Flare of Cultivation
30, May, 24

MTG Best Modern Horizons 3 Cards

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The entire Modern Horizons 3 main set has finally been revealed. As you might expect, there are a ton of unique and exciting cards being introduced to Modern. From new multi-format powerhouses to elite reprints that are debuting in Modern for the first time, this set has a lot to look forward to.

If the first two Modern Horizons sets were any indication, MH3 is bound to shake things up. This set is even coming to MTG Arena, so Historic and Timeless enjoyers beware! With so many strong additions, narrowing down the very best cards in MH3 is not easy. However, our goal is to do just that.

Of note, we will only be including cards from the main set in our rankings. Modern Horizons 3 is featuring four new Commander Precons, but new cards from these decks will not be Modern legal. While we will be considering a card’s impact in formats beyond Modern in our rankings, we are sticking with main set cards for consistency’s sake. With that out of the way, here are the MTG best Modern Horizons 3 cards.

Honorable Mention: Emrakul, the World Anew

Emrakul, the World Anew

Emrakul is a sick card that can completely take over the game. Getting to steal all of your opponent’s Creatures provides an easy avenue to victory. Even if Emrakul gets answered, those Creatures just go to the graveyard and don’t get returned to the opponent. As good as Emrakul is, though, it costs A LOT of mana.

The difference between 12 mana and 10 mana for Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, even for Tron decks in Modern, is huge. However, if you can find a way to discard Emrakul for cheap, you can reduce Emrakul’s casting cost significantly.

There are efficient, colorless cards like The Underworld Cookbook that can enable Emrakul, and you can even tutor for them from your sideboard with Karn, the Great Creator. At the end of the day, there’s a good chance Emrakul doesn’t make the cut if players deem that it requires too much work. Still, the potential is there, so we felt the card warranted an honorable mention.

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#10 Nethergoyf

MH3-Spoilers-Graveyard-Nethergoyf

Nethergoyf is a really interesting take on one of MTG’s most iconic Creatures: Tarmogoyf. Unlike Tarmogoyf, Nethergoyf only counts cards in your graveyard. However, the rest of the card is all upsides.

Nethergoyf is extremely efficient at only one mana. As we’ve seen with Dragon’s Rage Channeler, getting a bunch of card types into your graveyard quickly is not difficult. Mishra’s Bauble and Fetchlands pull a lot of weight, so seeing Nethergoyf pop up in decks like Jund Saga wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Further, you even have the ability to Escape Nethergoyf as the game goes on. Exiling up to four different card types will almost certainly shrink Nethergoyf when you Escape it, but this is a solid option to have in attrition battles, nonetheless.

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#9 Harbinger of the Seas

Harbinger of the Seas

Harbinger of the Seas is very reminiscent of Magus of the Moon. Requiring two colored mana symbols to play Harbinger is a downside, but for Modern Merfolk, this isn’t a big problem. Modern Merfolk is the obvious home for Harbinger, and this card should be a huge upgrade for the archetype.

Just like with Magus, decks that rely on lots of non-basic Lands like Amulet Titan can struggle in the face of Harbinger. On top of that, though, Harbinger synergizes well with the other Merfolk in the archetype. Both Master of the Pearl Trident and Lord of Atlantis pump Harbinger. At the same time, Harbinger can ensure that the opponent controls an Island so that your Merfolk can’t be blocked.

One of the weaknesses of Magus has always been that it dies to red removal spells, which can be cast even if the opponent controls no basic Lands. Harbinger avoids this problem. It simultaneously dodges Boseiju, Who Endures, which is a perfect answer to Blood Moon. As such, if you’re playing a deck that’s heavy on blue sources, Harbinger is a reasonable consideration.

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#8 Ugin’s Binding

Ugin's Binding

Ugin’s Binding is a card that gets most of its mileage when in your graveyard. Assuming you have some big colorless cards to play, Ugin’s Binding can have a massive effect on the game. First and foremost, Ugin’s Binding will be a staple of blue Commander decks that can trigger it. Cyclonic Rift notoriously leads to some enormous blowouts. Ugin’s Binding provides the same tempo swing (albeit at Sorcery speed), except you also get the luxury of adding an enormous threat to the board in the same turn!

Beyond Commander, there’s a chance this card could see play in mono-blue Tron or Affinity decks in Modern. It likely won’t have the same devastating effect, as players tend to excessively build out their boards with less efficient permanents in Commander. Still, clearing all opposing blockers can let you swing for lethal in one go. Being able to break a board stall essentially for free is awesome, especially in matchups like the Affinity mirror.

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#7 Kappa Cannoneer

Kappa Cannoneer

Kappa Cannoneer is one of multiple cards on this list that slots nicely into Modern Affinity. It’s easy to greatly reduce the cost of Cannoneer, and the reward is well worth it. Ward 4 is extremely close to Hexproof. Outside of really cheap removal like Solitude, getting Cannoneer off the board is very hard.

On top of that, in Affinity, you’ll likely be able to follow up Cannoneer with even more Artifacts, ensuring that Cannoneer will grow and get damage through unhindered. This card is an elite reprint that is well worth building around.

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#6 Amped Raptor

Amped Raptor

Amped Raptor is a really interesting card that might not look too scary at first glance. However, the card is quite good. In fact, well-known content creator and Modern aficionado Aspiringspike considers Amped Raptor to be one of the most broken cards in the set! While it’s unclear if this prediction will come to fruition, Amped Raptor has a lot going for it.

As long as you can reliably exile a card that you can cast, Amped Raptor is quite powerful. Some players may try to “Cascade” into Crashing Footfalls and the like, but even casting a basic Tarmogoyf or Lightning Bolt is well worth the mana. The goal is to fill your deck entirely with cards that cost two or less mana so that no matter what card you reveal, you can cast it.

Some Modern decks, like Jund and Burn, almost naturally meet this criterion as is, and getting a free 2/1 with First Strike out of the deal is well worth it. The card is undoubtedly receiving a lot of hype and certainly deserves recognition on this list.

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#5 Nadu, Winged Wisdom

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

Nadu, Winged Wisdom does a lot for three mana. Right off the bat, you get a 3/4 with Flying. Many removal spells like Lightning Bolt can’t kill it, and even if the opponent can kill it right away, Nadu still generates value.

Of course, Nadu also grants this ability to all of your other Creatures. With this in mind, using cards like Shuko that can target your Creatures for free can let you go ballistic. Nadu’s ability only triggers twice each turn, but this is for each individual Creature that gets targeted.

So, if you have Springheart Nantuko at the ready, you can target your Creatures with Shuko, and each time a Land enters play from your library thanks to Nadu, you get more tokens to target with Shuko. If you’re lucky, drawing your whole deck is a real possibility. Nadu is such an easy card to abuse, so it definitely deserves a spot on this list.

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#4 The Flares

One of the signature packages in MH3 is the full cycle of Flares. These “free” spells all have potential to show up in Modern. Flare of Denial, for instance can act as a free piece of counter magic, and unlike Force of Negation, can be cast for free even on your turn. This is a strong consideration for Merfolk but could prove to be a huge upgrade for Dredge decks as well. Between Narcomoeba and Prized Amalgam, finding a blue Creature to sacrifice is pretty easy.

While Flare of Denial is our pick for the best of the bunch, you shouldn’t count any of the others out. Whether you’re getting a big mana advantage with Flare of Cultivation or you’re forcing an opponent to sacrifice their Scion of Draco with Hexproof, being able to advance your gameplan or disrupt the opponent’s without investing any mana of your own is incredibly powerful.

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#3 Shifting Woodland

Shifting Woodland

Shifting Woodland is a Land with a boatload of potential across multiple formats. As a Land that taps for colored mana and can enter the battlefield untapped, putting Shifting Woodland into your green deck doesn’t come at a huge cost. From there, multiple archetypes can make great use of copying elite haymakers.

In Modern, Amulet Titan and Golgari Yawgmoth seem like solid homes for this card. While enabling Delerium isn’t always easy in Amulet Titan, the fact that Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Urza’s Saga count for multiple types helps a lot. Getting to use you Land to copy a Primeval Titan or Yawgmoth, Thran Physician that didn’t stick is nice luxury in attrition matchups. You can even use Primeval Titan to tutor up Shifting Woodland if you suspect the opponent has Unholy Heat or Terminate at the ready.

In Legacy, things get even more interesting. Shifting Woodland, just like Thespian’s Stage, can copy Dark Depths. Because the copy never entered the battlefield with ice counters, you will net a 20/20 with Flying and Indestructible from the exchange. Once you get Dark Depths into your graveyard (between Mox Diamond and opposing copies of Wasteland, this is trivial) and achieve Delerium, you can Crop Rotation at will for Shifting Woodland and make your 20/20.

These seem like the most obvious homes for Shifting Woodland, but players are bound to explore a bunch of different shells for this powerhouse. From Omniscience to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, there are tons of busted permanents to copy. This level of untapped potential certainly contributes to Shifting Woodland’s placement high up on this list.

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#2 Ugin’s Labyrinth

Ugin’s Labyrinth is an incredible addition to Modern. One thing Modern has lacked for most of its existence is access to Lands that tap for multiple mana at a time. Legacy staples like Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors are not Modern legal.

Meanwhile, many cards that give players access to extra mana early, including Simian Spirit Guide and Mox Opal, are banned for good reason. Ugin’s Labyrinth does require you to put in some work to maximize it, but the upside is huge.

Likely the two best homes for Ugin’s Labyrinth in Modern are Affinity and Eldrazi Tron. Affinity decks already play Sojourner’s Companion, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add Myr Enforcer to the mix to consistently enable Ugin’s Labyrinth. Getting to play Simulacrum Synthesizer a turn ahead of schedule can be the difference between winning and losing.

Similarly, Eldrazi Tron decks can exile All is Dust or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to turn on Ugin’s Labyrinth. Not only does this make it more likely you’ll be able to jam Thought-Knot Seer on turn two along with Eldrazi Temple, but you now have the ability to play Chalice of the Void on turn one. This can completely shut some decks down, especially on the play. Obviously, not every deck can play Ugin’s Labyrinth, but those that can get a huge boost.

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#1 Vexing Bauble

Vexing Bauble

Don’t be fooled by Vexing Bauble’s rarity. This card is absolutely bonkers. Over the years, both Modern and Legacy have received an abundance of “free” spells, some of which came from MH2! The fact that Vexing Bauble counters any spell that was played for free, regardless of its actual mana value, is a huge distinction from something like Chalice of the Void.

With Bauble in play, you no longer have to worry about your Scam opponent sticking an early Grief. Cascade decks like Living End combo get completely hosed by this card. In Legacy, Bauble shuts off Force of Will as well as elite sources of fast mana like Mox Opal and Lotus Petal. In Vintage, if you’re on the play, you can jam your Moxen, Black Lotus, or Mana Crypt, then slam Bauble to make sure your opponent can’t do the same.

Vexing Bauble simply does so much for so cheap. You can even find it off of Urza’s Saga. You can always crack it to draw a card as the game goes long, but early on, it messes with A LOT of strategies. We expect this card to become an immediate multi-format staple, and thus it earns the top spot in our rankings.

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