication is a good effect that allows you to get a Dualcaster Mage for free by sacrificing one of your creatures.

I love effects like Bolt Bend and Deflecting Swat, and I also love Dualcaster Mage. Flare of Duplication is neither of those, but the most common use case for this is to sacrifice your creature that’s being targeted while creating a copy of the spell to aim at the original caster’s creature as a “gotcha” moment.

I know why we live in the x/4 age – to dodge Lightning Bolt – but it doesn’t make me happy in Commander. It’s pushing out the aggro decks that only just gained a foothold in the last few years. Anyways, Party Thrasher; shove it in an impulse deck like Prosper, block for days, get value. 

Powerbalance is the perfect “fun” card for EDH. Rather than saying “no”, this one says “sure, but Imma do this too”. I’d like to play with this card. 

Wheels are strong, and the recent design direction of making them optional makes them way less good at disruption. Not many people are going to happily exile their hand to this unless they’re basically hellbent. Still, it’s fine and more than playable for decks that want to use energy.

Top 5 Red Common/Uncommons

  1. Ghostfire Slice – More than just my MC name, this is a serviceable one mana removal spell for red decks.
  2. Siege Smash – Split Second shatter is cEDH playable.
  3. Glimpse the Impossible – It’s red Impulse draw, but you also get to hold on to what’s exiled by way of the yard.
  4. Unstable Amulet – plenty of cast-from-exile decks will enjoy a pinger.
  5. Furnace Hellkite – A nice throwback to Hellkite Igniter, and cheap to cast in most brews.


Taking the Birthing part from Birthing Pod, this end-step trigger is pretty nice in decks that like to throw big creatures around (looking at you, Henzie). What makes it good is that it’s only two mana.

Eladamri is a solid pickup for Elves decks, like most pushed Elves these days. I do think it’s worth a shot elsewhere, though, as it can cheat big creatures into play. Better Augur of Autumn in some decks.

Fanatic of Rhonas is another member of the big booty club, here to crush the hopes and dreams of weenie go-wide players everywhere. Dropping this turn 2 into a turn 3 fattie can let you play seven or more mana of spells on turn 3, which is wild. And if you do chump with it, you can eternalize it back. 

It isn’t the strongest card in the cycle, but it’s still pretty good if you want to be mana efficient or trade early drop low impact bodies for a free Cultivate.

Six is a lot of text for a three drop, and I’m kind of grateful it encourages you to get in the red zone and not just sit with a blocker. I think the retrace part will be key to “breaking” this card.

Sowing Mycospawn is Reap and Sow but an Eldrazi. I like that it exiles instead of destroying.

Springheart Nantuko is a very strong card. If you have struggles with Scute Swarm, then you’re going to struggle to answer this, too. I like this in Enchantress to copy Enchantresses a lot

Top 5 Green Common/Uncommons

  1. Monstrous Vortex – Did we need this card? Did anyone? Bonkers little uncommon. 
  2. Collective ResistanceDisenchant or Protection? Why not both.
  3. Evolution Witness – It’s an E-Wit that gets permanents back every time it gets a counter. Strong
  4. Basking Broodscale – This combos with a ham sandwich.
  5. Lion Umbra – Nice piece of Voltron/boggles tech. 


Arna Kennerud, Skycaptain is basically Syr Gwyn if you’d rather play blue. Copying equipment, auras and counters is sweet, and having a Flying Lifelink creature with an annoying Ward cost goes a long way to making her playable. Be sure to look into more niche equipment, and be careful with legendary ones.

In a format ruled by artifact tokens, Imskir is a super cheap beater that’ll refill your hand with ease. When you add a Bish and a Bash to your Bosh, you tend to powercreep older cards.

Invert Polarity is a super fun counterspell. Sure there’ll be times when you’d rather get one result and end up with the other, but try and view it as a slightly harder to cast Cancel that’ll sometimes give you a free spell. 

Nadu, in case you didn’t realize, is pretty broken. Using any equipment that has an equip 0 – like Shuko – you can get two triggers per creature in play, ramping and drawing a bunch of cards. cEDH viable for sure, and is very strong outside of that too.

This thing reminds me of the Thorian creeper from Mass Effect. Like the Thorian, it’ll spawn zombies once it has spread enough roots. The icing on the cake is giving lands in your yard dredge 2, cementing The Necrobloom as an Abzan alternative to the likes of Omnath, Lord Windgrace or Muldrotha for a lands deck.

Phlage might not be the greatest Titan, at least compared to its brethren, in Commander. It feels more aimed at Modern Burn decks splashing white. Still, in a Boros flicker/reanimator deck, it’s not the worst, and could slot into some Isshin builds too.

Wight of the Reliquary tutors any land into play. So Cabal Coffers, Urborg, Gaea’s Cradle, Field of the Dead… even Glacial Chasm. Eww. Almost as disgusting as this once-Knight’s pallid skin. 

Top 5 Multicolor Common/Uncommons:

  1. Cranial Ram – It’s another Cranial Plating, more or less. 
  2. Golden-Tail Trainer – Cost reduction and buffs for modified decks.
  3. Pyretic Rebirth – A raise dead that’s actually a removal spell? Bonkers value.
  4. Planar Genesis – Can I offer you an egg in this trying time?
  5. Cursed Wombat – As if counters decks needed another replacement effect. 


Modern Horizons 3 has a whole host of lands, including two land cycles, fetchland reprints, and loads of MDFC cards.

The mono color land cycle are mostly good enough to fit into any mono color deck. Of the options available, the best one is definitely green’s Shifting Woodland. It might be one of the most powerful cards in the set. I also like Arena of Glory, because it can give haste to two creatures. 

The “Landscape” cycle are solid options for budget color fixing, especially as they still tap for mana. They’re kinda like the Panoramas, but better.

Next up, Ugin’s Labyrinth, one of two cards that will light up Modern. In Commander? It’s a little harder to access an expensive card in a keepable opener, especially as you’re going down a card for the benefit, meaning you’re effectively down three possible cards. It’ll still overperform, though. Better to be lucky than good. 

Urza’s Cave is again less relevant in EDH than in Modern, where the land subtype is much more relevant. Still, it’s a four mana Sylvan Scrying that puts the land into play, accessible in every color. For that reason alone, I think it’ll be highly playable. 

This set has loads of MDFCs, and some are more playable than others. Ajani, Nacatl Pariah is one I think is a little less good outside a Cats deck, but considering you can get it to ultimate pretty easily, it’s worth a look if you’re doing Superfriends in these colors. 

White’s best (read: most universal) offerings are instead in Razorgrass Ambush and Witch Enchanter, two effects you’re happy to put into the manabase and enjoy. You have to pay 3 life to get these as untapped lands which can start to add up, so be careful if you have Ancient Tomb as well. 

Tamiyo is a sweet build around Commander, offering a nice little hoop to jump through and a reasonable value engine on the other side. She makes a good Commander for a midrange Simic advantage pile (so any Simic deck, lol). 

Blue’s MDFCs are also useful effects. Redirecting a spell is clutch, and having a bounce effect is a nice way to buy a little time. 

Sorin of House Markov is at home in aristocrats and lifegain, which is where you’re going to end up playing him. His downtick that deals damage to any target based on your life gain this turn is a nice nod to OG Sorin Markov, and can undoubtedly cause just as much havoc – if not more. 

Black’s MDFCs are a nice throwback to Bojuka Bog, and a straight up removal spell. Wizards is trying to tell you that you have no excuse not to run more interaction

Ral, Monsoon Mage is a really cheap cost reducer for just two mana. There’s a reason for that; you have no control over losing that cost reducer. Thankfully, when he flips, you can opt for further cost reduction if you don’t want to downtick him. A fun little sidequest of a Commander, but not quite best in class.

The Golgari MDFC Commander is Grist, Voracious Larva. It cares about the yard, like previous Grist, and flips pretty easily. As far as putting it in the Command zone, I probably wouldn’t. It’s better as a chump blocker and occasional Disenchant in a dedicated reanimator pile. 

More removal on green’s MDFC land Bridgeworks Battle, which gives you a handy buff in order to initiate a fight. It’s nice to see more removal that ordinarily feels quite low EV on a land. Disciple of Freyalise, meanwhile, is Disciple of Bolas, but for 6 mana, stapled to a land. It’s a frighteningly good combo. 

Not content with mono-color land offerings, there are also some dual-color MDFCs that have a tapped dual color land on the back of a hybrid spell. 

The Boros MDFC Legion Leadership is right up my alley – and not just because it’s Boros. You can target anything with this, so you can give someone else’s Commander “A little nudge out of the door”. Before you know it, they’ve reclaimed Erebor and eliminated someone with Commander damage. 

Not all of the dual-color ones are created equal. Some are pretty decent, like Revitalizing Repast, while others seem outright cracked, like Strength of the Harvest.

Still, the ones that are effects you’d usually want anyways – like Stump Stomp and Waterlogged Teachings – are the cream of the crop.


What even is Modern Horizons 3?!

It’s one of the craziest sets of all time, that’s for sure. Now that I’m done reviewing it, I’m probably spending that paycheck on singles… 

What will you be grabbing?