Zendikar Rising and the Future of Modern, Part 2

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The world of paper Magic: The Gathering might be on pause as far as sanctioned in-person events are concerned, but that doesn’t mean that formats aren’t continuing to evolve as players around the world test out new cards and innovate on their favorite decks and strategies on platforms like MTGO. The only difference is that all of this innovation is happening online and outside the lens of large-scale tournaments to give a wider audience a view of what’s happening.

If you’ve been following my articles, you know that I spend a lot of time fondly thinking about the future and getting to sit down across from an actual human being at a large event again – it’s something I spend a lot of my time right before falling asleep thinking about in an effort to have good MagicFest related dreams.

However, thinking ahead like this also provides a lot of opportunities for financial speculation, and that’s what we’re going to do here today with a focus on the Modern format. There’s such a diverse meta that I decided to break this article up into two pieces (and recycle the intro - sneaky, sneaky). You can read the first part right here, and read on for Part Two!

Heliod Company

This deck is one I was surprised to see when I was analyzing the Modern metagame. I'm sure it was just me not paying attention to meta developments, but it felt like Heliod Company got super popular out of nowhere! I'm glad I pulled my head out of the sand and started paying attention to Modern though because this Collected Company list is super cool.

It's cool to see Heliod, Sun-Crowned having his time in the sun (ha, get it?) here. We've seen Heliod being a frequent all-star in Historic on Arena but (correct me if I'm wrong) we haven't seen this version of the legendary Theros god putting up numbers in any paper-based eternal formats until now. We've talked before about keeping an eye on mythics from Theros: Beyond Death and I definitely think this applies to Heliod as well. Heliod has had one more printing than a lot of the other Theros cards I've talked about in the past couple of weeks with his showcase printing, but if Heliod Company keeps putting up numbers after the Pandemic I think both versions of the card have a lot of room to grow.

Of course, I'm unable to go another week without talking about Skyclave Apparation! I know I bring up this card all the time, but this is another Modern list that is making good use out of the new Zendikar Rising all-star. Looking at the data, it looks like people haven't settled on the correct number of Apparations to be running - with some running a full playset and others, like the 5-0 list that nazart played in a Modern League on Magic Online on November 27th, running only two.  I've talked about this card at length, so I'll just say I think there's still room for growth and also that it is an awesome card I really enjoy piloting.

Chroberry and I frequently talk about Modern Horizons cards being good pick-ups on the QS Insider Cast, and I'm stoked to see that Ranger-Captain of Eos gets to be added to the list of cards to bring up. This human soldier saw a decent amount of play in various lists when it released, but I feel like it's been a while since I've seen it pop up in numbers like this. It works really well to find your copy of Giver of Runes or Ignoble Hierarch, and being able to stop your opponent from casting non-creature spells is a big deal in the current meta. If you can get these under $7, I think it's an easy pickup. I wouldn't feel bad trading into them at $10 or under right now either, especially if it was a card I was looking to play when paper Magic comes back.

As far as other cards I'll be keeping an eye on from these lists I'm looking at Collected Company (what are the chances the recent Secret Lair brings down the price when it gets shipped?), Spike Feeder, Eladamri's Call, and Horizon Canopy.

Amulet Titan

It looks like Amulet Titan has been putting up good results again. It's a great deck that seems to ebb and flow in popularity depending on the meta and has plenty of die-hard pilots. It's been evolving a bit with recent sets as well, which is always fun to see!

The Primeval Titan Grand Prix promo has a special place in my heart, being one of the first GP promos I ever got, even if I haven't ever run a deck featuring the famous green giant. The titan has never been a super high priced card and neither has the Amulet of Vigor that makes the name of the deck, but I think they're both solid cards to keep in stock if you're going to be catering to a paper Modern crowd in the future.

Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood is another one of those Zendikar Rising cards I've been hyped on since the set debuted, and it's found a natural home in the Amulet Titan decks. MTGO user bigjc00 had a playset in their 5-0 list from a Modern League on MTGO on November 27th, which looks like a pretty common decision (with some decks choosing three instead.) I think grabbing these now at under ten dollars is a very good idea, especially if you're looking to play them in the future.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is another new-ish card that slotted right into these decks when it was printed and one of the Theros: Beyond Death rares that we've seen slowly trending upwards in price lately. This dryad is a natural fit in lists like these and also great in Commander. If you were waiting to get in on these, I wouldn't wait too much longer.

As far as other cards I'm keeping an eye on from the list, I'm interested in seeing where the new printing of Azusa, Lost but Seeking goes and I'm always keeping an eye on Summoner's Pact.

Oops! All Spells

Speaking of decks that have gotten a shot in the arm from recent cards, I've been seeing a ton of Oops! All Spells lists popping up in the meta recently.

Oops! All Spells is a deck variant that has been around for a long time in various forms in several different formats, but the Modern version really didn't seem to rise to glory until the printing of the new lands in Zendikar Rising. A recent 5-0 list piloted by gyyby297 in a Modern League on MTGO on November 27th ran a total of twenty-one of the new double-sided spell lands, enabling the Ballustrade Spy-initiated combo to go off perfectly since the new lands don't count as spells. The deck even sideboards into a Goblin Charbelcher combo deck depending on the matchup.

Honestly, I would keep an eye on all of the dual-faced lands from Zendikar Rising, because that's what enables this deck to really shine. Other cards to keep in mind are things that help the combo win like Narcomoeba, Vengevine, Salvage Titan, Creeping Chill, and Goblin Charbelcher

Well, friends, that's it for me on this one! What do you think? What cards am I overlooking from these lists that deserve a shoutout? Have you been playing a deck I didn't bring up in Modern that you're particularly hyped on? Hit me up and let me know! You can find me on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, or hanging out in the QS Discord. I hope you have a great rest of your week - and hopefully, I'll get to see you at a big paper Modern tournament someday!

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