Modern Horizons 3 Set Review - White

Michael Celani • June 3, 2024

Flare of Fortitude by Kev Fang

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Colorless | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & WedgescEDH | Reprints | Minotaurs

Horizon: Forbidden West

Hello, everyone, and it's time for Modern to swallow the biyearly pill. My name is Michael Celani, and I write How They Brew It, the Commander deck tech article series that, through my rigorous scientific investigation of layers, discovered the seventh type of quark. I also cohost Am I the Bolcast?, where we rate people instead of cards. Speaking of cards, Modern Horizons 3 is here. Will it be a satisfying ending to the trilogy, or is this a Godfather scenario? Trick question, it's secretly a Star Wars scenario, where we'll get more installments until the money runs out. Let's get started!


Ocelot Pride

I'm going to be honest, writing anything to convince you that Ocelot Pride is cracked would be the least necessary commitment of words to paper since Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You know it, I know it, my editor knows it: it's a one-mana token-doubler. I'm instead going to spend the rest of this review investigating the nuances that separate Ocelot Pride from its contemporaries, as well as give you tips and tricks to squeeze the most juice of out of it. The most... ocelot juice from it.

The main trait that individuates Ocelot Pride is that it works its magic through a triggered ability as opposed to the replacement effect that you usually see on cards like Parallel Lives. As a result, Ocelot Pride defers creating any extra tokens until your end step, which is about a 30-to-70 split between blessing and curse. If you were looking to make extra Treasure, for example, Ocelot Pride is a particularly lusterless way to do it, since you'll really only be able to cash in on your investments for their full value on your next turn. The ability also triggers only on your end step, too, so anything you'd create on opponent's turn remains as single as a forty-year-old man driving a Lamborghini. The final foible to consider is that you actually have to control the token you want doubled at the end step to get another copy of it; no investigating and cracking a Clue with the expectation that an anonymous tip will come in and net you more card draw later.

Not to mention, if you actually want to trigger Ocelot Pride's ability in the first place, you'll need to have both gained life that turn and have the City's Blessing. The City's Blessing doesn't matter; it's granted practically instantly in the types of decks that would care to run any token-copiers in the first place. It's the life gain that's slightly trickier. Luckily, white not only has access to tons of Soul Sisters (Soul Warden, Case of the Uneaten Feast, anything else Darien, King of Kjeldor uses to cheat death), but Ocelot Pride also comes with first strike and lifelink built-in. If your go-wide strategy has any anthems, it could theoretically crib enough stats to attack safely and gain you life just by osmosis.

It seems like I've been harsh on Ocelot Pride so far, but these are all necessary restrictions to save this one-mana creature (reminder: it costs one mana) from the banned-forever zone. And where Ocelot Pride falters in forging evidence and counterfeiting Treasure, it makes up in recruitment. This thing's an absolute house when it comes to copying creature tokens. Not only does it generate its own 1/1 Cat creature token to get the ball (of yarn) rolling, but its downsides are also much less pronounced in this scenario. Creature tokens generally don't attack the turn they enter the battlefield because of summoning sickness, so waiting until your end step doesn't matter as much, and you're also substantially less likely to create a significant amount of them on other players' turns.

Where Ocelot Pride graduates to absurd is the fact that its ability sidesteps a significant problem its competition suffers from: it doesn't copy delayed triggers. With an Anointed Procession, if you were to double a token that would exiled at the beginning of the next end step, the second token would be subject to the same delayed trigger as the original and get exiled in turn. Ocelot Pride instead creates bona fide copies the same way populate does, so any such delayed triggers don't infect your shiny new army. All you have to do is stack your end-step triggers so that Ocelot Pride resolves before anything blowing up your temporary tokens do, and you'll get a version that sticks around forever.

This seems like a minor point for the average white deck, but it makes all the difference if you happen to be playing any sort of Boros list that cares about creating token copies. This conjuring trick makes permanent Cadric, Soul Kindler clones, permanent Jaxis, the Troublemaker clones, and permanent Feldon of the Third Path clones, and since this ability is primary in red, it's going to keep getting better as more cards are printed. It's also a fascinating buff to encore, in particular: you'll still get the sacrifice triggers of the original tokens while keeping a copy of them around for the rest of the game. This is the second set in a row that's given Dynaheir resurrection decks a significant game piece. The only missed opportunity is that it doesn't work with myriad; they're exiled at the end of combat instead of the turn, so Ocelot Pride doesn't actually see them.

In conclusion: Wizards, what are you doing? Don't think that by dressing it up in this fancy language, I'm going to let you get off scot-free with printing another doubler, much less at one mana. In this manifesto, I will lay out my twelve-point plan to removing all trigger and token-doublers from the planet, and redistributing wealth from Reserved List holders to--


Angelic Aberration

Like all benevolent aliens from a dark Hell beyond comprehension, Angelic Aberration is here to uplift the meek among us into something more cosmically perfect, which is to say it's intended as a go-wide payoff for Soldiers, Saprolings, and more.

If your plan is to go wide and then buff up all your creatures into strong, evasive threats as a kill move, you're better off with an actual pump spell instead of Angelic Aberration. Thanks to summoning sickness, any Angels you create won't be swinging until next turn, so really all you've done is telegraph to your opponents that you intend to remove their mouths and give them reasons to scream. Giving your entire board haste helps, and controlling some effect that can get the damage through anyway helps, but it's too much hassle for the effect.

Angelic Aberration is a sleeper hit in the aristocrats strategy, though: it not only kills your entire field of dorks, leading to tons and tons of death triggers, it replaces them all with a new set of lambs you can lead directly to the slaughter. Pretty solid there, and it gives you the secondary gameplan of "smack your opponents to death" in a pinch.

Argent Dais

Now here's a too-specific two-mana value enchantment artifact if I've ever seen one. Argent Dais is another Chivalric Alliance: it's a low-cost permanent that rewards you for attacking with multiple creatures. This version improves on that old formula by adding a little pillow to the fort, as it now triggers on any attack instead of just yours. Combat happens several times a turn rotation, so the two outcomes of this are either you have a stronger and infinitely repeatable Oblation at two mana an activation, or everyone else is going exalted for the rest of the game. Both are worth the cost of admission.

Now, there's some discussion to be had on whether or not Oblation is worth playing anymore. A quondam staple, Oblation fell out of favor once people realized that giving an opponent two cards in exchange for a permanent is steep. Fortunately, you're not limited to targeting your opponents' stuff. Argent Dais lends itself to a go-wide token strategy anyway, so swing in with two creatures every turn cycle, hold it up as interaction in case someone decides to play something truly heinous, and use it on the end step before your turn to exchange one of your dorks for two cards if nobody plays into it.

Flare of Fortitude

Alright folks, gather around: it's time for the in-depth discussion on "which white mass-protection spell should I play in my Commander deck?" If you already page downed through my multi-paragraph Ocelot Pride screed, feel free to ignore the next five hundred words and slot in Flare of Fortitude over pretty much anything else in the role except Teferi's Protection.

To better rank Flare of Fortitude, we're going to take a look at mass protection spells, which I'm defining as "any white spell that can be cast at instant speed and save you and/or your permanents from dying." They often:

They're balanced on a variety of axes: mana cost, how effective they are at saving your permanents, how effective they are at saving you, and (most importantly) if you can use them proactively. Spells that excel in some of these categories are poor in others. The perfect defensive instant hasn't been printed yet, and with any luck, never will be, because making tradeoffs informed by your own personal preferences and playstyle makes for exciting deckbuilding.

The quintessential white protection spell, Teferi's Protection, demonstrates this balance pretty well. It's absurdly strong defensively; it phases out all of your permanents, meaning they are going to survive and come back on your next turn untouched. Seriously, not even a board-wide exile can punch through it. The only way to stop Teferi's Protection is to counter it, launch another removal spell in response, or become an absolute ass. Having no permanents for a turn cycle would leave you vulnerable, but Teferi's Protection handles that, too, by preventing all damage to you and stopping your life total from changing until your next turn, which is when your permanents phase back in. The end effect is that you essentially don't exist for a turn, and your opponents will battle it out amongst themselves for a while as you sit back.

As good as Teferi's Protection is, though, it does have major drawbacks. It costs three mana, which is on the higher end for a protection spell; you have to hold up that much mana if you're concerned that you're going to be targeted. You also cannot use it proactively at all. It doesn't provide any additional offensive value, such as creating tokens or making an attack stronger. In fact, casting it during combat on your turn would completely nullify your own attack, because you can't pick and choose which permanents you want to phase out. It also locks you out of interacting with your opponents until your next turn, because your lands phase out, too. It's all-in on defense.

Now let's take a quick look at how some other examples. Notice how these cards play with the knobs in different ways to come up with similar, yet unique effects.

  • Akroma's Will won't protect you personally or stop a mass exile, and it's very expensive at four mana. However, it's so strong offensively that some people actively avoid casting it as protection since it lets an attacking army juke out any blockers while granting them double strike and lifelink.
  • Clever Concealment saves your permaennts until your next turn and even has convoke so that you can potentially cast it for free. Unfortunately, it won't let you save your lands, and it does nothing to protect you personally.
  • Everybody Lives! is less long-lived than Teferi's Protection, which preserves your ability to interact with your opponents later, but it also affects everybody equally, meaning you can't have an opponent take the brunt of an attack while you avoid consequences.
  • A mass-blink spell, like Eerie Interlude, can earn you tons of value from zone change triggers, and it's one of the few instants that can deal with a Farewell, but since your targets don't come back immediately, you can't make great use of it on your own turn.

You can run this analysis for basically any mass protection spell. Some spells will lean more offensively than defensively, and you can mix and match which to include based on the composition of your deck. If your deck is full of pillow-fort effects, it might be worth running a more offensive instant to knock out opponents. If your deck is very aggressive, you want to protect your threats for as long as possible, so try balancing it out with a more passive instant.

That finally brings us to Flare of Fortitude. Judging it on the criteria we've established, I consider it the strongest general-purpose defensive-leaning spell.

Its mana cost is middling, but you can also pay for it by sacrificing a nontoken white creature. In most white decks this feat is trivial, making it the easiest to cast protection spell yet. It even beats out Flawless Maneuver, which is free if you control your commander.

It stops your life total from changing, so it acts as a soft Fog. In the vast majority of cases, this will be enough, but note that it's not a true Fog: it doesn't prevent combat damage, like Teferi's Protection. This matters because, despite your life total not changing, you do still technically receive damage, which would increase your commander damage total if struck with a commander.

It also gives everything hexproof and indestructible, which defeats all single-target removal and most mass removal unless it exiles or forces you to sacrifice permanents. It still has some offensive utility by letting you attack into a crowded board with impunity, and since it preserves your board state, you can still interact with your opponents later.

Should you include it in your deck? I dunno, do your own deckbuilding. But I will say this: it's difficult to imagine a scenario where including Flare of Fortitude as a protection spell is an actively incorrect choice, like slotting Ghostway into a tokens deck or Clever Concealment into Codie, Vociferous Codex. Your decks need at least one effect like this if you're in white or white-plus, so if you can't find clever synergies in any other option, default to Flare of Fortitude. I'm sorry, wallet.

Guide of Souls

Good Lord, this set has energy, too? How many essays am I going to have to write?

Guide of Souls is a new one-sided Soul Sister. There's no shortage of options for that role these days, so you're only including it if your deck wants the energy. I guess in theory you could run it in a deck that hasn't technologically advanced to the Industrial Revolution, but I doubt that the slight combat buff beats out pinging everyone else for their creatures, being able to blink your own creatures, or also gaining life when your stuff dies. Add to that the good Soul Sisters - Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant, and Auriok Champion - and you're looking at Guide of Souls being your seventh. If you're seriously considering at seven Soul Sisters, you're playing Darien, King of Kjeldor, and I need you to show me where all your liquor is before we sit down to play a game.

Hourglass of the Lost

Hourglass of the Lost is way too inconsistent for me to recommend. You need to have enough permanents in the graveyard that share a mana value for this to be spectacular. You also have to target a fairly low mana value, or else you won't have enough turns to build the time counters to bring them all back.

At the very least, even if by some miracle you do reach the mana value you're targeting and your opponents don't blow it up, you can still continue to use Hourglass of the Lost as a mana rock. Even though adding a time counter is mandatory, you can choose to remove X counters. This tripped me up the first time I read it, so it's worth pointing out.

If you can't make use of its second ability consistently, you're left with a three-mana ramp rock that can only make white, which sucks when you compare it to Wand of the Worldsoul, a rock that's extremely effective throughout the entire game. Pass.

Localized Destruction

I've already lumped together a huge group of cards as "too-specific two-mana value enchantments," so I'm going to go ahead and unilaterally coin another category here: the "too-specific one-sided five-mana board wipe." You know the kind: they're the cards that remove almost all creatures, except the kind you've conveniently built your deck to focus on.

If you've got the energy to spare, and you do because you're in an energy deck, you've got the power to rescue at least one of your creatures from the chopping block you put them on. Try to pay only the amount of energy that saves the most impactful creatures, and resist the temptation to snap-keep your commander. Remember, the benefit of commanders is that you'll always have access to them.

Monumental Henge

Monumental Henge is a slightly better Castle Ardenvale, which isn't much of a compliment considering Castle Ardenvale is on average a much worse Plains. This only makes the cut in lists that, one hundred percent of the time, guarantee it's coming in untapped. I would simply die of embarrassment if I reveal I'm running mono-white tapland for the wonderful prize of a Board the Weatherlight that I'll probably never activate.

And if you do activate it, you're only doing it once a game anyway. If you've done it twice (or, God forbid, four times) in a game, your opponents have already killed you and the only reason you're still tapping your lands is because of residual electrical impulses.

Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor

Can't decide between Sram, Senior Edificer and Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice? Well, do I have the commander for you!

Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor is a Voltron-coded commander that gives all your enchantments affinity for Auras. That means every Aura you control reduces the cost of your enchantment spells by one. It also draws you cards whenever you cast an Aura that targets a modified permanent you control, which basically means your always Auras draw you cards when you cast them. Okay, sure, there's technically a difference between Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor and something like Kor Spiritdancer, but it's the same as the difference between Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Omnath, Locus of the Roil: it won't matter for the vast majority of the game states you're going to find yourself in.

The main tension you're going to deal with in a Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor deck is apparent right away: Auras themselves are a pretty fragile permanent type. Not only can they be knocked out with normal enchantment removal, they also all go away if the object they're enchanting goes. To that end, I wouldn't go all-in on Auras, since losing your creature would wipe out both your ramp and your payoffs in one fell swoop. I'd rather play a plethora of relatively cheap, defensive Auras and a few very expensive non-Aura enchantments. Use Auras to keep your Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor and other value creatures protected so that your engine sticks around, cast a lot of enchantment creatures to widen the field for cheap, and then drop haymakers, like True Conviction, Legion Loyalty, Cathars' Crusade, and Boon of the Spirit Realm, to go for the kill. Bestow creatures are pretty good here in particular: affinity does wonders for their typically overexpensive bestow costs, and those bestowed Auras are among the only ones in the game that will stick around even in some form even if the permanent its enchanting dies.

In the ninety-nine, Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor fits well into any Aura-centric deck, especially if it's one of the few that specializes in Aura tokens, like Gylwain, Casting Director or Estrid, the Masked. Green is a great boon to Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor, as that unlocks a variety of Auras that enchant lands, which are far less likely to be destroyed. If you have enough enchantresses in the deck, Pearl-Ear's affinity will also act as a Gatling gun, since it's only a matter of time before you're casting enchantments for just their pips.

I have my doubts that Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor will dethrone any currently reigning enchantment commander, but I do think it'll make a splash as one of their support pieces. I guess Advisor is a fitting creature type after all.

Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd

I hate to do this, but Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd is kind of a bad blink commander, in a Fortune, Loyal Steed kind of way.

She has to attack to trigger its effect, can only blink one permanent per combat, and has no built-in protection or evasion. That would be a hard sell by itself, but the fact that Brago, King Eternal exists and does everything that Phelia does but better makes her even less runnable. Plus, putting her in the command zone completely ruins the surprise factor that flash brings. She's so cute, though.

In the ninety-nine, you'd have to do too much set-up to get more than one or two blinks out of her, and at that point you're probably better off with a blink instant. I'm so sorry, dog-lovers, but it looks like the cats won this set.

Razorfield Ripper

There's a specific throughline in practically every card that uses energy: they all give you some of it. The main conceit of the mechanic is that as you cast spells in an energy deck, you have to decide whether or not you cash in that currency now for an immediate effect, or you bank it to make a later play more powerful. You really are charging up to do something crazy, and ultimately the way you're going to win games is with a huge play or two.

Razorfield Ripper is great because it lets that energy do something while you're waiting to spend it.

As a creature, it's pretty efficiently statted. It attacks on its own as at least a 4/4 for three, because (as an energy card) it generates its own energy over time. As you acquire more energy from attacking and from other synergistic cards, it'll quickly grow into either a constant source of pressure as your opponents throw more and more creatures under it to stop themselves from taking damage, or a powerful buff that makes an evasive beater a severe threat. It turns out that two energy commanders, Liberty Prime, Recharged and Satya, Aetherflux Genius, already have built-in evasion, so if you amass enough energy you could potentially punch through a cheeky commander damage kill without that even being the main focus of your deck. I really appreciate the niche this card fills.

Salvation Colossus

Whenever I see an eight-mana artifact, I wonder if it's worth cheating it out via Refurbish, and yes, Salvation Colossus is a pretty strong reanimation target. It gives your whole team a pretty substantial buff and indestructible, and the best part is you don't even have to risk the damn thing in combat to get the effect. Not that much could challenge a 9/9 in the air; only a few giant green reach creatures could realistically swat this thing out of the sky.

You can also unearth it for eight energy, which is patently absurd. That's a lot to ask when it's only sticking around for one attack. To put it in perspective, eight energy is the amount that Wizards thought was appropriate to charge for taking an extra turn.

There may be a way to get the best out of a bad situation, though. There's some synergy between the energy strategy and the blink strategy, since a lot of creatures that give energy do it when they enter the battlefield. The idea would be to play those creatures, blink them for extra energy, and then if you happen to unearth Salvation Colossus, you can relish in the fact that blinking a creature also counters the downsides of unearth. It'll come back as a new object, which means you don't have to worry about it leaving you forever, like my ex-wife.

Silverquill Lecturer

Silverquill Lecturer is the patron saint of hyperfixations, because he gets better and your opponents get less out of him the more esoteric your deck gets. What the hell is the Gruul stompy deck gonna do with a Mesa Enchantress? Will the mono-blue control player really get anything out of a Puresteel Paladin? Will a second Tempting Licid truly spark joy for anyone else in the world but me? Please say yes, they all leave when I start talking about Tempting Licid.

If you cram your lists full of generic value pieces, like Esper Sentinel or Deep Gnome Terramancer, pass on Silverquill Lecturer. If your decks contain nothin' but Slivers, you're playing Silverquill Lecturer for days, especially if you can pass off just the right number of symmetrical Slivers.

White Orchid Phantom

It used to be that getting a 2/2 Spirit with flying and first strike cost one more mana and several hundred actual real dollars. My questionable financial investments aside, I'm personally not willing to dedicate an entire card slot to nonbasic land destruction, because that's the type of thing that belongs on utility lands. Maybe you can use it as a cheeky ramp slot if you have a lot of indestructible lands for some reason.

Wrath of the Skies

Wrath of the Skies is a great board wipe if your plan is to make the game go long. Save up enough energy over the course of the game, play your game-winning permanent, and then wipe everything else out. Alternatively, save up enough energy to reset the game while only paying two mana, and then rebuild faster than your opponents. Unfortunately, the fact that this has a variable mana cost means only in one specific instance could it be considered a too-specific one-sided five-mana board wipe, and an infinite amount of instances in which it could not. This makes me a sad mathmagician.

Uncommons & Commons

Charitable Levy

Speaking of cards that make the game go long, Charitable Levy. This cheeky enchantment ruins everyone's early game curve by making their ramp a bit pricier, and then once they burn through that tax, it replaces itself in your hand and gets you a free Plains to compensate. I'm excited to give this a try in a Selesnya deck with a lot of dorks, since you'll be left untouched while your opponents struggle to understand that Rampant Growth costs three now and that seven dollars is the new normal for a carton of eggs.

Essence Reliquary

Essence Reliquary is another Portal of Sanctuary, although this one's slightly better since it doesn't cost any mana to use. Blue used Portal of Sanctuary to get more cast triggers, reset clones, and rescue Etrata, the Silencer from her own poor choices. White has at least one application in common there, especially if your commander is Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer, but I suspect it'll actually lean more heavily into the secondary application of returning any attached Auras to hand for more Constellation triggers. Pair it with the newly released Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor and watch in amazement as you make your deck disappear.

Guardian of the Forgotten

More like Guardian of the I-Forgot-To-Add-Only-Triggers-Once-Each-Turn, because this Elephant (I get it) goes infinite with a sac outlet and anything that modifies a creature when it enters the battlefield.

The easiest single card I can think of that does it is Sai of the Shinobi. If you're looking for a method in the command zone, Master Chef does it and can easily be applied to any white Backgroundian, most likely Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion. Add Wheel of Sun and Moon and some way to look at the top card of your library, and you have the most hilariously convoluted way to stack your deck possible. Of course, you could also use the power of infinite combos for evil, but where's the sport in that?

Indebted Spirit

Indebted Spirit is a particularly strong Aura for aristocrats strategies, since if you bestow it onto a creature it'll give you four total death triggers:

  1. The enchanted creature
  2. The enchanted creature's 1/1 flying Spirit
  3. Indebted Spirit itself
  4. Indebted Spirit's 1/1 flying Spirit

Metastatic Evangel

Why is nobody talking about Metastatic Evangel? Seriously, he seems as invisible as a middle-aged balding man in a white tee is at Home Depot. I guess everyone got so blindsided by Ocelot Pride that we totally missed this quote-unquote hidden gem.

Proliferating every time a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control is kind of absurd. +1/+1 counter shenanigans aside (the aforementioned Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion deck is salivating), I especially like it if your deck cares about any sort of counters on players: experience counters, energy counters, rad counters, and of course, poison counters. Those aren't removed quite as easily as other permanents, so it'll be an effective strategy regardless of what the board looks like. Imagine giving everyone one poison counter, then playing this and using a Lae'zel's Acrobatics to kill everyone with a single roll of the dice.

It's worth noting that any creatures that enter with counters will also get an extra copy of them. Shield counters are particularly effective, as only one is removed on damage or destruction, and every subsequent creature that enters the battlefield gets to refresh that stockpile (assuming it hasn't run out). Graft also gets particularly good with a Metastatic Evangel in play: move one counter onto another creature, then proliferate both. It's also (unsurprisingly) great in superfriends decks, since now any creature represents another loyalty counter.

My only gripe is that the card's not legendary, since this seems like a great design. I would love a commander that doesn't cost much, proliferates consistently, and good God I'm describing Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. I need to take a shower and turn the knob all the way to bleach.

Muster the Departed

Aristocrats? Muster the Departed. As long as you've got one piece of token fodder left at the beginning of your end step, you can push back against the rising tide of your own avarice and remain solvent. In other words, this gives you a bit more stuff to throw into the maw of your sac outlets as long as you don't get rid of all of your token creatures at once. It also gives you a free Spirit as a bonus. I don't know if this is intentional, but it seems like a neat little nod to Bastion of Remembrance.

Razorgrass Ambush

Modal double-faced cards are back, and this time their downsides don't suck so bad. There's multicolored MDFCs now, which come with a tapland on the back; standard stuff. The real innovation is that now all of the monocolored MDFCs come with a land that can enter untapped, instead of just the mythics. They still cost a hefty price of three life, though. That's not a deal-breaker in Commander, but it's also not nothing.

Their front sides are generally more playable than most Zendikar Rising double-faced cards, too. They're still pricey, but they're really only by Modern standards: Fell the Profane, for example, is just Hero's Downfall, a card that is still playable, just not optimal. Here we have Razorgrass Ambush, an Impeccable Timing stapled to a land. This... renders it worse than Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire, but hey, it's a second copy, and at least it won't cost ten bucks.

Static Prison

Static Prison? That's redundant, all prisons are static locations. That's the point.

I'm only pointing this card out because it's really cheap unconditional removal. Even outside of the dedicated energy deck, it banishes any nonland permanent to the sit n' spin zone for three turns. That's a pretty good deal for one mana. If you use it to exile a threatening commander, your opponent will either be forced to wait it out, denying them access to the creature they built their entire deck around for three whole turns, or they put it in the command zone, in which case it's Swords to Plowshares minus the life gain. I don't know about you, but like a high school senior that just eked out a seventy on their math test, I'm happy enough with that calculus.

Witch Enchanter

A white Reclamation Sage stapled to a land seems like a no-brainer to me, although four mana is a lot of toil and trouble for that bubble. That's the level of investment where I'd really want to be destroying two or more such permanents, although the fact that it comes down as a blinkable creature counts for something.

Dog Umbra

Flash really saves Dog Umbra, because you can use it either as an instant-speed Pacifism or an instant-speed protection spell. It also synergizes with any given enchantment-matters deck, so maybe the dog-lovers aren't as down for the count as I thought during the rares.

Jolted Awake

How very fitting that a card called Jolted Awake is shattering my dreams, because it was so, so close. You needed to give three energy counters on your own to finally get white to Unearth levels. It would be a weird, roundabout Unearth, but it would be Unearth nonetheless. I guess this also lets you reanimate tiny artifacts, like Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, so maybe it really is a wash at this point. Bah.

Thraben Charm

All three modes on Thraben Charm are worth a little bit less than the asking price, but unlike a lot of modal spells, I could realistically see myself casting any of them instead of just two outta three. There's always a problematic creature, problematic enchantment, or problematic pile of dead guys hanging around, and being able to knock out any of them seems great. The only thing stopping the Thraben from completely charming me is that Get Lost exists and is pretty much strictly better. Oh well.

Surprisingly few Ephemerates or Esper Sentinels this time around; nothing that seems like an outright improvement over cards that came before. At least that's true for white; have you seen what green has? What blue has? No? Then read those set reviews instead of the remainder of this outro. Go, go!

Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.