GerryT’s 10 Things: Guilds Of Ravnica In Modern

Players are contemplating whether or not cards from the new set can make significant impacts in Modern, and Gerry Thompson has picked the ten most talked about candidates to render some verdicts!

Gold cards tend to be particularly powerful, and the especially unique ones
can find a place in Modern. Unfortunately, none of the cards from Guilds of Ravnica strike me as particularly good Glittering Wish
targets, which is what I was really hoping for.

Oh well. Some other time perhaps.

10. Assassin’s Trophy

This is the easy one.

For Golgari aficionados, Assassin’s Trophy is an easy answer to
difficult-to-remove permanents, such as Urza’s Tower, Karn Liberated, and
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.

Similar to Path to Exile, Assassin’s Trophy does have a downside that you
need to keep in mind. An automatic inclusion of four copies might not be
the best route. Still, this card is going to show up and it’s going to win
tournaments. However, there will also be games where you blow up a bunch of
Tron lands and they beat you by hardcasting Karns.

9. Knight of Autumn

Yet another gimme. Sometimes the cards that show up in Modern are
surprises, but I’m fine with getting some easy ones too!

Most decks that play cards like Reclamation Sage and Kitchen Finks are
Selesnya, and this is a fantastic split card that closes the gap between
combo decks like Krark-Clan Ironworks and the various green creature decks.
Maindeck Knight of Autumn and be happy about it!

Utility cards are always welcome in Modern, and Knight of Autumn (Burchett)
is no exception.

8. Lazav, the Multifarious

Lazav is potentially great in Modern, but I haven’t been able to crack the
code yet.

I did a quick Gatherer search and didn’t come up with much, but there must
be something for this card in Modern. It works with attack triggers,
nullifying your own detrimental enters-the-battlefield triggers, and can
copy dies triggers. On top of that, there are various shenanigans to be had
with +1/+1 counters.

One of the potentially broken ways to use Lazav is to copy a creature, put
several activations of that creature’s activated ability on the stack, and
activate Lazav to copy something else in response. Full English Breakfast
was an Extended deck that used Volrath’s Shapeshifter and Survival of the
Fittest to accomplish the same thing, but we seem to be missing the pieces
in Modern.

At the end of it all, I couldn’t find anything better than using Lazav to
copy things that were big, and Death’s Shadow seems like the best of the

[CEDitor’s Note: If you’re looking for a deep dive into Lazav, check

Jadine’s article from yesterday

7. Creeping Chill

The obvious home for a card like Creeping Chill is Dredge. Dredge typically
wins by achieving a critical mass of bodies, usually using Conflagrate as
either the finishing blow or as a means of clearing the way. Creeping Chill
doesn’t fit into that sort of strategy, so it would probably require an

Dredge Burn? Did we just invent a new archetype?

Still, Creeping Chill could be used in lieu of Gnaw to the Bone and other
similar effects as a means of winning damage races. The extra damage could
help Bloodghast, plus make Conflagrate lethal even faster. I fully expect a
new build to utilities it better, but folks will definitely try it.

6. Doom Whisperer

Five mana? You’ve got to be kidding, right?

Let’s be honest, no one is interested in playing fair in Modern. There’s no
way in hell I’d want to actually cast Doom Whisperer.

Enter Necrotic Ooze.

Griselbrand tends to be the best thing to be doing with Necrotic Ooze, but
Doom Whisperer is a close second. The key is figuring out what to do with
the ability to mill yourself for nearly twenty cards.

Unburial Rites is an option, as is just finding a Goryo’s Vengeance. I’m
sure there’s a kill that involves Soul Spike and Creeping Chill. It’s time
to get to work!

5. Beast Whisperer

Elves hasn’t been Tier 1 in older formats without Glimpse of Nature. Beck
did not save Elves due to its mana cost, so why would people think the
four-mana version would accomplish anything?

Being able to Chord of Calling for Beast Whisperer will be a strong option,
but not necessarily one that puts Elves over the top. At the end of the
day, Elves (and similar decks) get a decent tool that makes closing games
easier, but that’s about it.

4. Arclight Phoenix

This is my favorite potential Modern card on the entire list, if only
because it deserves a try in Mardu Pyromancer. Playing three spells in the
same turn typically only happens when you’re doing your thing with Bedlam
Reveler and Faithless Looting, which probably means you’re supposed to be
winning the game already. However, once you add more copies of Manamorphose
into the deck, returning Arclight Phoenix (even multiple times during the
course of a game) doesn’t seem that crazy.

Mardu mostly has just Lingering Souls as a threat that’s useful to discard
to Faithless Looting. Arclight Phoenix, if viable, would be a wonderful
addition, if only for giving your Faithless Lootings some additional value.
Adding to your air force would be nice, especially in a format with Mantis
Riders and Bant Spirits.

3. Runaway Steam-Kin

Marijn’s deck might not be fully optimized, but any sort of Turn 2 combo
deck has a chance of being successful in Modern, even if it’s more commonly
a Turn 3 or 4 deck.

There are several unexplored cards for this archetype, like Infernal Plunge
and Storm Entity, that haven’t quite found the right shell. Maybe Runaway
Steam-Kin is the card that pulls everything together.

Regardless, I’m more than happy to explore Nivmagus Elemental 2.0.

2. Unmoored Ego

Being able to choose any card is very impressive. Urza’s Tower, Valakut,
the Molten Pinnacle, and even basic lands aren’t safe.

Others have cited this as being too slow against some decks, and while I
agree, it’s not like Dimir wouldn’t also have a counterspell or discard
spell in the early game. It’s your job to slow them down enough to resolve
Unmoored Ego.

I haven’t had the urge to sleeve up Grixis in Modern for a while, but this
is a good incentive.

1. Mission Briefing

Compare Mission Briefing to Snapcaster Mage. An additional pip of blue mana
gives you surveil 2 instead of a 2/1 body, which seems to be a thing people
on the internet are rather happy with.

And it drives me insane.

First of all, UU is miles different than 1U. You might think that Cryptic
Command is easy, but you’re still paying a cost to make 1UUU doable, and it
doesn’t even work every time! Using Snapcaster Mage on an Opt or Serum
Visions on Turn 3 is a common play, but good luck using Mission Briefing
for that purpose.

The body matters. Many games are won purely on the back of Snapcaster Mage
attacks, especially in Lightning Bolt decks. Blocking is huge, as is the
ability to attack planeswalkers. Surveil 2 isn’t worth a card, but a 2/1
body definitely is.

Cards like Recoup and even Regrowth are only as good as the things they are
returning. Compare Eternal Witness to Recollect – one sees a decent amount
of play and the other sees zero. The synergy with Cryptic Command should be
worth playing the body instead, even though it comes up 5% of the time.

Mission Briefing will see play in Modern, but it will almost never be
correct to do so. Storm could probably use it in part of their Gifts
Ungiven package, but they could have already been using Snapcaster Mage and
don’t! Any other deck would be happier to have access to the 2/1 body and
less prohibitive mana cost.