MTG Modern Horizons 3's Vexing Bauble puts a stop to players casting spells for free

MTG Modern Horizons 3 Vexing Bauble
MTG Modern Horizons 3's Vexing Bauble puts a stop to Cascade shenanigans in a hurry (Image via Wizards of the Coast)

Vexing Bauble is one of the recent MTG Modern Horizons 3 spoilers, officially revealed by Magic: The Gathering content creator Corey Baumeister. I equally love and fear this card due to the overwhelming power it can offer. I can see this being used in quite a few formats, from Modern to Legacy. One of the things Magic players hate seeing other people do is cast spells for free. There are so many ways to do it, and this card will halt all of that, for all players in a game.

But what makes Vexing Bauble such an amazing card for the official MTG Modern Horizons 3 spoilers is that it doesn’t necessarily have to affect you—if you don’t want it to. You can put it away and force your spells through, but that comes with consequences. I’m so incredibly excited to see this uncommon get used going forward.

How does MTG Modern Horizons 3’s Vexing Bauble work?

Tired of players like me casting spells for free? Put a halt to that nonsense! (Image via Wizards of the Coast)
Tired of players like me casting spells for free? Put a halt to that nonsense! (Image via Wizards of the Coast)

One of the most frustrating things an MTG player can endure is seeing a spell enter play for free, and Modern Horizons 3’s Vexing Bauble immediately halts that. While I can see this card being useful in Modern, I think it’s really going to make a splash in Legacy/Vintage formats. Seeing this drop on turn one is going to force many players to consider using their Force of Will on it.

It’s an incredibly simple, but powerful artifact. While there are plenty of ways to counter this effect (EG: Sphere of Resistance), I’m a really big fan of what this can mean when you deploy it at the start of a game. Here’s the breakdown:

Vexing Bauble

  • Mana Value: 1
  • Card Type: Artifact
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • First Ability: Whenever a player casts a spell, if no mana was spent to cast it, counter that spell.
  • Second Ability: 1, tap, Sacrifice Vexing Bauble: Draw a card.

While there are several examples throughout MTG history to use for Vexing Bauble’s effectiveness, one of the recently leaked cards can serve as one: Bloodbraid Challenge. It’s a 5-drop creature that has Cascade. For players who aren’t familiar, Cascade lets you exile cards from the top of your deck until you reach a nonland that costs less than the original spell. You can then cast that spell without paying its mana cost.

It’s an incredible way to ramp into free creatures, with some monsters having multiple instances of Cascade in just one cast. Vexing Bauble prevents that right away, though it can be countered. The thing I like the most about this MTG Modern Horizons 3 card is that, in a pinch, you can sacrifice it, to force your free-cast spell through.

Of course, that means now your opponent can put a strategy into play to stop whatever you’re doing, so you really have to consider carefully when and where to sacrifice the Vexing Bauble. It will make for some very interesting interactions going forward. Although an Uncommon, it will be interesting to see if it spikes in value, and how often it’s mainboarded/sideboarded.

MTG Modern Horizons 3 is the next upcoming set from Wizards of the Coast. It releases on June 14, 2024, and will have a set of Commander precons alongside booster packs containing powerful cards.

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