Modern Thoughts: What if Commander 2015 was Legal?

A bit ago I went over some of the cards from supplemental products that could, in theory, be fine in Modern. How about the cards in Commander 2015?

While I find it extremely unlikely that we will at some point get a blanket announcement that supplemental products will be legal in modern, what is much more likely is that some cards that show up will be reprinted through Standard to make their way into modern (or, less likely, is that they will allow cards to be added to the modern card pool through Modern Masters). We’ve already seen how successful Scavenging Ooze was, but what gems from this year’s offering can we find that may (or may not) be safe for modern? How powerful would they be going through standard? Let’s take a quick look….

Probably the card that stands out the most as a great addition to standard and modern. The true value of Fiery Confluence is in the versatility that it affords. Sometimes it’s a worse version of Anger of the Gods. Sometimes it’s a pretty powerful burn spell. Sometimes it destroys a lot of artifacts. Printing through standard would likely see the last mode not chosen very often, but the ability for it to either be a damaged based boardwipe OR a great finisher would make this card very powerful. Printed at a time when the pool of burn spells was not super deep it might be okay, but it’s also possible that a 6 damage for 4 mana burn spell would be way too good. Even as things stand now, where burn isn’t amazing, you could curve Exquisite Firecraft into this to deal 10 damage between two cards. When you start adding prowess creatures like Monastery Swiftspear to the mix, it may end up being just a little bit too much reach for standard decks to deal with.

But oh how great it would be in modern! The flexibility this provides is great enough that it could see play in the maindeck of multiple different decks. As a long time Scapeshift fan, I would love to include this as a great answer card to Affinity and more traditional forms of aggro. On top of the possibility of using it to drop my opponent to 18 in addition to dealing with a portion of the creatures (or artifacts) on the battlefield. Jund may also get some good use out of it, as well as Jeskai control.

While the red confluence would be amazing in modern, I think the blue one is much less powerful. This is mostly because it is so similar, and thus competes with, Cryptic Command. Printing it through standard you would need to compare it to some of the other recent 5 mana counterspells, something like Silumgar’s Command, to see how it stacks up (yes, I realize that both counterspell commands are conditional, but so is this one…. sorta). Mystic Confluence is generally going to be a 3-for-1 in most cases, choosing the counter a spell mode plus draw a card mode twice is most likely. This is way stronger than may of the alternatives (well, maybe not Ojutai’s Command countering a spell and returning a Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, but that’s mostly on the Jace….).

So Mystic Confluence would likely be the most powerful counterspell around in whatever standard it was printed in. As pointed out already, Cryptic Command is just often a better card, and that’s a problem for the modern viability of this spell. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are certainly decks that would be willing to try Confluence, but Cryptic ends up having more versatility because the modes are just…. better? Confluence’s ability to bounce a creature is great at times, but Cryptic can just bounce anything. Cryptic can tap down your opponent’s entire board of creatures. It counters a spell without caring about their ability to pay mana. It’s one mana cheaper (though triple blue versus double blue is relevant here).

First thing first: this printing would have to wait until the fetchlands were out of standard. This card would be busted if legal today, often being a 4/4 or bigger even when cast super early plus the built in recursion would just be silly. Wait a bit for the fetchlands to go, however, and he would be considered a bulk rare by players who only care about standard. When the only lands that generally end up in graveyards are things like Evolving Wilds, and those still rarely, suddenly he becomes really weak.

Then you combine him with Life from the Loam in modern. You have a deck designed to dump lands into the graveyard so you can get value out of them. Repeatable Ghost Quarters to wreck your opponent’s mana base while at the same time making this guy huge. The wombo combo of him and Countryside Crusher. Loam decks get a creature that is similar to Vengevine in the ability to come back, but at the same time ends up being a huge beat stick with trample with the number of fetchlands being played. This also lets the Loam deck cut red altogether, and move to using this guy as the win condition of choice instead of Seismic Assault.

100% busted in standard. Not even a contest. In modern she would be a great recursion engine for black/green decks that dodges Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay. Being able to get back your Tarmogoyf or Dark Confidant is great, but the real value is that you get a creature back every turn. The downside is that she’s tough to play into open mana, as a Terminate before you get value makes her significantly worse than Huntmaster of the Fells or Pia and Kiran Nalaar.

This is my pick for the card that is probably not safe for standard but I feel is definitely not safe in modern. The combo with any of the Soul Warden type cards just makes Karlov get out of hand way too quickly. Turn one warden, turn two Karlov gives you a 4/4 for 2 mana, that will continue to grow AND has the option to exile creatures by shrinking itself. But how much does that matter when you have 12+ Wardens in your deck, on top of creatures like Serra Ascendant and/or Courser of Kruphix. There are so many good cards that provide small amounts of life consistently that Karlov would get too big too fast.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.