Although most people are looking at Gatecrash for how it will affect Standard, you shouldn't forget that it will be legal for a decent part of the Modern PTQ season as well. Will Modern shake up the PTQ format and end the reign of Jund?
I doubt it, but Gatecrash will likely be more impactful than you think...
As Ari Lax noted last week, this is not a very good Splinter Twin hoser—it buys you one turn, and that's it. People think its best applications are in tempo decks, which is ironic because paying two mana and a card upfront isn't exactly what tempo decks want to be doing.
I'm not impressed.
In Modern, triggering battalion won't be difficult. However, is having a 3/3 most of the time worth the risk of sometimes having a 1/1 when they're killing all your stuff? I'm guessing yes, assuming there are Boros-style decks that are playable. This doesn't break the mold or give Boros something it didn't have access to before, but it is an upgrade to certain things that Boros could already be playing.
It does make me think about a Boros (potentially with a black splash) deck with a mini tokens theme for Modern. Goblin Bushwhacker and Hellrider are cards that are obviously good with Spectral Procession and Lingering Souls.
W/B Tokens is already a deck, and it has the disruption aggro decks need to not get run over by the combo decks. W/R would require a splash or some very hateful sideboard cards, but in the right metagame maybe you don't need any hate.
Then again, I probably wouldn't play Boros Elite in W/B Tokens, but Boros is typically more creature-based.
I dunno. It's not going to make you want to play Boros on its own, and even if it did, it probably wouldn't improve the deck all that much.
First off, I'd like to note that this is Josh Utter-Leyton's Invitational card. Secondly, I like this card, but there are better options available in Modern. The Raptor is like a Delver that plays nice with a deck full of creatures rather than instants. Typically, decks full of creatures function on a critical mass, whereas a Delver deck just wants to stick one threat and protect it.
If Cloudfin Raptor fits anywhere, it'll be in a deck with cheap, aggressive threats and not many answers. That type of deck seems poorly positioned in Modern, especially with Jund being the creature-hating monster it is.
If you resolve this, you should win.
Obviously, having Omniscience in play would help, so we need to cheat with casting one or the other. Enduring Ideal is the only thing I can think of that would put Omniscience into play, but... That's a pretty big nonbo.
Spelltwine and Spellweaver Helix are both things that could make Enter the Infinite castable, but what happens after that? I have no idea. Maybe the Ad Nauseam / Angel's Grace combo of Simian Spirit Guides and Conflagrate or Lightning Storm?
I've desperately wanted a Diabolic Edict for some Modern decks, such as Mystical Teachings, and now we finally have one! Geth's Verdict and Tribute to Hunger were just a little too tough to cast on time.
Overall, this card isn't going to make anyone super excited or break anything, but it's nice to have, especially when G/W Auras is a real deck.
Personally, I like casting cards like Dread of Night and Chill, but I don't think Lingering Souls demands anywhere near as direct an answer. Things like Bonfire of the Damned, Pyroclasm, Wrath of God, and Ratchet Bomb exist, and while not permanent, they deal with other permanents as well.
I wish some problems in Modern were as simple to solve.
We're a few free mana sources shy of building Goblin Charbelcher for Modern. Even if we could cast one of these guys with no lands in our deck, how would we win? The Legacy version has Dread Return into Angel of Glory's Rise into Laboratory Maniac and Azami, Lady of Scrolls, but Modern has no such luxury. We could always Memory's Journey or Unburial Rites it, but where'd we get all those constant mana sources?
It seems impossible, but both of these cards are capable of doing some powerful things. Then again, I could just want a reason to beat the crap out of people with Safewright Quest and Chartooth Cougar.
This card is obviously awesome against Splinter Twin variants. For maximum blowout/slowroll value, wait until they make all of their tokens on Magic Online and then attack you!
If this were an enchantment, would it be good? I'm guessing not, so I don't see the hype around this card. If they cared at all about this guy, they'd just block it down in combat, making it much worse than Pyreheart Wolf in your red decks.
Then again, we're talking about Modern, where no one plays Pyreheart Wolf.
Burn decks are already forced to play cards like this. They can typically deal 20 damage, but doing any more than that, even 22, is often a tall order. That's why cards like Flames of the Firebrand were never very good against cards like Kitchen Finks. If they were on the play or had an accelerator, Flames wouldn't even be able to catch a Finks.
I'm not saying that Skullcrack is going to make Modern Burn a "real" deck, but it's going to help.
While fairly cheap for what it does, any creature you want to put an aura on should have hexproof already. That said, the G/W Aura deck does play Kor Spiritdancer, Noble Hierarch, and Dryad Arbor that they sometimes put auras on, so having one of these would be pretty nice at times. Realistically, it's going to be very bad though.
Cloudfin Raptor might be in the wrong colors, but this guy certainly isn't. If we wanted something that can do a real Wild Nacatl impression, this would be it. I'm not sure how good Zoo would be even with Wild Nacatl, as Jund seems to be doing a much better job of keeping everything in check than Zoo ever did. That means that Experiment One has its work cut out for it.
The good thing about evolve is that Tarmogoyf will almost always evolve your creature no matter how big it is. Because of that, I could easily see Experiment One functioning as Tarmogoyfs five through eight in certain, obviously creature-heavy, decks.
How many Joraga Treespeakers do we actually need or want? In Extended a few years ago, Elves became very popular on Magic Online because it had a critical mass of Lords and efficient beaters. Gyre Sage is a fine threat on its own and threatens to be very explosive on turn 4.
Unfortunately for it, games of Modern are often over by turn 4.
They've really been stepping up the hate for linear archetypes in the last few years, and I like it.
Sorry, Affinity players, but you're never going to beat me again.
Obviously a very powerful effect, but one that probably won't have a home in Modern. There are certain decks, like G/W Trap, that could potentially make good use of something like this, but that deck isn't very popular for a reason.
I'm sure there's some way to make this work. Any sort of Birthing Pod shenanigans you could come up with would probably be worse than killing them with Deceiver Exarch though. I guess Mirror Weave is a thing.
Todd Anderson has been trying to build around Smallpox and Life from the Loam in Modern for years now, and this animal might fit right in. Being able to Unburial Rites this guy with access to Life from the Loam would be insane.
Whoa, a real card!
Sadly, the indestructible aspect isn't very relevant in Modern. Instead, we get to make use of the double strike mode to deal even more damage. People haven't played Boros Swiftblade or Gaea's Might since Zoo got enough cards that were good on their own. For years, Zoo didn't have to "cheese" anybody out with double strikers.
Have you seen Modern lately? The format is about doing something unfair and hoping they can't do anything unfair first. Essentially, everyone is trying to goldfish each other.
Maybe you're playing Affinity, maybe Storm; it doesn't really matter as long as you're capable of killing on turn 3. Hopefully, you don't get paired against the guy with Stony Silence or Rest in Peace in their sideboard. Then you win the tournament.
Boros Swiftblade is exactly what Zoo decks should be doing in Modern right now! That said, it's one of those things that is going to match up poorly with Jund. However, with enough burn spells (and Boros Charm will be burning them), you might be able to get 'em the old-fashioned way.
This is actually a real card.
This is another sacrifice outlet, which is useful to know about, but I think we're only in the market for one-drop sac outlets. Viscera sees play with a marginal ability, and the Aristocrat's ability is even worse, so it likely won't see any play. Also, there are already things like Bloodthrone Vampire, etc.
Every ability is just a little less powerful than it should be in order to see play.
There are some Ancient Ziggurat or Primal Beyond decks that pop up every once in a while that would like this card. Those decks are typically like Jund but with less disruption, yet they still lose the Jund "mirrors," so I'm not sure how much stock you'd want to put into them. Of course, I'm not sure how optimized those decks are.
Regardless, Liliana basically crushes Domri on all fronts, at least in Modern. Both abilities on Liliana are good ways to disrupt your opponent, whereas Domri just helps you get ahead. Meanwhile, it's pretty terrible when you're behind.
Powerful card, but way too slow and doesn't do anything that decks in Modern need to be doing right now.
Ain't gonna happen.
I'm not seeing this one either.
Big, slow, bad colors, mostly irrelevant effect.
Finally, a card for the Scapeshift mirror match!
Leaning heavily towards "no." Again, if it had just a little more push we could start discussing it, but it's worse than the other options.
I'd like to think that there's something you could do with this. Aluren plus a sac outlet was all I could come up with, but that's not even legal in Modern.
To me, this feels like a Memnite. You see it and think, "Oh wow I can't believe they printed this," but in reality, it isn't abuseable and is simply a demonstration of WotC's ability to do its job.
On top of it all, Endless Cockroaches has been a thing for years and nothing's happened, so I think we're safe.
How does Jund realistically expect to beat this thing?
If we want to go super deep into "grind" territory, we're there. I have no idea how this fits, but this is exactly the win condition I would want in a deck that kills everything.
In Extended, this card might have been playable. In Modern, this is much, much worse than Primeval Titan. Still, I'd like to see what an Elf deck could do with this card.
Get Shouta Yasooka on the phone and tell him you broke it.
If you want your pump spell to be good in Modern Infect, it better cost zero, one, do something insane at two mana, or be an effect that is scarce and necessary. Simic Charm is nice, but it's not necessary. There are other ways to pump, protect, and force your dudes through.
Again, WotC demonstrating its mastery. They know they messed up with Windfall, but they also know the mana isn't fast enough for it to matter. Even if you get some card advantage, your opponent gets the first chance to use their new cards, presumably to kill you.
I like this card. It's probably a giant turd, as the 2/2 body isn't very relevant, but it's a throwback to Priest of Gix / Urabrask, and I liked those cards. Naturally, those cards were rarely played.
As Travis Woo pointed out, this is good with Zuberas.
At the end of the day, it's an oddly designed card that looks powerful but probably isn't.
Is this enough to push Merfolk into tier 1 status?
Make fun of this card all you want, but I will likely sleeve at least one of these up in the future. It just so happens that I have a U/R deck that has Trinket Mage and is likely very weak to G/W Auras aside from my Spellskites.
Other than that one scenario, there are much better ways to deal with hexproof creatures in Modern.
Overall, there's nothing too exciting in Gatecrash for Modern. You'd think that in the middle of the PTQ season there'd be something to spice up the format in order to generate interest for the second half. It would also give players another reason to crack some boosters. Then again, Standard is incredibly popular, as evident by tournaments like the StarCityGames.com Open Series attracting far more players than your average PTQ, so maybe there's no need to make people want to crack boosters.
Hell, I want to crack some already.
@G3RRYT on Twitter
'What guild am I?' Leave me alone, I'm not done with my research.
*goes back to notebook*