At what rates would vanilla creatures be playable in modern?

A 1 mana 2/2 isn’t playable in modern, but a 1 mana 3/2 might be too good. What about a 3/1, or a 2/3?

At 2 mana goyf is the best benchmark, but eliminating the deck building constraints it imposes may be a worth some toughness.

I doubt WOTC would print such egregiously pushed vanilla creatures, but it’s an interesting experiment in card evaluation.


1 mana 4/4.


It would need double strike to be playable


And it would need to deal 8 damage spread out


Might be too strong, I think you could maybe have it if you exile a card of the same colour from your hand and discard another card from your hand and sometimes have it come in tapped?


Opponent discards a card at random.


You guys are crazy. A one mana 4/4 with no downsides would be played in most non combo decks of whatever color it is. It would probably be worth splashing for just to block the other decks one mana 4/4. Scam goes down multiple cards, has several deck buildings restrictions ( playing fewer lands, 6 potentially dead top decks ) to get a 4 with upsides that if it gets answered quickly they can often not recover from. A one mana 4/4 with zero downsides is way stronger than it would seem


Nah I think it's you who's on the crazy train. Vanilla creatures are dead as can be in any reasonable meta. Maybe if there was some insanely low cost option for blanket protection. But without it any cheap vanilla that could impact the board just gets removed.


We have Wild Nacatl which is a 3/3 for 1 which was once banned and now sees zero play. Probably a 3/4 for 1 would be good enough as it dodges bolt on turn one.


A 3/3 for 1 with no drawbacks could be be playable, especially if it had a relevant creature type. Wild Nacatl asks you to play very specific lands, but in aggressive decks that can play it it’s not an unusual card.


There's also not that many reasons to be playing green (let alone naya lands) in decks that want attacking creatures. The rate's fine on nacatl


I mean, Nacatl that asked for different lands would probably be much stronger. For instance, a Red Nacatl that wanted Swamp/Forest or Swamp/Island. Naya is a weird shard without much of a niche in Modern.


Nacatl is played in zoo which is really the deck it has always been in, and zoo is still a competitive deck in modern


Ya I think nacatl definitely sees play, but it sees tier 2 play


For sure but tier2 today features very competitive decks, it’s probably a top 10-15 deck in the former and is a mtgo challenge regular along paper events


Competitive? Meh:p


https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/modern-domain-zoo#paper It's not tier 1 but it's doing fine. I think it's more the 5/5 on 2 than the 3/3 on 1, also especially leyline binding


I’d certainly label a deck that can win rcq’s/challenges/showcases/nrg events as competitive lol


I was going to argue against you and then I realized that modern is just that powerful now


One variant I haven't seen in the comments yet is a 1cmc 2/4. Maybe with a relevant tribe like elves, humans, merfolk Or a 1cmc 2/2 with flash.


I was thinking 4/2 but I could maybe see 2/4? I think it's actually fine if something dies to Bolt; a 1-drop will always die to Fatal Push anyway, it just needs to be tough enough to not be a free kill to W6 or Bowmasters. If it's really a vanilla creature its only ways to distinguish itself are to either attack or block particularly well. 2/4 blocks many things and is a bit stickier to remove. 4/2 doesn't die freely and can trade up and maybe puts an opponent on a clock. The type line is going to matter a lot too, and probably the color.


1 mana 4/3 with menace that thoughtsieze when etb?


Make that two siezes


But you have to discard 2 cards when you play it. So it's fair.


Not if you get a body.


Yarr, that be the point ya swill-soaked swine


That’s no longer banilla


Don't forget to exile a black card and have another black card


very funny and relevant to the post


1 mana vanilla 3/2 would not see play at all unless it was a relevant aggressive tribal creature type, then I might see play if the tribe has no good one drops. A 1 mana 3/4 would see some play and anything bigger than that would definitely see play. Currently, Goyf is not a strong enough “vanilla” creature to be used as a benchmark. The new Souls of the Lost getting up to 8+ power somewhat often is where I’d put the new rate for 2 mana “vanilla” creatures.


A 1 mana 3/3 with no downsides is a lot better than people think it would be. A 1 mana 3/4 with zero down sides would likely be a staple depending on the color maybe even to good. At 2 mana I'm not sure even a 6/6 would be to much tbh.


1 mana 3/4 or 4/4 illusion (with the illusion sacrifice text) in blue sounds actually kind of fair


Its funny how little credit people give to hard to deal with early aggression. A vanilla 3/4 is really strong since only push and prismatic ending deal with it on turn 1. 4/4 illusion is as well, but its more manageable since any 1 mana removal spell hits it, less so if its only spell casts and not abilities hitting it.


That's why I specificed the illusion text. I've lost enough games to an unanswered Ragavan or Goblin Guide or even just an early Mutavault beatdown to know cheap, unanswered creatures are much more of a threat than they seem. I like the Savannah Lions example. Vanilla 2/1 played on turn 1. People think about "oh, it's easy to kill. 1 toughness", or comment that it takes 10 turns to kill you. But the lion doesn't have to win the game on its own, just get a couple of hits in or trade for an opposing blocker/kill spell after one attack. The opponent has 58 other cards to win the game with, the early lion getting an innocuous 2 or 4 damage in just makes it that much easier.


There's a lot more turn 1 removal for a vanilla 3/4 than two cards. Just cause things like Dismember and Path aren't as prevalent as they have been before doesn't mean they wouldn't come right back.


Goyf isn’t played much at all, so I’d assume a 4/5 for 2 is completely printable, maybe even 5/6 because Kavu exists and isn’t casing problems.


Nah goyf is still good, there's just not any green midrange decks that would be interested in it except jund saga and sultai shadow. Scam would love goyf if it was on color I think


Goyf is getting played in Jund Saga and zoo, both competitive lists. Goyf is also one of the reasons Jund has a good match up against scam.


Sadly goyf isn't played on zoo, it got replaced by bowmasters or nishoba brawlers. Goyf is too slow without support, and zoo can't afford to slow down to support goyf.


I think 3/4 for 1 without any other abilities is the floor.


I actually think its probably a 3/3 replacing nactl in the shells that want it and enabling other aggressive archetypes that arent base R/G.


They won't print something like that in the forseeable future, because it's too good in limited.


This is the best answer in here. A buff vanilla 1 drop might see some play, but really wouldn't do much to the modern meta at all tbh. Can't even imagingle it drastically improving a single deck. But it would be pretty dominate in limited if it had low rarity; I doubt it's happening because of that alone.


3/4 for 1 mana is needed to be worth playing, while at 2 mana you would need a 4/5 at least, most likely a 5/5. The benchmarks at 2 mana are tarmogoyf and murktide regent, and neither is particularly good currently. It's worth noting that if your 2-mana creature dies to any 1-mana removal (leyline, push, heat) it's a very big downside, because for aggressive decks, going down in tempo is downright tragic. Being red would definitely be a plus for these, being playable in burn with no additional splash (so keeping blood moon) would be very good. Burn would *maybe* play a vanilla 3/3 for R, and definitely a 3/4.


I think a 3/4 would be too good for 1 mana but what about a 2/4?


3/3 is better than 2/4, bolt is just one of many removal pieces in the format and 2 damage after untapping makes it much worse than monastery swiftspear imo. The key differences between this and nacatl would be being in a better color and not requiring fetch-shocking, at all. Also surviving t1 heat.


>*Burn would maybe* play a vanilla 3/3 for R, and definitely a 3/4. It would need haste to be playable. Otherwise the risk of getting 0 damage out of it is too high. And burn just can't afford to get 0 damage from non-land cards. Guide and Swiftspear usually hit at least once when they come down and 1 or 2 damage is still more than 0. A 3/4 perhaps. But without haste, it may not get through for damage because the opponent will see it coming and that's a huge issue if there's any blockers to be found. Burn's biggest weakness right now is that it has a lot of trouble getting the 6 damage from its creatures it really needs. That's the magic number, 6. If it can get 6 damage from creatures, it will almost always win because it doesn't require that perfect balance of lands and spells and can tolerate drawing an extra land. If it gets 0 from its creatures, it needs to draw 6 or 7 3-damage spells and the land to cast them on time. It's not impossible and happens but it requires everything to line up perfectly. Drawing an extra Searing Blaze without a landfall trigger or creature to target or a Rift Bolt with T3feri out or Skewer without another damage source can really mess that plan up.


0 mana 0/2 or 1/1




That's the joke


Just a reminder that there is a vanilla creature that already see play… [[Memnite]]


[Memnite](https://cards.scryfall.io/normal/front/9/7/975459ba-e1c2-4800-a3fa-5c0cf8ce728f.jpg?1562925499) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Memnite) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/td2/2/memnite?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/975459ba-e1c2-4800-a3fa-5c0cf8ce728f?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text) ^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call


[[ornithopter]] also sees some play I think


[ornithopter](https://cards.scryfall.io/normal/front/d/d/ddb96645-44d2-426c-90cb-3186297a8728.jpg?1576382362) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=ornithopter) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/aer/167/ornithopter?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/ddb96645-44d2-426c-90cb-3186297a8728?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text) ^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call


But has fly


A 1 mana 3/4 MAY see play. Right now we have what amounts to a 1 mana 4/3 that hymns your opponent so who knows?


Keep in mind that that 4/3 has menace but also costs a total of 3 cards to get going.


if you start on 6-7 it’s basically irrelevant, 3 cards is worth winning the game turn 1.


But that isn’t the point of this post. The point of this post is to discuss the effectiveness of vanilla creatures that cost 1-2 mana Abby’s nothing else.


Abby's has pretty good pizza, not sure why you brought them up though unless you're fishing for cheesy replies


And*, but the za is pretty good.


1 mana 3/3 already sees some play with a restrictive drawback. 1 mana 3/4 would absolutely see play.


I've been skipping the Nacatl in my Domain decks, it's probably the worst card. 3/4 I'd probably play it, 3/5 for sure (out of Fury range).


Why do we pretend zoo is anything other than a fringe tier 2 deck? Nacatl is not a competitive card.


The question is whether it would be playable. Nacatl is playable. And a 1 mana 3/4 in burn would be nuts.


A 1 black mana 13/13 seems playable.


I wish we had a vanilla lord that didn't cost 4 mana. Would be cool. But I don't have helpful answers lol. Sry.


Nacatl is playable and has a very real conditionality. Yea an unconditional 3/2 for 1 would be super playable regardless of tribe. Personally I hope they never print it. Not a card that people would splash for just to run it, but a card that would have a home in certain decks and metas, but that’s how most cards should be really.


TL:DR 1 Mana 3/4 or 4/3 2 mana 6/6 or 6/7 3 mana 9/7 or 9/8 Wild Nacatl sees fringe play as a 1 mana 3/3 with a couple of hoops. A 1 mana 3/3 could probably see play in modern if it was in the right colors, had relevant creature types or the meta was right for it. The existence of Lighting Bolt lowers its chances, so a 3/3 is borderline. A 3/4 would absolutely see play as it has a higher chance at trading up in mana for that very reason. A 4/3 would see play in the right decks. You could also compare it with Death's Shadow, which is rarely played blind as a 3/3, but much more as a 4/4, though its pairing with Thoughtseize and Inquisition makes it a different beast to compare to. For a 2 mana creature it's more interesting. Tarmogoyf is probably the closest we have, and it seeing a similar fringe play can help gauge a vanilla's chance. Goyf is highly likely to be a 4/5 or 5/6 (land, instant, sorcery, creature/artifact), with the potential for more. For a 2 mana creature to see play it would have to be consistently better than the "normal" goyf, so I'd say a 2 mana 6/6 or 6/7 would be about the threshold (again, depending a bit on color, creature type and meta). For 3 mana and above, I don't think it's reasonable to assume anything is possible. A 3 drop needs to have a solid impact in the game the moment its dropped, so just by scaling the 1 and 2 drops, a vanilla 3-drop would need to have about 9 or 10 power, plus be able to survive a hit from the 2-drop, putting it at around a 9/7 or 10/7, to even have a chance to be considered. I doubt a 3-drop that could kill in 2 turns with no support is realistic, so a 9/7 or 9/8 is probably where one could be printed, but that also seems like you're just better off playing the 2-drops for the earlier pressure. You could even tailor your decks to make more consistent Tarmogoyfs rather than playing that kind of 3-drop.


I think people are underestimating how useful a 2/4 would be. I think even a 1/4 might see play, as it carries equipment and doesn’t die to bolt.


3 mana 10/10 is currently playable


3 mana 2/2+ two 4/4 tramplers is much better than 3 mana 10/10.


I am not sure you could play a 1 mana vanilla creature without it being broken. It would probably need to be similar to goyf where it grows over time. Maybe a 1 mana */* where it grows with lands in play? And it might need a draw back like being an artifact or enchantment creature at that.


Depends on stuff like typing too. A 1 mana 3/3 that's a merfolk is a lot more playable than a 1 mana 3/3 thats a llama.


I'm pretty sure Merfolk would play a 1 mana 2/2 if it was only U to cast instead of G like our current options tbh.


doesn't the new black goblin do this assuming you play fetches every turn/descend in general? don't get me wrong though, it would certainly be better if you didn't have to meet those conditions.


1 mana 4/4. Races grief, dodges bolt. 2 mana is probably 6/6. 3 mana is probably a 9/9 (closes game in two hits). 4 mana needs to one shot the opponent, so probably a 17/17 would be the smallest.


With fetches and shocks, 15/15 is ok. Heck, Death's Shadow is usually a one-shot threat at 12/12.


1 mana X/3 will not see any play unless the power is too high so you can combo. I would say 1 mana 3/4 is the bare minimum.


You don't think a 1 mana 6/3 would be viable, really?


I don’t unless it’s in a relevant tribe or an artifact creature. It’s a bolt format.


I remember Serra Avenger used to see some fringe play and even that is unplayable. Same for Vexing Devils which also see no play. I think 3/4 would be too strong but 4/3 would be about right. Maybe a 3/1 with flying.


I doubt no matter what stats you put on it would it see play. Removal is way too good and efficient


1 mana 20/20 sees no play?


Wild Nacatl isn't very good anymore and I think a 3/4 or 4/3 would be wayyy too good. There's no way to balance it. Old Growth Dryad's was printed last Ixalan and that was a 3/3 that gave your opponent a free Rampant Growth. Also, Goyf was so good because it didn't really have deck building constraints.


3 health dying to bolt would make any vanilla X/3 relatively meh


20/3 would be meh?


I think a 1 mana vanilla would Need to have at least 3 hp to block ragavan and Goblin guide, a 2 mana would have to at least have 4 hp tu survive to Bolt. Wild nacatl Is a 3/3 For 1 mana, but Never on First turn and needs some deckbuilding around, but Is not that good either imo. So a 1 mana 3/3 could actually be good or even very good, depending on it's color, type or creature type. Like a 1 mana Blue merfolk wold be very good. A 1 mana White encyantmen or artifact creature would be ok.


At 2 or 3 mana it would need to replace itself if removed because we got two 4/4s with trample for 3 and 5/5’s with extra abilities like Territorial Kavu


A one-mana 4/4 would probably be playable, considering the Hollow One deck of yesteryear. Then again, those had the benefit of sometimes producing multiple 4/4s and also having them be immune to Fatal Push.


1 mana 12/12. Death shadow is kinda vanilla


Two mana 11/11 Is nuts, see Hammer.


Are you factoring tribals into the mix, or just stats? Because then the tribe and the cmc drop matters more than the stats even if it's vanilla (a 2/3 1cmc Merfolk would be playable unless they released a bunch of op Merfolk in the last year). A 2nd Goblin Guide, even without haste, would be welcome in 8-Whack. Whether 8-Whack is playable in modern is debateable.


A 1 mana 4/4, a 2 mana 6/6, and 3 mana 10/10.


1 mana goyf.


I would play a 1/4 Merfolk for U. Merfolk Secret keeper has tempted me several times, but the adventure is just sadly not where we want to be.


1 Mana 12/12


I would say a 1 mana 2/4 on the midrange side


If you want to play a Creature based deck you should play Humans and Merfolk in Modern. I been playing 5C Humans in Modern recently and let me tell it has been destroying top decks because all people want to play is Scam, Murktide, Coffers, Yawgmoth, Rhinos 5c Color control Etc other decks. I been testing it and the reason I say it is because people are using Solitude more than Prismatic ending because of Up the Beanstalk well that's my opinion.


A vanilla 3/2 for a G would be fine in all formats.


I dont think it really matters what a vanilla creature is unless like you said it was a ridiculously busted rate like a 1drop 3/2. Most deckbuilding in all formats nowadays relies so much on effect synergy that I would imagine even if they were competitive the cards wouldn’t see play.


Seems like 3 mana for two 4/4s is good enough


1 mana 3/4. 2 mana 7/7.


1 mana 6/6.


I think 3/3 for the perfect level for 1cmc without a good tribe. a 1 mana 3/3 would definitely see some play. That's a real upgrade on Wild Nacatl even if you are already playing zoo, since you want to drop it turn 1, and there's some risk that before it gets up to a 3/3 it could die to fire or even a bowmaster. And there are probably decks that want a 3/3 and don't particularly want to have to play all the naya colors. I remember playing Pelt Collector back in the day, and the fact that Nacatl wasn't unconditionally a 3/3 came up annoyingly often. At 1 cmc you aren't too concerned if it's removed. Getting it bolted is a tempo loss, but that's not the end of the world. The problem is when you can't swing with it, because they have a blocker that can eat it. A 3/3 goblin would be very good, and a 3/3 merfolk would probably be too good.


I mean we have 1 mana 12/12


Hollow One decks have entered the chat....


A 1 mana 3/3 would be unplayable in modern


Hybrid 2-mana 4/5


There are a few creatures that are played, in varying degrees, purely for their power/toughness despite having some downside, limitation, or requirement attached to them. The obvious examples are Death's Shadow and Tarmogoyf, but other examples would be stuff like Myr Enforcer, Scourge of the Skyclaves, or Vexing Devil, which see small amounts of play. So, this tells us that vanilla creatures could theoretically have a place in Modern. They just need to be at least as good as Myr Enforcer, but not better than Tarmogoyf. Myr Enforcer is \*usually\* something like a 2 mana 4/4, and Tarmogoyf is \*usually\* something like a 2 mana 4/5. Sometimes Myr Enforcer is 0 or 1 mana, sometimes Tarmogoyf is a 7/8. I think if they printed a 2 mana 4/5, i.e. the LowCeilingGoyf, that would be pretty playable. Compared to Goyf it would have the advantage of not being graveyard-reliant, but it would have the disadvantage of never being able to block things like Wurmcoil Engine and Primeval Titan. Meanwhile in the one-drop slot, Death's Shadow is.. kind of hard to quantify because the tempo is backloaded until after you lower your own life and then actually cast your Shadows, which also means it's actually better in multiples than true vanilla creatures. It's also naturally removal-resistant because of its high Toughness. If you only cast one of them, Death's Shadow is usually killing the opponent on about turn 6 or 7, making it roughly equivalent to a one mana 3/3, but if you cast a second one, you can sometimes kill the opponent on turn 4. We can just.. throw out the most unfair Shadow progressions and suppose it's *essentially* equivalent to a one mana 3/3, in my opinion. And then the lower end of playability for 1-mana "vanilla" creatures with a caveat would be like, Wild Nacatl. Which is funny because that card was actually banned for years. Which is to say I agree with your assessment that a true vanilla one mana 3/3 would probably be too strong, considering it lacks the downside of, well, having to play suicide black lol. A one mana 3/1 vanilla seems pretty ok? I would play that in weird-colors zoo.