Amonkhet’s Impact on Eternal Formats

While it is too early to tell for certain which cards from Magic’s newest set, Amonkhet, will be seeing play in eternal formats, there are definitely some very powerful contenders. Some of which have a very high potential to make entirely new strategies in various formats possibly altering entire meta games. So today we are going to be taking a closer look at the Egyptian inspired set, and see just how some of these cards might sneak their way into Legacy, Modern, and Commander. So without further ado, let’s get started!

The Monuments

First up we have the set of monuments that were released, if you don’t know what they do, they make your creatures spells cost one colorless less to cast. While these probably won’t be seeing much play in Modern or Legacy, EDH is a very different story. Most EDH decks love effects like this, and if you are playing a heavy creature based strategy it is very likely a good idea to be running one of these, as they apply to all creatures you play. Not only do they reduce the cost of your creatures, but they additionally have extra effects such as tapping down creatures and making tokens. Overall the monument series is just a very solid group of cards for any Commander deck looking to capitalize on playing creatures.

While it’s not incredibly powerful on its own and definitely bolt-able. The ability for this Gideon to put an emblem that literally reads you can’t lose the game under certain conditions is just really good. It’s probably not Legacy good, but this card may be seeing some fringe Modern play. Who knows, maybe the Standard Gideon tribal deck will even be ported over to Modern. Historically three mana costed planeswalkers have always been very good.  Even if this Gideon is not used for its emblem ability, its other abilities are also very relevant for a white deck, possibly blanking combo/Tron, and creating a 4/4 beater for three is not bad.

Flickerwisp? While not having the ability to do as much abusive stuff as Flickerwisp can do, Vizier has the benefit of not relying on Aether Vial to be effective. However the stipulation of requiring a creature to attack or block to be targeted, and the fact that it can only target creatures makes this card less exciting. It still could definitely see play in a Modern Hatebears deck (especially in an aggro oriented meta) but besides not relying on Aether Vial, Flickerwisp is probably strictly better.

This card will most likely be seeing a lot of Commander play. It is essentially an incremental Aether Vial for ANY SPELL. Blue decks will absolutely love this card. Its power speaks for itself.

The debate is still up in the air as to whether this card will see Modern play. On one hand the additional cycling ability of this spell makes it very viable for smoothing out a control deck’s late game. However the fact that it can essentially only counter spells if they are played on curve makes this a risky choice. Mana leak itself is simply a strictly better counterspell, but only time will tell if the additional cycling ability will gain this card a spot on top of the Modern counterspell pillar.

It’s looking like Delver is going to be getting a major upgrade. Bone Picker will probably be seeing play in Legacy and Modern alike. Both iterations of the deck run a high volume of removal spells and having the ability to essentially play another Delver (with the added bonus of deathtouch) could be really really good for the strategy. It’s a stretch but this card may even begin to replace Delver in some removal heavy lists. Although it is more likely that Bone Picker will be run in conjunction with Delver for consistency.

EDH decks love cards that return creatures to the hand from graveyards. The cycling is just icing on the cake. Most black deck’s that run creatures in EDH and interact with their graveyard often will probably be picking up this card. It’s even fairly good in non graveyard strategies as it allows a deck to more easily recover from a board wipe (for only three mana).

Another contender for seeing play in EDH. Most red decks that run lots of creatures like to take extra combat phases to push through more damage (as aggro can be a bit difficult to effectively play in the format). Any deck looking to smash face that is running red will probably pick up this card. Combat Celebrant may even see some play in Modern Zoo and other aggro decks, but it is too early to tell if it will make in impact in the format.

Yikes. I don’t even know where to start with this card. Harsh Mentor is just so good. There is talk of a new Modern Hatebears deck which will capitalize on all of the activated abilities that decks abuse in the format. It makes fetchlands hurt more, taxes Aether Vial, and punishes Tron for using it’s Maps. Basically it makes everything that everyone does in Modern bring their life total down even more. This card may even have the ability slow down the format entirely. If anything it is very likely that it will be seeing heavy sideboard play in decks such as Kiki-Chord, Jund, RW Hatebears, Burn and Zoo.

This one is very interesting. It’s way to early to tell exactly what this card will do, but it has the ability to break a lot of combo decks in Modern. Imagine being one turn away from a combo, then ending your opponents turn abruptly so they can’t advance their board state to stop you, and then combo-ing out on them.

EDH EDH EDH. Commander is just loving this set. There are so many good cards for the format. Ramp decks will absolutely love this card. It can get so many lands into play in the right deck, and only for three mana.

This card is very iffy. It may see play in Modern, but the place it might really shine is Legacy BUG. It essentially does the opposite of what Liliana does for the deck. While Liliana has abilities to significantly affect your opponent and hinder their game plan, this Nissa significantly advances your own board state. All of her abilities are incredibly relevant, and the scaled casting cost can be very good late game (especially for a control deck such as BUG). Playing this on turn four (with mana ramp) and putting a Shardless Agent into play, which then cascades into yet another spell could be very impactful. It is still too early to tell whether this card will be played significantly, but it definitely seems like a powerful option.

Samut could be a very powerful Naya commander. Giving all of your creatures haste is just the type of thing a Naya deck wants to capitalize on. The added ability to untap your creatures to keep them up for blocking or to activate their abilities again can also be very good. She synergiezes with mana dorks, big beaters and toolbox creatures with special abilities. It is very likely that this card will find its way into a pretty good spot for EDH.

Another potentially powerful EDH spell. Any deck that is running lots of creatures will probably consider playing this card. It not only synergizes with aggro decks, but it also works in conjunction with mana dorks, essentially making them read: “Tap: add some amount of mana to your mana pool. Deal 1 damage to each opponent during your end step.”

It’s definitely looking like Amonkhet has brought with it some very good cards to the table for all Eternal formats to play with. It is still up in the air whether some of these cards will actually be played, but it’s definitely looking like many cards from the set will at least see some play in non Standard formats.

But what do you think? Did we miss any potentially powerful Amonkhet cards? Feel free to leave any question, comments, or concerns in the section below.

And as always, happy gaming!



Sylvan Studies Team
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