28, Jun, 24

MagicCon Duskmourn Spoilers Introduce New Pre-Game Effect Cycle!

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Today is a big day for Magic: The Gathering. Not only does Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 kick off today, but there’s also the Preview Panel at MagicCon: Amsterdam! As always, this event is absolutely loaded with new reveals, including the debut of a brand new set: Foundations.

As if one major reveal wasn’t enough, Wizards of the Coast also gave us a proper First Look at Duskmourn: House of Horror. Revealed at long last, this horror-themed set has been debuted alongside a boatload of tantalizing spoilers. For better or worse, some of these new cards are seriously scary threats that can even be played before the game properly begins!

Leyline of Hope

With the reveal of Leyline of Hope, Wizards of the Coast unveiled that a new cycle of Leylines will be available in Duskmourn: House of Horror. These Leylines represent strange phenomena that exist across Duskmourn, “Bringing Magic to an otherwise dark and hidden world.” Leyline of Hope is the only card in this cycle we’re seeing today.

Leyline of Hope looks particularly exciting for lifegain strategies. Not only does this Leyline buff the life you gain by one, but it also provides a board-wide +2/+2 buff after gaining enough life. Already this card seems tuned for traditional Soul Sisters decks that want to gain a lot of life and drop a lot of small creatures. With Guide of Souls providing this archetype with additional support, this strategy may well be stronger than ever.

In terms of gameplay, Leyline of Hope seems underwhelming. Lifegain strategies, outside of the explosive Amalia Combo in Pioneer, are not really that popular. Even decks that do enjoy lifegain, like Historic Angels, are likely uninterested in an effect like this. In Standard, this card could have some legs in theory, but that’s far from guaranteed right now.

Ultimately, Leyline of Hope seems just okay in the grand scheme of things. Unless a new lifegain pops up, this card probably won’t see a lot of competitive play.

Cursed Recording

Cursed Recording offers immense power at a cost. This spell is certainly powerful enough to see Commander play, especially in decks that can remove Time Counters or synergize with Cursed Recording’s downside. Basically, you get to copy an instant or sorcery each turn with the effect, but once you cast seven instants or sorceries, the Cursed Recording takes a bite out of your life total… a lethal one.

Most constructed decks won’t be able to survive 20 damage. Even in Commander, 20 damage is a downside that must be seriously considered. Worryingly, even getting hurt doesn’t nullify Cursed Recording, as the Time Counters get removed once you get bit. This means that you can wrack up more counters and end up getting hit a second time.

In my opinion, the trade-off here is worth it. Being able to copy an instant or sorcery each turn should be enough to end the game before you cast seven of them. That said, if you are in a cantrip deck, this might not be for you.

Another way to use Cursed Recording is to copy a few spells with it, then right before the card goes off, give your opponent control of it. Coveted Falcon from Murders at Karlov Manor is a rotation-proof Standard legal card that will be able to give away your Cursed Recording. The card is already being used in conjunction with Greed’s Gambit from The Big Score for a similar purpose.

Overall, Cursed Recording looks like a powerful new artifact that offers powerful effects for a big price, and even that price has some play to it that makes the card rather unique.

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Chainsaw is a new phenomenally flavorful equipment spell, curated from the tool’s appearance in horror movies. Granting your creatures additional power equal to the number of times you manage to rev it, Chainsaw grows stronger the more creatures it sees die. Uniquely, this equipment doubles as removal, dealing three damage to a creature when it enters. This should, hopefully, allow the first of many Revs.

This card is rather cute, but I definitely won’t see it play outside of Standard and maybe Commander. Dealing three damage on impact makes this a decent Limited card with staying power. This could be a win condition for various infinite combos that involve sacrificing creatures, but there are much quicker and more effective ways of doing this.

Come Back Wrong

Come Back Wrong looks incredibly powerful. Not only does this card act as removal, but you also get to use the creature temporarily before it bites the dust for real. Most of these sorts of effects will give creatures Haste, but Come Back Wrong does not. Frankly, it shouldn’t. This already functions as condition-less creature removal with an upside.

Since Come Back Wrong doesn’t grant your returned creature Haste, your best target for a card like this is creatures that have enters effects. Getting to return even a card that draws a card on entry makes Come Back Wrong a positive card in terms of card advantage. You don’t lose any cards and your opponent loses a body.

Alternatively, in mirror match situations where players are trying to assemble creature-based combos, you can steal an opponent’s combo piece temporarily. Using this to steal something like a Wildgrowth Walker in Amalia combo mirrors is a rather amusing idea.

Even cards with static effects that you can take advantage of in a limited window, like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, can allow Come Back Wrong to create devastating swings. This card looks utterly fantastic, and will definitely see Standard and Commander play. It could see play even beyond those formats.

Toby, Beastie Befriender

Toby, Beastie Befriender wants to get friendly with creatures that can Flicker it. The token created by this card is not Legendary, which means that, with some help, you can create a whole bunch of them.

Should you manage to create a bunch of creature tokens from Toby, or from other sources, Toby grants all of your creature tokens Flying once you accumulate four of them. I know I definitely have a home for Toby in my Construct Typal creature token Commander deck.

The downside on the 4/4 Beast token does make utilizing Toby in a Limited environment a bit more difficult. That said, you are getting 5/5 in stats for three mana, which is significantly above-rate. In constructed formats, this is likely best used in aggressive go-wide strategies. This card could easily see plenty of Commander play in token strategies, but likely won’t see constructed play past Standard.

Nowhere to Run

Nowhere to Run offers some conditional removal on an enchantment. While this simply looks like a decent Limited option, the second ability on this enchantment with Flash could be a lot more useful. Ward and Hexproof are some of the most annoying abilities that Magic has to offer. This can make removing problematic permanents on opponent’s boards next to impossible.

Sadly, for players looking for a way to deal with Lotus Field, this card only shuts off Hexproof and Ward on creatures. It does, nonetheless, offer some needed counterplay against these strategies.

Fear of Missing Out

The fact that a Magic card has a name like Fear of Missing Out is baffling to me. This is truly a fear that Magic players can relate to.

Fear of Missing Out showcases more than just a flavorful card name. This card also reveals that the fan-favorite Delirium mechanic will be returning in Duskmourn. Considering the horror theme of the set, this makes a lot of sense.

To recap, Delirium cares about the number of card types in your grave. If you have four or more different card types, Delirium goes live, allowing you to offer a range of benefits. In the case of Fear of Missing Out, you get to untap a creature and gain an extra combat step! For two mana, this amount of value is absolutely incredible! The irony of Fear of Missing Out being a card that constructed players may not want to miss out on is not lost on us. This card looks competitive.

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The Wandering Rescuer

The Wandering Rescuer offers a new Convoke payoff with Flash for the various Standard and Pioneer decks that may be interested in it. Considering this card effectively swings in for six damage and offers your tapped creatures Hexproof, The Wandering Rescuer certainly seems like a payoff that the various Convoke strategies will be interested in.

This card having Flash allows Convoke players to threaten it at various points in the game. This can make trying to remove creatures with targeted effects incredibly suspect. The Wandering Rescuer can tap the targeted creature with Convoke and give it Hexproof, effectively rescuing it. If this card ends up being a major issue, Nowhere to Run can offer some reprieve.

On another note, this card unveils an interesting detail: The Wanderer appears to have lost their spark. This character was a Planeswalker in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty but they have lost that ability following the conclusion of the Phyrexian Arc.

Doomsday Excruciator

Doomsday Excrutiator offers a wild ability guarded by a very costly mana value. Six mana for something like this seems great, but having to pay all that mana with black pips makes casting this much more difficult. On the other hand, this is a dream for black Nykthos Devotion players.

Doomsday Excrutiator takes a page from Doomsday, an old sorcery that makes up a big part of the Legacy format. That card allows you to create a pile of five cards in exchange for half your life total. Doomsday Excrutiator puts both players’ decks to six cards and offers a kind gesture of drawing you an extra card each turn.

There is a lot of power here. If you can make your opponent deck out before you do, which is not hard to do with just six cards, Doomsday Excrutiator turns into a lethal win condition. Parity is not kind to you, however, since you’ll have less time than your opponent, but hey, at least you’re drawing cards.

Frankly, this card is rather easy to break. A mana value of six certainly gets in the way a bit, but if players can find a reliable way to cheat this in, winning the game shouldn’t be too difficult. The body offered for this mana value on Doomsday Excrutiator is underwhelming at best, so you really should be using this card for its effect. This card would undeniably be rather fun in a Commander setting, making everyone at the table sweat as a last-ditch effort is made to win the game.

Screaming Nemesis

Screaming Nemesis is a very powerful Magic card. A 3/3 with Haste for three mana is already on-rate for aggressive decks, but this card is begging to be blocked by opposing creatures. Screaming Nemesis can direct any damage it takes anywhere it likes, and if that target happens to be the opponent, they are shut off from life gain for the rest of the game.

This can even create some unique situations where you want to damage your own Screaming Nemesis. No longer can Shadowspear stabilize the game state from an Urza’s Saga search.

I have no question that this card will see Mono Red play in Standard, and will likely see play in Pioneer as well. Depending on how the metagame shapes up, Screaming Nemesis could even see some Modern burn play, but the card could be too slow for that format.

Twitching Doll

Twitching Doll is an interesting promo foil card that players get when preordering Collector Booster packs. This mana dork offers a rather unique upside that gets deadlier the longer the game goes on. Getting a nest counter each time it taps for mana, Twitching Doll creates a ton of Spiders after it has helped you ramp into your larger threats.

From this perspective, Twitching Doll could be very powerful in a Standard environment. Once you no longer need the extra mana this card provides, you can create an army of Spiders! Twitching Doll remains a weaker top deck after the game has progressed past curve for it, but the utility of this mana dork could make it popular.

Special Guests Return

Collected Company is returning in Duskmourn as a Special Guest card! To reiterate, this is a series of rare full-art reprints of older cards with a special set symbol. This means that the legality of Special Guest cards are not affected by their reprints. Collected Company will not be becoming Standard legal.

That said, Special Guest appearances often reprint iconic Magic cards from various formats, giving them new, gorgeous artwork for players to indulge in. Collected Company is certainly no exception, and we’re looking forward to seeing what other Special Guest cards appear in Duskmourn.

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