Chthonian Nightmare
Chthonian Nightmare

Chthonian Nightmare – Modern Horizons III

Date Reviewed:  May 28, 2024

Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 3.8
Multiplayer: 3.9
Commander [EDH]: 4.0

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


Some “fixed” versions of power cards are legitimately less dangerous than the card they reference; and some are actually just as dangerous. I am not yet sure which one Chthonian Nightmare will turn out to be, but I am sure it is a powerful card in general. In constructed formats, the energy cost is less of a brake on its activity, because you will have built your deck around getting a lot of energy counters (or at least enough to reanimate whatever it is you want to). And honestly, I’m not sure that there’s any way to make the return-to-hand clause as fair as a sorcery, because you get a chance to cast it again. (Your opponent has the chance to counter it, I guess?) That clause, more than anything else, simply begs to be turned into a loop of some kind – people have already dreamed up at least one, and when you combine that with its very low mana cost, I would not be surprised to see it at top tables.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 4
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


After a very interesting stint in Kaladesh, energy is back, and it’s here to make things very interesting. In particular, a fair few cards on the Reserved List are getting spiced-up versions that make use of energy as a way to tone down some of their more…obnoxious elements. One of those is today’s card, which is a new take on the infamous Exodus card, Recurring Nightmare.

Chthonian Nightmare has a couple of main differences to its forebear. It actually costs less mana than Recurring Nightmare, but it requires energy to function. The good news is that it generates three energy on its own, but this is a way to constrain it…as is the fact that the trigger to gain energy means you have a chance to nuke the Nightmare before it begins recurring. It’s in all a more interesting take on the infamous spell…it has some levers, but it’s still a powerful effect.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the more infamous loops: Priest of Gix can form an indefinite combo with two of them, and unlike Recurring Nightmare, this can result in a net gain of mana. That may not be the most notorious thing this card does, but a design like this teeters between being fine and being obnoxious. It’s certianly fairer than its forebear, but whether it’s actually fair or not is another matter entirely.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 5
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4 (the Priest of Gix loop is harder, though not impossible, to enable, and this is a solid trick in the toolbox regardless)

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