"Death Meta"
Modern Horizons II


Summer hath wrought a new set of powerful Pauper pieces to bless the battlefield. Modern Horizons II has released on 6/18/21 and introduced a plethora of staples into the format without necessarily ever being legal in Standard before. MH2 injects some strong themes, sick flavors, and features a few meta-warping inclusions such as upgrades to both Storm and Affinity; a few of which are likely to see some response from WotC in the form of bans. (Stay tuned)

Until this time, MH2 is here and as product is being cracked at the local LGS and cardboard works its way through the mail system, players are eager to brew and experiment with this tech before an update to the banned and restricted list rolls out.

Often times I think about brewing as painting. The meta is the canvas and the pieces the paint. I'm always a happy lad whenever I can expand my crayon box of colors, so I'd like to call out some of my top picks for Pauper for anyone who might be new to the format or otherwise hasn't yet taken a peek at the spoilers thus far. Before we dive in, I should add these picks are just my personal suggestions for things that interest me enough to brew with a bit. Aside from Pauper, I also brew in Historic Pauper as well as Pauper 5CB, so I factor these metagames into my selection considerations as well.
Here's a grain of salt, take it, it's free!


This one-drop instant is a reasonable sideboard tech option. Pump plus Hexproof, allows artifacts to pump a bit. Not sure it lives in Affinity, but a white metal deck could be interesting.


Are we getting closer to a janky Thopter themed deck? Perhaps. Sojourner's Companion makes this great as well as Myr Enforcer sort of like a Battle Screech for Thopters, it ups the Artifact numbers on the board and also has a body to boot. Not bad.

This counterspell with Replicate for one blue can make copies of itself and is basically a mini Mana Leak with a replicate addition. In the counter war, if you cast this and replicate it 3 times it's near impossible to beat since you can't stop replicate.

I like this Sorcery for 1 blue, it's an interesting turn 1 play to put a Phyrexian Walker on the board that draws a card later for tempo. The prosecution rests.

This whale has some serious combo potential so I'll be keeping an eye on this one. This might have a spot in Combo Affinity.


This fits in Aristocrats as a sac outlet and also can be used for discard outlets in Madness type decks as well. Sorcery speed hurts though Reanimator lists could also utilize to great effectiveness as a two-for-one so it's versatile and can fit in a few different decks so I put it on the roster. Shards could be toolbox tech for TortEx perhaps for recurring removal too. Disgustingly evil.

This Imp pairs nicely with Bone Shards and is essentially a flying Ghitu Lavarunner for Black. This piece might be good for TortEx lists as well as and is right at home in Black Madness.

Discerning Taste could be Burn technology for Reanimator Decks. With Ulamog's Crusher you're gaining 8 life and the it's in the yard for Exhume. Plenty efficient.

Gurmags and Gary's could also do good here. It's basically a Black Pieces of the Puzzle.

A play on Tragic Slip, this variant could be interesting even though Cast Down is still hard to compete with for removal card slots. I do love the flavor though.


Relay brings us another Storm addition into the format which is worth the mention just on that keyword alone. This will absolutely help out with the Storm plan, if you're not going off in a single turn for the win, it can help set you up for another long run the following turn for a repeat. If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again.

An ode to the classic Faithless Looting, Instant speed makes this very interesting. You also don't have to discard if you don't have any more lands. Doesn't seem fast enough for Burn to justify the slots, but perhaps for a red Storm type deck, this could be a nice inclusion.

This beefy tusker is a great late-game closer, Suspend can't be countered so this has to be dealt with on turn two, or potentially turn one if you're running a Lotus Petal. Gargadon could be a great Cascade piece to either cast into or suspend (Helps with value on the Cascade whiffs.)

A regressed version of Fireblast, but for threats on the field instead of face blasting. Mine Collapse can kill Gurmag Anglers, but could be clutch in Burn within a heavy creature meta. Zero mana alternate costs are always good to see and the value at instant speed is great.

Hard not to see this piece seeing play in Madness lists. 2 mana for a 4/3 attacker seems pretty mentally unstable.


I think most would agree this card is currently underrated. Implications aren't completely known with this one. harvest is a very versatile piece for Green. It can exchange itself for what in the early, mid, or late game and it seems to always get what you need. It's similar to a digging cantrip, but for green. Ponza decks rejoice and now one land hands can be keepable. Sometimes Stompy can lose gas, this could help keep that tank nice and full for the trip.

This new beast is the new Storm card for Pauper. Chatterstorm lists are potentially lethal as soon as turn two which is absolutely nutty. Given that every single worthwhile Storm card in the format except for Weather the Storm and Reaping the Graves is on the banned and restricted list, this piece is already warping the meta around itself like some pissed-off rabid well of gravity. Mixed with First Day of Class for the turn, makes for extremely explosive Squirrel army alpha strikes.

This ouphe can be Atog lite for a deck that seeks to make lots of tokens. One mana is attractive for a decent butt on your first turn.

I'm not too sure this has a spot in Infect, but I'd love to see this find a decent home.


When it comes to Affinity, this cute little salamander packs "alotl." Easily the biggest thing to happen to Affinity in some time, this boy is a straight upgrade to Myr Enforcer and (Enforcer copies 5-8) with Artifact Landcycling for two. With a positive can-do attitude you can fetch duals, Darksteel Citadels, or regular artifact lands, an extra Seat of the Synod for Thoughcast? No problem. This is definitely one of my top 5 picks for this set and I hope this little guy is here to stay.

With nearly no answer to effectively counter the ability with the exception of Rust, this contraption allows any color deck access to a discard outlet and that could be interesting. It's worth a try, hurl it in the stew.

This myr doesn't generate much value, and isn't likely not to see play, but could be interesting with an Etherium Sculptor for a tricky play. It's nice to see new myr straight from the factory in a recent set.

Artifact Lands

Without ever wondering whether they should, they absolutely did. yes, WotC has printed more artifact lands which will make a huge difference for Affinity. It's also a full set of all dual-color combinations. Depending on your meta, you could use these in non-artifact decks if you want to avoid hate. (Be aware of Spreading Seas) as a counter to this card. Terrific against artifact hate post board and the art is a return to Mirrodin which is one of my favorite planes. The art is just beautiful too, another top 5 inclusion to the format for sure, the question remains if WotC will burn our bridges down? Until such time, I'll be investing in heavy pieces of infrastructure.


Similar to Sea Gate Oracle, but for Affinity, this is also another piece that puts the format closer to a Thopter tribal deck :) I'm not sure this will compete for spots in the top tier Affinity lists, but in off-meta grab bag artifact decks, Courier looks like it can be fun to mess with.

Foundry might have a spot in Boros Artifacts as sacrificing an Ichor Wellspring is absolutely gas. It is expensive, but this card is also pretty strong if you have the right kind of synergy.

This shaman is a good piece for Gruul decks as an accelerant. I'm not sure exactly where this goes just yet, but I feel like this will see some play for the RG combo type lists.

I don't see this finding a home in Izzet lists, but I do see a wee pauper Morphling hiding in there and that warms my commoner heart. Although a bit pricy in mana cost, the Lightning Bolt effect that it comes with will make good for putting pressure on your opponent.

Mail Call!

My picks arrived in the mail early this week and I'm stoked to throw more than a few of these artifacts in my Affinity lists I've got assembled. As always I hope this was at least informative on what Modern Horizons II has given the community with this set. I'm surprised, excited, and eager to turn some stuff sideways this weekend.