Modern Horizons 3: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Cameron Wise-Maas1718636400

It's been three years since the last Modern Horizons set - which is surprising, considering how well they've sold in the past. There have been jokes about the previous sets that they were more targeted towards commander than modern, which, given the impact those sets had on modern, was probably overblown. But this time around, we're seeing some more concrete signs of a shift - commander precons that, in addition to being directly targeted at commander players, aren't even legal for modern play.

That said, we are commander players, so modern is someone else's problem. What we're here to do is figure out which commanders are good, which are bad, and which ugly commanders you'll just hate to see on the other side of the table. Let's get back in the saddle.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Logo
Power
B
Design
F
Ugh, right off the bat with these Eldrazi clowns. As a commander, obviously the madness cost is pretty irrelevant, but twelve mana isn't so hard to achieve in a colorless deck running tons of mana rocks - from experience with Kozilek, I'd guess Emrakul would hit the table around turn 5-6, potentially faster with a lucky draw. And then that ETB effect…whew. From the command zone, of course, it's very telegraphed, so you can expect competent players to play around it and avoid giving you anything too good - but if they aren't playing creatures that's probably okay too, you can just deploy other Eldrazi threats. Like a lot of colorless decks, this mostly preys upon "fair" decks - decks trying to combo out are probably going to laugh at your global control magic. But for your average LGS deck I imagine this will be extremely unpleasant to play against. The cast trigger is deeply upsetting, and the protection is very strong - the best way to kill it will probably mean wiping the board, rendering the death trigger drawback pretty irrelevant. So yeah, we're dropping our first ugly right out of the gate - and you can expect plenty more where that came from.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
D
Design
D
This is a funky one. Emerge is a weird mechanic that hasn't seen much success in commander. Giving it to all your creatures sounds potentially insane - chaining creatures with the same mana cost into each other, for example - but I can't really think of a good way to break it in mono-red. Not enough creatures draw cards when entering, and even if they did their mana costs are too varied to chain them together for free. Herigast's ETB is only slightly helpful, as 3 cards isn't many and it's very easy to whiff. And even if you can chain them a bit, I'm not sure what the payoff is. If you want to cheat big things into play, I'd recommend Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded instead. I just don't see a way for this to go anywhere - which is weird for a big mythic eldrazi dragon.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
B-
Design
C
The cast trigger is deceptively strong here - a little bit of mind rot, a little bit of scroll of fate, and then a tidings on top of that. Add that to a whole bunch of power and toughness, plus a lower mana cost than the other eldrazi titans, and he's a pretty solid card. That said, he's not dumb like the other titans are dumb - one removal spell and a lot of his value has been lost. I'm not a fan of colorless decks, eldrazi, or big dumb beefy boys, but Kozilek doesn't make me want to hit myself in the head with a hammer, and that's a rousing endorsement compared to certain other commanders from this set.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
B+
Design
F-, but only because I can't go lower
Oh boy do I hate this card. Annihilator truly is one of the worst mechanics of all time. To summarize my thoughts on it, it's very good at making someone else lose, but it's terrible at helping you win. And this twit is almost certainly going to have the biggest annihilator numbers of all time, and even annihilates you for targeting him. Tack onto that an annoying ETB trigger - who doesn't love counting out eighty cards? - and I really cannot describe how much I loathe this design. Every game with Ulamog is going to be miserable for everyone involved. Ugly was made for Ulamog.

Final Judgment: Uglier than sin

Power
B+
Design
D
I guess in theory you could try to do some broader enchantment thing, but Pearl-Ear really seems like they're directing you towards an aura voltron build. With both cost reduction and draw, it seems like you could storm through your deck while decking out the commander with buffs. I doubt it's as strong as Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice, between the highest cost and the lack of tutoring, but it's still probably pretty must-kill before it becomes a 1-shot hexproof machine. Must kill commanders plus storm-adjacent gameplay is pretty ugly. Not eldrazi ugly, but ugly nonetheless.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
D+
Design
B-
Apparently we have Corgis in magic now. Obvious ploys for marketability aside, Phelia is a pretty solid little engine for 2 mana .Attacking isn't exactly free for a grizzly bear, but blinking something for free is good economy, albeit very similar to Fortune, Loyal Steed, who got little interest in the command zone. It does grow, which helps with the attack triggers somewhat, and it does have the ability to blink enemy permanents (though I expect this use case will be a lot less useful - if only it was in blue so you could stifle the return trigger). Overall I think it's a pretty decent card and I don't dislike it, but I don't expect it to make much of a splash either.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
C+
Design
C+
We've had mass-reanimation in the command zone since judgment's Balthor the Defiled, with fewer hoops to jump through. That said, Shilgengar gives an extra color, a big body, less risk of backfiring, and a built-in sac outlet. But the finality counter is a major limitation, and needing to actually put some creatures onto the battlefield and sac them before you can bring them back slows things down quite a bit. I think that makes Shilgengar weaker as a build-around commander, since you can't just dedicate your whole deck to dumping fatties into your graveyard, and then use your commander as a 7 mana sorcery to bring them all back, but he's stronger in a more generalist build, providing sac synergies, angel synergies, artifact synergies, and a beatdown plan.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
B
Design
D
On one hand, I do like the design templating of "the first time, the second time", etc, because it's a stealthy way of including the "triggers only once each turn" safety valve. So at least Ashling can't easily generate more than 4 mana a turn, or deal more than 2 damage to each enemy. The cantrip clause is always happening, though, so you can expect a ton of free filtering, especially while copying spells - that and the massive potential influx of mana gives me some concerns. The thing that really gives me pause about Ashling, though, is the 2 damage to all enemy creatures. Considering how trivial that will be to trigger, anyone with a commander of <=2 toughness, or more than a handful of small creatures, is pretty much locked into a perpetual struggle with Ashling from the word "go". That's not necessarily good for the Ashling player, either, as you can't even play the deck as intended without making mortal enemies. I don't think Ashling is going to create games we'd like to remember, and for that reason, she's going into the ugly pile.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
F
Design
D-
A common legend in 2024? Bizarre. As one might expect, Skoa is nowhere near interesting for commander. Way too expensive, with a mediocre ETB, and nothing else going on. I've built a grandeur-enabling Korlash, Heir to Blackblade before, but grandeur is much harder to enable in mono-red, and also pointless since Skoa's grandeur ability is awful in commander. I'd say it's a challenge build, but I would never accept this challenge.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
A-
Design
D
Rarely is a card's name such a random jumble of letters. It's also pretty insane value engine for 3 mana. A mana dork on 1 makes it easy to enable his activated ability on 3, which means basically anything could be incoming. Pairing huge tempo with significant value really isn't something I like to see, especially on something that sits in the command zone. I'm glad he's mono-colored at least, but if I sit down against Eladamri I'm going to feel like I need to either remove him immediately or have a board wipe ready to go, and that's not something that bodes well for enjoyable games.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
B
Design
B
I really like this design. Retrace is a cool mechanic, but limiting it to permanents and mono-green puts a significant safety valve on the potential strength here. Being able to keep recurring the same things over and over does motivate running some strong sackables, like spore frog and yavimaya elder. Beyond that, any permanent-based wincons have strong durability for you, so classic overrun plans like avenger of zendikar make a lot of sense. Possibly there are broken things that I haven't considered here, but from where I'm sitting it looks like a good time.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
B+
Design
C+
I'm torn about Arna. On one hand, she's insane. Solid stats she really didn't need, lots of strong colors, a relevant ward, and an ability that gets out of hand quickly. All hallmarks of an ugly commander. On the other hand…
I love big swords and I cannot lie.
Specifically, swords of X and Y.
When a girl walks in, and effectively has haste,
And gives you triggers when you hit face,
You get…into combat as Richard Garfield intended
Equipment decks have almost always been kind of a low-tier, durable but not fast strategy that relies upon building a doom cannon while everyone else is distracted with more pressing problems, and then hoping you can kill them off before they find an answer. Arna looks poised to make an equipment deck that's actually explosive enough to make equipment a serious threat. And the pseudo-haste means she's less incentivized to go voltron, and the ward is both annoying but also totally payable if necessary, so it doesn't outright prevent interaction. So I'm going to give her a pass because I do think she looks fun as hell to play…but I'd be lying if I said I'd be thrilled to sit across from her.

Final Judgment: Good (for me)

Power
C-
Design
C
Eggs, I guess, seems like the target here? I'm dubious if there are enough aristocrats tools without black. I guess blink is also an option, though it doesn't seem like a super impressive payoff. The tokens are pretty small, and the built-in buff is fairly pricey, so I think you'd want some additional synergy to make it really get there on the back end. Overall it seems fine but probably not overly powerful - most eggs decks are going for some sort of 1-turn combo plan, which this doesn't support.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
B-
Design
C-
Poor Bosh, Iron Golem. The sac outlet is pretty mediocre here, especially since it works somewhat at odds with playing cheap artifacts to play Imskir quickly. But, it still gives you potential outlet to win with if people get low, especially with other affinity cards. Regardless, the rest of the card is potentially very strong - he's cheap, and he draws a ton of cards when he enters the battlefield. The buildaround is significant, so I think there is a ceiling on the power here - if you're just drawing a bunch of trash artifacts you might not get that much real value - but there is potential to be pretty scary, especially if there are enough strong artifact sac outlets or death triggers.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
D
Design
C
I can't think of any great way to abuse everything being a bear - obviously there's some synergy with Ayula, Queen Among Bears, but that's about it - so I think this mostly rests on making everything a 2/2. You could make a bunch of 1/1 and 0/1 tokens to buff them up, and you can shrink down enemy creatures potentially, but that doesn't feel like much of a buildaround and it's all contingent upon Kudo staying alive, which presents a lot of risk. There might be some decks that have a hard time against Kudo, but he seems more like a hate card against big dumb beaters than a commander.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
A+
Design
Z
Ugh…there were so many safety valves they could have given this monstrosity, and they chose essentially none of them. Only trigger from enemy targeting? Nope. Only trigger from spells? It'd still be able to do some really powerful things with multi-target spells! Nope. The lands surely enter tapped though, so you can't just keep chaining things together, right? Nope. A high mana cost? Nope. Well at least give it a below-curve body, right? Nope. The only "safety valve" they put on was that it only triggers not once but twice per turn…per creature. And it resets on all your creatures if Nadu blinks, which can easily be done for 1 mana in blue. This looks beyond miserable to play against. A Shuko or Lightning Greaves is a non-deterministic combo all on its own, and even trash like elvish herder can do stupid amounts of damage with this. It's kill on sight, except it costs 3 and gives you cards and even potentially ramp when someone tries to kill it. I don't think I've ever hated the design of a single card more in my entire life, and I don't say that lightly.

Final Judgment: Ugly is too kind a word, but my true feelings cannot be contained by mere human language.

Power
B-
Design
B
Field of the Dead is a strong land, and while getting that ability for 4 mana is a lot less impressive, having it in the command zone lets you rely on it a lot more. And by recurring the same fetch land via dredge, you could easily get seven different names all on its own - the triland, both adjacent shocks and ABUR duals (or whatever dual-typed lands you're running), and the normal and snow-covered basic. Add to that a bunch of ways to play lands from graves, hit extra land drops per turn, etc and you could have a zombie-making machine. The dredge aspect is also very interesting, and makes payoff lands much more durable. It has particular synergy with cycling lands, which can dump a lot of cards into your grave for cheap. Most of this looks pretty fair to me, but it's definitely going to be a resilient deck, so I'd be cautious of letting it get too much momentum when playing against it.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C
Design
C+
We're really running out of names, aren't we? I'm excited to see the titan cycle returning - Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath might have caused problems in other formats, but I think he's good fun for commander. This trigger looks a lot less exciting for commander, though - sorcery speed removal is weak, having limited targets is weak, and being forced to use it in order to get your commander online generally leads to undesirable play patterns, bolting whatever is around just to use the trigger, regardless of actual threat assessment. That said, it's still a fun template and I do like a lightning helix, so I can't bring myself to be too hard on it.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C-
Design
D
Rosheen hasn't changed too much since her original version - she still taps for mana for X spells, but now she's got an etb effect that probably draws a card, and she can potentially generate a lot more mana…or maybe less. The build here seems probably extremely brain-dead. More X spells means greater hit chance off the etb, plus more mana off her ability, so you're probably shoving just about every X spell in existence into here. As far as the payoff, there are some especially big hits, like crackle with power, but it's hard to see her usurping the throne from Magus Lucea Kane, who can do similar effects, except more reliably and without needing to cram in a bunch of mediocre hydras in order to pad the deck with X spells. So she's necessarily bad, but she's very boring and outclassed.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
B-
Design
C+
Setting aside commander for a moment, this card looks absurd. It's 3 power and toughness across two bodies, with a trivial flip condition, which then spits out more bodies every turn, while shooting your stuff if you achieve the oh-so-difficult qualification of having a red permanent. If my opponent played this on turn 2 of a draft, unless I had removal I'd start scooping up my cards (and even if I did, I don't like my chances). As a commander, he's definitely less threatening - the tokens aren't threatening without support, and while the burn is annoying, it can't exactly stop 3 players at once all gunning for his planeswalker butt. All that said, he does represent a crazy amount of value for a 2-drop, even if he can't go absurdly over-the-top in the way a lot of top commanders can. As far as the build-around, I don't think I'd lean too heavily on the cat tribal - there are a few worth running, but without green options are restricted, and the tribal elements he offers I don't think are worth going too deep on. His ultimate and ability to churn out blockers seems like a good fit for a controlling token deck, with some defenses to keep attackers away from his squishy self. Tentatively, I want to say this looks fun, because I do love a planeswalker that isn't threatening a win-the-game-immediately ultimate. But good lord, the power level of this set is ridiculous.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
A-
Design
D+
Speaking of win-the-game-immediately ultimates, Tamiyo. The front side alone is pretty crazy - a 1-drop that gives a clue every turn? And that lets her flip herself easily on turn 4, though turn 2 is very reasonable with the right draw spells. Her +2 doesn't do anything very interesting, except protect her while she builds up to her other abilities - and being a +2 is a major help in that regard as well. Her other two abilities are both pretty gnarly. Recurring an instant or sorcery is just begging to be abused with time magic, but that's not necessarily a dealbreaker or every blue-based spellslinger would get an ugly. But tack onto that the ult which should immediately win the game, and yeah, I'm not a fan of this. Too cheap, too much of a threat, and in the right colors to protect it (counterspells AND fogs)? Yuck.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
C
Design
B-
Sorin is giving a real Wednesday Addams vibe on the front side. Like the other flip commanders, he's frighteningly cheap and easy to flip, practically doing it on his own with just one extort trigger (and a lifelink attack to make up the difference in a 3p game). Extort is a nice bonus, but outside of helping him flip I think it's relatively minor these days except as a way to fuel lifegain synergies. The back side is considerably more tame than Tamiyo or Ajani. His +2 making food is pretty minor - food being one of the lowest value artifact tokens, making only 1 is middling even for a food deck. They do help to fuel his -1, but 2 mana for 3 life just isn't that exciting, you'd need to have a ton of mana and food in order to make that into a serious threat. His -1 is decent as occasional removal, and has some potential to become game-winning if you get some big lifegain swings, for example off Akroma's Will or True Conviction. Certainly outclassed by Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose though, except in color identity. And finally the ult, if you can call it that, is the weakest of all the flip walkers, given that Control Magic can do a good impression of it for just 4 mana and it takes 3 turns to achieve naturally. Could cause problems for someone reliant on their commander, but considering the effort involved it's quite mediocre, and most Sorin decks will almost certainly prefer to focus on using the -1 ability instead. All that put together, I honestly think Sorin borders on mediocre, but considering all the different modes and options he has - creature side, planeswalker side, extort, tokens, lifegain, food, removal, direct damage, theft in a pinch - I think I'll let him skate by. I'd take more Sorins and less Tamiyos any day.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C+
Design
C+
Ral might be the hardest to evaluate of the flip walkers. His front side is quite solid, possibly the best of the bunch - Goblin Electromancer has been a UR staple for over a decade, and Ral is just an easier to cast version of that…mostly. Interestingly, flipping a coin and taking half a damage on average isn't optional, but transforming him when you win the flip is. So if you just want to use him as another electromancer, he's going to deal you some damage. The planeswalker side is…interesting. Unlike Sorin, who brings his trinket text with him onto the back side, Ral doesn't unless you use his +1 ability, so you could choose to flip him just for him to keep doing basically the exact same thing. It does come with a bit more insurance, since removing him won't stop the effect until it expires on your next turn, but it does include the vulnerability to combat that planeswalkers have. So, funky remix of a 2012 classic aside, what does Ral offer with his other abilities? Not as much as you might expect, actually. His -2 looks solid for limited, but I'm underwhelmed by conditional-electrolyze in this format, especially considering you need 2 turns of his +1 to pay for it. He won't reliably be able to hit the targets you care about, and even when you can, he's sorcery speed. Finally, the ult is a massive -8, but does potentially offer a lot of power. However I think it ultimately won't do enough to justify itself as a strong build-around goal. The clear plan to pull it off in a reasonable time frame is to flip him after casting a ton of spells, so that he enters with a bunch of loyalty and can fire it off quickly, potentially even right away. The tension here is that doing so requires a high density of low-cost cantrips, which aren't that exciting to flip off his ult, especially considering you'll probably hit ~3 lands. But if you pack the deck with huge bombs, you probably won't be able to get enough counters to ult. Not to say his ult is irrelevant, casting a handful of cantrips plus maybe one more-impactful spell could still be a lot of value, but I'm skeptical that the high difficulty and potential underwhelming impact will allow it to be a major part of his play patterns. But if you do want to do it, my recommendation would be to do it as follows: cast all your sorceries for the turn, always declining to transform if you win the flip. Then, cast all your instants while holding priority, then let all the transform triggers resolve. As soon as you win one, go ahead and transform him. That way you'll get the maximum number of counters, without either transforming him prematurely, or risking losing the last couple flips and failing to transform at all (of course this is still a possibility, but you can minimize it by playing in this way).

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C+
Design
B+
Grist is my favorite of the flip walkers - for one thing, his transform requirements actually need some effort put in. reanimate is an easy way to do it, or you could go with a bloodghast, but either way it's probably going to take a couple turns to get the creature into the graveyard first and then figure out how to get it back. Seems a bit unfair to then charge a mana on top of that work, considering how easy all the others are. Luckily the planeswalker side is rock solid - a +1 that does an excellent job of defending itself (alongside a color payoff that actually requires serious deckbuilding consideration, unlike every other transform walker who just ask that you control a single permanent of that color) while fueling self-mill strats, and a -2 that saves you some removal slots and ensures you consistently have a decent answer to artifacts and enchantments. The ult is also interesting, and requires build-around to be effective as well. Bloodghast is good at flipping grist, but not so interesting as a token off the ult. Most likely the best way to build grist is to focus on a reanimator angle, with some additional self-mill, discard, and reanimation spells that will help flip grist, alongside spicy fodder for reanimation and his ult. You're also motivated to keep it as black as possible, but still with a hearty amount of green in the manabase so you can get grist onto the field quickly. Overall quite an interesting build and a balanced design.

Final Judgment: Good

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Logo
Power
C+
Design
C
Two weird abilities that could both be their own thing. The first looks nutty until you realize how few lhurgoyfs exist in the format - just 11 in her colors, and they range from mediocre to terrible. Of course changelings can also fit into this, but most of those aren't too exciting either. To enable this, you'd probably want discard outlets or mill, but with such a low density, weak targets, and relatively high cost of the commander, is it really going to be worth the effort? Personally I think the main selling point is the second ability, which pays you off for hitting your opponents, probably with small evasive dorks to build an army of Tarmogoyfs, 3 at a time in a 4p game. Those should probably be 4/5s or better most of the time, and if you build around it, could be 9/10s. That does seem like a pretty solid payoff for the effort, though it's still going to take a fair number of turns and a lot of combat to start really paying off, so I think it still qualifies as "fair" in 2024. I can't bring myself to love the design though - how many new players are going to ask "what the hell is a tarmogoyf token, and why should I be expected to know so many random trivia bits just to know what my card does?"

Final Judgment: Good

Power
D
Design
C+
I'm a little sad the changeling counters can't just have their abilities inherently, like flying counters. I assume the primary utility for this commander is to enable omni-tribal decks with a bunch of random lords in them - possibly there are some other more nefarious options, but I can't think of them. The rangeling utility seems hard to abuse - there are a few cards like cloudpost and Urza's Tower that get better, but nothing enormous. If you make the land a creature (hi, dryad arbor!), it becomes a changeling, but that also seems pretty minor. The main restriction of a commander like this is that attack triggers are hard to really abuse, because they're hard to do more than once per turn cycle. And in this case, the payoff doesn't seem major enough to "go off" from having triggered it just a couple times. So now we're relying on a scenario where you build up a big board of tribal cards and nobody interrupts you, despite your plan being very face-up on the table since you're only placing 1 counter per turn most of the time. Fun, maybe, but I just don't see it working.

Final Judgment: Bad

Power
C+
Design
C+
Alright, energy lovers, you get one commander so I hope you like it. Luckily, Satya looks pretty cool. We've seen similar effects from Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to Saheeli, the Sun's Brillance - Satya is only 4 mana with haste and no activation cost, and while she does need to get into combat, 5 toughness and menace means she's fairly durable, and potentially even capable of commander damage kills. I'm a bit low on the energy element, though - paying the mana value of the creature in energy needs either a lot of build-around, or a lots of attacks, and either way I think will be fairly inconsequential by that stage. If you want to make permanent copies, I think you've got better alternatives - Satya is more about etb and death triggers, so live it up with your solemn simulacrums and probably ignore the energy stuff. Overall she looks like a side-grade on commanders like Saheeli, but she brings 3 colors and a reasonably efficient form factor, so while she's not the most original, I think she's decent enough.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
B-
Design
C-
Ugh, back to Eldrazi. Ulalek looks most similar to Riku of Two Reflections 5 drop, copies creatures for 2 mana, except Ulalek works exclusively with Eldrazi, and gives you their cast triggers. There are some shenanigans you can pull by putting other triggers onto the stack, but you'll need to flash-cast your eldrazi or use Strionic resonator to pull that off so it's a fair bit of work. Comparing this to Riku, I think it looks pretty mediocre - getting the cast triggers off eldrazi is cool and all, but restricting yourself to eldrazi only is a big concession. You do also get the benefit of being able to use colorless mana sources to pay for Ulalek and his triggers, which makes it a lot easier to ramp into. I don't make it a secret that I hate the eldrazi as a tribe, more and more with every set they appear in, but Ulalek looks relatively fair as a commander. I won't enjoy playing against him and I definitely won't build him, but there are certainly worse things in MH3.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
B
Design
F
Like this guy, for example. As much as I despise the new Ulamog, he does at least force you to play mono-brown if you want annihilator in the command zone. This guy gives you five colors, plus a near-unremovable ticking clock of experience counters, and since he can activate his ability in response to removal and scions and spawns are plentiful, he's very hard to stop. And if you board wipe him away…well, now his ability will make any eldrazi near-lethal, isn't that fun? And that's only if he doesn't use his ability to protect his board and give him lethal on the next turn. I don't think Azlask is the most powerful commander - he does still ultimately need a lot of mana and combat to really get going - but he looks unpleasant to play against and I'm just not into it.

Final Judgment: Ugly

Power
C+
Design
C
Cayth is apparently the only "famed" legend…I feel like wotc should use that adjective more, it implies some fun flavor. There's some interesting tension in the design here - with fabricate, typically the best choice in commander will be to make the tokens. However, with the activated ability, proliferate is generally much stronger than populate, and that's definitely true if you're just populating a 1/1 servo, which motivates you to choose the +1 counter. Xavier Sal, Infested Captain has seen reasonable popularity, and Cayth is very similar but requires less effort to exploit. It also doesn't live in the shadow of Atraxa, Praetor's Voice as a proliferate commander quite so much, since its colors are less overlapping. Personally, I think populate is underwhelming in 2024, and proliferate is frequently obnoxious (though at least we're outside of the primary poison colors), but Cayth seems fine even if it's not my cup of tea.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C
Design
B
I like this take on Muldrotha, the Gravetide - low cost, can cast instants/sorceries, and can play stuff from enemy graves, but only one nonland per turn, and you need to have just milled it. Lands should be a layup with 4 libraries to choose from, but hitting a good spell could be a gamble - I've played enough Etali, Primal Storm to know that, and now you're paying the costs. The big question to me is whether Coram will be good enough as a value engine on his own, or if you'll feel the need to include extra mill. Considering you're ultimately only digging for one spell per turn, I don't think it's worth going insanely deep on self-mill unless you want to have a lot more self-mill synergy, but at least a smattering in case you whiff seems like a good plan. You could also use something like entomb to chuck a Yargle and Multani into the yard in order to get some fast commander damage kills. I could see that being an angle for the deck, actually, racking up some early commander damage and the finishing with a huge hit off entomb, discard, or a lucky mill. I don't think Coram looks overly strong - getting good selection of targets requires a fair amount of build-around, and the value on its own is only moderate, plus he needs to get into combat, and without additional build-around you probably won't often swing for more than 6 or so. But I think the design is cool and not broken, and that's really all I ask.

Final Judgment: Good

Power
C-
Design
C-
We've seen a couple other commanders that get more powerful as they get recast, starting with commander 2011. Compared to Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, Jyoti gives more powerful tokens, but only half as many, which luckily stops him going infinite with food chain unless you have a haste enabler. But it does make Jyoti easy to recast, except through board wipes. It also provides some reliable fodder for Jyoti's second ability that doesn't require risking "real" lands in combat. Given that, I think it makes a fair amount of sense to blink Jyoti after sacrificing him a couple times so that he's making a number of manlands per etb. Once you've done that, the secondary ability is pretty mediocre, but does have some potential if you buff Jyoti with other means, which could come reasonably out of nowhere especially with big buffs like might of oaks. On the other hand, with that much mana and that many creatures available, people should probably expect some sort of lethal push in one form or another, and Jyoti is relatively easy to interact with. You could use it with other manlands, but I don't think they really scale in a way that lends themselves to it. Most of them require their own activation costs, plus they're tapping themselves to attack, so the mana runs out fast. Personally I think the build is a bit boring here - if you're not using your own manlands, Jyoti is basically just tribal for the tokens it already makes, and the synergy with lands is fully self-contained. The alternative way to use it would be to make land tokens for big mana on their own, which seems fine but probably not very efficient considering the first one costs 4, and you're weak to board wipes.

Final Judgment: Bad

I've had some previous sets - not so long ago, really - where I would struggle to find a properly ugly commander. Modern Horizons 3 isn't one of those sets. This set is packed to the gills with ugly folks, higher than we've ever seen before by my estimation. Some for power level like Nadu, and some like the Eldrazi titans that simply make the game miserable to play. I do question the judgment of printing a card like Emrakul - it's too expensive and ineffective for cEDH, and too unpleasant for casual games. So who is it for?

I probably sound pretty negative on this set, and that's not entirely wrong, but there are some cool designs here as well. I'm interested to try some of the flip walkers, and Arna Kennerud looks like one of the more powerful and interesting equipment commanders we've seen. But in the context of the power creep we've seen recently from MKM and OTJ, the main thing I'm left wondering is where we're headed from here. Nadu is a huge power spike, but if he gets a reputation for being cEDH only, or if he gets banned, the format can easily weather that storm as it has with broken commanders in the past. But it seems like every subsequent set is adding more and more mines to step on for newer players - Lord of the Rings was less than 1% ugly commanders, and now we're up to 25% for the main set. That's an alarming trend to develop in just the past year. I hope that this is an outlier caused by the set being targeted purely at eternal formats, and that future sets will flatten out the recent power spike, but we'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, hopefully you find something fun from MH3, and hopefully the power creep isn't too disruptive to the health of the format as a whole. Good luck out there on the range - it looks like there's a storm a brewin'.

Until next time, cowpokes.