Grief | Modern Horizons 2 | Art By Nicholas Gregory
20, May, 24

Leaked Modern Horizons 3 Uncommon Could Be The Best Card In The Set!

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Article at a Glance

It’s easy to be hyperbolic when discussing cards from Modern Horizons 3. As a set specifically designed to supplement high-power eternal formats, the card quality is a cut above the usual Standard legal fare. As a result, words like “Broken” and “Format-Defining” have become commonplace in community discussions of the new leaks. Often these are just early excitement, but sometimes there’s real substance behind them. That’s very much the case with Vexing Bauble, one of the most exciting MTG cards we’ve seen in years. If the leak is to be believed.

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Vexing Bauble

Vexing-Bauble-MTG-Leak

Vexing Bauble doesn’t look like the stuff of multi-format glory at first glance. It’s a one-mana Artifact, an Uncommon no less, that counters spells if no mana is spent to cast them. This is a symmetrical effect, so it counters your spells as well, if applicable. You can also pay one, tap and sac it, and draw a card. On-board Cycling one, essentially.

This is the kind of card that’s a perfect teaching opportunity for new players. It looks like a niche waste of cardboard to the untrained eye. Those who know the Magic meta well, though, will immediately see the card’s potential to completely shut down multiple important decks. We’ll get into the specific decks shortly, but for now, it’s enough to know that a surprising number of decks rely on casting spells for free.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an effect like this. Void Mirror, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and Boromir, Warden of the Tower all offer similar abilities. What makes Bauble special compared to these is its mana cost. Being just one colorless means you can get it down on turn one before your opponent can get going.

Vexing Bauble’s cost also means the card is a valid Urza’s Saga tutor target, which boosts any card’s playability by a lot. The lack of any color requirement means any deck can run it, too. This should, at minimum, ensure the card a spot in nearly every eternal sideboard. As we’ll get into, though, Vexing Bauble is almost certainly main deck material.

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Impact In Modern

In its current state, Modern is a format dense with sneaky decks that love playing powerful spells for no mana. The top dog in the meta at the moment is Rakdos Scam. This is a deck that relies on cheating out Grief alongside Not Dead After All to strip the key cards from your opponent’s hand before they have a chance to play them.

The key to this deck’s success is Grief’s Evoke ability, which lets you cast it for free. With a Vexing Bauble in play, that key is snatched away. The card also handily counters cards cast off of Dauthi Voidwalker, another staple card in the deck. Without these broken starts, Scam is forced to play like a normal Rakdos Midrange deck, which is far easier to deal with.

Another deck that Bauble dismantles is Living End. This one is all about using Shardless Agent to Cascade into a free Living End, then flip a bunch of chunky creatures into play for the win. With Vexing Bauble out, Shardless Agent goes from a win condition to a 2/2 for three. Whatever your opponent Cascades into will just be countered immediately.

Beyond these major archetypes, there are a host of individual powerful cards hosed by Vexing Bauble. Crashing Footfalls, Scion of Draco, and most of the good Affinity cards, for example, get countered outright. With Artifacts set to make a comeback post-MH3, this could be very important indeed in Modern. To say nothing of the new MH3 Flare cycle, which doesn’t get a chance to run rampant in a Bauble-less world.

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Impact Beyond Modern

Modern isn’t the only MTG format Vexing Bauble is set to hit like a truck, however. Legacy and Vintage have even more of a tendency towards free spells and broken turns. Or at least they do for now, in a pre-Bauble world. Force of Will may be the most notable example and one of the key cards that separates these two formats from Modern.

The fact that Force of Will exists, as a mostly-free universal Counterspell, goes a long way towards keeping the shenanigans possible in these older formats in check. With a Vexing Bauble in play, though, it’ll be countered itself before it can address any given problem. Of course, with a Bauble in play, a lot of these problems themselves will also be countered, so swings and roundabouts.

Vexing Bauble will also disrupt the high volume of ‘fast mana’ in both formats. Lotus Petal sees play in both, while Vintage makes use of the legendary Black Lotus and colored Moxen. These cards help decks of all kinds get out of the gate fast, and all of them cost zero mana.

This means that Vexing Bauble will counter them if played. If you’re on the play, you can drop your own Moxen followed by Vexing Bauble to lock your opponent out of a similarly strong start. Not quite in keeping with the ‘fair’ ideals of the card, but very effective nonetheless.

It’s rare to see an MTG card with such strong potential in every format, but Vexing Bauble is the real deal. If this leak is real, then you’re likely looking at another ‘Mythic Uncommon,’ in both power and price terms.

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