Welcome back to another Top 10. This week, it's all about Eternal formats with Commander and Modern being the main source of these spikes in sales.
Goblins hasn't had much success in Modern lately—and, honestly, Munitions Expert probably isn't going to make it happen—but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Flash is what really makes this creature special, as it lets you keep other burn spells open on your opponent's turn and drop Munitions Expert on your opponent's end step or in response to attacks. Flash also makes taking out an attacker easier, as Munitions Expert can burn the creature for the number of Goblins you control and then block if you need that extra damage.
Since Colossus Hammer was revealed, this wasn't really much of a surprise. It's probably the best card to combo with it. If you need an example of how powerful these two cards are together, check out this line of play:
And that's game. 20 damage on turn two.
Now yes, I know this is a dream hand without a real opponent, but this is the kind of play that people are looking for from Sigarda's Aid. Equipment's weakness is that they equip at sorcery speed, and so your opponent can always make an informed decision on which creatures to block to reduce the impact your equipment has. Sigarda's Aid puts information back in your hands by letting you decide which creature to equip after the opponent has already declared their blockers. This will show up in most equipment-based Commander decks like Nahiri, the Lithomancer and Balan, Wandering Knight.
As I talked about in last week's episode, Plague Engineer is going to be used against tribal decks like Humans, Elves and Merfolk. It is strongest against these decks because you know that every creature they play is going to be less efficient than normal, and if you get two of them out at the same time it should shut down these decks as most of the creatures in them have 2 or less toughness. It does have an added benefit in the current meta as well, though. Plague Engineer can turn off Devoted Druid combo by naming Human or Cleric. Since the other half of the Devoted Druid combo is Vizier of Remedies, which is a 2/1, they won't be able to complete the combo since Vizier will die the moment it enters the battlefield.
Is he Fallen because he's dead? Or is it because he fell off the ledge? Who knows. The important thing is that he is a really cool Ninja. When it deals combat damage to an opponent, you exile the top two cards of your opponent's library and you may play them without paying their mana costs. Recently, Frank Lepore made a video featuring his Sultai Snow Ninja list. It seemed like a fun deck and did pretty well. Fallen Shinobi managed to steal some powerful spells including Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. I think you can expect to see someone trying this out at your local FNM. In Commander, Fallen Shinobi will see a lot of play. It's especially good since Commander cards have a higher power ceiling than Modern. You may get to cast your opponent's Omniscience or Nicol Bolas for free.
Humans in Modern has been putting up some impressive finishes recently even with the surge of Phoenix and Dredgevine decks. At the Star City Games Team Open in Pittsburg, Humans was a part of four teams in the Top 8. Each of these lists played three Kitesail Freebooter. It is an essential part of the hand disruption package as it keeps the card in exile rather than the graveyard. Much of the hand disruption being used in Modern has been forced to shift to this strategy since graveyard-based decks are gaining a larger and larger share of the field. Making your opponent discard a Vengevine is just doing half their job for them. But keeping it in exile—that will ensure it isn't going to hit you anytime soon.
If you've ever wanted a Blightning on a very large stick, this is your card. Blightning hasn't seen much Modern play recently but it used to be in some Jund lists in the early years of Modern. Casting Bloodbraid Elf into Blightning was second only to Liliana of the Veil back then. I don't know if Jund has room for Lightning Skelemental but Rakdos Burn seems to be giving it a go.
In a recent YouTube Video, Lightning Skelemental was landing haymakers against every deck it's pilot faced. In conjunction with Bump in the Night and your typical red burn package this deck wastes no time putting your opponent to 0.
In any Ayula, Queen Among Bears Commander deck, Ayula's Influence is going to be an MVP. It can be played the turn after Ayula and its instant-speed token generation works in tandem with Ayula's triggered abilities to give you a ton of value for the low cost of a discarded land. The most recent Game Knights episode featured a Bear deck piloted by Graham from LoadingReadyRun. While the deck is full of puns and cards typically destined for the bulk bin, Ayula gives these cards a second chance with her versatile triggered abilities. There aren't enough mono-green bears to fill out the deck, though, which is where Ayula's Influence comes in. As long as you've got a land, you've got a bear.
This one is back in the Top 10 for a second week. Last week, I mentioned how good this card is in Commander, specifically in an Edgar Markov deck. But Cordial Vampire might be even better in a Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Vampire deck. Yawgmoth has a sac engine built in which triggers Cordial Vampire, giving all your Vampires +1/+1 counters and giving an opponent's creature a -1/-1 counter. Yawgmoth's other activated ability proliferates all those counters on your Vampires while also making the opponent's creature get another -1/-1 counter. It's not a win condition on its own, but for two mana this creature can provide a lot of value in a Yawgmoth Commander deck.
I've been looking around for any reason this card would be in our Top 10 and the only thing I've seen is that it could be a spec due to the printing of Kethis, the Hidden Hand. It seems like an odd spec to me, since Kethis cares more about legendary creatures than Elves and Dwynen only cares about Elves, but maybe people are going to build Tribal Legendary Elves in Commander. If you know a better reason for Dwynen's rise, definitely let me know.
This is the second week Bazaar Trademage has been in the Top 10 and it has climbed up that last rung from the number 2 to the number 1 spot. Just like last week's number 1 card, Crashing Footfalls, I think this is here due to speculation. It really hasn't performed yet in any events and the only decks I've even seen it played in are Vintage decks which have very little effect on our bestsellers. It is less than fifty cents currently and has potential to be used in a few Modern decks so, as a rare spec, this isn't a terrible gamble.
And that's it for this week's Top 10. Between Fallen Shinobi and Lightning Skelemental it seems that we've already got a few new decks emerging due to Modern Horizons.