Warren Soultrader | Modern Horizons 3 | Art by Pete Venters
24, May, 24

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Now that we’re almost a week deep into Modern Horizons 3 preview season, many of the previously leaked spicy cards have been officially confirmed. One of the most exciting among these is Warren Soultrader, perhaps the best combo enabler MTG has seen in a while. This is the kind of card that’s hard not to go infinite with in a given game. As a result, the community has been going full brewing mode, dreaming up insta-win scenarios with this card in mind.

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Warren Soultrader – An MTG Combo Powerhouse

Warren-Soultrader-MTG-Card

It takes a special kind of card to whip MTG players into such a frenzy. One read of Warren Soultrader is all it takes to make you a believer, however. It’s a three mana 3/3 at a base level, which isn’t a terribly exciting start. It does come with three very relevant creature types in Zombie, Goblin, and Wizard, though, which will come in later.

The real juice in this moldering Zombie orange is, of course, the ability. By paying one life and sacrificing a creature, Soultrader lets you create a Treasure token. This is all simple enough, but the devil is in the details. This ability doesn’t require Soultrader to tap, so it can be used as soon as it enters play. It also has no timing restrictions, which lets you use it at instant speed.

Free, instant-speed sacrifice outlets have historically been very powerful in MTG. Ashnod’s Altar and Phyrexian Altar have both seen extensive eternal play. The ability to trade in small creatures and tokens for resources at any time is excellent, letting you fizzle opposing removal spells and gain value in the process. Soultrader does have a downside in that it requires you to pay life, but there are ways around that.

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Recipes For Disaster

Naturally, sacrificing creatures for no mana opens up the door for a wide range of infinite loops and combos. There are plenty of those in Modern already, but some Soultrader combos can end things as early as turn three if the cards align.

Probably the best of these combos, and the one that most players are talking about, is the one with Gravecrawler and Blood Artist. In a Mono-Black deck, you can play Gravecrawler on turn one, Blood Artist on two, then Soultrader on three. Provided your opponent doesn’t remove any of these creatures, you can end the game immediately as soon as they’re all in play.

To start this loop, just sacrifice Gravecrawler to Soultrader’s ability, thus triggering Blood Artist’s drain. This will offset the life payment from Soultrader, and deal one to your opponent. Next, use the Treasure token to recast Gravecrawler from your graveyard, which is possible since Soultrader is a Zombie. Rinse and repeat! It’s not a hugely resilient combo, but Gravecrawler can easily come back itself, and the other pieces are valid targets for Unearth and Lively Dirge if they do get removed.

Alternatively, you can try a similar line with Cauldron Familiar and Samwise Gamgee. Every Treasure you make with Gamgee out will also create a Food, which in turn will let you bring back Familiar from your graveyard, and drain your opponent. Sacrifice Familiar to Soultrader, and the loop is complete.

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Fair Game

These are just two options, but Warren Soultrader is so powerful that there are many other infinite combo paths to take. Beyond that, though, the card could very well see Modern play in a fair few decks as well. Modern Horizons 3 has a serious graveyard theme going on, with cards like Chthonic Nightmare and Spymaster’s Vault coming in hot. For decks that treat their graveyards like second hands, these cards, and Soultrader, are ideal additions.

Take Yawgmoth, for example, probably the most notable graveyard-centric deck in the current Modern meta. Soultrader can come down on turn three in this deck and serve as an insurance policy against exile-based removal and board wipes. It can also work as a very acceptable ramp piece, turning an early Young Wolf or Strangleroot Geist into two extra mana for later use.

The fact that Soultrader is both a Goblin and a Zombie also gives it scope for use in Typal decks based on both. It’s probably better suited to Zombies, since they tend to have more ways of recycling sacrificed creatures. Goblins can go wide with ease, however, and may appreciate a card that can convert their hordes into X-spell burn mana at instant speed. Neither deck is a real player in Modern right now, but given the support Merfolk and Elves are getting in MH3, that could change soon.

Overall, Warren Soultrader is an exceptionally powerful card, whether you’re playing fairly or not. It may not become a new format staple, but the sheer threat of a three-mana card that can end the game on a whim is not something you can ignore.

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