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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Sep 26 2017 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Modern Musings!  With Ixalan's arrival we are seeing Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch rotate out of Standard.  These sets, perhaps more than most, had a fairly substantial impact on Modern so there are quite a few cards worth picking up for your Modern collection as Standard players are looking to sell off their rotating cards.  Rotation is a great time to grab a bargain!

For clarity, all prices were taken from MTGOTraders.com at the time of writing.  All prices are for MTGO and do not reflect the price or value of these cards in paper.  Please also note that the prices were correct at the time of writing but all prices are subject to fluctuation so are unlikely to be 100% accurate by the time you are reading this.

I reviewed all four of these sets for Modern purposes when they were released if you'd like to go check out the old articles.  It's kind of interesting to see how I evaluated cards and how far off I was on some.  Click the links for the Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon reviews.  I think my biggest miss was failing to even feature Thought-Knot Seer in my OGW review, which turned out to be the biggest card in the set.

White

Blessed_Alliance
Blessed Alliance
Cost: 0.08 tix

A solid utility card that also gives white a type of removal it isn't used to having.  The removal mode is certainly substantially better than the other two modes but it's always good to have options.  A strong sideboard card for white decks.

Gideon_Ally_of_Zendikar.jpg
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Cost: 6.25 tix

Not really a staple of any deck but a very solid and powerful planeswalker.  Has seen some play in UW Control decks and also Smallpox decks thanks to its repeatable token generating.  A very good card but not a staple Modern card.

Selfless_Spirit
Selfless Spirit
Cost: 1.02 tix

Selfless Spirit is a powerful utility creature on a nice and aggressive 2/1 flying body.  Being able to protect your whole team from mass removal or a particular creature against targeted removal is really good.  Spirit has found a home in Collected Company, Hatebears and other creature focused decks that are looking to swamp the board.

Thalias_Lancers
Thalia's Lancers
Cost: 0.01 tix

SaffronOlive shared a sweet Mono-White Devotion deck that makes use of the new Legendary Planeswalker rule to turn Lancers into a tutor for Planeswalkers.  This means you can tutor up your Gideon of the Trials or a host of other potential targets with Lancers.  At 5-mana Lancers is expensive but it's a big creature and a much more powerful tutor now it can search for Planeswalkers.


I'd say the list could probably do with some tweaking but the concept is super cool.  Thalia's Lancers could be a sleeper hit for the future.

Thalias_Lieutenant.jpg
Thalia's Lieutenant
Cost: 0.19 tix

A very powerful creature for Human Tribal decks.  It pumps all your Humans on board and then grows with each subsequent Human that hits the board.  A very powerful and cheap creature for Human tribal.

Thraben_Inspector.jpg
Thraben Inspector
Cost: 0.04 tix

A solid one-drop that gives you a clue to draw a card later.  It's also a Human which means it works with the ever-growing Human tribe.

Blue

Mausoleum_Wanderer
Mausoleium Wanderer
Cost: 0.42 tix

A pretty powerful one-drop in a Spirit Tribal deck.  Not a deck that is taking Modern by storm but it has put up some results in Competitive Modern Leagues.  Wanderer gets bigger whenever a Spirit enters the battlefield, which can create some fun antics with Collected Company, and also has the ability to be an effective Force Spike or more against opposing spells.  Fulfills a similar role to Cursecatcher in the Merfolk deck but is actually a much better card generally.

Part_the_Waterveil.jpg
Part the Waterveil
Cost: 1.76 tix

A very niche card but one that was perfect for the Taking Turns/Time Walk Modern decks.  It is a Time Walk effect that has an inbuilt way to finish the game in the form of the Awaken ability that turn one of your lands into a 6/6.

Thing_in_the_Ice.jpg
Thing in the Ice/Awoken Horror
Cost: 0.43

I was really excited about the possibilities for this card when it was printed.  It saw quite a bit of play some time ago but has fallen out of fashion more recently.  Still a very good card that could see more play in the future.

Black

Collective_Brutality
Collective Brutality
Cost: 13.34 tix

This an excellent utility spell that has found its way into the main decks and sideboards of many black decks.  It can act as discard, removal and/or life gain depending on your needs and all those modes are very useful.  Far and away the best Escalate card printed.

Kalitas_Traitor_of_Ghet.jpg
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Cost: 3.99 tix

Kalitas has become the 4-drop of choice for many GB and GBx decks in Modern.  It's body sees it out of Bolt range, lifelink can be useful in various games and probably most important is its ability to create 2/2 Zombies and prevent opposing creatures from going to the graveyard.  Kalitas hoses various graveyard shenanigans while also providing you with an increased board presence when you successfully kill off your opponent's creatures.

Very popular card and I think it's probably worth picking up a couple of these.


Liliana_the_Last_Hope
Liliana, the Last Hope

Cost: 21.75 tix

Currently the most expensive card from all of the rotating sets.  Liliana, the Last Hope takes after her older self Liliana of the Veil as a very powerful 3-drop planeswalker.  Liliana, the Last Hope is even stealing spots away from her veiled version in some decks and sideboards.  Liliana protects herself well, can buy back powerful creatures from your graveyard and her ultimate creatures a pretty ridiculous board state if necessary.

Painful_Truths.jpg
Painful Truths
Cost: 0 .09 tix

Once upon a time this was a card that was seeing quite a lot of play in Modern.  These days it seems less prevalent but it's still a very good card.  Thanks to the great mana in Modern it's easy to play this as a 3-mana spell that draws 3 for 3 life.  That's powerful card draw in a very splashable form.

Relentless_Dead.jpg
Relentless Dead
Cost: 1.54 tix

I am a bit loath to mention Relentless Dead as although it a very solid card I can't say it's really any great impact on Modern.  That said it is a very good card for a Zombie tribal deck.  As it stands Zombie tribal is not a deck that is taking Modern by storm but who knows what the future holds.

Red

Bedlam_Reveler
Bedlam Reveller
Cost: 0.24 tix

Has seen some play in some Prowess-focused decks that use it alongside cards like Monastery Swiftspear and Kiln Fiend for quick kills.  Certainly not a Top Tier deck currently but it has put up a few results.

Chandra_Flamecaller.jpg
Chandra, Flamecaller
Cost: 0.97 tix

Worth a brief mention.  Chandra, Flamecaller is a great top-end walker with the power to produce a kill out of nowhere, draw cards or even wipe the board.  Chandra has seen a bit of play, usually as a 1-of, in Blue Moon, Skred Red and Ponza decks as a top-end threat.

Insolent_Neonate.jpg
Insolent Neonate
Cost: 0.01 tix

A rather innocuous creature but one that has become a staple of Dredge decks.  It's rather uniquely worded sacrifice effect allows Neonate to be a discard outlet and to allow an instant dredge thanks to the card draw it allows.  Very powerful for Dredging early.

Goblin_Dark_Dwellers.jpg
Goblin Dark-Dwellers
Cost: 0.06 tix

For a time Goblin Dark-Dwellers paired with Ancestral Vision was the hottest tech in Modern.  That time has since passed but Dark-Dwellers is still a nice top end playable in the right deck.  It's also a card that may have some sort of combo potential in the future.

Reckless_Bushwhacker.jpg
Reckless Bushwhacker
Cost: 0.12 tix

A card that led to a lot of fun brews.  It's attack boost rewards you for dropping a lot of creatures on the board and Bushwhacker made its way into a lot of Zoo decks.  The popularity of those decks has died down somewhat but still a really good card.

Green

Nissa_Voice_of_Zendikar.jpg
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Cost: 1.55 tix

A pretty solid planeswalker.  Nissa, Voice of Zendikar hasn't really found a home in Modern but there are some cool Hardened Scales brews and also some Super Friends brews featuring this 3-mana walker.

Tireless_Tracker.jpg
Tireless Tracker
Cost: 1.07 tix

Tireless Tracker has been finding its way into GBx and Junk decks.  An aggressive creature that can generate a lot of value paired with Modern's fetchlands.  The clues give you a way to draw the cards and sacrificing clues also grows the Tracker to make it a bigger a threat.

I have been playing a GB Rock deck in Modern recently that uses this guy and I have to say I was very impressed.

Traverse_the_Ulvenwald.jpg
Traverse the Ulvenwald
Cost: 0.23 tix

A very powerful tutor once you are able to reach Delirium and one that has seen considerable play in recent times.  Most prominently it has appeared in Death's Shadow decks as a way to tutor up the deck's namesake card.

Multi-Coloured

Bring_to_Light.jpg
Bring to Light
Cost: 0.10 tix

Bring to Light was the preferred method of playing the Scapeshift combo for a time.  More traditional versions seem to be ruling the day at the moment but this is an interesting variant.

Grim_Flayer
Grim Flayer
Cost: 7.25 tix

Grim Flayer is a card I underestimated as I didn't think Delirium would be all that exciting in Modern.  However, a 2-mana 4/4 trampler is formidable and it then allows you to manipulate your library when it hits.  A popular sidekick to Tarmogoyf these days in Modern.  Definitely worth picking up a playset in my view.


Nahiri_the_Harbinger.jpg
Nahiri, the Harbinger

Cost: 5.23 tix

A planeswalker that I very much underestimated.  Nahiri made a pretty big impact on Modern being a centrepiece of numerous Control style decks that would tick her up to her ultimate and then finish the game by tutoring up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.  In the current metagame, Nahiri seems to have fallen out of favour but make no mistake she is a powerful planeswalker and one that could rise in popularity again someday.

Prized_Amalgam.jpg
Prized Amalgam
Cost: 0.25 tix

Amalgam has become a big part of Modern Dredge decks.  The re-ban of Golgari Grave-Troll has hurt that deck somewhat but it is still about and Amalgam is playing it's role.

Reflector_Mage.jpg
Reflector Mage
Cost: 0.09 tix

A top card in Collected Company and Human decks.  So good it was banned in Standard, Reflector Mage is a decent sized body with a powerful bounce effect.

Spell_Queller
Spell Queller
Cost: 3.59 tix

A powerful 3-drop that can, at least temporarily, counter a spell as it comes into play.  It's thoroughly Bolt-able body made me doubt that this would see Modern play.  However, Spell Queller has seen play in Collected Company decks and UWx Midrange/Control decks.

Colourless

Eldrazi_Displacer.jpg
Eldrazi Displacer
Cost: 1.64 tix

Eldrazi Displacer was quickly adopted by Death & Taxes (or Eldrazi & Taxes as it has become known) decks and has become a staple card of that deck ever since.  Being able to cheaply to blink your creatures to reuse their ETB effects or to prevent an opposing attack is pretty powerful.  Displacer has a lot of applications on a good-sized body.

Endbringer.jpg
Endbringer
Cost: 0.29 tix

A formidable creature on board that can cause a lot of problems for the opponent.  Endbringer has a series of powerful abilities and untaps on your opponent's untap step so you can use them more than once.  It also lets you draw additional cards which is pretty insane.  A ton of value to be gained from this card and it has become a staple of Eldrazi Tron decks.

Emrakul_the_Promised_End
Emrakul, the Promised End
Cost: 3.33 tix

Not as universally adopted by Tron decks as some of the other Eldrazi but the latest Emrakul is seeing play.  It can be significantly discounted and is very deadly when it hits the board.

Flaying_Tendrils.jpg
Flaying Tendrils
Cost: 0.01 tix

Infest with upside.  Flaying Tendrils currently sees quite a lot of play in Modern sideboards.  It's a board wipe against a lot of creature heavy decks and has the benefit of exiling the creatures.  I think it is mostly targeted at the Vizier Company decks as it prevents Persist shenanigans and also stops cards like Eternal Witness and Renegade Rallier being used to get back the creatures you killed.

Kozileks_Return.jpg
Kozilek's Return
Cost: 2.17 tix

Kozilek's Return is an instant speed Pyroclasm which makes for an excellent end of turn or mid-combat sweeper.  It also is Devoid so it's capable of killing creatures such as Kor Firewalker and other creatures with protection from red that normal red sweepers can't touch.  Useful card that has found its way into a lot of sideboards.

Matter_Reshaper.jpg
Matter Reshaper
Cost: 0.90 tix

On the smaller end of the Eldrazi spectrum, Matter Reshaper is an aggressive 3-drop (or preferably a 2-drop) that can drop a permanent onto the battlefield or draw you a card when it dies.  Good value.

Reality_Smasher.jpg
Reality Smasher
Cost: 1.72 tix

The heavy hitter of the new Eldrazi cards.  Reality Smasher hits hard and fast and is also difficult to kill with standard removal spells without expending two cards.  A staple of the vast majority of Eldrazi decks.

Thought_Knot_Seer.jpg
Thought-Knot Seer
Cost: 8.71 tix

Thought-Knot Seer was one of the most popular and oppressive Eldrazi creatures of the Eldrazi Winter.  With Eye of Ugin now banned it is much less oppressive but still very powerful.  Being able to remove a card permanently from your opponent's hand is great and as a 4/4 body it is difficult for your opponent to get that card back.

The Eldrazi have taken multiple formats by storm so it is unsurprising that this is still a very sought after card.

Ulamog_the_Ceaseless_Hunger.jpg
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Cost: 4.24 tix

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger soon became the huge creature of choice for Tron decks which is unsurprising when you consider how awesomely destructive it is.  Exiling two permanents when cast is a huge game and there after if Ulamog doesn't beat you to death it can just also easily mill you to death.  Ulamog actually isn't played as heavily as it once was due to the plethora of other powerful and cheaper colourless creature options but still sits as a top end card for Tron decks.

Warping_Wail.jpg
Warping Wail
Cost: 0.06 tix

A very good sideboard card.  Capable of acting as removal or an unexpected counterspell or even generating a 1/1 Eldrazi Scion.  Gives colourless decks some options they didn't have previously.

Wasteland_Strangler.jpg
Wasteland Strangler
Cost: 0.24 tix

The Eldrazi creature that started seeing play and making an Eldrazi seem viable before Oath of the Gatewatch blew the bloody doors off and the Eldrazi Winter ensued.  Discounting Wasteland Strangler and pairing it with Relic of Progenitus or Path to Exile to turn it into removal was pretty good.  Still sees some play in the Eldrazi & Taxes decks though not as prevalent as it once was.
 

World_Breaker.jpg
World Breaker
Cost: 1.45 tix

Another higher end Tron threat.  World Breaker exiles an artifact, enchantment or a land which makes it a great answer to a troublesome permanent.  It can also be tutored up with Sanctum of Ugin.  You can also buy it back from your graveyard if it happens to end up in the graveyard.

Lands

Shambling_Vent.jpgWandering_Fumarole.jpg
BFZ/EMN Enemy-Colour Creaturelands
Cost:
Shambling Vent 1.32 tix
Wandering Fumarole 0.65 tix
Hssing Quagmire 0.46 tix
Needle Spires 0.35 tix
Lumbering Falls 0.25 tix

Battle for Zendikar saw the arrival of the much anticipated enemy-colour creaturelands.  Shambling Vent is probably the one that has seen the most play but they are all good cards that could see play in the future.

 Cinder_Glade.jpg
BFZ Duals
Cost:
Cinder Glade 0.26 tix

The BFZ duals have dual land types which means they can be fetched up but basic lands are not prevalent in many decks.  Cinder Glade seems to be the main one that has seen play in Scapeshift decks.   Scapeshift likes the card as Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle cares about Mountains and the decks ramps into multiple basics early so the drawback is minimal.  Otherwise, these duals don't really fit in that well with Modern in its current form.

Sanctum_of_Ugin.jpg
Sanctum of Ugin
Cost: 0.12 tix

With Eye of Ugin being banned, Sanctum of Ugin does a job of filling in as a tutor for Tron decks.  It's not nearly as good but a good way to search up the Eldrazi of choice for your following turn.

Sea_Gate_Wreckage.jpg
Sea Gate Wreckage
Cost: 0.14 tix

Sea Gate Wreckage is a land that can help you draw cards when you are Hellbent.  It has been a feature of Eldrazi Tron decks and has also seen play in Affinity and Hatebears.

Westvale_Abbey.jpg
Westvale Abbey/Ormendahl, Profane Prince
Cost: 0.22 tix

Hardly a staple but has seen some play as a 1-of in Elves and some Modern Token decks.  The ability to go over the top with a huge indestructible creature is pretty enticing it has to be said.

CONCLUSIONS
As I mentioned  at the top of the article the BFZ and SOI Blocks probably brought along more than your average number of Modern playables with them.  The Eldrazi contingent certainly make up a big part of that.  The new Eldrazi in BFZ Block have had a huge impact across several formats and even brought about Eldrazi Winter.  They are somewhat less broken now Eye of Ugin is banned but still making their presence felt in the format. As the list above shows there are also a lot of other interesting and notable cards in the rotating sets that are well worth looking at picking up.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)