Test of Talents vs. Hallowed Moonlight

Modern forum

Posted on Feb. 3, 2023, 11:55 p.m. by nbarry223

Test of Talents vs. Hallowed Moonlight, which is better sideboard tech in modern currently?

These are both pretty comparable in the decks they impact, so they are close enough to interchangeable that I am struggling to decide which does more.

If you consider having basically the same access to or , which effect and the amount of decks it hits is better positioned in the current modern meta, or are they basically equivalent?

wallisface says... #2

I would personally opt for Test of Talents because it ends a potential combo the deck would do almost completely. But i think there are just generally better options available in both cases - stuff like Void Mirror or Chalice of the Void

February 4, 2023 2:33 a.m.

Not a modern player blahblah...

I see it this way:

Test of Talents is at worst kind of a Negate, which is still a fine card. Most decks will play some kind of instants or sorceries, so you'll find a target in every match. And when you disrupt a game winning combo, that's major upside.

Hallowed Moonlight is insane against decks that cheat creatures into play, but does virtually nothing except replacing itself in your hand against decks that don't do that.

I don't know about the modern meta, but I'd guess you'll play against decks containing instants/sorceries more often than decks with a cheat plan. And even then, Test of Talents can totally counter Goryo's Vengeance (which I heard was a thing in modern. Is it still?). Which will lead to the wished for result of disrupting their game plan.

From that: If you want to main deck either, take Test. If you really want to have Moonlight, sideboard it maybe?

February 4, 2023 9:11 a.m. Edited.

nbarry223 says... #4

Oh, this question was strictly aimed at them being sideboard options. Both options are a little too narrow for me to be considered for the main (nothing feels worse than drawing a dead card).

Of all the "meta decks" in modern, Test of Talents is good against:

Cascade like Living End
Indomitable Creativity
most reanimation strategies

while being relevant as a hate card against their instant/sorcery sideboard options or playsets of just general problem instant/sorceries (mill, conterspell decks, etc.)

On the other hand, Hallowed Moonlight is good against:

Cascade like Living End since they all cheat in creatures as an end result
Indomitable Creativity
most reanimation strategies
any creature "tutor" cards like Finale of Devastation, Chord of Calling, Eldritch Evolution, Collected Company
undying/persist cards
any "infinite" creature combos for the turn at least

so, as you can see, there's quite a bit of overlap between the two cards. It almost comes down to if you want the tempo of the cantrip or want to fully remove their threat. Hallowed Moonlight's replacement effect of exiling also neuters any kind of setup which is worth mentioning as well, since that can often buy enough time to win that they don't get to cast a second copy anyway.

There's a few pros and cons to each option, and I am really struggling to determine which is "better" in a vacuum.

February 4, 2023 11:33 a.m. Edited.

wallisface says... #5

I know you want to judge these in a vacuum, but I don't think that's a fair way to figure out which is the better option to run. Sideboards are quite literally dependent on the local meta, as well as the deck their for - some sideboard cards are much stronger in certain decks than others.

So, some questions:

  • What deck is this for?

  • What problem matchups are more common to show up in your meta? What does the rest of your sideboard look like and do you already have answers for some of these decks?

  • Are you opposed to other cards that might solve your problems better? If so, why? Do you have budget restrictions here?

Personally, trying to judge this in a shell where I have no idea what you're playing, these cards feel alright for some matchups, and unideal for others:

  • against Living End neither card feels particularly helpful. LE has access to both Grief and Force of Negation, so there's pretty high odds you're going to get your card taken from your hand if you're deck is a pro-active one (and if you're playing a control deck, there's just better tools available).

  • against Indomitable Creativity both options seem fine, though Test of Talents feels better.

  • against reanimation strategies neither feels ideal. You kindof want to turn-off the graveyard, and these cards just don't do that - they give the opponent too many ways to get back into the game after you've cast the spell.

  • Hallowed Moonlight does seem nice for the tutor effects, but as far as undying/persist or infinite-creature-combos this feels only minimally helpful, in that it's just putting a Band-Aid over a severed limb.

February 4, 2023 3:10 p.m.

nbarry223 says... #6

I am mainly asking for a combo deck, where the main goal of the slot is to help in the Indomitable Creativity matchup and other uses are more coincidental than anything else (there's other hate which is better).

The Creativity matchup is just a race otherwise, and I was exploring options to help with that matchup specifically, which were hopefully relevant in more than just that singular matchup (which is why I weigh other uses as well).

February 4, 2023 3:56 p.m.

wallisface says... #7

Yeah I'd definitely opt for Test of Talents then. It will really hurt creativity, where as Hallowed Moonlight is only going to slow them down a little (Test of Talents should buy you more that enough turns to make up for Hallowed Moonlight drawing a card).

Added to that, Test of Talents will probably fare better against most other combo decks, which will help you avoid having to race those matchups.

February 4, 2023 4:06 p.m.

Balaam__ says... #8

I throw my hat into the ring in favor of Test of Talents as well. Hallowed Moonlight is more situationally dependent upon what you might face in your specific playgroup—one of those ‘If you need it, you’ll know it’ types of cards.

February 4, 2023 5:34 p.m.

nbarry223 says... #9

I tend to agree with you both, just drawing into that perfect card with the other option felt amazing the few times it happened, so I was probably a little bias’d.

February 5, 2023 11:17 a.m.

wallisface says... #10

It’s also probably worth noting here that the absolute best sideboard card for hosing creativity decks is imo Orvar, the All-Form. Just let them do their thing and then best them to death with a copy of their own Archon.

February 8, 2023 1:20 a.m.

Caran_Lyg says... #11

It just depends on matchup unless you know the meta at your locals or know all of your matchups then just bring one or the other. Test of Talents do stop combos like everyone said here.

February 8, 2023 1:21 a.m.

nbarry223 says... #12

Yeah I prefer the wide scope over the potency of ovar. I like ovar, don’t get me wrong, but it is only relevant against 1 creature really.

February 8, 2023 10:24 a.m.

9-lives says... #13

Test of Talents would destroy a competitive burn deck pretty fast!

February 9, 2023 5:24 p.m.

wallisface says... #14

9-lives not really… a burn deck is typically 40-41 cards all doing the same thing. Removing one playset won’t typically change its damage output in any meaningful way.

As the OP is playing a combo deck, they can likely either out-speed burn, or just have better options to slow them down.

February 9, 2023 5:55 p.m.

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