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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Apr 20 2016 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Modern Musings!  In this article I take a look at the first two-set rotation and look at what cards you should be looking to pick up as Khans of Tarkir & Fate Reforged bow out of Standard.

White

Monastery Mentor
Monastery Mentor
Current Price: 13.04

Young Pyromancer's older brother is currently the most expensive card in the rotating sets.  The powerful mythic has yet to truly find its niche in Modern but it's certainly a card that could find a home and be very good.  It's currently a player in Legacy and Vintage, which I assume is what is pushing its price, so it's not too crazy to see it being a major player in Modern in the future too.

Joe Jancuk recently made the Top 8 of a SCG Classic Event in Columbus with the following list using Mentor to great effect.  Also, see Crackling Doom in the sideboard slot for another card worth looking at from the rotating sets:

 

Soulfire Grand Master
Soulfire Grand Master
Current Price: 0.65

Soulfire Grand Master is a very original design for a card.  It's also pretty powerful as giving the powerful burn spells in Modern lifelink is pretty impressive.  Suddenly Lightning Bolt becomes Lightning Helix and Lightning Helix deals 3 damage and gains you 6 life.  However, it's the second ability that is really interesting and has combo potential too.  Being able to get back an instant or sorcery means you can cast it turn after turn.  This works excellently if you are in a long attrition game against your opponent.  I also found a deck that combined Soulfire Grand Master with Angel's Grace to create a soft lock.

Feels like there is some untapped potential in this card.

Blue

Stubborn Denial
Stubborn Denial
Current Price: 0.01

A card that is actually surprisingly powerful.  It is often combined with Tasigur, the Golden Fang or other quick Delve creatures to activate Ferocious which makes it a fearsome one-mana counterspell.

Black

Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Current Price: 1.89

Tasigur's initial impact on Modern was huge.  With a bulky 4/5 body that can be dropped as early as Turn 2 with some help from a fetchland and a Thought Scour, Tasigur is very powerful creature.  Then his ability to get non-land cards from your graveyard put back in your hand is an excellent way to win any game that goes long.  It feels like a while since we've really seen Tasigur at his best but perhaps post-Eldrazi Modern will be a more favourable environment for The Golden Fang.

Red

Monastery Swiftspear
Monastery Swiftspear
Current Price: 0.04

Not an expensive card but probably the card with the biggest long-term impact on the format from Khans Block (though there are some other cards you could argue for).  Swiftspear is just a great aggressive one-drop and has been a mainstay of Red Deck Wins and Zoo decks ever since it was printed.

Temur Battle Rage
Temur Battle Rage
Current Price: 0.04

Granting Double Strike to a large creature is definitely a way to kill an opponent quick.  Also, the trample from obtaining Ferocious makes it impossible for your opponent to simply chump block your huge threat.  Again not an expensive card but a pretty powerful card that has seen some play in speedy/suicide aggro decks. 

 

Green

Become Immense
Become Immense
Current Price: 0.02

Become Immense has had a big impact on Infect decks.  A +6/+6 pump is pretty huge when you are only looking to deal 10 damage to begin with.  Early indications seem to indicate that Infect might have a better time in the post-Eldrazi Modern which bodes well for the card.  The card also sees play in hyper aggro decks like the Death's Shadow Suicide Aggro deck above.

Multi-Coloured

Anafenza, the Foremost
Anafenza, the Foremost
Current Price: 2.05

Anafenza is a strong offensive creature for an aggro deck.  A 3-mana 4/4 that can pump another attacking creature is very powerful.  She also exiles any creatures that enter the graveyard while she is in play, which is easily overlooked.  This second ability is actually pretty good in Modern as it's very strong against Abzan Company, Living End, Dredge and Scavenging Ooze.

Recently Anafenza turned up in Willy Edel's MOCS Decklist:

It has to be noted that Anafenza was played here in the distorted Eldrazi-dominated metagame where graveyard-based decks were more prevalent than they are likely to be after the ban of Eye of Ugin.  The deck also features Siege Rhino which is another Khans card discussed below.

Deflecting Palm
Deflecting Palm
Current Price: 0.33

Deflecting Palm is the most expensive uncommon in the rotating sets.  Deflecting Palm is a popular card in Burn sideboards.  Deflecting Palm used well can be a real game changer and can completely transform the complexion of a race.

Jeskai Ascendancy
Jeskai Ascendancy
Current Price: 0.43

Jeskai Ascendancy is a powerful combo card and even spawned its own deck. That deck was once quite a powerhouse but the banning of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time neutered it somewhat. It is still a deck to be aware of and could have a revival one day. Well worth picking up a playset if you're looking to play the combo or if it becomes popular again someday and the price spikes.

 

Narset, Enlightened Master
Narset, Enlightened Master
Current Price: 2.57

Narset is not a Modern staple but every time I see it I am reminded of Travis Woo's rather crazy brew.  The deck is designed to reanimate Narset with Goryo's Vengeance and then attack with her hitting Enter the Infinite drawing your deck and putting Omniscience on top of your library.  You then use one of the many Relentless Assaults in the deck, which also give you additional chances to attack with Narset, and cast Omniscience and do pretty much what you want from there.  Check out his article and videos if you want to see the deck in action.

 

Siege Rhino
Siege Rhino
Current Price: 0.43

Siege Rhino had a big impact on Modern.  The Rhino was originally taken on by value Birthing Pod and seemingly played a role in the eventual ban of Birthing Pod.  Rhino lost a major home with the Birthing Pod ban but still sees play in Abzan decks.  The Rhino's stats along with trample are very impressive on offence or defence and the drain life for 3 provides a substantial impact as soon as it hits the board.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Current Price: 4.64

Sorin is a powerful 4-mana planeswalker and one that has found a home in WB Token decks.  The +1 ability is a pretty powerful ability that can be used aggressively or defensively to protect Sorin.  He also has a strong Token generating ability himself and his ultimate makes it very difficult for your opponent to maintain any kind of board presence if you reach it. 

Colourless

Ugin_the_Spirit_Dragon.jpg
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Current Price: 5.30

Ugin is an extremely powerful planeswalker.  It has found a home in Tron decks as one of the deck's many powerful top end cards.  At 8-mana you can't drop it until Turn 4 even with Turn 3 Tron but Ugin makes such an impact on the board it has proven worthwhile.  Tron took a hit with the banning of Eye of Ugin so I'm not sure how the deck will shape up post-ban, however, Ugin still seems like a solid investment.

Recently Gifts Tron is having something of a revival, using the unbanned Sword of the Meek/Thopter Foundry combo.  Even with the new components the deck still finds room for Ugin.  The decklist even finds room for Haven of the Spirit Dragon to get Ugin back from the graveyard.

 

Lands

Wooded FoothillsPolluted DeltaBloodstained MireWindswept HeathFlooded Strand
The Khans/Onslaught Fetchlands
Polluted Delta Price: 7.31
Flooded Strand Price: 6.51
Wooded Foothills Price: 6.36
Windswept Heath Price: 4.68
Bloodstained Mire Price: 4.48

This is the big one.  If you want to play Modern then these lands are almost essential.  Picking them up cheaply now is bound to save you a lot of money in the long run.  I can only see these are being a good long-term investment as demand for the fetchlands is only going to increase as we get further from Khans.  Also, it seems unlikely that Wizards will be in a hurry to reprint the fetchlands anytime soon given they just had a rotation through Standard.  If you have any inclination to play Modern at all grab these up and keep a hold of them.

If you're thinking 'What's the point in getting one half of the fetchlands when I'll never to be able to afford Scalding Tarn etc?' then just remember that the whole Modern format ran on only half the fetchlands for a long time before Khans of Tarkir came along.  These five fetchlands can build you a solid manabase for pretty much any colour combination you like - it may just not be quite as optimal as running some combination of the other fetchlands.

Conclusions
There are aren't a ton of expensive cards to grab at bargain prices but the first two set of Khans Block certainly made an impact on the format and there are definitely cards worth picking up here.  The big opportunity here is to get your hands on fetchlands at what will probably be the best price for a long time to come.  It's been a long time since you could pick up any fetchland for under 5 tix and I think it's a great opportunity to pick these cards up.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)
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