Modern Horizons is a set absolutely stacked with amazing commons. While War of the Spark was no slouch when it came to Pauper Cube intrigue, Modern Horizons cranked it up to 11. There are so many cards that have potential or are worth taking a closer look at this is the first Quick Hits pass that takes two separate articles to break down.
I promise though, we’ll keep it concise and fun.
Answered Prayers is like Angel's Tomb. How good is Angel’s Tomb at common? I’m not quite sure about the answer, but gaining life and getting a flying beatstick for a turn isn’t bad rate for a control deck to help punch through.
Martyr's Soul is a curve out deck’s dream. One-drop into two-drop that makes two tokens into free 5/4 with three more mana to do something with. The floor on this isn’t the worst but the ceiling is high.
Recruit the Worthy isn’t great rate with the buyback option. (No buyback card really is, per se.) But making extra creatures with extra mana is what got Sprout Swarm in trouble. Thankfully, there’s no convoke here.
Reprobation is almost identical to the just-added Kasmina's Transmutation. Turning creature abilities off, and making a chump blocker out of an opponent’s all-star is in line with similar effects already in the cube in white.
Faerie Seer is the new blue one-drop. There’s no way we can’t find room for an evasive, cheap, draw-filtering creature. Scry 2 is big game.
As a fan of Ninjas and making tokens in Magic, Moonblade Shinobi hits both nicely. It’s also a subtle way to bounce and replay an “enters the battlefield” creature, which blue is full of.
Speaking of enters the battlefield creatures, Pondering Mage is exactly what it sounds like: Ponder stapled to a body. In this case it’s a fairly bulky body albeit without evasion. The five-drop slot is already crowded in blue, which means to make grade it will almost certainly have to push something else out.
Scour All Possibilities is Preordain with flashback and extra mana cost to account for all that value. I believe Preordain is one of the best effects in the cube, so getting to do it twice even with way less mana efficiency is pretty good.
Defile‘s closest comparison is Disfigure, which this equals to at controlling two Swamps. The ceiling on this card is much higher than that, but far lower than Tragic Slip. The subtle secret here is Defile is technically a “black matters card” in a cube where I’ve been trying to avoid too many double black mana costs. Here, it’s asking you to have as many Swamps as possible which isn’t my goal.
Mob is splashable, but more expensive than typical cube options. Is adding convoke enough to make a “free” removal spell attractive?
Rank Officer is a card the Pauper Cube Discord pointed to excitedly, but discarding a card on curve is a huge downside compared to similar “four-drop and make a 2/2 token” options (especially in white). The activated ability is a neat wrinkle, but being a 3/1 means its combat prowess is diminished with a cube packed with tokens. I’m not as confident about this card are others.
Silumgar Scavenger is a pile of text for a common, and it all plays off being a payoff for black sacrifice effects. A 3/4 flying with haste is pretty attractive if you have a 1/1 to throw away, but even just keeping this out and sacrificing a few other creatures over the next turn or two will quickly overwhelm an opponent if left unchecked.
Warteye Witch has a nice scry effect payoff for when your creatures die, but is attached to a much more reasonable body than Viscera Seer. However, you need another way to have a create die if you want to scry on demand.
Be sure to check out Part 2 of the Quick Hits all the red, green, and colorless cards worth your time in Modern Horizons, plus a refresher on Pauper Cuve reprints in the set. If you’ve been looking for some foils for your cube you’ll appreciate some of the options making a return!