Historically for our “Cards That Excite Us” articles, it is a free-for-all where any newly printed card is fair game for reporting excitement. However, during the Modern Horizons 2 spoiler season over the last couple weeks, I realized an unrestricted article would list most if not all of the rare and mythic cards in the list just due to how amazing these cards are. I mean, look at these cards!!
In fairness, Wizards of the Coast has created cards in the “Horizons” sets for eternal formats like Commander, so a lot of these cards will excite us as Commander players. To avoid the marathon article I saw in my nightmares last week, I instead decided to focus only on the commons and uncommons that excite us from Modern Horizons 2. Even with a higher-value set, the commons and uncommons are generally going to be cheaper and more available to pick up and add to your Commander decks.
Without further delay, here are some MH2 commons and uncommons that excite us and will likely end up in some of our Commander decks very soon…
1. Late To Dinner
Upon seeing Late to Dinner, I did a double take, as I had to confirm it said “to the battlefield,” not to hand, especially being at common rarity. When I think of cards pulling creatures back out of the graveyard to the battlefield, only black cards come to mind. White cards with this ability are definitely not the norm, which makes this card extremely exciting.
The excitement only grows when I realized on top of reanimating a creature, you have an upside in getting a Food token, making this an auto-include for me in my Selesnya lifegain/counters deck currently being reworked.
The final cherry on top was realizing the combo potential that can happen when I use this to pull one of my favorite cards, Sun Titan, onto the battlefield, but I’ll leave that one to your imagination!
2. Skyblade’s Boon
In case you haven’t seen it yet, I have a Bant Enchantress deck, which means I’m constantly on the lookout in new sets for cheap efficient enchantments in those colors. Skyblade’s Boon ticks all of those boxes and even gives flying, allowing for some surprise attacks with my buffed up creature.
Even better, I can keep recurring it in case I run out of enchantments to trigger my payoffs or bring it back to my hand from the graveyard after my opponents inevitably kill my enchanted creature. Did someone say VALUE?!
3. Flay Essence
This card isn’t necessarily the best version of Murder around (I’m still quite partial to Murderous Rider/Swift End), but the card concept/art as well as its flexibility makes it a fun card to add to a deck. Exile effects are no joke in Commander with indestructible Gods and tough-to-remove planeswalkers being quite common after recent sets. Being at sorcery speed is definitely a downside, but it is great life gain against planeswalkers since they likely have at least a few loyalty counters on them if you are so keen to exile them. With recent Witherbloom and not as recent Orzhov decks, that life gain can likely turn into even more value.
4. Legion Vanguard
Every time I see or even think about this card, I am shocked this is at uncommon. One mana instant speed sacrifice outlets are great in Commander, as there aren’t many free sacrifice outlets, especially if you are building on a budget like we generally are.
Decks like Belmont’s Wampires deck or Rakdos Vampires deck already have great value/utility through sacrificing creatures (Wampires likes the death, Rakdos loves sacrificing other players’ creatures for value), so the explore trigger is just an extra value present for us!
5. Strike It Rich
To the best of my memory, I cannot recall ever labelling a red card as “Ramp” before today. Unless you are playing an hyper aggressive deck, ramp is important to have on turn one and as nice as a Sol Ring is, you can’t count on having it in your hand every time (though it will ALWAYS be in one of your opponents’ starting hand).
This sorcery has a lot of versatility across different deck archetypes besides the ramp too. This is perfect for storm or other spell strategies as it replaces the mana spent to cast it. Also, the treasure created is an artifact token, adding to the artifact count on the board for decks like Buff Friends with Swords that care about the artifact count on the board. The flashback is just an added bonus on top of all that.
6. Deepwood Denizen
I’m a big fan of +1/+1 counter synergies across multiple combinations of Abzan colors, so of course this common would excite me at least a bit and will make this list.
However, upon re-reading the card right now after even pulling one of these from a MH2 pack, this card is even better than I expected. The ability specifically states “for each +1/+1 counter on creatures you control”, not for each creature with a counter, which is usually how this kind of ability is worded.
In decks focused on +1/+1 counters, it is usually pretty easy to have at least a few counters by turn four when this can be tapped. On that turn, you can attack with the Denizen and then likely have more than enough mana to draw a card later, ensuring you never run out of gas to pummel your opponents with big burly beasts.
7. Herd Baloth
Speaking of cards for +1/+1 counter synergy decks, this Baloth is a powerhouse. Creating a 4/4 creature for every instance of +1/+1 counters being placed on Herd Baloth means in certain decks, you’ll be making 2-3 tokens a turn.
For scale, the card Rampaging Baloths creates the same tokens upon a land entering the battlefield and it generally becomes a target for removal immediately upon being played. Any deck where you’d love to put a Doubling Season would probably love this card!
8. Rift Sower
As I mentioned earlier with Strike It Rich, players generally want to be ramping in some way on turn one of a Commander game to allow for flexibility in play patterns and choices. Rift Sower is a great way to utilize your turn one mana to a mana dork that can tap for any color on turn three.
As someone who has been building a Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy deck, basic upside on mana dorks is enough to get me excited! In all honesty though, I predict this will be a great budget option for any green deck that requires a lot of ramping due to its flexibility
9. Ornithopter of Paradise
I think the reason I love sets like MH2 so much is because of the freedom it gives the designers to have some fun (Un sets are definitely the best example). This card being the combination of two classic cards, Ornithopter and Birds of Paradise, is no exception.
On top of being a great matchup though, this card is actually pretty good. Often, mana dorks are in green, leaving non-green decks without as many options for ramping into larger spells. However, this card can work in any deck, meaning more mana for everyone!
10. Full Cycle of Dual-Color Artifact Lands
Lastly, I couldn’t just not talk about the dual artifact lands! These common (yes, I said COMMON!) dual lands give yet another differently named land to include in your singleton decks!
Something that sets these apart are the indestructible, so there is no longer any reason to fear spells like Armageddon, though there might be bigger issues to deal with at that point.
The bigger feature is definitely the artifact typing. Many cards/abilities care about how many artifacts are on the battlefield, whether you are playing Affinity-style decks with Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge or you just want to activate Metalcraft more easily.
So those are the common and uncommon cards that caught my eye and excited me even more about Modern Horizons 2. Did I miss one of your favorites? Let us know by joining our stream on Twitch or sending us a tweet on Twitter! Keep on having fun and making Magic!