Flare of Denial | Modern Horizons 3 | Art by Jason A. Engle
7, Jun, 24

The Most Overrated Cards In Modern Horizons 3

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With Modern Horizons 3 Prerelease kicking off across the globe, and players getting their hands on new cards early, it’s safe to say that the hype level for the set is reaching a fever pitch. So it should; Modern Horizons 3 is the most anticipated set of the year, after all. Amid all the excited noise, however, it’s easy for nuance to get lost. Modern Horizons 3 cards that are no more than passable in the cold light of day are being wildly overrated as a result.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of what I believe are the five most overrated cards in the set. In this list, we’ll be considering cards from both a financial and gameplay perspective. If you’re tempted to buy any of these cards at a pre-order premium, take some time to read their entries here first. You may just change your mind.

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Emrakul, The World Anew

Let’s get the big one out of the way first. Emrakul’s third incarnation was one of the very first cards revealed for Modern Horizons 3. As a result, it’s had plenty of time to mature in people’s minds. Based on the pre-order prices, players like what they see. The card is sitting at around $60 on TCGPlayer right now, which I think is outrageous.

First of all: yes, Emrakul is incredibly powerful. If you can cast it, there’s a very good chance you’re winning that game. No matter what format you’re playing. The problem with Emrakul, the World Anew is actually casting the damn thing. You have two options here: pay 12 generic mana (not ideal), or discard Emrakul and pay six colorless mana (also not ideal).

Players are discussing Emrakul’s Madness cost like it’s trivial to pay, but six colorless mana is no joke. Outside of Tron, basically no deck in Modern has the facilities to pay that. As if that wasn’t bad enough, 12 generic is similarly out of reach, for Tron decks included.

This leaves Emrakul with only one real shot at present: Mono-Green Tron. A deck that barely qualifies as a meta-playable in Modern. It can’t just slot Emrakul in, either. After all, to use that Madness cost, it’ll need to throw in a discard outlet. The Underworld Cookbook is the player’s choice at present, and you can search it up with Urza’s Saga, but it’s not a card that does much outside of Emrakul plays.

Basically, Emrakul is much harder to cost than people think, and the deckbuilding concessions you’ll need to make to include her are steep. She’ll be incredible in Commander, but I don’t see Modern in her future.

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Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student/Tamiyo, Seasoned Scholar

Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student

Next up is the most overrated of the Modern Horizons 3 Flip ‘Walker cards by far. Players on Twitter and Reddit have been casually throwing around comparisons to Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, but honestly Tamiyo doesn’t seem nearly as good as either.

Her creature side is, admittedly, quite good. A solid blocker that can generate Clues each turn feels great. She blocks well and, as many have noted, can hold off an early Ragavan from the opponent. The problems arise when it comes time to flip her over.

Firstly, the actual flipping process can be tricky in Modern. Older formats can lean on Brainstorm as an insta-flip crutch, but in Modern, you need to work harder. Typically you’ll need to work too hard to make Tamiyo viable. Cards like Chart a Course have been thrown out as suggestions, but then the question of ‘is it worth it?’ comes into play.

For the most part, I’d say the answer to that was a firm ‘no.’ Once Tamiyo flips, all she can offer is a small power reduction for your opponent’s board. Given that most Modern decks go tall rather than wide, this feels underwhelming at best. If she manages to hold onto three loyalty for a turn, you can recur a spell and maybe make some mana, but that’s likely only getting you back the resource you spent on flipping her in the first place.

Yes, the ultimate is strong, but it takes four turns minimum to pull off, by which point the game is likely over. Appropriately enough, flipping Tamiyo on the secondary market may be your best move right now. I don’t see her holding her price in the long term.

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Flare Of Denial

Just in case I haven’t upset enough blue players already, let’s spend some time dressing down the most overhyped member of the new Flare cycle. Honestly, all five of these cards are being overhyped at present. While they do superficially resemble the free spells of old, sacrificing a nontoken creature of a specific color is a huge ask. Especially, it turns out, for blue decks.

There are barely any blue creatures played in the top Modern decks at the moment. Those that are tend to be reanimation targets in Living End, or Subtlety, which is a bit of a non-bo with Flare of Denial. Even a low-tier deck like Merfolk, which seems like a perfect fit for the card on the surface, isn’t super happy going down on board presence.

As a result, the chances of casting this spell for free are slim. Yes, you can just use it as a Cancel in a pinch, but that’s really not on-rate for Modern at all. It’s rare that blue gets the worst card of a cycle, but I think they have here. Every other color is better at getting creatures on the board and taking advantage of them dying.

Barring a serious Merfolk resurgence, it’s hard to see this card being played anywhere. Perhaps, after several failed attempts, Wizards has finally created a free spell cycle that isn’t completely broken. They may have gone too far the other way, in fact.

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It’s not just the blue spellslinger cards in Modern Horizons 3 that are overrated. No sir, there are plenty of overrated creatures as well. Nethergoyf has been getting a lot of press as a one mana alternative to Tarmogoyf; a scaling beater that can take over a game early. Unfortunately, this ‘Goyf comes with a very significant downside.

Nethergoyf only counts cards in your own graveyard, you see, as opposed to Tarmogoyf, which included your opponent’s too. This makes the typical Tarmogoyf power lines, which involved cracking a fetch and using Thoughtseize to get another card type on the stack, much more difficult. It’s possible to arrange similar stats for Nethergoyf by a similar time, but you’ll likely need to run sub-optimal lines and pray your Mishra’s Bauble shows up.

Even if you can build up a big Nethergoyf, it’s just a pile of stats. It has no abilities, outside of an Escape cost that will likely ruin the card if you ever actually use it. Looking at other playable cheap creatures in Modern, they can all do more than just attack well. Ragavan ramps you and draws you cards. Dragon’s Rage Channeler has evasion and sets up your draws and graveyard. Orcish Bowmasters removes threats and builds a board.

In comparison, Nethergoyf is just a well-statted creature that dies to every removal spell in the format. Provided you hit the right draws, too. Even if the kind of Jund deck that would enjoy it were still in the meta, I doubt Nethergoyf would see play there.

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Ocelot Pride


From one wildly overhyped one-drop to another, let’s round things off with Ocelot Pride. It really pains me to put this card on the list. Cats are great, and the art here is excellent, especially in the Retro Frame. That being said, Ocelot Pride is selling for over $35, and that’s frankly absurd. Right now, this card has no clear home, and a lot of drawbacks even in an ideal scenario.

First of all, it’s a one-drop that isn’t actually a great turn one play. You need to gain life to make this any better than a 1/1 First Strike Lifelink. As a result, you’ll likely need to start with a Guide of Souls-type card and play this later. Even then, your reward is just another 1/1 Cat; hardly something to write home about.

One toughness puts the Pride squarely in the Orcish Bowmasters danger zone, which isn’t a great place to be for a card with such low initial impact. Even if it does get going properly, with the City’s Blessing online, in most cases you’ll just be getting two 1/1s a turn. Not bad, but all it takes is a single Legion’s End to undo it all.

Really the card wants to be part of a dedicated tokens deck, but such a list doesn’t exist in current Modern, and it probably won’t post-MH3, either. Ocelot Pride is a cheap card with a lot of text, which I think is fooling players into thinking more highly of it than they should. While it does match up well against Ragavan, that’s really all the card does in the majority of cases.

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