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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Apr 20 2020 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Modern Musings!  It's new set season again and so I will taking a look at the full Ikoria spoiler to discuss the new cards, mechanics and cards that could see Modern play from the set.

SET MECHANICS

I would like to start with a look at the mechanics of the set and give some opinions on them and how they might impact or synergise with Modern.

Keruga, the Macrosage
Companion

Companion is probably the most overtly powerful and most interesting new mechanic in the set.  Companion is featured on 10 legendary creatures within the set.  In Constructed, your Companion starts in your sideboard and can only be used if you can meet the deck building rule of that companion.  If your starting meets the rules then you can cast the companion from your sideboard.

Genn Greymane(89336).pngBaku the Mooneater(89335).pngPatches the Pirate(49624).png
The mechanic very much reminds me of Hearthstone (though I haven't played it in a long time), which presumably was the inspiration for the Companion mechanic.   There are a number of carda that have immediate impacts on the game rewarding you for unusual deck constraints, such as only playing odd or even costed cards.  Companion is probably also the most logically answer to trying to implement a card like Patches the Pirate into MTG. 

There are also links to Commander but unlike Commander your companion is a one-time thing.  Once cast it goes on the stack like any other spell and it can be countered or killed once it enters play and it goes into the graveyard as normal.

Companion as a mechanic is, on the face of it, very powerful.  A companion is essentially an extra card you have access to throughout the game with the only cost being meeting the companion's deck requirements.  It's a dangerous area of design space.  Make the deck requirement too broad and you will see every deck in all formats having a companion just for value.  As such, there is a difficult balance to be struck between deck requirements and the power of the companions themselves.  I would say for the most part Wizards has balanced these cards so that they are pretty weak or their deck building requirements make them unattractive additions.  However, there are some exceptions that I will discuss which may have a major impact on Modern.

Frostveil Ambush
Cycling

Cycling makes a return once more.  Cycling is one of my favourite mechanics and is an excellent mechanic for limited play as it makes your cards much more versatile.  Being able to trade away a card when it isn't currently useful to you is a huge boon.

While Ikoria doesn't specifically do anything exciting with the mechanic it does have a number of cards that cycle for a single non-coloured mana (traditionally cycling costs 2-mana).  That makes them an extremely cheap cantrip in the early game while having the opportunity to cast the card in the late game.

One of the main Modern decks that concerns itself with cycling creatures is the Living End combo.  That deck has certainly seen a down swing with Bant Control and Urza Control decks seemingly at the top of the current metagame but perhaps this could change things.  We also have cards like Flameblade Adept that have seen play in the past and Astral Drift, which hasn't made it off the ground, that could be much more powerful with these cheaper non-colour restricted cycling options.

Sanctuary SmasherKeensight MentorCrystalline Giant
Keyword Counters

We should all be pretty familiar with the concept of +1/+1 counters.  There are tons of other counters in the game but Ikoria marks the first time we are seeing counters that grant keyword abilities.  For example, Sanctuary Smasher above grants a first strike counter when cycled and Keensight Mentor can give out a vigilance counter.  The concept is pretty straightforward but it's never been done before.

PorcuparrotDirge Bat
Mutate

Mutate is an ability on creatures that allows you to mutate a non-Human creature.  The effect is similar to an Aura except you can choose which of the creatures is the base for the abilities.  Mutated creatures have the abilities of both creatures and the power and toughness of whichever creature you choose to be on top - so it's not so much a power and toughness boost (though it can be where the casting cost of the mutating creature is higher than its Mutate cost) and more about the acquisition of abilities.

While mutate is pretty thematic I have a few misgivings about it.  Firstly, mutate encroaches pretty heavily on Auras in a way that I feel devalues enchantments.  Enchantments increasingly feel like WOTC's least favourite type of permanent.  Theros Beyond Death turned an enchantment matters set into a graveyard set and now we have a creature-focused set stepping on Aura territory.  I feel it's a shame that WOTC seem to come up with lots of great stuff for every other permanent type but enchantments are increasingly marginalised.  Secondly, though I guess this is a positive side of what I just mentioned, the main problem with Mutate from a play perspective is that its significant card disadvantage if your creature is removed.  The positive side for enchantments is that Bestow is essentially a better value version of Mutate.  I recall Mark Rosewater designed Bestow to give you the creature when the enchanted creature died to tackle the inherent card disadvantage of Auras.  There has been some concession to this and if you kill a creature with mutate on the stack then the mutate creature will enter the battlefield on its own rather than both creatures going to the graveyard.

Mutate isn't a terribly attractive option in a format with powerful removal like Modern so I would be suprised to see it have much impact in Modern.

THE CARDS

White

Drannith Magistrate
Drannith Magistrate
An interesting hatebear and a Human so it fits nicely into Humans suite of hatebears.  In terms of Standard, I guess this is designed to fight against the Escape cards and Underworld Breach.  In the wider world of Modern, it also works to prevent the Cascade, Suspend and Flashback mechanics amongst others and neutralises cards like Emry, Lurker of the Loch. 

I think the real weakness of the Magistrate is the gaps that it's ability does not impact.  As it only prevents spells being 'cast' it doesn't stop various other shenanigans.  While ostensibly a graveyard hate card it does almost nothing against Dredge - as they can still Dredge and Magistrate doesn't prevent Narcomoeba, Bloodghast or Prized Amalgam coming into play or Creeping Chill being exiled.  Magistrate can't stop Mystic Sanctuary putting spells back on top of the library or Wrenn and Six returning lands to hand.  Ultimately, I think there are just too many chinks in the Magistrate's armour for Modern but it may have a place in Pioneer where Escape and Underworld Breach are much more powerful cards.

Flourishing Fox
Flourishing Fox
There are a series of one-mana cycling cards in Ikoria which makes cards like Astral Drift look significantly more exciting than they did previously.  Being able to cycle cheaply and consistently is a big game for a cycling focused deck and being able to stuff your deck with cards that cycle for just 1-mana definitely ups the rate of the card.  Flourishing Fox also doubles up as a decent one-drop for that style of deck - though the +1/+1 counters don't really synergise with Astral Drift specifically.

There have also been attempts to make New Perspectives decks work in Modern, which may be significantly more viable now.

Lavabrink Venturer
Lavabrink Venturer
An interesting Human three-drop to add to the bevy of options already available in that slot.  Lavabrink Venturer is pretty powerful as a potentially evasive and difficult to kill threat.  If you choose odd, Lavabrink Venturer cannot be the target of the majority of staple Modern removal, including Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile and Fatal Push and can attack through 1-drops and 3-drops with impunity.  Alternatively, evens can let you bypass a horde of Zombie tokens made by Field of the Dead and even Primeval Titan for example.

There's a lot to like about Lavabrink Venturer but there is also the potential for it to be hit and miss as obviously opposing decks aren't usually odds or evens focused (at least not deliberately).

Light of Hope
Light of Hope
Cheap and versatile sideboard cards are usually worth looking at for Modern purposes.  However, here I fear only the 'Destroy target enchantment' mode is actually worth 1-mana and the other two modes are not something you would ordinarily spend one-mana on.  Add to that the fact that enchantment destruction isn't nearly as useful as artifact destruction in the format as it stands and I don't think this is a card of particular interest.

Luminous Broodmoth
Luminous Broodmoth
I really like this card.  It's very powerful but with Restoration Angel not being able to see play in Modern it seems unlikely the Broodmoth will find a home.  The real power of Broodmoth is with sacrifice outlets and ETB effects, as you can sacrifice creatures and immediately get them back with Flying while also reusing any ETB effects they may have.

The Broodmoth also combos with Solemnity allowing you to infinitely sacrifice and return your non-flying creatures to play as the flying counter cannot be put on the creature.

Sanctuary Lockdown
Sanctuary Lockdown
At a cheaper mana cost this card could have been pretty interesting in Modern.  However, three mana is too much for this effect on an enchantment and the activated ability having a mana cost makes it a lot less useful than it otherwise might be.

Solid Footing
Solid Footing
A really solid and cheap Aura that also makes for a neat combat trick in the right situation.  The final line of text is quite interesting and gives this the potential to be a nice build around card with the right support.

Blue

Boon of the Wish-Giver
Boon of the Wish-Giver
While it might look pricey the opportunity cost of running some number of this card when you can cycle it away for just 1-mana is pretty low.  A powerful way to restock late game and a nice cantrip in the early game.  That said getting to 6-mana in Modern can be tough let alone tapping out for 6 at sorcery speed.  I guess that's really what it comes down to - you are sacrificing the card selection you would get from say an Opt for the opportunity of drawing 4 cards in the late game and the question is how often you really achieve that.

Mythos of Illuna
Mythos of Illuna
It's certainly on the expensive side but note that Mythos of Illuna is capable of copying any permanent so you can even use it as ramp by making a land token, albeit slow ramp.  It's a very powerful Clone effect but also one that is extremely versatile and used to copy anything on the battlefield.

I imagine there are probably some sweet combos with this card.  However, even without this is could be an interesting option for a Scapeshift deck or something similar as a ramp spell that can also be a threat in the right situations.

Shark Typhoon
Shark Typhoon
Shark Typhoon is reminiscent of the Decree cycle from Scourge, in particular Decree of Justice.  You can cycle it away end of turn for as little as two-mana but if you can cycle it for three or more mana you also get a flying shark token (not three words I ever thought I would put together).  Cycling can't be countered so you get a threat at instant speed and Shark Typhoon replaces itself.  The trade off here is that it seems very unlikely, at least in Modern, that you would ever cast Shark Typhoon so ultimately you would only be playing it for its cycling ability (barring any shenanigans).

Shark Typhoon works nicely in a Control deck that is consistently going to get to three-mana and wants to operate at instant speed to keep up disruption etc.  I think this card is on similar power level to Decree of Justice and in many ways the cycling ability is more impressive as you can sink all your mana in to it to produce a large uncounterable flying threat.  The downside is that the actual card itself isn't nearly as powerful or as useful.

Black

Call of the Death-Dweller
Call of the Death-Dweller
This is a very cost-efficient way of adding two creatures of CMC of 3 or less.  Obviously the issue is how do you get your creatures there and what are you looking at getting back.  I feel like this card would be best used as a splash in a deck like Devoted Druid combo where you could use it to get back both of your combo pieces back from the graveyard with one card.  However, there are probably better options for that.

Easy Prey
Easy Prey
A card reminiscent of Smother but with cycling.  It's a powerful card, particularly in Modern where so many creatures fit into its mold but the main reason for looking for a two-mana removal option in Black is to catch the cards that Fatal Push doesn't.  As such I can't see this being played in Modern.

Heartless Act
Heartless Act
Probably better than Doom Blade in most circumstances in Modern.  You can also pull some other shenanigans with it such as flipping a Thing in the Ice if you are so inclined.  As discussed above, Heartless Act does hit Fatal Push's blindspots so I'd say it's more likely to see some fringe play.

Hunted Nightmare
Hunted Nightmare
An overpowered 3-drop with a drawback that isn't all that concerning and is completely mitigated if your opponent doesn't have any creatures.  Cheap overpowered creatures are nothing new in Modern, see Tarmogoyf, but the evasion does make this an attractive package.

Mythos of Nethroi
Mythos of Nethroi
A solid removal spell if you can meet its requirements.  Abrupt Decay or Assassin's Trophy seem like better options at one-less mana but there are definitely upsides to Mythos of Nethroi.

Whisper Squad
Whisper Squad
A slightly bizarre card but one that definitely has its upsides if you are looking to flood the board.  The fact that the new copy of Whisper Squad enters the battlefield is definitely impressive.  It can be even better if you have a way of shuffling any copies of the Squad that die back into your library so you can just keep searching up more copies.

The ability also allows you to trigger Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant even when your hand dries up of action.  Whisper Squad doesn't really fit in with the existing Five-Colour Humans manabase but could be the impetus for a different style of Modern Humans deck.

Red

Fire Prophecy
Fire Prophecy
Lightning Strike with a psuedo-Looting effect attached is an interesting card.  It's not super mana efficient compared to other Modern spells but if you are looking to dig through your deck having removal spells that help you do that is certainly an enticing option.  It also works well with Lukka (below) to put your big threat back into the deck if you happen to draw it.

Footfall Crater
Footfall Crater
This card is pretty interesting.  It's a very cheap way of granting trample and haste to your creatures in the right circumstances (notably you have to tap a land so it does constrain your mana somewhat).  It also cycles for just 1-mana so you can cash it in easily if it doesn't look like it will be useful.  An additional bonus is that as an enchantment you can easily get in the graveyard it can assist with pumping Tarmogoyf or activating Delirium abilities.

Death's Shadow decks seem like an obvious option for this card.  Giving trample to Death's Shadow is a huge game and because it only cost one-mana it's easy to cast Death's Shadow and immediately give it haste and trample to attack for lethal.  It could also be useful in a deck like Devoted Druid combo where the haste gives a meaningful boost to the speed of the combo.  Bogles would be another nice fit if this card was green but I am not sure whether it would be worth stretching the mana base for.

Go for Blood
Go for Blood
It's two mana removal (though conditional on you having a big enough creature) that also cycles for just 1-mana.  It's a very solid package and could be a decent card for a Hollow One or Death's Shadow strategy or something similar.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Lukka is a new planeswalker and one that has a lot of text, so I increased the size of the image to assist. 

  • Lukka's +1 is a psuedo draw spell for creatures though Lukka has to stay on the battlefield for you to be able to cast those cards.  However, ticking up to 6 it shouldn't be too hard to protect Lukka.
  • More interesting is the -2 that allows you to sacrifice a creature and get the first creature in your deck with a higher mana cost.  This is potentially very powerful as it's easily abused to put absurdly large creatures onto the battlefield.  It's also a decent value play in itself so you don't have to be playing no other creatures like a Polymorph deck to abuse this ability.  If all your creatures are 1-drops and 2-drops apart from your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn it's still pretty easy to turn your 2-drop into Emrakul.
  • Lukka's ultimate could very well finish a game but in Modern you probably should have wrapped things up with Lukka's -2 before it comes to that.

I think Lukka is interesting and potentially very powerful but at 5-mana might be a stretch to be a competitive option.  Lukka fills similar space as Nahiri, the Harbinger though he is significantly easier to activate to obtain the desired effect.  I am just not sure Lukka is fast enough for the Modern metagame but he certainly has potential.

Green

Migration Path
Migration Path
A solid ramp spell that can be cycled away once you are done ramping or if you are unlucky enough to be stuck without your fourth land drop.  Nice and versatile but probably a little slow for Modern play.

Titanoth Rex
Titanoth Rex
Titanoth Rex is a particularly exciting addition for Living End decks (which should be generally excited about the arrival of new cycling creatures).  One of the big drawbacks of Living End decks is that the creatures it adds to the board aren't always the best - often 3/4s and 4/4s which can sometimes give the opponent an opportunity to stabilise.  Titanoth Rex solves that problem by providing a huge trampling threat that will quickly finish an opponent.

Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
A solid value planeswalker but with a low loyalty count and at 5-mana the new Vivien seems a bit too expensive for Modern play.
 

Multi-Coloured


Dire Tactics
Dire Tactics

A powerful new removal spell for the Orzhov guild, which has certainly been on the weaker end of colour combinations in Modern in recent times.  It's definitely strong but there is tough competition in Modern for removal.  Cards like Terminate don't really see the play they once did in the format.  That said, it is an instant speed removal spell that can remove Indestructible creatures like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and it covers most of Fatal Push's blindspots.

A very solid card but perhaps just not quite powerful enough to be a Modern contender.


Fiend Artisan
Fiend Artisan
Fiend Artisan is a powerful two drop with a Birthing Pod-esque ability which makes for an exciting package.  Fiend Artisan is a threat in its own right if you can adequately fill your graveyard, for which there are many options in Modern.  Fiend Artisan's ability is on the expensive side but does make for some exciting opportunities - particularly if you are looking to find cheaper creatures.

The Yawgmoth deck seems like the most natural home for the Fiend Artisan with the various Undying creatures making good fodder for the Artisan's ability.

General Kudro of Drannith
General Kudro of Drannith
Humans finally gets a full-time lord - as opposed to Mayor of Avabruck who is only part-time.  General Kudro adds to the glut of 3-drop options for the Five-Colour Humans deck in Modern.  Kudro not only pumps the team but also functions as graveyard hate which certainly isn't irrelevant in the current Modern metagame.  Kudro's activated ability, while fairly costly, also provides removal for a Primeval Titan or a similarly large threat in a pinch.  I can certainly see running some number of copies of Kudro in the Humans deck but I am not sure it truly sees out the existing staples.

As I mentioned there is a lot of competition for the 3-drop slot and other than Mantis Rider - the general focus is on disruptive cards like Deputy of Detention and Reflector Mage or value cards like Militia Bugler.  That said another way to pump the team would certainly not go a miss and Kudro does give the Humans deck a better answer to graveyard decks.  If Kudro doesn't make the main deck I think it at least deserves some sideboad space.

General's Enforcer
General's Enforcer
Probably not good enough in its own right to be playable in a Humans deck but it's certainly an interesting card.  There are a number of powerful legendary Humans at different points on the mana curve - including Kytheon, Hero of Akros, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and of course now General Kudro himself. 

Tajic, Legion's Edge is an interesting combination as it prevent the Enforcer from being killed by Lightning Bolt or other non-combat damage while the Enforcer gives Tajic indestructible.  I don't think it would be better than the current Five-Colour Humans but I would be interested to test out a Mardu Humans deck with the General's Enforcer.

Inspired Ultimatum
Inspired Ultimatum
Probably the best of the new Ultimatium cycle.  It's not as powerful as Cruel Ultimatum but it has the advantage of being in Teferi, Time Raveler's colours meaning you might be able to cast this at instant speed.  Probably a pipe dream in Modern but casting this at instant speed while protected by Teferi should be an easy game winner.

Jegantha, the Wellspring
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Jegantha for me is probably the Companion card that feels too broad.  Jegantha's deck rule is not really that card to achieve and can be met by a lot of decks without them even intending to.  While there are a number of prominent cards that break the rule - such as Urza, Primeval Titan, Walking Ballista (presumably) - decks like Humans and Infect (as a few examples) can generally meet this requirement without trying and so might as well as there really is no downside to doing so (I guess other than giving a vague signal about what deck you are playing).

As a creature, Jegantha isn't overly impressive but a 5-mana 5/5 is out of Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push range and a decent sized beater or blocker in a lot of situations.  Jegantha's activated ability seems less likely to be relevant unless you are playing a Niv deck (though they have to give up Supreme Verdict among other cards for the benefit) as the mana generated cannot be used on generic costs.  Even if you only play Jegantha in very limited circumstances it's still worth having the option.

The only real upside is that the current metagame doesn't lend itself to Jegantha with none of the top decks being able to benefit from it.  Tron seemed like the best fit but giving up Walking Ballista is too high of a cost just to benefit from Jegantha.

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Kinnan has the power to be a powerful mana generator - adding an extra mana to any non-land permanent you tap for mana.  This means mana dorks and Arcum's Astrolabe can generate and extra mana.  Kinnan then has a nice, if expensive, sink for that extra mana allowing you to drop a non-HUman on to the battlefield.  Kinnan has the potential to be very powerful but it's not clear how Kinnan fits into existing archetypes.

The most obvious home for Kinnan to my mind is the fringe green ramp decks that are looking to ramp into big bombs.  Those decks traditionally play Utopia Sprawl and Arbor Elf but perhaps with Kinnan they can concentrate on mana dorks instead.  Seems like a fringe playable to me.

Lurrus of the Dream Den
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
This card seems like it will be insane in Legacy/Vintage where it can cast off a Black Lotus/Lion's Eye Diamond and then recast those spells.  In Modern, it's certainly less powerful but could fit in a variety of decks.  Some decks will naturally fit Lurrus' restriction but decks that run little to no permanents are unlikely to be terribly excited by a 3/2 lifelink - though it's hard to argue with a free threat.

There are a number of cheap aggro decks that could potentially leverage Lurrus, such as Burn, Hardened Scales Affinity or Naya Zoo.  There are other decks like Smallpox or The Rack that could use Lurrus as a value threat after they have destroyed the opponent's hand and board.  Then there is the potential for combo decks where Lurrus could potentially shine.

By my estimations, Lurrus is the most powerful of the companion creatures and will be seeing at least some amount of play in Modern.  I can definitely see the Boros Burn decks adopting Lurrus as an extra threat that can also bring back Eidolon or other creatures from the graveyard.  I am sure there are many other decks that will look to abuse the power of this Cat Nightmare.

Quartzwood Crasher
Quartzwood Crasher
An extremely powerful 5-drop that can very easily take over the game if left unchallenged.  Also, if you can get some trample damage in the turn you cast Quartzwood Crasher you can get immediate value of its ability by producing a token.

I would say it's too expensive to make an impact in Modern but currently there are Gruul Midrange decks running Glorybringer that are performing well in Modern so maybe it's possible.

Rielle, the Everwise
Rielle, the Everwise
Rielle, the Everwise is a card that can do bonkers things in Modern.  Paired with cards like Burning Inquiry, Goblin Lore and Cathartic Reunion you can get some huge value off of Rielle.  Burning Inquiry suddenly becomes an Ancestral Recall and Cathartic Reunion draws you five cards instead of three.  Cycling is also a mechanic that works very nicely when combined with Rielle.  This card is no slouch in combat either being pumped by all your spells in the graveyard.

The downside is that Rielle lacks evasion and dies to basically any removal imaginable while costing three-mana to cast, so it's tricky to get immediate value from their ability.

Izzet Prowess decks have existed in the past in Modern and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to adapt a deck of that kind to maximise Rielle's abilities.  Alternatively, you may be able to put Rielle in a Hollow One style strategy.  I think Rielle is a really exciting card and I'd be interested to test out Rielle's power.

Jubilant Skybonder
Jubilant Skybonder
A powerful defensive creature in the spirit of Kira, Great Glass-Spinner and Unsettled Mariner.  It seems like Spirits or Faeries would be a great home for the Skybonder - so it's a shame about the lack of tribal synergy here.  That said, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner doesn't seem to get into Spirits lists even with tribal synergy so maybe it's just not an effect those decks are looking for.

Song of Creation
Song of Creation
This card seems totally broken - if you untap with this card you should really be winning the game.  I imagine there are a number of ways to just go off after playing this card and drawing your whole deck.  What the win condition is from there I'm not sure but it seems pretty crazy.  The things that temper this card are the fact it costs 4-mana (meaning if you want to cast spells straight away you need over 4-mana) and the fact you have to discard your hand at the end of turn (meaning you may not draw a spell for your turn and so fizzle). 

There are ways around both of these potential issues:

  1. To abuse Song of Creation immediately you can use 0-mana spells or artifacts to ensure you immediately two cards.  If you build your deck right you should be able to chain 0-cost spells to draw most or all of your deck.
  2. To get around Song of Creation's discard clause, you can play flashback cards or other cards that let you cast them from the graveyard.  This way you can guarantee yourself a spell for the following turn.

Slitherwisp
Slitherwisp
A pretty solid 3-drop if you have a deck with a bunch of creatures with Flash then you can get a lot of value out of Slitherwisp.  Faeries seems like the most logical home for this card as it's already in the appropriate colours and Faeries probably have the best cheap Flash creatures.  Slitherwisp plays nicely alongside cards like Spellstutter Sprite and Vendilion Clique.

Sprite Dragon
Sprite Dragon
Sprite Dragon seems like an upgraded Stormchaser Mage for my money (though it is more likely to die to a Lightning Bolt).  Stormchaser Mage was borderline playable in Modern which bodes well for the Sprite Dragon.  Having a permanent +1/+1 bonus seems significantly better than Prowess.

Whirlwind of Thought
Whirlwind of Thought
It seems strange that this card was printed in the same set as Song of Creation as they cover similar ground.  Song of Creation seems like the more exciting card to me but this probably a better card for limited or perhaps in Standard where the combo options are more limited.

Artifacts

The Ozolith
The Ozolith
Potentially interesting in a Hardened Scales style deck.  Being able to bank counters from your Arcbound Ravager or Hangarback Walker can be pretty powerful.  Though perhaps that is made redundant by the Modular mechanic that already appears on various creatures in the deck.

Lands

Zagoth TriomeSavai Triome
The Triome lands
The Ikoria land cycle is a bunch of tri-coloured lands that also have all three land types.  There are Triomes for Sultai, Mardu, Abzan, Jeskai and Temur.  Being the basic land types means that they can be found with fetchlands, which is very relevant for Modern.  The downside is that they always come into play tapped.  However, this is somewhat balanced with the fact that you can cycle them for 3-mana in the late game.  Entering tapped is a big game with the speed of the Modern format so I cannot see may decks adopting these on mass but I could see running one or two copies in a deck if the mana fixing or land types were important (for Domain abilities for example).

MY TOP 8 CARD FROM IKORIA FOR MODERN

Here are my rankings for the cards I think will have the biggest impact on Modern from Ikoria.

  1. Lurrus of the Dream-Den
    Probably the most powerful companion for Modern play, and likely beyond.  Lurrus will be a valuable addition to numerous decks even if its ability is somewhat restrictive.
  2. Jegantha, the Wellspring
    While Jegantha may not be the most exciting creature I think it will become a prominent companion for any deck that meets its requirements and has any chance of casting it.
  3. Song of Creation
    This card seems really broken if you can live long enough to use it.  I imagine there will be some interesting brews centred around this card.
  4. Rielle, the Everwise
    Rielle has the potential to be very potent but I guess the question is whether it's worth building around to really harness.
  5. Fiend Artisan
    A powerful two-drop that could find a home in an appropriate toolbox or creature combo deck.
  6. Footfall Crater
    Has potential in a creature-focused Death's Shadow deck or some similar shell.  A nice cantrip that can also help you to push through lethal damage in the late game.
  7. Whisper Squad
    A very interesting design for a one-drop.  I can see this finding a home eventually or being fuel for some sort of combo deck.  Far more powerful than it looks.
  8. Shark Typhoon
    I could see Control decks buying into this card as an uncounterable way to establish a threat on board.
     

CONCLUSIONS
I think Ikoria will have a moderate impact on Modern.  There are certainly some fun cards to mess around with but I think the companion cards are truly the ones to watch to see how they affect the format moving forward.  Hopefully their power level is not too high and they don't become overly prevalent. 

I am not a huge fan of the mechanics in the set - Companion seems really dangerous and Mutate feels like an awkward encroachment on Aura territory.

Otherwise, there are some nice tools with Humans getting some creatures to test, new cycling cards that are powerful utility cards and a bunch of other exciting little options here and there.  I may be proven wrong but I don't think the set adds any major cards to the existing top archetypes while potentially boosting some archetypes that have droppped off which is good to see.  I think the set will be fun to test out and I look forward to trying some of these cards out in Modern upon release.

Let me know your thoughts on Ikoria and if you agree or disagree with any of my picks or comments.  I'd love to know your top picks for cards that could impact Modern in Ikoria or any thoughts you have on the new cards.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)