Modern Horizons has recently released and immediately defied expectations of players with the amount of cards in the set that are clearly pushed for commander. To the point that the tired joke of how the set should renamed “Commander Horizons” was seen across most social media platforms. There are not that many legendary creatures in the set but the ones that were released are definitely worth discussing. We split up the multi-colored and mono-colored commanders in order to make a less strenuous read for our wonderful readers. In this section, we will be discussing The First Sliver, Morophon, Sisay, and Hogaak.
The First Sliver
Slivers are finally making a return after roughly five years of absence. Slivers tribal is a theme in the set and in addition to printing new Slivers we were gifted with this powerhouse of a Sliver commander. I’m starting off with this new Sliver because I was the most excited about when spoilers started happening. Over the last few months, I have been flirting with the idea of playing a sliver deck because I enjoy decks that have a ton of synergy and I like the idea of tribal decks. In addition, I had been looking for an excuse to mess around with Cascade Then the First Sliver was printed and suddenly I had an excuse to both play Slivers and Cascade. The First Sliver definitely can be played either in the 99 or as the leader of the hive I will be giving my take on the matter and as always feel free to engage in debate whether what I am saying is true or just the ramblings of a guy from the internet. If y’all wish to hear more about how this new Sliver runs in my experience, I will likely be doing a deck tech on him at some point in the future.
As a Commander:
The First Sliver is absolutely better than the Overlord or the Legion if you want your deck to be a classic Sliver Beatdown.
I am leaving Sliver Queen out of this discussion because she is more or a combo commander. I am specifically referring to a sliver deck that wants to win by giving our team a ton of abilities and swinging for the kill. That disclaimer out of the way that is a hill I am willing to die on, the cascade that the first sliver provides is pure value attached to every sliver we cast. In addition, Slivers want to be fast and flood the board with more slivers and the First Sliver helps us do that quicker than the Overlord can. Sliver Overlord is the same to cast plus another three to tutor for a sliver plus the casting cost of the sliver itself. The First Sliver is leaner and with enough cascades we can get the slivers we need in a timely fashion plus bonus value along the way. I have found in my testing that The First Sliver is explosive enough to offset the “chaotic” aspect of cascade. This creates a snowball effect that the Overlord cannot mimic without it being telegraphed. The First Sliver is both more explosive and has more quick-strike capability.
On the more competitive axis, The First Sliver is now the premiere Food Chain commander which I’m not going into more detail on since I’m not well versed enough in the nuances of Food Chain decks to discuss them knowledgeably. That being said, it is hilarious how Niv Mizzet, Reborn was the best commander for 5 color Food Chain for a month and then was replaced within a month.
The point of the matter is that the First Sliver is an explosive and powerful sliver commander that attaches additional value to every sliver that we cast. When constructing the deck some care needs to be taken that there aren’t spells that we don’t want to cascade into since we want to maximize the additional value our slivers provide.
In the 99:
The First Sliver can easily fit in any other Sliver tribal commander if for whatever reason he doesn’t appeal as the leader of the hivemind.
Morophon, The Boundless
As a commander:
When at the head of your commander deck Morophon gives you so many options. You can pick literally any creature type and build a deck around it. I have seen avatar tribal, I’ve seen shapeshifter tribal, and they were both awesome. Cost reduction is one of the most powerful effects in magic, and Morophon makes it easy. A nice sweet POWERFUL interaction for you to know about, if you have Jodah or Fist of Suns in play then all cards you cast of the named tribe you get to cast for free. Morophon opens up a boundless world of tribal possibilities. All you have to do is pick a tribe.
In the 99:
In the 99 Morophon is tough to squeeze. The only decks in which I can place it is an Ur-Dragon deck, maybe Scion of the Ur-Dragon. Or possibly some other traditionally 5 color tribal deck like Slivers or Elementals. Otherwise a hard no.
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
As a commander:
Here is the legendary-matters commander that we’ve been waiting for. Sisay is 5 colors which afford the deck builder the flexibility to choose how the deck plays by the selection of legends in the 99. Sisay can run a toolbox style deck using her ability to find legendary silver bullets. Or if we want to be a bit spikier we can include a bunch of legendary permanents that pump Sisay to the point that she can fetch Paradox Engine, then proceed to yank every single relevant permanent from our deck into play.
The fact that she puts the card into play is what makes Sisay so powerful. Once we resolve Sisay we don’t care about traditional counterspells, we need to include a good amount of ramp so we can hit WUBRG mana as quickly as possible. A way to untap our mana rocks/dorks like Paradox Engine simply puts Sisay over the top. It is also worth noting that she can fetch legendary lands without being pumped at all since they have a CMC of 0.
She can find us Gaea’s Cradle to ramp, Academy Ruins to recur Paradox Engine, and Volrath’s Stronghold to recur a power legendary creature. As far as casual edh goes Sisay does everything her previous version did and more. It is true that Captain Sisay simply tapped to activate however she didn’t put the permanent into play leaving it vulnerable to counterspells and having to pay for the spell itself. New Sisay is likely going to take over as the premiere legendary-matters commander, the flexibility of her ability and of being in 5 colors cannot be understated. Sisay only tells us that she wants to be surrounded with legendary permanent, the selection of legends is at the discretion of the deck builder. She’s powerful, flavorful and has a ton of potential builds, the sky’s the limit.
In the 99:
Due to her 5c identity, she can’t really fit in many other decks and her ability screams “build around me”. Perhaps she can slot into another 5 color legends matter deck but in my opinion, they should be running Sisay as the commander anyway.
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
As a commander:
Hogaak seems like a fun deck building process. It is very much a deck you can customize to fit your own graveyard shenanigans style. It is however just another graveyard shenanigans deck. One of the few upsides is that you can let Hogaak go to the graveyard to avoid the commander tax. Hogaak doesn’t seem so great as a commander, but I’m still a big fan of the card. He’s a large dude with trample that is hard to keep off the board so commander damage kills are certainly on the table.
In the 99:
As just an eight power trampler Hogaak kind of just seems to be underwhelming for commander. It’s a big body, and if that’s what you need then, by all means, run Hogaak. I’m just really not a big fan of Hogaak in commander. I have a friend who tried it in their Izoni deck, and it was just another creature. Perhaps it was the wrong deck for Hogaak, but they said it didn’t feel right to them for the format. I’ll leave that up to you though.
Thanks for reading!
The card images were obtained from Gatherer homepage linked here https://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx
-Paul of Clan Nel Toth