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Insider: An Eternal Look at Eldritch Moon (Uncommons and Commons)

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Welcome back, readers.

Last week I covered the mythics and rares from Eldritch Moon that I thought might have some impact on eternal formats; you can find the article here. This week I'm going to cover the commons and uncommons of the set. As I mentioned in the previous article, given the low mana curves of most eternal decks, we will again focus heavily on cards that cost three or less (unless they have alternate casting costs like the emerge mechanic).

Uncommons

Nephalia Academy

NephaliaAcademy

Eternal formats play a lot of nonbasics, and this one could be a relevant addition. It comes into play untapped and has a virtually uncounterable ability that does seem useful for any sort of combo deck (especially since hand disruption is a pretty valid strategy against combo decks in Modern).

As someone who plays Goryo's/Breach in Modern, I have the full four Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard because hand disruption can be so brutal. Granted, this land isn't nearly as good as the Leyline option, but it costs nothing to cast and still adds colorless mana. If you can find foils cheap this seems like it has potential.

Crop Sigil

CropSigil

Normally, I'd never propose a card that has no immediate effect on the battlefield like this. But enchantments tend to be the hardest things to remove in eternal formats (as people tend to be less concerned with them) and the ability has some potential in graveyard-based decks.

It's important to consider that this card does help get one out of Brainstorm locks faster (as you can bin one of the cards you put back). The delirium ability also provides actual card advantage at instant speed. I wouldn't go picking up all the copies I could find, but this is one I'd make sure to remember when brewing.

Gnarlwood Dryad

GnarlwoodDryad

Potential 3/3's for one green are very good in eternal formats. Now, you're unlikely to grow this guy to 3/3 as quickly as you can, say, Wild Nacatl. But the fact that he comes with deathtouch means he can always trade with any ground creature, thus forcing your opponent to deal with him or else hold off attacking (which gives you time to grow him).

I really like this guy a lot as very few eternal creatures have trample and delirium is easier to achieve quickly in formats with fetchlands and cantrips.

Noose Constrictor

NooseConstrictor

An upgraded version of Wild Mongrel, as very few creatures in eternal formats tend to have protection from green but many do have flying. Pitching a card for a one time gain doesn't seem like much, but U/G Madness was a dominant Standard deck back in the day.

Having an instant-speed discard outlet not limited to once a turn that also grows the creature is very valuable. There are currently 30 cards with madness legal in Modern (18 black, 9 red, and 13 blue), and this guy could create some new archetypes.

Unsubstantiate

Unsubstantiate

This is sort of a "fixed" Remand as it doesn't provide you a card back, but it gives you the ability to bounce creatures that have previously entered the battlefield. I don't know if that versatility is enough to warrant inclusion in any Modern tempo-style decks or not, but it is possible.

Whispers of Emrakul

WhispersOfEmrakul

We have an easier-to-cast, sometimes Hymn to Tourach but usually Mind Knives. We haven't seen anything this aggressively costed that discards at random in Modern yet.

It likely may find a home in the 8-Rack decks, though those decks will need to adjust in order to turn on delirium consistently. Most play around 6-8 instants, no fetchlands, and have no way to get artifacts/enchantments into their own graveyard shy of discarding them themselves.

Blessed Alliance

BlessedAlliance

As I mentioned in my previous article, modal spells are inherently more powerful as they provide options to suite one's needs. Blessed Alliance gives us an aggressively costed non-targeting removal spell, the ability to create surprise blockers, or the ability to gain some life in a pinch.

The escalate cost is a bit high for eternal formats, but I'd rather play this over Celestial Flare. I don't tend to need to make an opponent sacrifice a blocker and having only one white mana in the cost makes it much easier to cast.

Curious Homunculus

CuriousHomunculus

I included Curious Homunculus // Voracious Reader because of Modern Storm decks. I've seen that deck win plenty of times with just a Goblin Electromancer on the battlefield and having additional copies (as well as a mana producer) seems very strong. The biggest downside is that it only flips at the beginning of your upkeep, so you can't play it on turn two and transform it on turn three (you're more likely to have it transform on your turn four).

I wouldn't replace Electromancer by any means, but this guy could fit into the 1-2 flex slots in some of those Storm builds.

Lone Rider

LoneRider

Lastly in the two-drop slot, we have Lone Rider // It That Rides as One. One of the biggest challenges for Modern Soul Sisters decks is finding a finisher. The decks tend to do really well at slowing a game down, but they have a hard time actually winning.

This guy provides a mediocre threat (that happens to have both first strike and lifelink) as a two-drop, is easy to flip in that style of deck, and provides a very efficient win condition once it does flip that is hard to beat in combat on the ground.

Lunar Force

LunarForce

A counterspell that sits on the battlefield and is very difficult to deal with has potential. Unfortunately it doesn't allow you to choose whether to counter the spell or not, so it just hits the very next spell your opponent casts (though if it didn't it might prove to be too broken).

The most interesting application for this card is the interaction with Sun Titan, which could prove to be a potent lock. As mentioned above, enchantments are hard to remove, and while they can double up on spells to get through the first one, a Lunar Force every turn may be too hard to fight through.

Nebelgast Herald

NebelgastHerald

There are plenty of people brewing UWx Modern Spirits thanks to Spell Queller and a host of other good spirit cards from Shadows over Innistrad block.

While this one seems unassuming at first, it's important to point out that his tapping ability triggers anytime a spirit enters the battlefield under your control. With enough spirits with flash or Rattlechains, you could tempo out your opponent by flashing in spirits to tap down attackers or blockers.

Weaver of Lightning

WeaverOfLightning

I realize this one might be a bit of a stretch, but I see some potential in Modern Storm sideboards. The fact that its ability can be used to ping creatures repeatedly and at no cost means it could help allow for Storm decks to deal with troublesome creatures like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben without having to waste one-shot spells. The four toughness puts it out of Bolt range and having reach actually gives it some ability to block things like Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration.

Abundant Maw

AbundantMaw

Another Siege Rhino, just what we needed. All kidding aside, we have seen that creatures that provide a six-point life swing and leave behind large bodies are very playable in Modern.

The biggest challenge with the emerge mechanic is that it rewards you for playing high-CMC creatures, which unfortunately in Modern tend to be hard to get into play in the first place (unless you're cheating them in, in which case you want the biggest baddest creatures you can cheat like Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn).

I'm not sure if this guy has a place or not, but I wouldn't rule it out completely.

Vexing Scuttler

VexingScuttler

I mention the Scuttler because the ability can be quite powerful (especially if you can recur it some way). I don't know how viable it is, especially since blue tends not to play a lot of creatures, and when it's paired with other colors those colors tend to do the heavy lifting while the blue aspect protects the real threats.

Commons

Cathar's Shield

CatharsShield

As an exact copy of Accorder's Shield, this card is unassuming at first. Where it might have an impact is in Puresteel Paladin decks, which run Kite Shield right now. This card allows them to drop that card, or Sigil of Distinction, from the list entirely. It's honestly a bit odd that WoTC would reprint Accorder's Shield with a different name, and any time an obscure deck gets something it can easily slot into its existing decklist it's something to watch out for.

Unfortunately, being a common its value is pretty limited, so foils would likely be the only possible potential for profit. Even then I don't see a ton of people knocking down doors to foil out Puresteel Storm.

Galvanic Bombardment

GalvanicBombardment

We haven't seen this type of card in a while now, with the only previous Modern-legal incarnations being Feast of Flesh and Kjeldoran War Cry. But back in the day, Accumulated Knowledge was a card advantage machine, so this type of card has proven itself.

While I don't think this card will end up finding a home in any Modern decks (as the first one is just a worse Shock), it's something to keep in mind when brewing if you need a cheap removal spell in red that steadily ramps upward as the game goes long.

Otherworldly Outburst

OtherworldlyOutburst

The reason I highlighted this card is that there are plenty of aggressive decks that would happily pay R for a 3/2 colorless threat. Now in order to get it you have to suicide a creature into something. But the fact that this spell also gives the creature targeted +1/+0 means it can help serve as a good combat trick to trade with a blocker and leave behind a cost-efficient threat.

Whether that's too many hoops to jump through I don't know, but keep it on your radar.

Prophetic Ravings

PropheticRavings

I bring Prophetic Ravings up because it plays really well with Jeskai Ascendancy as an additional card draw/filter engine that also happens to trigger Ascendancy and provide haste.

Cemetery Recruitment

CemeteryRecruitment

I'm not too sure on this one, as I don't think adding a colorless mana to Raise Dead with a potential cantrip option is that exciting. But if any sort of modern Zombie deck develops, I can easily see it running a couple copies of this card to recur its main threats and provide card advantage.

Grapple with the Past

GrappleWithThePast

The ability to mill three and then return a creature or land at instant speed doesn't feel all that green (granted returning creatures and lands isn't that out of place, but the milling is). Personally, I feel any deck that might want this ability is likely to prefer Pulse of Murasa, but if you were playing a deck that needs to fill its graveyard and cast key creatures this does fit in.

This is another "card to watch for" but I wouldn't go about picking up all the copies I could.

Take Inventory

TakeInventory

Here we have a slower Accumulated Knowledge. Losing the instant speed hurts a good bit, but given we don't have anything similar in Modern, this is the best available.

I will likely be testing it out in Modern Storm as the deck tends to cycle through its library with pretty good consistency and casting one of these with one or two in the yard for a single U (via Goblin Electromancer) seems like exactly what Storm wants.

Thermo-Alchemist

ThermoAlchemist

It seems this set has been very good to Modern Storm players---here we have an alternate win condition that doesn't require an attack step. The three toughness does mean it dies to Lightning Bolt but it's still beefy enough that it can hold down the fort against Kird Apes and the like.

Bloodbriar

Bloodbriar

I'm honestly not sure on this one either. The 2/3 body for three mana is pretty subpar for eternal formats, but the fact that every time you use a fetchland you permanently boost him is something to keep in mind. I would have liked him a whole lot more if he was a 1/2 for 1G with the same ability (but then I don't work for WoTC).

Displace

Displace

We've seen decks abuse enter-the-battlefield abilities in Modern already (usually with Restoration Angel or Eternal Witness) so any instant that can blink two creatures simultaneously does have potential to be broken.

Conclusion

I feel like Eldritch Moon has brought a lot of potential options to Modern Storm players, as well as some decent cards for other decks. I don't think I've seen anything that will spawn a new archetype, but things will definitely be different with Eldritch Moon entering eternal formats.

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