Modern Horizons has had a serious impact on the named format but it also has made waves in commander! Old characters received new cards which are both flavorful and insanely powerful. We hope that you enjoy us rambling about this craziness.
Urza, Lord High Artificer
As a Commander:
Oh my God! We finally got Urza on a black bordered card, and my lord (see what I did there?) is he powerful as heck. There are a bunch of ways you can build Urza. There were four that immediately came to mind upon first viewing the card. I’ll start with the two that are going to be less powerful in general. The first is construct tribal. Yeah, I know. Real bad, real janky. You would do this primarily by blinking and flickering Urza a bunch of times to get more construct tokens from his enter the battlefield ability. Using cards like Conjurer’s Closet and Deadeye Navigator you could grow your ranks of shiny metal bots and turn your game night into judgement day, terminator style.
If you’re not into that the other less common version of the deck you can build is an artifact storm deck. The deck would run a bunch of cantrips and zero mana artifacts to act as rituals. Paradoxical Outcome would be an all star in the deck.
If you want to run an artifact storm deck you are better off running Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain for the card draw she provides. With those two out of the way let’s get to the real juicy goodness that Urza lets you enjoy. The next two decks are stax and combo. This may seem like it doesn’t really work because all of those traditional stax pieces are symmetrical, but let me tell you, that is just not true. If you take a close look at the text on cards like Winter Orb, Static Orb, Trinisphere, and Howling mine you’ll notice that they all say something along the lines of “as long as [card name] is untapped,….” That means you can turn off the cards that help everyone on your turn, and you can turn off the pieces that hurt your untap step at the end step before your turn so that they don’t work against you.
Combo is really simple with Urza because all you need is infinite mana and you can cast your deck. Toss in a way to win from there and that’s it. All versions of the deck should run some control to protect yourself, Urza, and the rest of your hate/engines. If you are still curious about the deck don’t worry, I will be doing a deck tech on my own personal Urza deck that will go more in depth about how the deck functions. I could not be more happy with Urza, and i think commander tables better watch out.
In the 99:
Urza is very much a build around me card. He does however, fit nicely into a Sai, Master Thopterist deck, turning each thopy lad into mox sapphire. If you really wanted to give it a try, you could stick a copy of Urza into that above mentioned Jhoira storm deck as he does draw you a card off of Jhoira’s ability and makes your artifact cantrips into rocks to fuel the deck. It may be a tight squeeze because he requires colored mana, but you shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Yawgmoth as a commander is both strong and fun. Yawgmoth’s two abilities allow you to build him in pretty much any way you want. I personally have seen decks that are just built around graveyard and sacrifice value, as well as a few infect decks. You can also do a removal themed control deck, or play around with -1/-1 counters. Having a sacrifice outlet that is pretty much free is absurdly powerful. The second ability very much lends itself to the counters themed deck, being able to proliferate for just two mana and a card. From what I’ve seen, the infect deck is the strongest, but I haven’t seen enough of the commander. I’ll finish off this section by saying that Yawgmoth, in my personal opinion, is the most powerful of the more casual leaning commanders from Modern Horizons.
In the 99:
Yawgmoth can reasonably see play. Yawgmoth is dummy strong in counter theme decks like Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons.
He also belongs in just about any infect deck for the proliferate alone. Yawgmoth is strong and will be seen at many of the commander tables both at the helm and in the 99.
As a commander:
Ah a new legendary goblin has entered the fray! Pashalik Mons has been referenced in the card Mons Goblin Raiders if you were unaware. He reads almost like a goblin version of Blood Artist that doesn’t gain life and can hit creatures or planeswalkers. He also as an albeit expensive sacrifice outlet that creates more expendable bodies which goblin decks always want. That’s what he has going for him, the issue with him as a commander is that he needs serious setup for him to begin shooting opponents down. We cannot depend on his sacrifice outlet since we have to pay to sacrifice our goblins. He needs us to already have a decent boardstate and a sacrifice outlet and then he is pretty good. The other issues with him being at the helm of our goblin forces lie in the amount of competition he faces for a mono red goblin commander. Namely, both versions of Krenko, Ib Halfheart, Grenzo, Havoc Raiser, and the god of Goblins himself Purphrous. All of these can be built as goblin tribal and all of those generals do more for less initial setup than Pashalik Mons.
In the 99:
However, he does fit quite well in the 99 of any of the aforementioned goblin leaders. I have had quite a bit of success with him in my Wort ,Boggart Auntie deck.
I was already somewhat running the deck as goblin aristocrats and Pashalik Mons was exactly the payoff I had been looking for to fully lean into an aristocrats plan. Thus far he has proven himself as a solid contributor and he likely will do the same for most other goblin decks. He likely fits best as part of the 99 of any goblin tribal deck and will perform well, he just requires too much setup to be a compelling leader himself.
Ayula, Queen Among Bears
As a Commander:
RRRRRAAAAWWWWRRR!!! Bear tribal is real my friends, and it is time to wreck some fools with those overpowered two mana 2/2’s. Ayula is especially powerful because she strengthens your bears when they enter the battlefield, and on top of that, the ability to have one of your bigger bears fight problematic creatures your opponents control. The deck can be taken in a few directions. The first is just a classic aggressive deck. You pump up bears and turn them sideways at opponents. Just be careful Surrak doesn’t sucker punch you. He a mean dude. The other strategy for the deck is more of a voltron style deck. You play bears to pump up Ayula and try to kill with commander damage. Also There is infect available in green. A strategy I very much support. The only downside to playing Ayula is that the deck is creature focused, so it folds to board wipes hard.Just make sure to be ready for the wipes and the deck will be a ton of fun to play. Go now my furry friends, show them who the real queen b(ear) is.
In the 99:
I guess you can run Ayula in the 99 if you run bear tribal with Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma as you commander.
That being said, that is a deck that will do far worse, and will lack the synergy the Ayula gives the tribe when at the helm.
That’s all for the mono-colored legends from the set. Don’t worry though, because the multi-colored legends are just around the corner. Until next time.
Warper of Worlds
The card images were obtained from: