The natural progression when evaluating new cards begins with determining whether they have the power to compete in a given format. Last week I outlined the best card for every color from Phyrexia: All Will be One, which means it’s time to find decks that can maximize their strengths in Modern.
The cards that seem to have the most promise are The Mycosynth Gardens, Kemba, Kha Enduring and Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler. There are other cards from the set that will filter through to Modern, but I wanted to focus on those that will have a noticeable impact on the decks they’re in, instead of just becoming sideboard options.
Amulet Titan has been a Modern mainstay for years at this point. While the deck’s strength ranges between dominating the format and somewhere in the realm of tier two, one thing is always true: hands with two Amulet of Vigor are among the most powerful in Modern.
Urza’s Saga helped make finding Amulet (whether it’s your first or second copy) more consistent, and now the deck has a different approach to making the most of Amulets. The Mycosynth Gardens doesn’t help you find an Amulet, but it does add another layer of explosiveness, easily serving as a second copy of Amulet of Vigor once your first hits the board.
I like having access to an Expedition Map in this version of Amulet, as it effectively lets you tutor an Amulet of Vigor should you have the first one, but it can also get Urza’s Saga if you need to find the first one. Despite Amulet playing 34 lands, it can be tricky to fit multiple copies of The Mycosynth Gardens into the mana base.
Mono-White Hammer has always been more interested in going fast than having more interaction, like its Azorius counterpart. Given that Mono-White has a harder time defending its “combo” without cards like Spell Pierce and Teferi, Time Raveler, Mono-White really just needs more ways to put Colossus Hammer on creatures.
Traditionally, the card of choice to backup Sigrada’s Aid and Puresteel Paladin was Kor Outfitter — but Kemba, Kha Enduring fits the bill better. And despite Kor Outfitter going a bit faster by attaching a hammer to anything instead of just itself, Kemba is multi purpose.
Putting Colossus Hammer on Kemba sort of fills the Kor Outfitter role, but Kemba also addresses one of Hammer’s other struggles: having dead hammers in play. Puresteel Paladin is usually the answer to doing something with hammers that are sitting in play, but Kemba gives you some additional redundancy in that role and another mana sink outside of Urza’s Saga.
Kemba is a bit worse than the other enablers, and is legendary, which is why I’m only starting with two copies. However, we may see more of her in the future.
Devoted Druid has fallen off the map a bit in recent months, but it did see a resurgence at Star City Games Con, New Jersey, when Steven Borakove made the top 12 with the throwback combo deck.
This deck has historically struggled with removal spells, which are more popular in Modern right now than they have been in some time. Being a combo deck reliant on untapping with two small creatures can be rough, but Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler effectively gives the combo haste. That’s a big deal in the current landscape of Modern.
Not only does Tyvar save you an untap step, but it can either buy back dead combo pieces or possibly even help you dig for it. It is possible this deck wants more copies of Tyvar, but without disrupting the core of the deck, I think two is a solid place to start with a third coming out of the sideboard for removal heavy matchups.
As Phyrexia: All Will be One gets closer, we’ll start seeing which cards players build around the most, and next week which decks rise to the top. I’m excited to work on these decks more going forward to see if the new cards really do have what it takes, but I’m even more excited to see what other ideas players come up with in the coming weeks.
As always you can find me on Twitter @RappaciousOne for questions, comments and feedback. If you’re playing in pre-releases this weekend, I hope all of your pools are busted!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.