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Magic: the Gathering — Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons, the upcoming summer Magic: the Gathering set aimed directly at the modern format, is not here to play nice. This is the first set released exclusively for modern, and players of all formats are hyped. Powerful new cards are being introduced to the game, and old favorites get a new lease on life. There’s so much to unpack with this set and with what it means for all of MtG. I wanted to talk about a few things in particular that have me excited to build and brew.

Mechanical Upgrade

Many people are comparing Modern Horizons (MH1) to the experimental Time Spiral block released in 2007. Almost 45 different keywords make an appearance, many showing up on just a couple of cards. Level up, evoke, ninjutsu, devour, undying, dredge, delve, cascade, overload, and on and on. Snow returns as a relevant mechanic and brings with it a new cycle of basics that have me fanning myself.

MTG Modern Horizons Snow Lands

MH1 also helps close a few holes in unfulfilled cycles, while introducing a few new ones. Enemy-colored talismans and newly dubbed Horizon lands for color fixing. A couple more swords for the equipment decks. The “force” cycle, named for one of the most iconic cards in the game’s history.

The addition of pre-8th edition cards also brings old favorites into the modern realm. Unearth, Genesis, Altar of Dementia; all cool cards that would have a difficult time finding a home in a standard set. With their release in this set, all of these old school cards are now modern legal. With a little old and a little new, scores of strategies will get a little extra jump. Maybe they’ll lead to some new janky brews. I wonder if unearthing a Lightning Skelemental will be anything more than just a funny daydream…

Modern isn’t my usual format, but after seeing these previews, I might have to start building. Now, as for a format I know…

Highlander for the Modern Dragon

Hoo boy, the EDH players got some toys with this set.

First off, the legendary creatures are bonkers. Captain Sisay is a 5-color legendary tutor on a stick, bringing more design space for toolbox legend decks. Urza hearkens back to the infamous Tolarian Academy (which is banned in EDH) and is already being eyed by competitive players. Yawgmoth finally makes an appearance and brings a huge combo and value potential that has me excited.

Horizons is showing a lot of love to tribal players as well. The First Sliver grants one of the most terrifying tribes in MtG one of the more busted mechanics — not a problem. Morophon provides blanket cost reduction and stat boosts to any tribe, being simultaneously 5-color and needing only generic mana to cast. And to the delight of many, myself included, EDH was gifted a legendary bear. She’s a 2/2 for 2, she’s strong while remaining fair, and she’s 100% on my to-build list.

This set has already earned the nickname “commander masters,” but so have many sets before it. There are plenty of interesting and outright powerful effects for the format, and a lot of strategies and color combinations will benefit.

Modern Horizons is a new step for Magic, and I’m excited but also nervous. This is new territory for the game, and the potential for insanity is high. However, nothing seems oppressively broken as of yet, and although there have been a few raised eyebrows, only time can tell.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to build a bear deck.