The most recent Banned & Restricted announcement from Wizards of the Coast no doubt will shake-up the Modern format, perhaps providing the most change in quite some time. While we won’t know what effect that announcement will have on the format for several weeks, there is a card from Magic’s newest set, Kaldheim, that really caught my eye with potential to find a home in Storm lists. Enter, Birgi, God of Storytelling / Harnfel, Horn of Bounty!
On Birgi, God of Storytelling – the first part of text is the most important. Birgi generates a red mana for every spell you cast. Spells and mana are the two things Storm needs to combo, so Birgi helps with our game plan there. Not losing mana during steps and phases has some fringe utility against decks that like to play at instant speed. The bottom half is not relevant to us. Finally, the converted-mana cost (CMC) and power/toughness. The CMC being three instead of two (like Baral, Chief of Compliance & Goblin Electromancer) is my main concern with the card as Modern is a fast format, though it does force Fatal Push opponent’s to go through the extra hoop to kill the God. The butt of three, while valuable as a blocker against aggressive decks, I worry doesn’t make up for the CMC. Dying to Lighting Bolt doesn’t help either.
On Harnfel, Horn of Bounty – this is some value! The horn reminds of me of card advantage/selection cards Storm has played in the past such as: Pieces of the Puzzle, Fact or Fiction or even Pyromancer Ascension. The cards that are exiled that don’t get played (note, played, not cast meaning lands can be played off the horn) get exiled for good. Keep that in mind. Five mana is also on the expensive side.
The important thing to remember, however, is that this card fills TWO roles in Storm. It’s both an enables (pseudo-bear) with Birgi and an engine (pseudo-Gifts Ungiven, Past in Flames, etc.) at the same time. My initial impressions without playing a match with the card were that each half was slightly less good than options Storm currently has available, but the fact it’s a bi-modal card makes it potentially playable.
I got to a match or two (see the previous post about coming back from a hiatus from Magic) and then last night, Bryant Cook, Owner of TheEPICStorm.com, asked if I’d join him for a Modern video. For those who don’t know, I serve as the editor of that site. I welcomed the chance to collaborate for some discussion and a league. A link to that video is below.
First off, many thanks to Bryant for having me on. If you liked this video/type of content, PLEASE give a subscribe, give a like and comment! Additionally, feel free to ping on Twitter (@StormModern) with what you liked, didn’t like, etc. as it helps improve content creation.
After playing the matches, I thought I’d give some feedback on my impressions of the card (as we got to see it do some work, especially in game one). Keep in mind, this are VERY EARLY thoughts and should be taken as such.
- Harnfel, Horn of Beauty exceeded my expectations. I figured the higher CMC would prove problematic, but there isn’t a ton of harm in casting a ritual to get the horn into play quickly, provided you have a card or two in hand you want to discard and a mana or two to use.
- Birgi, God of Storytelling met my expectations. There were times where it shined, especially making one-mana cantrips mana neutral, and times where the CMC hurt. The combination of Birgi with a Baral, Chief of Compliance/Goblin Electromancer is very good, but potentially a win-more scenario. More testing is needed before I have a conclusion on how good Birgi is mid-combo absent other of the others.
- As said above, I think the strength is this bi-modal piece of a single card filling both the role of an enabler and a role of an engine. Match one in the video above shows this.
- With both sides of this card, I think it strengthens the one-mana cantrips in the deck. With Birgi, those cantrips become mana-neutral, and with the horn, the cantrips allow us to both sift through our deck and regain cards discarded to the horn itself.
What do you think of Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfeld, Horn of Beauty so far? I’ll be posting a list I’ll be working on testing on social media, with a potential article here, in the coming days. Always, happy Storming!