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On February 28 it was announced via the official Magic Twitch stream that Modern Horizons would be the so called “innovation product” for this year. It’s a standalone set designed to inject cards into Modern without going through Standard. It will feature both newly designed cards as well as reprints of cards not yet in Modern. They only spoiled two new cards on stream, so I wanted to have some fun and speculate about which cards they decided to include. While this list has 25 cards, it’s not a ranked list and the order is totally random. Also keep your eyes open for the second part of this article in a few days when I will round out my list with another 25 candidates for Modern Horizons.

Counterspell

The catch-all stack answer

Counterspell from Masters 25

Counterspell from Masters 25

It’s no secret that Modern Control players wanted a catch-all answer to the diverse field for quite some time. A split of NegateNegate, Mana LeakMana Leak and Logic KnotLogic Knot is just not the same as an all-round answer for anything. If CounterspellCounterspell is included in this set, I would expect Blue-White-based Control to sit comfortable on top of the metagame once it settles down.

Fact or Fiction

Instant speed card advantage

Fact or Fiction from Commander Anthology 2

Fact or Fiction from Commander Anthology 2

Another tool for Control decks, but I’m not sure they need it with Jace, the Mind SculptorJace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of DominariaTeferi, Hero of Dominaria as alternatives. Where I could see Fact or FictionFact or Fiction being played is in Bring to LightBring to Light Scapeshift as an action card on the opponent’s end step just like they used Dig Through TimeDig Through Time when that was legal. With the various “turn 4” decks out there, Fact or FictionFact or Fiction is totally fine for Modern.

Armageddon

The sideboard tech for creature decks

Armageddon from Masters 25

Armageddon from Masters 25

For ArmageddonArmageddon to be effective in the main deck, you need mana from other sources than lands, whether that’s creatures or artifacts. If Blue-White Control becomes a major player, I could see ArmageddonArmageddon being a good sideboard card for white creature decks like Bant Spirits.

Vindicate

The catch-all permanent answer

Vindicate from Eternal Masters

Vindicate from Eternal Masters

Just like I explained CounterspellCounterspell as a catch-all answer for the stack, I love versatile permanent removal rather than the wrong narrow removal spell at the wrong time. The mana cost makes sure that you can’t run a full playset of VindicateVindicate, but I’m sure any deck that can produce the needed mana would play one or two.

Force Spike

The original Mana Tithe

Force Spike from Duel Decks Izzet vs Golgari

Force Spike from Duel Decks Izzet vs Golgari

I realize that Mana TitheMana Tithe is already legal in Modern and sees little to no play but if it’s blue, that makes a difference. Ideally you would run it in a deck that needs to buy just that one crucial turn before it turns the corner (more on that later). Suddenly, you can play the card in game one, sideboard it out for game two and leave your opponent guessing, similarly to how DazeDaze works in Legacy. I like countering their turn one play, and I like countering Karn LiberatedKarn Liberated on turn three, but I don’t like topdecking Force SpikeForce Spike later in the game. If players can figure out a way to make use of mid and late game copies, it could become relevant.

Fire // Ice

A versatile tempo gain

Fire and Ice from Ultimate Masters

Fire and Ice from Ultimate Masters

I love playing with this card in Vintage Cube because of its versatility. The default mode that will be used the most is definitely the tap-draw. It can act as a pseudo Time WalkTime Walk and keep your opponent off curve in the early turns or prevent damage from a big creature later on. Dealing with one creature for two mana using Fire is a fine bonus, and of course punishing multiple toughness 1 creatures is gravy.

Dack Fayden

A Vintage staple in Modern

Dack Fayden from Eternal Masters

Dack Fayden from Eternal Masters

As you might know, I play a ton of Vintage and Dack FaydenDack Fayden interacts favorably with how that format is constructed. Shops is a top tier deck and the majority of the Power 9 are artifacts. But I’m not sure if it will be as strong in Modern. While the +1 ability makes sure that your excess lands or bad cards for the specific matchup get cashed in, the -2 will not be relevant against several decks in the format. However, if decks featuring Mox OpalMox Opal or Ensnaring BridgeEnsnaring Bridge are good, Dack’s stock goes up.

True-Name Nemesis

Will Mini-Progenitus come back?

True-Name Nemesis from Battlebond

True-Name Nemesis from Battlebond

The way the format has been evolving these past few years, True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis doesn’t sound like the most broken thing you can do. A lot of decks can either race it or ignore it and combo off. I’m sure it would see play, especially in decks that can accelerate it out with Noble HierarchNoble Hierarch or get benefits from Merfolk lords.

Toxic Deluge

A splashable sweeper

Toxic Deluge from Eternal Masters

Toxic Deluge from Eternal Masters

A three-mana sweeper that is easy to splash and keeps your big creatures like TarmogoyfTarmogoyf, Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler, Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadow and Hollow OneHollow One on the battlefield against linear creature decks might be too much. So I don’t like the chances of its inclusion all that much, even though some have hopes regarding its inclusion.

Flusterstorm

The anti-countermagic counter

Flusterstorm from Iconic Masters

Flusterstorm from Iconic Masters

FlusterstormFlusterstorm would provide an upgrade to Spell PierceSpell Pierce in a few matchups and will bypass things like Mausoleum WandererMausoleum Wanderer and opposing counter magic. It might be too irrelevant, but at least the reprint will help more players gain access to the card. I could also see a card like DivertDivert becoming more relevant in matchups where both players want to interact with the board and thus look to protect themselves against removal spells.

Sylvan Library

Painful card advantage machine

Sylvan Library from Eternal Masters

Sylvan Library from Eternal Masters

This is a big one, I know! However, with so many aggressive decks in Modern that attack your life total from the get-go, I think Sylvan LibrarySylvan Library would solely be a sideboard card against Control decks. And as we know from Legacy, it’s very potent at that. Aside from being a one- or two-off in green sideboards, I could see it in Titan Shift to make sure you have enough resources to make your land drops, deal with your opponent’s board and find a win condition at the same time.

Palace Jailer

Thomas Enevoldsen’s favorite

Palace Jailer from Conspiracy Take the Crown

Palace Jailer from Conspiracy Take the Crown

I simply can’t get enough of the Monarch mechanic and Palace JailerPalace Jailer in particular. In grindy slugfests, Palace JailerPalace Jailer will do a lot of work and is balanced by both its hefty mana cost and the risk of losing the crown. Any white Hatebears style deck would include this card in their 75, as we know from Thomas Enevoldsen’s Death and Taxes in Legacy.

Mother of Runes

A huge boost for Humans

Mother of Runes from Eternal Masters

Mother of Runes from Eternal Masters

Maybe I’m building an unbeatable Humans deck with Mother of RunesMother of Runes, Palace JailerPalace Jailer and ArmageddonArmageddon, but I don’t mind living in a world where an aggressive strategy is a great choice. There are still a lot of combo decks, and removal plus Snapcaster MageSnapcaster Mage has always been a good strategy against Mother of RunesMother of Runes. With Toxic DelugeToxic Deluge potentially in the format, it can’t be that bad, right?

Snuff Out

Death’s Shadows favorite removal

Snuff Out from Duel Decks Garruk vs Liliana

Snuff Out from Duel Decks Garruk vs Liliana

Grixis Death’s Shadow or Arclight PhoenixArclight Phoenix decks might run a copy or two of this card and gain a little efficiency without it being harmful to the format overall. A nice, small roleplayer from back in the day.

Wirewood Symbiote

Make Elves great again

Wirewood Symbiote from Eternal Masters

Wirewood Symbiote from Eternal Masters

The little insect that could might be the missing piece for Modern Elves to become viable. It combos with mana elves for more explosiveness or with Elvish VisionaryElvish Visionary for more durability while it is also relatively agile for combat steps to buy time by blocking with and returning an elf.

Goblin Lackey

Make our Goblins great again (MOGGa)

Goblin Lackey from From the Vault Exiled

Goblin Lackey from From the Vault Exiled

Sticking to the tribal-theme, Goblin LackeyGoblin Lackey might help create a somewhat playable Goblins deck in Modern. My gut feeling is that it would require Goblin RingleaderGoblin Ringleader and possibly also Goblin MatronGoblin Matron, but maybe that’s asking too much. I would be shocked but excited if all three are spoiled in the coming months.

Flametongue Kavu

A 4-drop “Pod” inclusion?

Flametongue Kavu from Commander Anthology 2

Flametongue Kavu from Commander Anthology 2

Times are changing, because FTK will not be the powerhouse it was when it roamed the Standard streets of Planeshift. If Prime Speaker VannifarPrime Speaker Vannifar “Pod” ever becomes a serious thing, I’m sure we would see a copy of Flametongue KavuFlametongue Kavu in the 4-drop slot.

Pernicious Deed

Another take on Engineered Explosives

Pernicious Deed from Masters 25

Pernicious Deed from Masters 25

The Deed’s favorable interaction against artifact lands used to be relevant in Extended back in the day, but that will not be the case in Modern. As long as you only deal with nonland permanents, I think this will be an interesting tool for the format. Engineered ExplosivesEngineered Explosives will still be more efficient against a horde of zero and one drops, but P. Deeddy has the upside of cleaning both for four mana. Furthermore, you get to keep your Tasigur or Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler and clear away everything else with Pernicious DeedPernicious Deed, which would motivate clever deckbuilding.

Careful Study

Put Dredge and Phoenix over the top

Careful Study from Oddyssey

Careful Study from Oddyssey

I might be pushing the envelope here, as Careful StudyCareful Study would make Dredge change their mana base and be way more consistent as a result, and I’m sure Izzet Phoenix would incorporate Bedlam RevelerBedlam Reveler to make up for the lost card advantage. I’m 95% sure that this would be too powerful of an enabler for Modern, but I thought I would include it anyway for sake of discussion.

Control Magic

Sower of Temptation don’t cut it

Control Magic from Eternal Masters

Control Magic from Eternal Masters

Sower of TemptationSower of Temptation used to see a little play back when Abzan Midrange’s removal suite featured 4 Abrupt DecayAbrupt Decay, and Siege RhinoSiege Rhino was all the rage. These days, the 2/2 body is a liability rather than a bonus, so I would like to see this effect return to its enchantment form as Mind ControlMind Control.

Cycle Lands

Slow grind with Life from the Loam

Secluded Steppe
Lonely Sandbar
Barren Moor
Forgotten Cave
Tranquil Thicket

I even think these would be interesting for Standard, but I’m 100% confident that these would be safe for Modern despite Life from the LoamLife from the Loam in the format. I see no reason why players shouldn’t be allowed to spin the wheels to create card advantage in a fast-paced format like the Modern of today. And I would love to see what Knight of the ReliquaryKnight of the Reliquary aficionados would create with these in the pool.

Karakas

The Death and Taxes dream

Karakas from Ultimate Masters

Karakas from Ultimate Masters

I’ll probably take some heat for this one, but I think it would be cool to see KarakasKarakas pull double duty in white-based decks like it’s the case in Legacy. There it answers big fatties and protects your small critters from removal. It can even create late game shenanigans in Blue-White Control with Vendilion CliqueVendilion Clique and Venser, Shaper SavantVenser, Shaper Savant.

Fiery Confluence

A role player from Commander

Fiery Confluence from Commander Anthology 2

Fiery Confluence from Commander Anthology 2

Another Legacy role player from a Commander product, that I would be excited to see available in Modern. All three modes are relevant in various scenarios depending on your own deck and the matchup which is a huge quality in a card for a diverse format like Modern. Whether you use this to sweep the board, destroy pesky artifacts, finishing off the opponent or even a combination of these, it has great utility at a reasonably steep cost.

Standstill

Return of the classic?

Standstill from IDW Promos

Standstill from IDW Promos

If Force SpikeForce Spike and StandstillStandstill are released together, I imagine it would be a playable one-two punch for “Modern Landstill”. StandstillStandstill forces you to play cheap answers early to make sure you can build your own “Ancestral RecallAncestral Recall for two” and will have to find reasonable tools to play from behind in the face of an explosive turn one or two from the opponent. The creature land selection for the deck will also be interesting to follow, but I assume that a combination of Celestial ColonnadeCelestial Colonnade and MutavaultMutavault would be preferred in Blue-White.

Null Rod

Everyone deserves Stony Silence

Null Rod from Weatherlight

Null Rod from Weatherlight

The colorless Stony SilenceStony Silence will allow any deck to improve massively post-sideboard against Mox OpalMox Opal decks, but it might not be needed right now. Just like graveyard hate is available to any deck, I like the thought of “Stony SilenceStony Silence for everyone” as well. However, this is another part of the reserved list, so I’d appreciate a functionally similar print on a new design.

That’s my first 25 picks for possible reprints that would be interesting for Modern Horizons. I will happily discuss my picks and hear about the ones I missed in the comments! Maybe you’ll see some of the in the next article.

 

 

This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Andreas Petersen

Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.