11, Jul, 24

Underrated MH3 Zombie and Commander Land Join Forces to Fight Evil

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At this point, Modern Horizons 3 cards have been out for quite a while. Players in Modern, Legacy, Timeless, and beyond have had a long time to figure out which MH3 cards are the strongest. Some cards, like Psychic Frog, have completely overperformed in nearly every format possible. Meanwhile, some cards that saw a ton of hype during spoiler season, like Shifting Woodland, never quite lived up to expectations.

One card in particular that garnered little discussion when it was first previewed but has been surging is none other than Wight of the Reliquary. Despite putting up excellent results in Legacy over the past week, it seems like this card is largely flying under the radar. There are a multitude of elite synergies with it, especially involving other MH3 cards.

We felt it was time the card gets the credit it deserves. So today, we’re going to highlight the card’s role in Legacy Gaea’s Cradle shells, the most popular home for Wight of the Reliquary. This deck, which made top eight of a recent Magic Online Legacy Challenge, has what it takes to fight against a lot of the top strategies in the format. This includes the infamous Dimir Reanimator deck that has many players clamoring for bans. To kick things off, it’s important to understand exactly how this deck works to enable Wight of the Reliquary.

A Three-Headed Monster

Wight of the Reliquary

The main engine this deck relies on revolves around three specific cards. The first, as you might expect, is Wight of the Reliquary. Wight is an interesting card that, despite the name, is very different from Knight of the Reliquary. Because Wight requires you to sacrifice creatures instead of lands in order to activate its ability, you need sacrifice fodder to make things work. The upside, though, is huge.

See, since you aren’t sacrificing lands, Wight actually ramps you. The key is having expendable creatures lying around that you don’t mind getting rid of. This brings us to the next card that keeps the engine revving: Springheart Nantuko. Springheart Nantuko is most well-known for its job in Bant Nadu decks in Modern, providing tons of tokens to equip with Shuko. Here, Springheart Nantuko gives you tons of tokens to sacrifice to Wight of the Reliquary.

All you need is a single Insect token to get the train rolling. This is because each Wight of the Reliquary activation nets you more Insects in the process. In some games you may be able to Bestow Springheart Nantuko onto Wight of the Reliquary and start going nuts, but making Insects is still very threatening.

The last piece of the puzzle, as mentioned earlier, is Gaea’s Cradle. Wight of the Reliquary can search for Gaea’s Cradle at will. From there, all the excess Insect tokens you make also help you get ahead on mana. This mana can easily be put to good use, especially if you have a Springheart Nantuko Bestowed on something potent.

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Consistently Closing the Game

Craterhoof Behemoth

Given how the deck is centered around the three cards listed above, it’s important to be able to find them as often as possible. Both Green Sun’s Zenith and Once Upon a Time work wonders in that department. Because both Wight of the Reliquary and Springheart Nantuko are two-drops, it’s quite common to lead on Noble Hierarch or Ignoble Hierarch turn one, then follow up with a turn two Zenith for X=2.

Elvish Reclaimer serves as another way to search for Gaea’s Cradle. It does require mana investment to activate, but being a one-drop is very beneficial. While Gaea’s Cradle is certainly the strongest land to grab in most circumstances, Elvish Reclaimer and Wight of the Reliquary can tutor up a slew of other lands in various situations. For example, Bojuka Bog is a nifty one-of that can catch a Reanimator player off-guard. Talon Gates of Madara is another really sweet inclusion, protecting your threats from even the best removal spells in the format.

Once you have Springheart Nantuko going and a Gaea’s Cradle in play, Green Sun’s Zenith becomes a great tool to help you close the game. With access to enough Insects, you can tap Gaea’s Cradle for a bunch of mana, use Green Sun’s Zenith to search up Craterhoof Behemoth, and you’re golden. Natural Order acts as another way to find Craterhoof Behemoth. You can also get Atraxa, Grand Unifier, which is a house in attrition battles.

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Fighting the Good Fight

Endurance

Overall, this deck gets a lot of mileage out of having a huge mana advantage. Cards like Daze quickly lose their utility. Thanks to Talon Gates of Madara, once you get to untap with Wight of the Reliquary, it becomes difficult for your opponent to break up your synergies if you’re careful.

We mentioned Bojuka Bog being a solid card against Reanimator, but this deck has more tricks up its sleeve with regards to the matchup. A full playset of Endurance makes and appearance in the maindeck, helping you mess with your opponent’s plans to quickly Entomb a big monster to bring back. Given Dimir Reanimator’s massive chokehold on the format, it makes sense to adjust to the metagame at hand.

Part of what makes Endurance strong here is that, beyond being an excellent tool against Reanimator, it’s also a perfectly serviceable card in other matchups. Hard casting it against Grixis tempo strategies, for instance, can let you ambush a Delver of Secrets or Dragon’s Rage Channeler out of nowhere.

Where things get really dicey for this archetype is against really fast combo decks. There’s little recourse here against a quick Storm kill. Mono-red prison can also be a handful. Fury demolishes your small creatures, while Blood Moon absolutely blanks Gaea’s Cradle entirely.

In this sense, this deck is far from broken. However, it’s a nice option to pick up if you’re not interested in playing Reanimator mirrors all day. It’s nice to see Wight of the Reliquary, Springheart Nantuko, and Talon Gates of Madara all join forces to enable a powerful endgame.

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