Modern Horizons 2 was almost inevitable after the hit that Modern Horizons 1 proved to be. Bypassing standard and featuring an absurd number of keywords and mechanics, each Horizons set gets to push the envelope of design restriction, leading to potentially pushed and exciting cards at every rarity, including commons. Modern Horizons added large numbers of cards to The Pauper Cube, and two years later, 18 cards added to the format are still in our pool.
Because there is no simplified set of mechanics, we’ll be skipping the mechanic recap and hop right into the cards. Remember, we have a Discord and it’s the best place to stay up to date with goings on with the cube and the discussion that feeds into our updates. Also as a reminder, while the quick hits are out, the next update will be tied to Adventures In The Forgotten Realms in July of this year.
Phizzled: I like that this provides hexproof for any permanent, however I worry that the artifact creature buff is additive distraction at best. This fights for the same kind of space Gods Willing does, and the combination of hexproof and indestructible is way more powerful defensively, but losing the ability to punch through a single blocker with God’s Willing seems imperfect. I’m guessing we pass on it.
Omniczech: I definitely short handed this to “another 1 mana white trick that gives +2/+2 and does something relevant to the set”. Being able to technically protect anything is neat, but also this just isn’t doing it for me. I’d rather have other proactive tools for this like Feat or Shelter.
Phizzled: I think this was discussed early on during spoilers almost entirely for the reinforce text. Having four modes printed on a card is eyecatching, and the presumed best mode of adding a +1/+1 counter at instant speed is appealing, but also relatively weak. Even with the focus on counters in Green-White, this seems unexciting.
Omniczech: I desperately want this to be good and I think it almost is. This is the closest we’ve gotten in a while to a maindeckable disenchant without a body. I wonder if this with cycling instead would have resonated more.
Phizzled: Incidentally, it turns out that messing with combat math via counters is good. This played better than I expected because of the UW artifact theme in MH2.
Phizzled: Comparable to Custodi Squire or Warren Pilferers in black, the 3/3 body is undersized at five mana, however drawing any 3 cmc mana value permanent is actually pretty appealing. I don’t know if lifelink is enough to add to White’s five drops.
Omniczech: I’m ok on this. The similar card in Strixhaven Pillardrop Rescuer is a bit too limited of a recursion effect, but this being able to get back white’s permanent based removal as well as creatures is pretty dang neat. Community response was pretty middling but we’ll see if that bears out.
Phizzled: Without being able to repeatedly trigger the triggered ability, the Myr is a Pearled Unicorn. Once you’re able to sink mana into it, the 3/3 body is technically decent, but it only can hit super hard once without building your deck to maximize adding counters. I’m not sure we’ve got the density anywhere but Selesnya for it to get a second trigger. I’m expecting to pass.
Omniczech: I think folks have gotten pretty magical Christmas land on this. I’m very medium on this without other ways to benefit from its type line. We’re not putting modular stuff in so realistically this is a one time 6 power swing. I might be getting additively distracted, but again, another middling response from the community as a whole.
Phizzled: Top notch art and a decent pun. The existence of trinket text on a four mana reanimation spell seems like it shouldn’t be exciting, but I like the idea of having this in my toolbox. I wish we had more powerful reanimation targets in White (and at common in general). I’m guessing I’ll pick up a foil playset, but not for the Cube.
Omniczech: Why isn’t this black? Please Wizards, just let us have Zombify at common. You already did a 5 mana one that didn’t break anything, I just want to be able to recur directly to the battlefield.
Phizzled: Honestly, this is the most exciting White common in the set to me. The first time you use forecast, this should change the way your opponent leaves back blockers against your aggro deck. While the combination of forecasting and actually casting doesn’t remove two blockers on the same turn, this feels like it helps aggro decks keep turning their own creatures sideways with less fear. Potentially losing Swift Response’s instant speed is a significant downside when protecting against another aggro deck, though.
Omniczech: I am gonna be the dissenting voice and say I think that the forecasting is one of the worse parts of this card and can lead to weird play patterns. Without that folks would just use the removal and move on, so I’m somewhat concern about folks trying to get cute and in the long term missing out on using their mana proactively. That said, I’ve been a big fan of the 2 cmc tapped creature removal.
Phizzled: I really like the idea of getting three bodies at once, but seven mana is so much. Evoking this feels like the front half of Battle Screech, but if we don’t have a way to cast this for full price or reanimate the elemental, I can’t help feeling we’d be better off with former Cube card Spectral Reserves.
Omniczech: I keep looking at this card and willing it to be closer to Cloudgoat Ranger. The numbers are just off to the point where this feels far too slow to ever matter in most games, which coupled with the lack of ways to cheat this in just makes this a non-starter for me.
Phizzled: The best, common case has to be putting the two counters on at instant speed and messing up combat math, right? Entwine is possible, but seems like a stretch for the aggro decks. Battlefield Promotion has served my purposes well in limited action, but I can’t recall if the first strike mattered more than the counter. I’m intrigued to see how the community feels about this potential combat trick.
Omniczech: This is a good one. I’ve struggled to find the comparison between this and Travel Preparations that’s witty and clean, but I still really like this. It shines in the counters deck but also just goes fine in a W/x deck that wants to keep bashing in for damage. I don’t think this’ll be entwined a whole bunch, but having the option for late game this representing 4+ power at instant speed is very appealing.
Phizzled: I don’t think this fits any needs I see in Blue right now, but this art demands recognition. I love them.
Omniczech: I could see this as just a reasonable beater in blue. Being able to pitch after you know this thing is getting through to turn it into a 4 power critter ends games. I’m not sure blue needs this and the polling we conducted bears this out.
Phizzled: A 2/1 for three mana is undersized, but we’re only interested in whether this can do a Young Pyromancer impresion. Roughly a quarter of the Cube would trigger Spinner. We probably have to trigger it at least twice to feel better off than Eldrazi Skyspawner, since we are losing evasion on the 2/1. Thopters are nice, but I can’t help wondering if we could skip the hoops by playing something like Aviation Pioneer or the like instead of Spinner.
Omniczech: I think this feels like a trap in a lot of ways. It looks like Pyro, but Pyro remains relevant because of its interaction with 0-2 mana spells in most formats. This is maybe getting 2 tokens per turn late game? That’s assuming this doesn’t incidentally die or have to chump or anything. Pass for me, but always sad when a build around just isn’t gonna get there.
Phizzled: If you squint, this is Carnivorous Death-Parrot without the upkeep or silver border issues. But hitting delirium remains difficult, if technically possible, with commons. This shows me that, even outside of FIRE we’re not likely getting a black bordered replacement in the near future.
Omniczech: I would love this much more if we fully supported blue milling itself. The dream of this being our new death parrot (death crow?) is still a little far off at this point.
Phizzled: This is a heck of a joke, and I love it. It’s also a neat way to build a flavorful Thraben Inspector in one of the other investigating colors. I don’t know if we want an 0/3 for the sake of adding one to the Cube, but friends have reported liking this in phantom drafts, and I wouldn’t be ashamed if the community wants to add some crab tokens.
Omniczech: Someone I know joked that blue finally got its Wall of Blossoms after all these years. I think the comparison is just a touch hyperbolic but not too far off base. This acts as a pretty sizeable roadbump for decks seeking to turn creatures sideways while still being something that cycles in the mid to late game. I’m a pretty big fan of this for slower blue decks.
Phizzled: I jokingly claimed Lose Focus was worse than Cancel at 1UU, though in reality, it’s unclear if that’s true. I know that once you have more mana, copying your counterspell (especially in a Cube without storm level responses) is very likely to achieve your goal of countering whatever spell or spells you were targeting. This doesn’t read as a slam dunk, to me, but Miscalculation counters almost as many spells for me as Mana Leak. If we want to upgrade the counter suite, this is a worthy consideration.
Omniczech: I think this is a great, widely applicable counterspell. While this will frequently just be Quench, the moments when you need to either counter something after a bit of a board stall or you need to tag two things at once it’ll be indispensable.
Phizzled: This is a meme but it’s hard to make use of. Six power trample is nothing to sneeze at for Blue, but we can’t give it hexproof without targeting it. This isn’t the same as cheating in a Colossal Dreadmaw in a chaos draft. The pure number of removal spells that target (and, thanks to the illusion text, kill) this is too high for me to feel excited about this.
Phizzled: I am enamored of this card. The ability to kill literally anything except Shimmering Glasskite and Guardian of the Guildpact and the various hexproof things in the Cube at any time. Unfortunately, sorcery speed (and a dearth of good madness cards) make this less appealing for our cube. If we need to keep powerful removal but reduce the amount of instant speed, I think this should be considered, but I don’t know that we’re there right now.
Omniczech: I am not sold on discarding vs Spark Harvest‘s option of just paying mana. I don’t think we have the density of must answer threats that this is strictly speaking necessary.
Phizzled: From my play experience, the madness enabler seemed more critical than the creature kill. I’m less excited.
Omniczech: I really want to like this. I really do, it puts cards in the bin, it gives you card selection, that’s all good. 3 mana and sorcery speed for this is where it gets a bit rough. I would have loved this just as a black one use Forbidden Alchemy but alas, here we are.
Phizzled: This sees as many cards as Read the Bones can, but incentivizes throwing your biggest creatureinto the bin, when our actual reanimate-into-play options are limited. I think we lack the power to make this great.
Omniczech: I like this, Nekrataal it ain’t, but it seems reasonable. It’s a decent body which has what amounts to a better Fleshbag Marauder etb trigger. Being able to have this eating a targeted creature vs an edict effect is pretty rad and the fact this can be a super desperate removal spell or a way to punch in those last few points is something not to be ignored. Big fan personally.
Phizzled: I’ve talked about this in the Discord favorably as well. This is certainly going to cost less than Predatory Nightstalker. We were persuaded recently that a 4 toughness menace body is pretty good even if you can’t use the upside (in that case, mutate, in this one, the exploit). Limiting the size of the creature it can kill is rough, but I think people will find this powerful as a closer, as well.
Omniczech: Oh man, this is a fun one. I love a good doomed traveller effect, and this is a real fun one. If this just dies, fine, it’s replacing itself. If this dies with anything buffing it, it can be a real issue. Strapping a bonesplitter on this can be kinda a lot to deal with. It rapidly becomes pseudo unblockable and requires exile based removal to profitably deal with it. Huge fan of this thing even if I think squirrels should stay in silver border land.
Phizzled: I have fewer qualms about silver border in the Pauper Cube (or other cubes, honestly). The biggest detriment is that the squirrel tokens lack a keyword ability. This still plays well with all our aristocrat toys, even if you never land a meaningful buff.
Omniczech: I actively dislike this card but y’all don’t. I would prefer stuff to be more proactive in the cube and this is just a durdle card that lets you sit there doing less than you would otherwise. Not a fan of this at all.
Phizzled: I dig the tweak on Sigled Starfish, honestly. I worry this is best in Black-X control decks, which already have a tough roadblock in Disowned Ancestor. Ancestor and Gluttonous Slug both have the ability to become game ending threats on their own. This, like you said, encourages durdling, and hits a functional wall without reanimation spells.
Omniczech: Last Gasp is good. This is just a strictly better Last Gasp. Even if the hellbent clause isn’t the most relevant ever, it’ll matter every so often and that’s reasonable.
Phizzled: I like when they print cards where the required analysis is “you’re already playing this card, but less powerful.”
Omniczech: Ignore the modular part, this is just a growing threat for aggressive leaning decks. The fact that this trigger off of any spells past the first is just rad, this is a really neat threat and I’m super excited to cube it.
Phizzled: I don’t know how often you’ll hit three spells in a turn, but I love the idea of this growing unmanageably giant the turn you play it. It only has to surprise someone once in combat to be great, right?
Omniczech: People have said they like to play Errant Ephemeron, and while it’s not my favorite, this gives me similar vibes. This is just a pile of stats where if you suspended it, comes out hasty and trampling. I’m not stoked for this but could see it maybe being a contender, the biggest issue is that this just has a fake mana cost in the corner, 7 is a load of mana, especially for some red decks vs ephemeron which is a bit more believably cast in slower blue decks.
Phizzled: This is giant and threatening, but it’s also slow. The prevalence of instant speed removal has allowed past opponents to stockpile their doom blades to kill my Ephemeron in the past on the hasty turn. I assume this will happen too.
Omniczech: Ok, this is an interesting one. We’ve seen this creature sans madness before and while not thrilling, it bashes in for 4 pretty quickly. I do like the idea of this being part of a turn 3 faithless looting where this gets to be an undercosted card, but don’t think that’s fully realistic. I do kinda like this, despite it being relatively boring.
Phizzled: Madness is maybe trinket text. I don’t mind that this hits so much harder than it plays on defense. I know I’ll never convince the community to replace Mogg Flunkies but does many of the things I hope for from french vanilla red threats. I think if we ignore the madness clause, this is borderline playable. I’m not sure it’s going to make it in.
Phizzled: When you need to draw a land, you’re sure to draw one. When you need a creature, in most decks you have better than a 50% chance, but you will definitely miss some of the time. I think this is better than, say, Track Down at getting you a generic card of the type, but it’s less powerful than some of the other green cantrips. I think this is likely going to be a miss, but I’m excited to discuss it.
Omniczech: Absolute certified banger. I can see literally no downside in giving a reasonable cantrip to a color that could use a bit more love in the cube.
Phizzled: This certainly has a lot of text on it. The four mana trampler is good enough (see Fierce Witchstalker) and the ability to spread some counters around both leaving the hand and leaving the graveyard seem like they’re reasonable.
Omniczech: It slices, it dices, it’s the midrange special. I really love this card, it does a lot of things at various points in the game and none are uninteresting. Really happy to see another very reasonable 4
Phizzled: We don’t have any infinite loops or much in the way of fast mana. I think we can only expec this to produce a few squirrel tokens, and it’s less likely to be a scourge here than it has already shown itself to be in constructed pauper. Unfortunately, it means we might have to overvalue sweepers looking forward (if we add it).
Omniczech: We’ve talked storm to death, and frankly I think it’s almost always a mistake in pauper cubes. This is neat, currently ruining pauper constructed and a lot of work to make better than Dragon Fodder or even just on par.
Omniczech: I looked at this on the first pass through the set and got excited, but the more I think about it, the more I find myself thinking “how often is this gonna be both a reasonable amount of mana to activate AND necessary to get me back in the game?” I think that it’s less frequently gonna be a reasonable amount of mana than you might want it to be, but I’m down to test it given the strong community response.
Phizzled: We tried similar creatures in the past and found that even though Green might have extra mana, it felt off paying to look for another creature instead of attacking. Is vigilance and a sometimes discount enough to make this different than our previous hopes?
Phizzled: This is a weird counters lord, and I don’t think we desperately need an 0/3 lord, but I haven’t drafted much selesnya since the last update myself. Maybe the community will have strong feelings?
Omniczech: I don’t think we’re ready to contemplate a third version of the “counter lord that grants trample” but this is the kinda card I can easily see including if the need for density of these effects becomes necessary.
Omniczech: This one is another of the “this looks like a bunch of draft trash cards I’ve seen” cards that I think is secretly pretty solid. The main mode is worse Giant Growth but doing double duty by being able to fall back on it being effectively a Plummet when it matters is actually pretty reasonable.
Phizzled: This is a modal spell where, as happens, the modes feel a little bit too expensive, but I know it performs in MH2 limited. I haven’t gotten a feel for if green needs more safety valves for flying threats yet. I won’t be upset if the community fell in love with this or if they think it’s too expensive.
Phizzled: The base stats are unexciting, but bushido 2 is a surprisingly big number. Only 11 creatures currently survive blocking this unaided, which might mean bushido 2 is evasion (or it might mean nothing much).
Omniczech: The alternate side of this is just the ultimate durdle blocker that means aggro is just completely shut out of a game. I like this but worry it can reasonably easily lead to a less than enjoyable experience for one side of the table.
Phizzled: The risk of enabling five-color goodstuff stays in the back of my mind, and that is the biggest hindrance to this. I don’t mind that this is a 1/3 instead of the slightly more threatening 2/2 of Llanowar Visionary. The suspend is an interesting alternative to cantripping, and this feels like past Cube mainstaw Search for Tomorrow, but it feels like an unnecessary addition, unless green is lacking for creatures to play in the early game. If we ever get our Overrun at common, expect me to advocate for this over one of the ramp spells, though.
Omniczech: I’m not huge on this one. It being pretty resilient is really nice but man, this not coming online till turn 4 just feels pretty rough. It’s a neat riff on Search for sure but it’s just not doing it for me.
Phizzled: What fantastic fortune! An aura (fetchable by a few of our white creatures) that acts as creature removal in a historically underserved color pair. Support isn’t the strongest possible outcome, but distributing counters to two different creatures AND removing a potential blocker is a potentially big swing, even if we hadn’t just added counters as a theme. I adore this card.
Omniczech: Actually a very rad card. I wouldn’t have guessed “gold pacifism variant” on my list of “things to be excited about in MH2” but here we are. Card’s good and on theme.
Phizzled: I’m not in love with this, but it is multicolored (instead of mono-color with an off color flashback cost) and it flies, so I think it’s worth mentioning. The fact that it can replace itself with card selection is potentially valuable for midrange or control decks, though the artifact text should almost never come up. I don’t expect this to take up much time for discussion, but I would feel weird not asking if the multicolor section for Azorious feels off with two functionally mono-colored spells.
Omniczech: You know I adore casting Cloudkin Seer and friends and this certainly is in that vague ballpark. I don’t mind the current state of the Azorius section, but know that not everyone gets the same warm feeling from Feeling of Dread that I do. Maybe this is worth a shot.
Omniczech: I think this is one of those cards where it’s just too much dang value to ignore. I’m a bit bullish on this card but if you have any sort of recursion for this it can get out of hand reasonably quickly. I don’t think this will ever be absolutely instantly the nuts (haha, very funny) but I think it could be a role-player in midrange lists.
Phizzled: I skipped over this because the pump ability feels additively distracting. This is kill spell insurance. I like it a bit more than I expected.
Phizzled: I think this gives reach to a color pair that sometimes wants it for aggro decks, but I know that outside of retail limited, I will feel weird drafting this when mono-red has Heartfire and white has Angelic Purge. On the other hand, this hits as hard (once) as the Lorehold card we just added.
Omniczech: I actively don’t like this card. It’s nice that you get to toss away something that’s relatively insignificant at the time, but really, 3 mana for 4 damage with another cost attached? I think we’re past the point where that’s something we’re super keen on.
Phizzled: I feel like every time I try to evaluate this card I spend more of my time trying to concoct illogical or unlikely situations where it will be actively bad instead of being a reasonably statted body with a useful ability for a fairly midrange-heavy color pair. I like it, is what I’m saying.
Omniczech: This card is just straight up good. It’ll usually be a dork that doesn’t need to tap and sometimes will manage to “produce” two mana in a turn. I think this is a slam dunk in a color pair that likes its green 4 drops, and won’t say no to being able to sneak in a 1 mana 2 drop on a key turn.
Phizzled: Without the discount, this is a weaker version of a card that was in the Cube almost entirely because Rakdos lacks powerful effects at common. WIth the discount, this is a Rakdos mainstay, but we aren’t heavy in on self discard in the Cube at large. I guess I could make a case that this always kills something across the table but sometimes Auger Spree will leave a fragile but powerful green threat on the board. Is that a good reason to make a change?
Omniczech: The name AND the art both manage to express how I feel about this. When I heard we were getting more gold commons the Rakdos one was the one I was most excited for and instead of something better than Spike Jester I should have wished for a card that just did something besides a faint impression of Terminate
Omniczech: This is the LaCroix of mulldifters. It reminds you of it, hints at it, but it just isn’t the same thing. This is a hard pass from me, since I’m not a fan of 6 mana divinations, no matter how split up they are.
Phizzled: This feels like Mulldrifter with extra steps, and the extra steps are not appealing. I don’t like putting more difficult versions of a mono-colored effect in our limited multicolored slots.
Phizzled: I love this. I hate how it doesn’t align with our Cube philosophy. Please pass on this.
Omniczech: This thing is super cute, I also agree I don’t think it’s a great fit even if you can squint at it and see something close to a 2 mana mana rock.