Everything You Need To Know About Blood Sun in Modern
Since the Rivals of Ixalan spoiler season, there has been a lot of buzz about some of the new cards. There’s a new 2/2 Merfolk Lord for 2, a counterspell that only costs a single U post-combat, a ‘reverse Snapcaster Mage’ and a flying human which, when it attacks, temporarily Turn to Frogs an opponent’s creature. All of these have potential to be Modern playable and people are excitedly brewing across the world. (Watch out for my upcoming article on these new potential additions to the format!)
There is no other card, though, which has had such a reception as Blood Sun.
Obviously intended as a homage to our old friend Blood Moon, this card looks like what Wizards perceived to be the ‘fixed’ version of the card.
I’m going to speculate a little here on where and when it might see play in Modern, and then include some common rules interactions that might be confusing and how Blood Sun works with other Modern cards. Feel free to read either or both of these sections!
Section One: Will It See Play?
At a first glance, it looks awesome. It cantrips which is a huge deal, it’s not too expensive for Modern and it hates out fetch lands and Valakut, which is a great start to a card you want to be playable.
However, having said that, there are some things which this card does NOT deal with, and since it was spoiled there have been rumblings about what it might see play in, and how it could affect the format. Notably, it does not turn off Tron lands, but DOES turn off Ghost Quarter and Field of Ruin, which are the answers many people have to them. Additionally, it does not turn off the sol lands in Eldrazi prison decks, so it’s very likely that we could see it in a Simian Spirit Guide style deck to try and lock the opponent out of their fetches early.
Having said this, it’s not as good as Blood Moon at shutting out your opponent, and that’s clear. It doesn’t lock your opponent out of their mana completely, and if you draw it after say, turn four, it’s probably going to do nothing at all to their mana base. It won’t be used as a prison card per se, unless it’s being powered out on turn one or two by rituals and SSG. The key part is that it shuts down the hate for Tron without actually affecting Tron at all, so it could be that this might herald the return of red/green as a dominant Tron archetype, as if they don’t have the nut T3 Karn draw, they will be able to use this to prevent Ghost Quarter hate until they draw their finisher and/or their other Tron land.
The other deck that this slots particularly well into is Storm. Since the beginning there has been a strange dichotomy between fetchless Storm and Storm with fetchlands. The advantage of running them is twofold; firstly, that you get to thin your deck out so you are less likely to draw lands and fizzle on the crucial Storm turn, and secondly, you essentially have more ways to access basic islands, so you can afford to run Blood Moon in your sideboard. However, with the release of this card, fetchless Storm will absolutely be the best way to run this deck, as you can power out Blood Sun on turn two with a ritual and it won’t affect your mana in the slightest, where if your opponent is on the draw, they could likely have three fetchlands in hand that now don’t even tap for mana. What’s more, it cantrips, so you don’t even lose a card in hand for your Storm turn. Nuts much?
There is very little cost to running this card and massively high upsides, so I expect we will be seeing a lot of it in Storm from now on, and possibly in Tron and prison decks as well.
Section Two: How Does It Work?
With this in mind, I thought this article would be useful as a rules reference, since Blood Sun doesn’t work in exactly the same way as Blood Moon does, and it might be handy to have a guide on the more unintuitive interactions you could expect to see with it in Modern.
Blood Sun and Blood Moon
Putting the twins together works in exactly the way you’d expect it to. Blood Moon applies in layer 4 (type-changing effects) and Blood Sun applies in layer 6 (ability adding and removing effects) so we apply Blood Moon first – all nonbasics are just Mountains – and then Blood Sun causes them to lose their non-mana abilities afterwards, but they’re already just Mountains so they don’t have any! Everything will still tap for R.
Blood Sun and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Blood Sun and Urborg interact in a different way than Blood Moon and Urborg, which is important to note, due to layers. With Blood Sun, we apply Urborg’s type-changing ability first in layer 4, and then we apply Blood Sun’s ability in layer 6 and remove the ability from Urborg, but that happens AFTER Urborg has already given all other lands the ability to tap for B. Therefore, you end up with an Urborg with no abilities other than tapping for B, and all your other lands which can tap for B or their other colours.
Blood Sun and Prismatic Omen/Spreading Seas
These effects are fairly straightforward, but I thought it was worth mentioning them. Anything that affects a land in this way will still be applied no matter when it enters the battlefield, either before or after a Blood Sun. If it’s Spreading Seas’d, it’ll only tap for U, and with a Prismatic Omen out, all your lands can tap for any colour.
Blood Sun and Cavern of Souls/Unclaimed Territory
Since the rules update in September last year, which changed the way that continuous effects interact with lands entering the battlefield, this interaction has changed drastically. How it will now happen is that if you already have one of these lands in play before the Blood Sun comes down, it won’t affect it, and you will be able to use it to tap for whatever colour you’d like. However, if you play one after the Blood Sun is on the field, you won’t have the opportunity to name a creature type, as the Sun shuts that off before it applies. Therefore, even if the Sun is somehow removed from the battlefield your land won’t do anything except tap for colourless. TL;DR: Play your Caverns out early!
Blood Sun and Tapped Lands
As has been purported all over the Internet since its reveal, and also due to the new rules change, Blood Sun causes lands that would otherwise enter tapped to enter untapped, as it removes all abilities on entry. This applies to all lands, so you can turn your shocks into duals without paying life, your man-lands are duals for free, and as has been popularly shared, your bounce lands will be sol lands that tap for coloured mana without bouncing something to your hand. It’s unclear whether this will be good in any current deck strategy, but definitely a fun one for the brewers out there, so worth mentioning here.
Blood Sun and Man-Lands
As you would expect, Blood Sun shuts off the ability of man-lands to animate themselves. However, the same as with its twin sister, if you animate the land in response to the Blood Sun whilst it’s on the stack, it will remain as a creature until the end of that turn. It will, though, lose all the abilities it had – infect, flying, vigilance, lifelink, reach, trample – and just be a vanilla creature until end of turn, when it will return to being only a land for the foreseeable future. Mutavault will still retain all creature types until end of turn, because that is applied in layer 4, type-changing effects, which happens before Blood Sun’s ability applies in layer 6.
Blood Sun and Vesuva
This is much the same as the previous interactions with Cavern of Souls, but worth mentioning all on its own, as it’s a tricky card to understand sometimes. With Blood Sun on the battlefield, Vesuva does not copy a land as it comes into play, due to the September rules change. It will come into play untapped and be able to do nothing. If the Blood Sun is later removed, it will continue to do nothing.
Blood Sun and Dryad Arbor
Surprisingly, what is one of the most difficult lands in the game to properly understand in most situations is actually very simple in this one. Dryad Arbor will be unaffected by Blood Sun in any way. It still taps for mana, and its status as a creature isn’t an ability that can be removed, so it won’t revert to being just a land.
Blood Sun and Gemstone Mine
This interaction is affected, like Cavern of Souls, by when each card enters the battlefield. If Blood Sun enters the battlefield first, Gemstone Mine’s ability which produces the counters will not work, and therefore it won’t tap for mana. If, however, Gemstone Mine is on the battlefield already, as long as it has counters on it it will continue to tap for mana until there are no counters left, at which point it is sacrificed as normal. This is because the mana ability is tied to the sacrifice, so it’s not changed by Blood Sun.
Blood Sun and Darksteel Citadel
Just like with Dryad Arbor, card types aren’t affected by Blood Sun, so although Darksteel Citadel will lose indestructible, as it’s a static ability, it will remain as an artifact and count towards Cranial Plating or Arcbound Ravager, as card types are not affected.
Blood Sun and Glimmervoid
Glimmervoid becomes much better under a Blood Sun, as it will not be sacrificed if you have no artifacts in play. The ability is removed and it becomes just a land that taps for all colours.
Blood Sun and Horizon Canopy/Grove of the Burnwillows
Due to the fact that Horizon Canopy’s mana ability specifies that you pay life in order to tap it, you will still be able to make green or white mana with it, but you will still pay life as normal. This is tied to the mana ability as a cost and will not be removed. The same goes for its sister Grove of the Burnwillows; your opponent will gain life as this is a part of the mana ability, not a separate trigger.
Blood Sun and Filter Lands
All of the abilities on each of the filter lands are mana abilities, and therefore they won’t be affected by Blood Sun at all. Hooray for non-fetch fixing!
Blood Sun and Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Similarly to Horizon Canopy, with Blood Sun in play you must still pay life to tap mana for Boseiju, however, the spells it casts will still be uncounterable, and as a bonus it will come into play untapped if the Sun is already out.
Blood Sun and Cycling Lands
The most important thing of all to remember about Blood Sun is that it only affects cards which are already on the battlefield! Your cycling lands will retain the cycling ability whilst in your hand, and your Zoetic Cavern can still be morphed into play.
Blood Sun and Pain Lands
Pain lands will work just the same as usual under a Blood Sun, as the damage is tied to the mana ability like Horizon Canopy and therefore it doesn’t get touched by Blood Sun’s text.
Blood Sun and Bojuka Bog
Though Bojuka Bog rarely sees play in Modern, with the increase in Death’s Shadow and other graveyard-matters strategies it has cropped up occasionally as a sideboard card, and therefore I thought it was worth mentioning. As you would expect, nothing happens with Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield under a Blood Sun. It comes into play untapped and taps for black, and that’s it.
Do you have any questions?
If you have any other questions about Blood Sun interactions or things I haven’t mentioned here, please feel free to find me on Facebook and ask, or post a question in the mtgUK Rules and Judge Questions group, where other judges will be happy to assist.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found the article useful!
Level 2 Judge