Modern Horizons appears to be a replacement product for Modern Masters, and it’s going even further this time. Modern Horizons will introduce new cards to the format that will not be legal in Standard. This gives the design team a chance to design some cards that are too strong for Standard, but right at par for Modern, hopefully helping some archetypes that haven’t felt the love from normally released Standard sets.
I spent some time looking through all the possibilities. I compiled a list of cards I’ve seen some buzz about, and whether I think they’d work in Modern Horizons. This list of speculative additions and omissions from the set out to at least be fun to go back and look at after the set is finally fully released.
Last time, I looked at the card that would give fair decks a much needed boost. This time, I’ve got 10 cards I think absolutely have no place in the format:
Much like Force of Will, this card would be used mostly to enable broken strategies, such as Unmasking your opponent before putting a Griselbrand into play or as a way to resolve a Living End without having issues with the cascade cards. I don’t think anything healthy will come out of having Unmask in the format, it would just enable decks to go faster than they’re going already, which is already too fast in my opinion.
9) True-Name Nemesis
This creature being so difficult to deal with doesn’t make it a boon to fair decks—it just makes them prey on each other. Geist of Saint Traft can at least be blocked, whereas True-Name Nemesis requires a sweeper or Liliana of the Veil to get it off the table. I’d rather not have this around in Modern because I think it would make other creature decks too difficult to play against it. I could see this being OK in the format someday, but I’d rather ease into this new world a bit more slowly than dumping some of the most aggressively-costed, resilient creatures into the format.
8) Back to Basics
We’ve already got Blood Moon. We don’t need more of this effect, we need less. Pass.
7) Sneak Attack
I’ve seen people suggest this card a couple of times, and while it’s one of my favorite cards ever, we do not need more ways to cheat Emrakul and Griselbrand into play with ease. Sneak Attack would work around graveyard hate, be much more efficient than Through the Breach since you wouldn’t need another copy to fully combo, and could sit in play for multiple turns before needing to activate, allowing you to spend the mana upfront, then find your Emrakul. This card is much too powerful for Modern.
Again, nothing healthy will come from having Entomb in the format. Decks like Grishoalbrand would get huge upgrades in power level, and you could easily put this into Dredge just to turn-1 a Dredge creature into the graveyard. I’ve seen people thinking about this as a prospect but it’s far too exploitative for Modern, even with Surgical Extraction as popular as it is. I do love playing some degenerate Magic, but this is too far even for me.
Daze would put even more pressure on decks trying to play slower, clunky, but individually more powerful cards. This is one of the more reasonable asks, and it’s actually one I could see happening, but I would vote against it if I could. I also think that newer players to the format would despise having to learn their lesson over and over, playing into Dazes they could have played around.
4) Frantic Search
There was some discussion on Twitter asking which one would be more broken, Faithless Looting or Frantic Search in Modern. Frantic Search is of course slower, requires you to get to 3 mana before casting it, and then gives you a full rebate on the mana cost. Faithless Looting you can use earlier, and a second time also at 3 mana, but it doesn’t give you the full rebate. There are too many ways to exploit Frantic Search as both a ritual effect, providing additional mana, and giving you the broken looting effect at a low (or no) cost. Frantic Search is the last thing Modern needs with Faithless Looting already dominating.
3) Natural Order
Natural Order is a completely broken card. It finds any effect you want between Woodfall Primus, Terastodon, or Progenitus. Natural Order has a high casting cost, and gets punished by Force of Will in Legacy. In Modern, this is just a consistent turn-3 Progenitus or Terastodon. Just say no.
Let’s punish Tron! That’s not the only impact Wasteland will have on the format. It would lead to a ton of non-games where players keep a two-lander and never find a third. It would be extra powerful in decks like Affinity that can present a clock and only need colorless mana to operate. Combined with Life from the Loam, we’ll have yet another way to lock opponents playing shockland mana bases out of the game. There’s already enough pressure on those decks with Blood Moon that Wasteland is completely unnecessary. I hope Wasteland never makes its way into Modern.
1) Force of Will
I don’t think Force of Will would be too powerful for Modern, and it may fix some of the problems the format has with speed. What I don’t like about shoehorning Force of Will into the format right now is that I believe it will have a huge impact. “Fragile” decks that lean heavily on a single piece, like Primeval Titan decks or Ad Nauseam will be punished most, but also the fundamental change of how decks are built will warp the format in general. That could be a good thing, but right now I’d like to play the waiting game. I’m not saying I never want to see Force of Will in Modern, I just don’t want to see it right now. I’d like to see what changes are made, and how far they push before adding a card that will see as much play as Force of Will. With Izzet Phoenix and Grixis Death’s Shadow being two of the best decks in the format right now, Force of Will would make those decks even better and potentially separate them too far from the field.
What cards do you want to see in Modern Horizons? Is there anything you think should or shouldn’t be printed in the wrong place on this list?