1, May, 24

New MTG MH3 Sol Land Enables Broken Starts in Modern!

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Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons III leaks are coming out in full force, and there have been a lot of extremely powerful cards revealed so far. For reprints, Kappa Cannoneer and Meltdown are sure to see play in Modern. Meanwhile, new cards such as Flare of Denial have gotten a ton of hype. Modern is undoubtedly in for a major shakeup once Modern Horizons III is released, and we’re just getting started.

Along with Wizards of the Coast’s recent confirmation that the majority of leaks are indeed real (sorry Brainstorm, you’re an exception), arguably one of the most powerful Lands we’ve seen in the last decade was shown off as part of the main set. Ugin’s Labyrinth is very reminiscent of Ancient Tomb but requires a bit of work to enable.

Still, having access to a Land that can repeatedly tap for two mana in Modern is no joke. In the late game, you can always put the exiled card back into your hand, so the card disadvantage element is rather minimal. The key is finding shells that can maximize it. Not only do you need an expensive card to pitch, but you also want ways to utilize the extra mana provided each turn. Fortunately, this isn’t quite as difficult as it may sound, and there are multiple archetypes that should benefit quite a bit from the Labyrinth’s presence.

Affinity Shells

Ugin's Labyrinth

The first strategy I expect players to try Ugin’s Labyrinth in is Affinity. Outlaws of Thunder Junction has revitalized Affinity in both Modern and Legacy thanks to the printing of Simulacrum Synthesizer. The goal is to build up your Artifact count so that once you cast Synthesizer, you can follow up by casting cards like Frogmite or Sojourner’s Companion for free and build a Construct army.

Affinity decks in Modern do currently play a high density of colorless Lands with Urza’s Saga and Darksteel Citadel in the mix, but Ugin’s Labyrinth seems well worth some slots. First, this deck makes good use of the mana boost Labyrinth provides. Getting to cast Synthesizer or Nettlecyst ahead of schedule can be a game changer. On top of that, being able to make Constructs with Urza’s Saga by simply tapping Saga and Labyrinth is a great option to have.

Second, this deck already plays Sojourner’s Companion as a colorless option you can exile from your hand to Labyrinth. Given how powerful Labyrinth is, adding Myr Enforcer to the mix to increase consistency seem very reasonable.

For those who have played Legacy, you know how amazing “Sol” Lands like Ancient Tomb and even City of Traitors are. While Ugin’s Labyrinth does require more deckbuilding restrictions to make it work, it’s worthwhile to jump through some hoops to be able to play a card this good.

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Tron Variants

Urza's Tower

One style of deck that naturally contains high-mana colorless cards for you to exile to Labyrinth is Modern Tron. The goal of Tron decks is to assemble the combination of Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower in order to gain a huge mana advantage. From there, haymakers like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Karn Liberated, or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon can send your opponent back to the Stone Age.

Labyrinth has a lot of upside in Modern Tron. It’s easy to enable Labyrinth, and now that The One Ring is part of the equation, Labyrinth increases the likelihood you can cast the powerful Artifact early. You can even cast it turn two if you’re lucky enough!

Unfortunately, though, the fact that playing Labyrinth early comes at the cost of delaying your ability to assemble Tron means that it isn’t a slam dunk inclusion for every version of Tron. Mono-green Tron, for example, is heavily focused around getting all three Tron Lands in play by turn three. There aren’t even that many ways in the deck to maximize the early mana acceleration Labyrinth provides. In order to fully abuse Labyrinth, you need efficient, potent cards to play in the first couple turns.

This is where some other Tron variants come into play. Eldrazi Tron and mono-blue Tron, two decks that have fallen a bit out of favor in recent years, may be back in the spotlight thanks to Labyrinth. These decks have a ton of ways to maximize a Land that taps for two mana on turn one. Right off the bat, being able to slam Chalice of the Void on turn one on the play is now something the opponent has to worry about.

For mono-blue Tron, Condescend and Tishana’s Tidebinder both get much better in the early turns. For Eldrazi Tron, one of the scariest plays the deck could make in the past was to play Thought-Knot Seer on turn two off double Eldrazi Temple. Now, this can happen much more frequently. Eldrazi Tron already plays cards like All is Dust and Ulamog to pitch to Labyrinth, which is a good start.

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Calibrated Blast and Beyond

Calibrated Blast

While Tron and Affinity builds appear to be the most likely shells for Ugin’s Labyrinth to show up in, there are some other places worth discussing. One of the more underrated archetypes for Ugin’s Labyrinth is Calibrated Blast combo in Modern. Calibrated Blast is a deck with a very simple gameplan: resolve Calibrated Blast and dome your opponent for a ton of damage.

The majority of the cards in the deck are Lands. Outside of that, the deck plays Calibrated Blast, Throes of Chaos which is guaranteed to Cascade into Calibrated Blast, and a bunch of fatties to reveal when Calibrated Blast resolves. Hidden Volcano helps add a bit of redundancy to your gameplan, but is a bit on the slower side.

Labyrinth helps solve this problem. It reliably lets you go off a turn early, which is a huge deal for this one-dimensional combo deck. Additionally, this deck plays a total of eight colorless cards to exile to Labyrinth. With access to playsets of both Scion of Draco and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, there’s a good chance you will have one in hand to pair with Labyrinth.

Beyond Modern, Labyrinth also seems like a solid inclusion in any Eldrazi-themed Commander deck. In Legacy, Labyrinth is definitely less likely to find a home given its competition with Ancient Tomb and beyond. Still, there’s a chance Labyrinth finds a home in a big mana deck using Cloudpost and Grim Monolith.

For a format like Modern where Ancient Tomb is not legal and fast mana elements like Simian Spirit Guide and Mox Opal are banned, Labyrinth has massive potential. We’re barely into spoiler season for Modern Horizons III and there have been multiple powerhouses revealed that are sure to bring change to Modern. It’s clear Wizards of the Coast is continuing to push the boundaries with each Modern Horizons set, for better or for worse.

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