Insider: Searching for Modern Playables in KTK

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Khans of Tarkir is looking very cool in a number of ways, but it doesn't seem to be lighting the world on fire as far as eternal power level goes. I'm seeing a whole bunch of cards that look great for my Maelstrom Wanderer-led Commander deck, but only a few jump out at me as potentially playable in Modern.

I'm consistent in being against preordering cards, but these are ones I'll be looking to pick up at the prerelease, and especially in the weeks following when prices start to drop.

Anafenza, the Foremost


I may think this design is boring, but it's certainly powerful. This could fit right into Melira Pod decks, resetting persisted Kitchen Finks and beating Living End all day long. Maybe it's a sideboard card, but I could see a copy or two fitting into the maindeck.

This is an $8 mythic, which means there's room to grow if it takes over a metagame, but $8 is also a little high for a card that is potentially only a one-of in a toolbox deck. Then again, it could easily be a four-of in Standard and is a legendary creature for EDH, so I'll be picking these up in trade at this price.

Rattleclaw Mystic

Ignoble Hierarch this is not, nor is it Lotus Cobra, but the similarities to both these cards are notable. RUG—ahem, Temur—Kiki Pod decks may want this as some additional fixing, and it may fit into other decks in the format, as well.


The downside is its current price of around $4. This is a large, fall-set rare and the financial upside on it is probably about the same as Sylvan Caryatid. It may turn out better than the 0/3 in the long run, but if this doesn't become a four-of in Standard (and it probably will—it's still worth being cautious), the floor on this is a dollar or two.

Then again, this could spike to $10 in the short-term if it spawns some new decks the first weekend, but in that case, it will still likely settle in the $5 range while in Standard. This article by Anthony Capece is relevant to Rattleclaw Mystic.

Mantis Rider


The aggressive versions of UWR decks in Modern may want some copies of this, but I can't see it replacing Geist of Saint Traft in those lists, and I also can't see those decks wanting eight aggressive three-drops, so this is likely a one- or two-of at best.

It's also a rare around $3, and being three colors makes it significantly more niche than Rattleclaw Mystic. It's probably more likely to see Standard play than Modern, but the power may be there to warrant a couple copies in beatdown UWR—er, Jeskai—decks. I'd trade for these if they drop to a dollar or two after release, but I'm staying away at $3.

Jeskai Charm


I don't think this is the most powerful charm that we've seen spoiled, but the fact is that it fits so neatly into UWR decks across Modern is intriguing. Although there are different varieties of UWR decks, most of them run four Lightning Bolts and four Lightning Helixes, and often use those spells in conjunction with Celestial Colonnade to help finish off an opponent.

Given that Modern is a fetch-land-dominated format, the first mode on Jeskai Charm is virtually hard removal. This effect as a split card with one that deals the final four damage to an opponent's face is pretty much exactly what various UWR decks in Modern want to do.

The only question is how much is the flexibility worth? This card is by no means better than Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, Electrolyze, or Path to Exile. It's pretty clear to me that it slots into the deck—the question is what comes out for it. Given the alternative options, this isn't likely to be a four-of, but I do think it will see play. As of this writing, it's not available for preorders on TCGplayer and SCG has it in stock at 99 cents. A dollar is way too high for this, but if preorders are up on TCGplayer when you're reading this, anything under 25 cents seems like a buy to me.

Remember that Azorius Charm was not hugely exciting when it was spoiled, but it ended up being one of the RTR charms that saw the most play. I expect Jeskai Charm to be a similar beast.

The Other Charms

The other charms are really good—powerful and flexible each and every one. However, none of them slot into already existing decks like Jeskai Charm does. Are they powerful enough to build around? We'll have to wait and see, but again, if TCGplayer has preorders available for less than a quarter, I could see worse places to put $5 or $10.

Clever Impersonator


Basically the only advantage Clever Impersonator has over Phyrexian Metamorph is its ability to copy non-creature, non-artifact permanents. It also doesn't die to Ancient Grudge, assuming you copied a non-artifact card.

The ability to copy planeswalkers is its most exciting ability, but the only planeswalker that costs more than four that sees regular play in Modern is Karn Liberated. Obviously copying Karn would be bonkers, but that's the best-case scenario. In general, cards played in Modern are costed lower than four, so we're not often gaining a mana advantage playing Impersonator in the format.

There's no doubt in my mind that this will be a Commander staple, and it will almost certainly make an impact on Standard, but I'm just not seeing it in older formats. Its preorder price is way too high, anyway.

The Fetch Lands


You don't need me to tell you these are going to see play. Watch for the floor, pick up your copies to play with, and make profit on the extras you snag. Just be sure to set your expectations accordingly. Shock lands didn't turn out as well as we wanted them to, so keep that in mind as you deal with fetches.

Besides fetches, there's not an obvious powerhouse that will change the Modern landscape as we know it. Is there anything else in the set you think has a chance to see Modern play?

9 thoughts on “Insider: Searching for Modern Playables in KTK

  1. I’m also going to be speccing on Foil copies of Monastery Swiftspear, I don’t necessarily think she has a place in modern burn, but I definitely think there’s room for her in Legacy burn.

  2. Butcher of the Horde seems broken. I don’t know if its actually good enough for modern, but its possible that this is the card that Blood Artist/ WBR tokens needed to succeed.

    1. Whenever there are +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters on a creature at the same time, state-based effects will remove both until only one type remains.

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