Combo Set Review: Modern Horizons 3




Legendary Enchantment

Skip your draw step.

At the beginning of your end step, you may pay any amount of life. If you do, draw that many cards.

Your maximum hand size is five.

If a card or token would be put into your graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.



The most important card for combo players from Modern Horizons 3 is [[Necrodominance]]. As a callback to one of the most powerful draw engines in Magic history, [[Necropotence]], this card has the potential to create one of the most powerful combo decks since the printing of [[Underworld Breach]]. However, all the additional safety valves added to [[Necrodominance]] will likely prevent it from being a tier-one deck.

The first difference from [[Necropotence]] is how the cards are drawn. For [[Necrodominance]], there is one trigger that could be interacted with via a [[Stifle]]. It also locks in the life total payment all at once, which is just a minor downside. [[Necrodominance]] mechanically draws cards. This can be interacted with by [[Hullbreacher]], [[Narset, Parter of Veils]], and [[Orcish Bowmasters]]. Opening up the card to all the draw hate in the format gives opponents more counter play than they would have against the original [[Necropotence]].

A common play pattern with [[Necropotence]] is to play a resource game. By “drawing” up to seven or eight cards every turn, the [[Necropotence]] player could win games just by trading resources while refilling with [[Necropotence]]. This strategy does not work well with [[Necrodominance]]. Because your hand size is reduced to five, you run out of space to keep a winning combo and some amount of protection. This is made even harder by the last drawback on the card.

[[Necrodominance]] does not play well with other engines because instead of just exiling cards that are discarded, it exiles everything that would go to its controller’s graveyard. Shutting off the ability to Flashback [[Echo of Eons]] or make a meaningful [[Gaea’s Will]] loop means that the cards from [[Necrodominance]] are all the resources you get to win the game. This is a stark contrast to how Storm decks have been built in the modern era. They have many engines for different situations to try to go around hate pieces rather than remove them. Flexible tutors assemble these engines into winning board states rather than being reliant on just one. Even ANT had three ([[Past in Flames]], [[Ad Nauseam]], and natural storm) engines to win the game. [[Necrodominance]] does not feed into other engines the way a [[Galvanic Relay]] would because it cuts off your own graveyard.

Breaking Free

[[Simian Spirit Guide|]]
[[Borne Upon a Wind|]]

The best way to use all the cards from [[Necrodominance]] is to cast them before they have to be discarded. [[Borne Upon a Wind]] and sometimes [[Leyline of Anticipation]] give all the cards flash. This lets [[Tendrils of Agony]] (and a lot of mana) be cast in your end step to directly win the game. This solves a lot of the restrictions. The hand size never matters because the game ends before the clean-up step. The self-graveyard exile matters less because paying nineteen life to draw a lethal number of cards is now realistic. [[Borne Upon a Wind]] even solves the [[Orcish Bowmasters]] problem because you can win in response to all the damage triggers. The main issue with [[Borne Upon a Wind]] is casting it after drawing all the [[Necrodominance]] cards. Normally a Magical Christmasland line, the [[Simian Spirit Guide]], [[Elvish Spirit Guide]], and [[Manamorphose]] into the win actually works with [[Necrodominance]] because it draws so many cards.

Turbo Necrodominance

Bryant played this list recently. It looks more like Oops All Spells rather than a traditional Storm deck with how fast it is. Compared to Oops All Spells, it trades not being weak to graveyard hate for not being a deterministic kill. It is possible to draw all the cards and whiff. Decks in this archetype have put up some results in MTGO leagues and challenges. There could be a good tier two or three combo deck somewhere in the format, but I do not think that this is good enough to get anything banned.

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An EPIC Storm on the horizon?

[[Necrodominance]] on its own is not going to slot into The EPIC Storm. It requires too many support cards to be able to do the turn one combo and [[Song of Creation]] is a better option for what the deck wants from that slot: the ability to win through graveyard hate or a low resource hand. Unlike Modern Horizons 2, there are not a lot of playable cards to shape TES. There are a few other cards from the set that Storm players should be aware of:

[[Vexing Bauble|]]

[[Vexing Bauble]] has similar text to [[Lavinia, Azorius Renegade]] but is symmetrical. While The EPIC Storm will most likely not play this card itself, [[Vexing Bauble]] will be in plenty of non-blue decks. Being able to turn off all the moxen and cards found off of a Bargained [[Beseech the Mirror]] is powerful. [[Vexing Bauble]] is also an [[Urza’s Saga]] target meaning that even in game one opponents will have consistent access to the card. Fortunately, [[Veil of Summer]] answers a [[Vexing Bauble]] right out of the main deck. This makes a game one [[Vexing Bauble]] the least concerning. Post board when some of the [[Veil of Summer]]s are out of the deck, the card becomes like any other lock piece.

The EPIC Storm might change some sideboard plans against decks, especially non-blue [[Urza’s Saga]] decks. Every month the TES Team writes a new sideboard guide based on our experiences and you can check that out on PatreonPatreon. In terms of deck construction, because [[Vexing Bauble]] stops [[Force of Will]], TES may move away from the card, but that requires more testing.

[[Psychic Frog|]]

[[Psychic Frog]] might be the card to replace [[Force of Will]] as a juke against non-blue decks. Being able to discard [[Echo of Eons]] while being a threat to go over the top of the smaller creatures can work.

[[Disruptor Flute|]]

While this is mostly a [[Pithing Needle]] with Flash, the taxing part of [[Disruptor Flute]] becomes much closer to a [[Mana Leak]] when interacting with combo. If a [[Beseech the Mirror]] goes on the stack, the opponent can cast [[Disruptor Flute]] in response to attempt to make the line cost three more mana. They do need to guess the tutor target, which is not that hard. This gives non-blue decks more interaction at instant speed. I do not expect it to be a major card in any match-up, but it is a good trick to be aware of.

Modern Legacy, part 3

Do you think that there is anything else from Modern Horizons 3 that will see play in a Storm deck? Let me know on Twitter, Discord, or in the comments of wherever you found this article! If you wanted early access to this article, check out The EPIC Storm Patreon and support us there.