Shrieking Drake | Visions | Art by Ian Miller
30, May, 24

Final MH3 Card Gallery Update Sneaks In Some Hidden Gems!

Article at a Glance

With the exception of some of the Commander deck cards, Modern Horizons 3 preview season is now at an end. For those who have been keeping up, it’s been a hell of a ride. Never before have we seen so many leaks, or so many powerful cards, in such quick succession. Not ones to end things on a whimper, Wizards of the Coast have managed to sneak some interesting new cards into yesterday’s final MH3 Card Gallery dump.

While none of these cards are Rare or Mythic, there are still some very real gems among them. From unexpected reprints, to confirmed leaks, to spicy new boundary-pushing Commons. Final card dumps are often used to conceal notable cards, and that’s certainly the case this time.

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Accursed Marauder

We’ll kick things off with an absolute doozy. Accursed Marauder is familiar fare at first glance. It’s the next in a long line of creatures that forces a sacrifice from each player in the game, essentially serving as an Edict on a body. Two crucial differences set it apart from its peers, however, as Accused Marauder gets around tokens and only costs two mana.

The latter point is a huge deal for a card like this. Past versions of the effect, Fleshbag Marauder, Plaguecrafter, etc., have all cost three. Coming down for two makes the card infinitely more playable, in both Commander and formats like Modern. The card is also a Zombie, which is an extremely relevant creature type, particularly for a sacrifice effect like this.

On the other side of the coin, the fact that Accursed Marauder doesn’t hit tokens is a bit of a sidegrade. It prevents your opponent from ignoring the effect with an Eldrazi Scion token, yes, but it also prevents you from doing the same. Decks that run Edict effects like this often play token generators to mitigate their symmetry, and this card doesn’t let you do that.

That said, it’s still a very exciting card, especially for a two mana Common. Expect to see this tested in Modern, and in Commander forever.

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Faithful Watchdog

From one retrain to another, we come to Faithful Watchdog, a new take on the Ravnica classic Watchwolf. Aside from the addition of the Vigilance keyword, which is very welcome, the main difference with this one is the fact that its stats come from +1/+1 counters, rather than the base card itself.

For the most part, this is an upside. There are countless cards in MH3 alone that synergize with +1/+1 counters, and Watchdog gets to benefit from them at no cost to its solid statline. Whether it’s Hardened Scales for a 4/4 on turn two, or Branching Evolution for a 6/6 on turn four, there’s serious potential for beefy stats with this card.

That said, the best part of Faithful Watchdog is undoubtedly the art and flavor. An armored Dog, complete with its own sword, is an excellent image. Doubly so when paired with the flavor text that reveals his nickname, ‘Lord Fancy-Paws.’ Dog typal decks in Commander will love this card, and if that’s all it does, then it will have done very well indeed.

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Aether Spike

Thanks to the leaks, we’ve actually already seen Aether Spike, a few weeks ago in fact. It’s great to see it confirmed, though, since it may well be a crucial part of any potential Energy decks going forward. At a base level, like most Energy cards, it’s a worse version of an existing card. In this case Mana Leak. Mana Leak doesn’t see any Modern play, so the upside here needs to be well worth it.

What is that upside? Well, Aether Spike gives you two Energy when you cast it, then lets you convert any amount of Energy into a mana tax on your opponent’s spell. This has a few implications. Either you can spend more Energy you’ve stored up to push the card beyond Mana Leak in terms of tax, or use just one Energy, and use the card as a hybrid Energy generator/counterspell.

This flexibility is powerful, especially for a Common, and Aether Spike could well end up making the cut in Energy decks. At the moment it looks like Energy will go down a Combo route, so being able to protect your pieces will be key. It may not be the most efficient counterspell in the world, but as with Attune with Aether, just making any amount of Energy is a sizable upside for a card.

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Wing It

Stepping from the realm of ‘maybe playable’ to ‘probably not playable’ now, we have Wing It. This is a very efficient white combat trick, that does things we don’t often see on such cards. It gives a permanent boost with the Flying counter, and it lets you Scry, thus keeping your deck running smoothly. +2/+2 isn’t a huge buff, but the other upsides help to balance that out.

The problem here is that, even with all these positives, there isn’t really a deck in Modern that wants this effect. Murktide Regent and Temur Prowess might, but Wing It is off-color for them. Other aggressive strategies like Domain Zoo would rather just play more interaction. There’s not even much of a case to be made for this card in Pauper, despite the upsides we discussed earlier.

Much like Faithful Watchdog, though, this card justifies its existence with its rich art and flavor. Seeing a delighted otter taking flight on fresh wings is lovely, and the playful name matches this vibe perfectly. Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing when Bloomburrow hits in a few months.

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Pinnacle Monk/Mystic Peak

Next up we have one of many mono-colored MDFC lands from Modern Horizons 3. Pinnacle Monk can either serve as a five mana 2/2 with Prowess and spell recursion, or a red source that can enter untapped in exchange for three life. Neither of these are terribly attractive options on the surface. As with all MDFCs, though, the flexibility is key here.

Pinnacle Monk itself is an extremely slow creature, especially for Modern. In a Burn deck, though, it can be a useful resource in a drawn-out game. Getting to recur a burn spell and present a Prowess threat in one card is no joke. Don’t get it twisted: you’ll be using it as a land in 90% of games. That said, when the Pinnacle Monk side comes in handy, you’ll be glad you included it instead of a basic Mountain.

Ultimately, it’s fairly unlikely that the card sees play in Modern, even in Burn. Where it will see play, however, is in Commander. Every MDFC land is a slam-dunk staple in the format, and this card is no different. Even as one of the weaker additions from MH3, this child of the Card Gallery dump will be in any red Commander deck that plays Instants and Sorceries for the rest of time.

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Nesting Grounds


Time for a couple of spicy new-to-Modern reprints, starting with Nesting Grounds. This card has only been printed in Commander products so far, so this is its chance to step into the constructed spotlight. Will it manage to do so? That remains to be seen.

The card certainly has a lot of potential. It’s an untapped colorless source that can also tap for one mana to move a counter from one of your permanents to any other permanent in play. There are no restrictions as to the type of counter, or the type of permanent. Everything is fair game for Nesting Grounds. Unfortunately, you can only use the ability at sorcery speed, which prevents a lot of shenanigans.

You can move -1/-1 counters from your Persist creatures to your opponent’s creatures, shift Finality counters onto their recursive threats and even move Lore counters off of Urza’s Saga to repeat the second chapter and generate an endless swarm of Karnstructs. You can also mess with your own board, putting +1/+1 counters from Undying creatures elsewhere to get another use of the ability.

Most of these are corner-case uses, but in a deck that can leverage them, there’s a lot of value to be had here. You can even tutor it up with Wight of the Reliquary for greater consistency, which plays well with its Persist/Undying synergy.

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Shrieking Drake


Another classic card coming to Modern for the first time is Shrieking Drake. This is a card originally printed in Visions, way back in 1996, and never again since. It has some truly radical art, and an ability to match. When it enters play, you can bounce any one of your creatures, the Drake included, back to your hand.

Cheap bounce effects like this have always been abusable, and Shrieking Drake is no exception. The card was a key combo piece in Aluren decks back in the day since it could enter for free and endlessly loop itself for infinite triggers. With the printing of Primal Prayers in Modern Horizons 3, it could well do something similar in new Energy decks.

With a Guide of Souls and Primal Prayers out, you can generate infinite Energy using Shrieking Drake. Throw in an Aetherflux Reservoir or Aether Revolt, and you can win on the spot. Alternatively, you can funnel that infinite Energy into Aetherworks Marvel or Chthonian Nightmare to bring out huge threats from your deck or graveyard.

Outside of these wacky combo applications, Shrieking Drake is unlikely to see much Modern play. It’s a welcome sight in the set regardless, however, especially since it retains that striking classic art.

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Siege Smash


The last card of the MH3 Card Gallery dump is Siege Smash. It may just be a Common, but don’t let that fool you. This is an exciting card for multiple reasons. Most notably, it marks the return of Split Second, a mechanic we haven’t seen very often in recent times. For those unaware, spells with Split Second are essentially immune to interaction, preventing anyone from doing anything until their effects are resolved.

In the case of Siege Smash, those effects are twofold. Either it can serve as Artifact removal or a reasonable two mana pump spell. In either case, your opponent can’t do a thing about it. Krosan Grip was always one of the better Split Second cards, as a non-interactable Disenchant. Siege Smash removes the ability to hit Enchantments but costs a whole mana less, and throws on the pump spell option to boot.

Cards like this are typically reserved for sideboards, and Siege Smash could certainly see Modern play in that regard. Especially if Artifact decks are as dominant as they look in the new meta. The best fit for the card will be in a deck that can leverage the pump spell aspect as well, so Mono-Red Burn or Temur Prowess. Time will tell if it breaks into either of those strategies, but you’d be wise not to underestimate Split Second. It’s a much better ability than it first appears.

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