If like me, you are a fan of Modern, then I’m sure you will have heard that Wizards of the Coast have a new product hitting the shelves this year. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, Modern Horizons is this year’s ‘Draft Specialty’ set and is due for release this June. According to the mothership: “Modern Horizons contains 249 new-to-Modern cards (254 total), with a mix of reprints not yet legal in Modern, and new cards that celebrate both Modern and Magic’s rich history”.
This news got the Magic community buzzed, and it wasn’t long before people everywhere were talking about what could possibly make it into this historic set. Since all the cards (except basic lands) will be new to the Modern format, we will not be seeing reprints like Thoughtseize and Fetchlands. Instead, we will be seeing Legacy, Vintage, and Commander cards heading to Modern for the first time, as well as some exciting new additions like the already revealed Cabal Therapist and Serra the Benevolent.
But what reprints could we see in Modern Horizons? While it’s unlikely we will see cards like Force of Will, there are a few cards from some older Magic sets (and a few supplementary products) that could healthily change up the Modern meta. Let’s have a look at my top 5 picks for cards we could see in Modern Horizons. Some might seem odd choices or even choices you might think are too powerful for Modern, but I think they could be good additions to the format.
A classic creature with some major tournament pedigree, Nimble Mongoose would be a great addition to Rock or G/B/x decks. This 1/1 for one green Mana might not seem like very much, but anyone who has faced it will know to be wary of this little beast.
Cards like Tarmogoyf have already proven that cheap creatures that get bigger as the graveyard is filled are great for midrange decks, especially when coupled with hand disruption. Shove the Mongoose and Delver of Secrets into a tempo shell, and you have the basis of a powerful deck for the upcoming Modern meta.
Picture the scene. Your ‘friend’ rocks up to FNM with their G/W Bogles deck and is matched against you in round one. They laugh as you sit opposite them with your U/B Control brew, thinking you have no way of getting rid of their turn one Slippery Bogle. They begin deploying Aura after Aura, cackling with glee as the power of their Hexproof Beast grows and grows. They go to combat, swinging in for a frankly obscene amount of damage. You smile, tapping one generic and one black mana, as you place Diabolic Edict onto the stack. They pause for a moment, then pick up their cards and say: “Game 2”.
While this scenario seems fanciful, it nicely illustrates why I believe Diabolic Edict would be a good inclusion in Modern Horizons. Its a decent removal spell in a Limited environment that also has the added benefit of helping non-white decks handle problematic Hexproof creatures and indestructible Eldrazi. While powerful, it’s not too powerful, and I don’t think it’ll be breaking the format any time soon.
A card that has never seen a printing outside of a supplementary set, Baleful Strix has still managed to show up on the top tables of many a Legacy event, and with good reason. A 1/1 flyer for two Mana might not be that impressive, but when it replaces itself and has the potential to trade with almost every other creature in the game, you can see why this Artifact Bird commands respect.
I would expect this little brute to turn up in Grixis Death Shadow and Delver lists, occupying much the same role as it does in the Legacy versions of both decks. It’s also a welcome addition to U/B/x Control decks as a roadblock against creature-based strategies. We will just have to wait and see.
You knew I had to have at least one Burn card in the list – after all, I am the resident Red Mage here at Master of Magics. But I was stuck on what I wanted to add to my Modern Horizons Wishlist. Chain Lightning would be a good addition, but its inclusion might over-saturate the number of ‘Bolts’ in the format. Price of Progress might be fun, but has the potential to be way too powerful considering that most decks use Shocklands to fix their mana.
In the end, I decided that the best and safest option was the good old Sulfuric Vortex. A symmetrical effect stapled onto an enchantment that can stop your opponent from gaining life, the Vortex has, for a long time, been the top-end card of choice in Legacy Burn. Being a three mana spell means it’s not likely to break the format, but it would stop those pesky Collected Company decks from going infinite with their life gain, and surely that’s reason enough, right?
I know, weird right. The aggro player saying they want Counterspell adding to the Modern format. Well, the fact is I believe that Counterspell would be a fine addition to Modern for a number of reasons. Firstly, we already see a version of this effect in the format already. Mana Leak is a less mana-intensive spell that, on turn two, does much the same job without making too many players feel its too powerful. In fact, I believe that given the choice of Counterspell and Mana Leak, most Control players would still pick the latter, as it restricts their manabases less and is less colour-intensive when holding multiple answers up during a single turn.
I believe that the deck that would benefit the most from the reprinting of Counterspell in modern is a deck that could use some love at the moment – Merfolk. Giving Merfolk and other Aggro/Tempo builds ways of handling the more unfair decks of the format would bring a huge boost to their power. Counterspell would also slow down the format, which I believe would be a good thing. There are already so many ways to break the format as early as turn two (just look at Arclight Phoenix and Hollow One), is Counterspell really the end of the world? I think not.
Well, I’ve given my two cents on the topic – what’s yours? What do you want to see added to Modern? Do you like the idea of Modern Horizons? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and while you’re there, make sure to subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. Until next time, though, remember – whatever you play or wherever you play it – good luck and have fun.