Card: Invert Polarity | Art: Leonardo Santanna

Hidden Gems In Modern Horizons 3

Hidden Gems In Modern Horizons 3

Modern Horizons 3 is here! We have powerful reprints and brand-new format staples arriving. However, today I want to step away from the flashy cards. You already know about Emrakul, Flare of Denial, and Grist, Voracious Larva. Maybe we can all just ignore Nadu and every other Simic three-drop? Today I want to focus on some hidden gems, cards that might have slipped under your radar! I will be focusing on both the main set and MH3 Commander precon decks.

Reprints You Need To Try!

Cephalid Coliseum

Cephalid Coliseum is receiving its first booster pack reprint in MH3. This card is a wonderful inclusion for blue decks. This lands taps for blue or if you have Threshold online, you can activate its second ability: pay a blue mana and sacrifice it to draw and discard three cards. This is incredibly powerful for lots of reasons. Simply digging for an answer can be the difference between a win and a loss. On the other hand, reanimator decks can use this to put powerful cards straight into the graveyard!

Coliseum has been steadily rising in price for years. The Odyssey and From the Vaults printings are both around $15-$20. Meanwhile, MH3 versions are available for $3. Give this one a try if you love drawing cards and aren’t worried about your land count.

Ignoble Hierarch

Ignoble Hierarch was incredibly sought after upon its release in Modern Horizon’s 2. It returns here as part of the Jund precon Commander deck. While I cannot vouch for the deck’s overall quality as I have not picked it up, the inclusion of Hierarch is a boon to all Jund players. Since it did not make the impact in Modern that folks were expecting, recently thanks to the prevalence of Orcish Bowmasters, this has led to a drop in price. The newest printing will likely further lower that cost. Keep your eyes peeled for a deal.

Estrid’s Invocation

Estrid’s Invocation is receiving its first reprint. Enchantress decks will love this one. For three mana, Estrid’s Invocation becomes a copy of another enchantment. Already this is a great rate. It also gains the “At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile this enchantment. If you do, return it to the battlefield under its owner’s control.”

The second ability is what excites me. This will trigger constellation effects such as Eidolon of Blossoms, Setessan Champion, and Composer of Spring. Triggering these abilities every upkeep can let you run away with the game. Plain and simple enchantress card advantage!

Outside the constellation triggers, Estrid’s Invocation can change what it is copying when it flickers. Your mileage may vary based on your commander. For the control players, try copying Mystic Remora. Stack your Estrid’s Invocation and cumulative upkeep trigger such that you flicker first. That means you can dodge paying the upkeep cost! Voltron players can copy powerful auras such as All That Glitters. Or if you want to have a headache tracking your +1/+1 counters copy Cathar’s Crusade!

New Commanders

Shilgengar, Sire of Famine

Shilgengar, Sire of Famine is a commander with lots of “red herrings.” For five mana, you get a 6/6 demon with flying. He has two other abilities. Sacrifice another creature and create a blood token. If it was an angel you make blood tokens equal to the sacrificed creature’s toughness. For three hybrid Orzhov mana and sacrificing blood tokens, you can return all creatures from your graveyard to the battlefield with Finality counters.

With all that text, there may be a temptation to focus in on an angel and blood theme! Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Liesa, Forgotten Archangel, and Giada, Font of Hope all come together for a bloody angelic deck. This is a solid way to build the deck!

However, something else about Shilgengar surprised me. That first ability lets you sacrifice another creature. No mana, no tapping, no paying mana. Sacrificing creatures at will is incredibly powerful. Shilgengar is in the perfect colors for an aristocratic build! Unconditional sacrifice is quite rare. Bartolomé del Presidio, Yahenni, Undying Partisan, and Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter all come to mind. While Bart has lower mana value, it suits a faster low-to-the-ground strategy. Vish Kal always felt too mana-intensive to bother. Shilgengar slots somewhere in the middle. It’s a large body, unconditional sacrifice, and potential to dig into the reanimator side of white and black too! I think there is room to play with Shilgengar! I look forward to seeing some brews appear.

Herigast, Erupting Nullkite

Herigast, Erupting Nullkite is a mono-red commander with so much potential and versatility. For nine mana, you get a 6/6 flyer. When it enters, you can exile your hand and draw three cards. Already we have a pretty solid start. Replacing your hand has great potential! It is a perfect top-end for a dragon or Eldrazi deck. Additionally, if we cast rituals and fast mana to get to Herigast quickly we can now refill our hand a little bit.

The second piece of Herigast is what excites me! It has Emerge and each creature spells you cast has Emerge! The Emerge cost is equal to their mana cost. Emerge has not been seen in a long time. It means you can cast this spell by sacrificing a creature. You get a reduction in mana cost equal to that creature’s mana value. If I sacrifice a three-cost creature this creature now costs three less. Emerge sadly only reduces the generic mana cost of spells, not colored mana. However, this is still incredibly powerful.

Heigast and its Emerge ability could be great for a red sacrifice deck, or as a way to cheat huge creatures into play! But, my favorite way to build this is as a theft deck! We can play effects such as Act of Treason and Zealous Conscript. Suddenly these treason effects become removal spells and a cost reduction. This is especially potent for Zealous Conscript and similar effects. We can sacrifice the Conscript and whatever we stole to pay for Emerge costs. We could even potentially chain several of these effects together to clear out the board and play multiple theft spells in one turn!

New MH3 Cards You Might Have Overlooked

Thraben Charm

Thraben Charm has great versatility, plain and simple. For two mana, you choose one of three options.

  1. Deal damage to a creature equal to twice the number of creatures you control
  2. Destroy target enchantment
  3. Exile any number of player’s graveyards

The three modes here are powerful, and relevant at multiple points of the game. The ceiling is incredibly high. With the potential to kill high-toughness creatures or blowout a reanimator player, this card’s floor is also solid. You will seldom be upset with the opportunity to exile a grave or remove an enchantment.

Instant speed elevates this card. A versatile surprise factor in white is something I cannot wait to try out!


This one is cheating since we have multiple cards in one entry. There are several modal double-faced cards (MDFCs) in this set. These are all spells on one side and land on the other. The mono-color cards have a land on the back that enters tapped unless you pay three life. The second cycle of MDFCs is two color spells with a tapped land on the back.

These cards would all be unremarkable on their own. For example, Fell the Profane is four mana to destroy a creature or planeswalker. But, the versatility is what you are paying for. These cards let you increase the number of spells in your deck without hurting your land count. This makes them a great choice for many decks. I will not go into every card in this cycle but here are some of my favorites.

Waterlogged Teachings costs four mana. You can then search for an instant or card with flash and add it to your hand. This is clean and simple. A tutor at an instant speed is great. You can cast it during the opponent’s end step to set you up for the next turn. Alternatively, search for a removal spell to keep your board safe. There are lots of great targets for a spell like this.

Witch Enchanter is a 2/2 for four mana. When it enters the battlefield, you destroy a target artifact or enchantment. We have seen this effect in multiple forms over time. Typically it costs three mana. Think Loran of the Third Path, and Reclamation Sage. With that said Witch Enchanter’s land on the other half makes this a tempting offer. Simply playing her as a land could be the smoothing out your deck needs.

Outside of the effects themselves, there are some downstream effects to running double-faced cards. Some cards let you cast spells from the top of your library. This is great until you hit a land. Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, and Nalia de’Arnise come to mind. By playing MDFCs you reduce the number of lands in your deck. This can improve your likelihood of finding a spell. Additionally, MDFCs with non-land cards on the front can be cast using cards such as Bolas’s Citadel. This makes digging deeper much easier.

Invert Polarity

Invert Polarity is something I have been waiting for in a coin flip card. For three mana, you either counter a spell or gain control of a spell depending on the result of your coin flip. I run a coin flip deck but, I am conflicted when I play it. I enjoy cards that create tension, and reward risk-taking but I do not enjoy cards that are feast or famine. I don’t want the deck to be a complete casino.

Goblin Kaboomist and Goblin Bangchuckers come to mind here. They punish you for playing them because even on average they are bad. Some coin flip cards ask if the risk is worth the reward. Stitch in Time is a good example. When it’s bad its three mana do nothing. But when it works three mana for an extra turn is incredibly powerful. Some might find it worth the risk.

Invert Polarity feels more akin to the dice rolling cards from Forgotten Realms than an old-school coin flip card. While the coin flip cards are often only good when you win and outright awful if you lose. The dice-rolling cards are usually meh when they go bad to pretty good when they succeed. Wyll’s Reversal is a perfectly fine redirect and it becomes awesome if you roll 15+. The color constraint on Invert Polarity I believe makes it a great option in Izzet decks. It feels suitably chaotic for a coin flip without the feel bad of some older coin flip cards.

I also enjoy that Invert Polarity has some tension to it under certain circumstances. For example, your opponent casts Wrath of God. Gaining control of Wrath of God doesn’t do anything to help you. In that situation, you need to lose the flip to counter it. For the Izzet mage who wants that little bit of a gamble, Invert Polarity has great potential. Conversely, the blowout potential of casting this against a Cyclonic Rift is terrifying for the opponent!

White Orchid Phantom

You know me, I love hatebears, and I love messing with my opponents. White Orchid Phantom ticks those boxes for me. At two mana, you get a 2/2 flyer with the first strike. When it enters the battlefield, you destroy a nonbasic land. The owner of that land puts a basic into play tapped. I love seeing land destruction tacked onto other playable effects.

Strip Mine is a powerful card, but it comes with a real deckbuilding cost that needs to be considered. 3+ color decks may struggle to find space for Strip Mine. However, Boseiiju, Who Endures, and Assassin’s Trophy are prime examples of perfectly playable cards that incidentally destroy lands. Land destruction might sound nasty but in this day and age of powerful lands you need it! You can check out our previous article on the topic here! I believe White Orchid Phantom is an excellent inclusion for any deck that can support the double white requirement.

Static Prison

Static Prison is a fantastic addition to high power Commander. For one mana you can exile any non-land permanent until Static Prison leaves play. It also gives you two energy. The downside is during your pre-combat main phase, you sacrifice Static Prison unless you pay one energy. Energy is a returning mechanic in this set. However, with Static Prison you do not need to be a dedicated energy deck to play it!

I love the play patterns possible here. In a high power/CEDH environment, this could be a removal spell. You might not care about the energy tax because you intend to win straight away. This is perfect for picking off a troublesome stax piece that preventing you from winning. Alternatively, it could help deal with early game engines such as Rhystic Study.

Even outside of high power, this card has the potential to shine. I love the idea of playing this in a blink deck. Play Static Prison alongside Brago, King Eternal. Cast Static Prison, gain two energy. Brago flickers the Prison gaining you two more energy. You get to earn two energy per turn but only lose one to the tax. We can now stay on top of the energy payments while also having the flexibility to move around targets.

Static Prison reminds me of Portable Hole and Delay. They restrict you in return for powerful removal. Portable Hole asks for a low mana value target, while Delay delays the inevitable. Static Prison is uncommon, keep an eye out in your packs, this could be one to snag for your next white deck.


Modern Horizons 3 is a huge set. I cannot wait to see the new combos, brews and staples this set will bring. With that, I hope you enjoyed this look at some of my favorite cards in the set. Let me know what you think of my picks, and share some of your hidden gems from MH3!

Share the Post:

Recent Posts