Magic: the Gathering


Modern: Top 10 Most Important Cards of 2022

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In today's article, we evaluate the ten cards that most impacted Modern in 2022, and the changes they caused in the competitive scene.

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This last year was long and very interesting for Magic: The Gathering's history as a game, and we at Cards Realm started our throwback season, in which we remember the important moments for Magic this year, and also evaluate the impact 2022 will leave for competitive formats.

Today, we evaluate the ten most important cards released this year for Modern!

10 - Haywire Mite

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A 1/1 creature for one mana in which you need to pay one mana and sacrifice it to destroy an artifact or enchantment is bad for Modern's standards, but what makes Haywire Mite one of the ten best cards released this year for this format is that it is an artifact creature. Therefore, it can be found with Urza's Saga to deal with problematic situations in lists such as Hammer Time, that, by the way, started including a copy of Temple Garden and Horizon Canopy to use this little bug's ability.


9 - Vodalian Hexcatcher

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Merfolks is one of Modern's traditional archetypes ever since this format was conceived, and it is one of the few decks from this time that can keep itself competitive with a structure similar to what made it famous back when it was created.

This doesn't mean this tribe doesn't get new support cards every now and then and needs to update itself as the years go by: Tide Shaper, Svyelun of Sea and Sky and Subtlety were just some of the additions that Modern Horizon's sets gave to this list and have become essential, and Dominaria United brought a card as impactful as the examples mentioned above, Vodalian Hexcatcher.

This new Merfolk does a bit of everything this tribe can wish for. It costs two mana, it is a lord, transforms all your creatures in Cursecatchers (which was once a staple in simpler times) and still guarantees interactions in Instant-Speed due to Flash. And because it gives excellent support to one of the format's most iconic strategies, it deserves our ninth place.

8 - Hidetsugu Consumes All

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The sideboard and knowing how to use it is an essential part of competitive Magic, and in a format that has such a wide variety of decks such as Modern, knowing how to pick the best answers for what you expect, or at least the most in-depth options, is what frequently is the difference between a good performance and a bad performance.

Hidetsugu Consumes All works as an in-depth answer that fits well the mana efficient context that Modern finds itself currently. Its first ability creates serious problems for a variety of permanents that include Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, Death's Shadow, Crashing Footfalls' tokens, 90% of Hammer Time, some Grinding Breach pieces, among other threats. Its second ability is an efficient graveyard hate, though a bit slow against some decks, and in the end, this enchantment still leaves a 3/3 Trample body on board.

Due to the number of benefits offered by just one card, Hidetsugu Consumes All has become a sideboard staple in Rakdos Midrange and its other variants.

7 - Unlicensed Hearse

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On the other hand, there are moments in which you need to trade out in-depth options for efficient options, and Unlicensed Hearse has become one of the best graveyard hates in Modern in the last few months because it has qualities that make it stand out in comparison to other options in this format.

Hearse is colorless, which means it can go into more lists. It also has an activated ability which doesn't require sacrifices to be used and allows you to choose the cards you are going to exile, unlike Relic of Progenitus and, finally, it also works as a pseudo-win condition as every card that is exiled through it increases its power.

Playing against this artifact requires an efficient hate against it, or knowing how to play around its abilities well, so you can force your opponent into making the wrong decisions. This is particularly hard when your focus is to keep Dragon's Rage Channeler's Delirium, or to try quickly reanimating an Archon of Cruelty, and the amount of "extra turns" Unlicensed Hearse offers to its controller in these occasions make a big difference regarding the match's results.


6 - Tameshi, Reality Architect

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Though it isn't as present in the meta to the point of being one of the format's biggest competitors, Tameshi, Reality Architect established a new combo all by itself, in which the player uses Moonfolk's ability alongside Lotus Bloom to create a large amount of mana as it gives back lands to your hand, and afterward cast a Cultivator Colossus to place all these lands back into play again, drawing an endless number of cards until you close the game with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or Omnath, Locus of Creation, whose Landfall might be reset alongside Seal of Removal and Tameshi itself.

This card was also the reason behind a sudden spike for an almost forgotten card from Alara Reborn, Wargate.

5 - Triomas de Capenna

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There was a long debate throughout 2022 about how "Four-Color Goodstuff"'s shell was standardizing Modern's lists too much, to the point in which a variety of decks used practically the same base and only altered their ways of winning the game. Yorion, Sky Nomad's ban was, in part, a direct consequence of how having a benefit for using more than 60 cards made this standardization even easier: you only needed to resort to the best engines and staples available.

In the middle of this debate, there was the interaction between Ikoria's Triomes: Lair of Behemoths and the fetchlands, which allow for easy access to all colors as soon as turn 2, and they fed a series of distinct decks such as Four-Color Omnath, Four-Color Elementals, Four-Color Creativity, Four-Color Domain, Four-Color Control, and many other "Four-Color anything".

Though they arrived when the damage had already been done, Streets of New Capenna's Triome cycle helps add even more consistency to these archetypes, and today they are present in some of these variants to complement the access to colors at the right timing.

4 - Ledger Shredder

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Ledger Shredder created a relevant ripple in practically all competitive formats due to its notorious interaction with low-cost spells, specially in Turbo Xerox strategies, as it amplified hand filtering for its controller and helps feed the graveyard, an essential element in a format that includes Murktide Regent and Dragon's Rage Channeler.

Obviously, Shredder found its home in Izzet Murktide and also in Grixis Shadow lists, but also conquered some space in some combo decks, such as Reanimator and Grinding Breach, being today one of the most played creatures in Modern.

3 - Channel Lands

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Just like in the other competitive formats, Channel Lands were a great addition to Modern and are present in many competitive lists.


In this format, Boseiju, Who Endures and Otawara, Soaring City stand out for dealing with an endless number of hates and sideboard pieces present in the meta, which guarantee them space even in multicolor decks and archetypes that wouldn't be interested in, for instance, spending four mana to bounce an artifact or an enchantment with Otawara.

Besides that, Channel Lands' design is one of the most elegant in the game's whole history, given that they have all the qualities to get in an enormous number of decks, but their restriction as legendary prevents it from becoming a mandatory 4-of in all archetypes with a more stable mana base.

2 - Leyline Binding

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As explained in our fifth place, the combination between Triomes and Fetchlands guarantees great benefits to players in case they can handle this mana base with stability, such as playing Omnath, Locus of Creation and Scion of Draco, two very powerful win conditions on their own, having Tribal Flames as a great removal and burn and, more recently, spending up to one mana to exile a permanent of any cost with Leyline Binding.

Of course a removal as efficient as this would be used in practically all Goodstuff shells that Modern has today, but the true highlight of Leyline Binding that makes it worthy of second place in our list is how it affected lists that, usually, wouldn't be as interested in adding other colors.

Crashing Footfalls decks saw an advantage in splashing white and having access to cheap interaction without bypassing its cost restriction, besides allowing for the addition of Ardent Plea to increase its consistency, and even Azorius Control is using two to four copies of different Triomes in their lists to have access to other types of basic lands and this way be able to cast Leyline Binding for one or two manas.

Due to changes it caused in the meta and for its quality being so high to the point of players actively consider splashing their decks to other colors merely to use it, Leyline Binding gets to be in our Top 3.

1 - Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

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The fact that Fable of the Mirror-Breaker was the most powerful card released in 2022 is news to no one, and its impact was notorious in practically all competitive formats, Modern included, in which this enchantment by its own amplified and established new standards for many archetypes.

The archetype that best received upgrades with the arrival of this saga were the Indomitable Creativity lists, which before had to resort to less useful cards to put their threats in game, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker not only helped increase the consistency of these strategies, but also standardized, mostly, Archon of Cruelty as the main threat to be placed on the battlefield, besides establishing a hybrid for this strategy with Reanimator, alongside Persist to create a solid, consistent and interactive combo base.


Another spot in which Fable established itself was in midrange strategies, particularly in a good number of the Rakdos lists, and it also became an essential piece for those who still wanted to play more traditional decks such as Jund. And speaking of Jund, we've also seen copies of this saga in the Asmo Food variants of this color combination, besides counting with more timid apparitions in many other archetypes.

Lord of the Rings 2023 set

Modern, fortunately, didn't go through as much change in 2022 in what concerns new cards entering the format, and most additions we got throughout the year were beneficial in a meta that still suffers significantly from the consequences that Modern Horizons II caused last year.

The apprehension for next year, however, is because this format will have the first product from the Universes Beyond series, Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth introduced to it, and the fact that this set will go through Modern brings the fear that it will be so impactful in it as Horizon's sets were, and that they will alter it so much to the point that, just like many decks today need Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Urza's Saga and the Evoke Elementals, the lists of tomorrow will desperately need cards originally from a limited print run product that, unlike MH1 and MH2, has way narrower reprint opportunities, as the world introduced in it isn't inherent to the Magic:The Gathering's universe.

The introduction of new cards inside another franchise's universe is my main concern about the Universes Beyond series, and just like Warhammer 40,000 precons brought demon support to Commander that we will probably not see reprinted so soon, Lord of the Rings has the potential to cause the same impact in a competitive format and, if not managed properly, can create an entry barrier that has already become quite problematic with Modern Horizons II.

That's all for today, thanks for reading!