MTG Dungeons and Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

The Best Surprises from Modern Horizons 2


Modern Horizons 2 has finally arrived to an LGS near you! We're finally, slowly, getting back to in-person events here in the United States, and a lot of people made the Modern Horizons 2 prerelease their first event back. I couldn't make one myself, but I got out to a charity Legacy tournament a few weeks ago, and I have to say that the first match back shuffling a physical Magic deck felt as good as I'd imagined. I'd love to hear about any cool things your favorite stores did to go above and beyond for a special prerelease!

And Modern Horizons 2 hasn't disappointed in its slate of offerings. From the absurdly powerful in Modern (Urza's Saga; Asmo Food decks; Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer) to the unexpected standouts (Dragon's Rage Channeler; Wavesifter) to the soon-to-be Commander staples (Timeless Witness; Esper Sentinel; Garth One-Eye), the set has plenty of big cards driving the headlines. But while the top few may be commanding most of the attention, there's actually been a handful of cards from Modern Horizons 2 that have come as pleasant surprises in how they've impacted formats in a short time.

Let's start with one that was easy to overlook: a straightforward Boros Aggro card in General Ferrous Rokiric.

General Ferrous Rokiric

I don't know how many aggressive Red-White cards my eyes have seen previewed and immediately glazed over. There's always some super-powerful-but-probably-too-slow piece like Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran or Tajic, Blade of the Legion, and even recently printed powerful options like Venerable Warsinger are easy to pass over as they rarely see any play.

But the General is doing some work to break that trend. One thing I definitely did not catch on my first pass of the set is how powerful the hexproof from monocolored is in the format - immune to Fatal Push, Path to Exile, Prismatic Ending, Lightning Bolt, Celestial Purge, Hornet Sting, you name it. And in a format where five-color decks centered around Bring to Light, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, and Omnaths of various flavors, it's also really easy to stuff your deck full of multicolored spells.

The result is the rare Boros three-drop that can make a difference; the combination of protection from the most relevant spells as well as a passive board-dominating ability has made the General a unique addition to Modern.

Glimpse of Tomorrow

I have a bit of a history with Warp World effects. There was one point where my playgroup got really into Planechase, a variant released a decade or so ago that contained a bunch of "planes" cards that provided static effects and could be cycled through with enough mana and luck. They really changed the flow of the game and helped inject some variety into our Commander matches.

Another addition to the Planechase variant was "phenomenon" cards. If a player rolled onto one of these, instead of a static effect entering the game, a big spell effect would happen - and one of those effects was Warp World. We played through the Planechase planes enough that I eventually got very practiced at resolving Warp World. I've also had a ton of fun with it in Modern brews like Warp World Elves and other kinds of nonsense.

Even still, I mostly looked at Glimpse of Tomorrow as a Commander card. A neat twist on Warp World that doesn't require the entire game to come to a complete stop for 10 minutes to spin the wheel. In retrospect, I should have expected that it would immediately be put to work for shenanigans.

This deck looks like an absolute blast. Shardless Agent is a huge piece for these cascade/free spells decks, and if dumping hasted Eldrazi into play is your idea of a good time - and let's be honest it probably is - this entry into Modern is great.

Blossoming Calm
Prismatic Ending

I'm grouping these here because it's nice to get such powerful options at the uncommon spot. Equaling or beating out Path to Exile is a daunting task, but in a Modern format where ramping your opponent a mana has become more and more of a liability, we have a card that can challenge Path for the top of the removal heap. And the other uncommon is a really nice niche tool for the format.

With Burn decks picking up Flame Rift and threatening to end close games in draws for the rest of time, I think we can all relate to how helpless it feels to just have burn spell after burn spell pointed at your face (unless, of course, you're the one doing the burning). Blossoming Calm serves as a pseudo-Leyline of Sanctity that doesn't get embarrassed by Destructive Revelry. It can blank a Lightning Bolt thanks to giving hexproof, and even if you don't get much out of hexproof on the rebound, thanks to the lifegain it represents a plus-7 life interaction against the classic Bolt. That's a huge swing for just one mana, and Calm actually has uses beyond that as a way to stop decks that need to target you to combo out.

As far as Prismatic Ending goes, the comparisons to Path to Exile were bound to stay hot, but I actually like this approach to the spell:

There's been much talk about mechanics and abilities that White has ceded to Green over the years, and there's another round of powerful Green cards in Modern Horizons 2 that probably could have been White. That said, the color of Swords to Plowshares absolutely did all right in this set. I love Sanctifier En-Vec as answer to a ton of the format's most broken engines, and Prismatic Ending gives us one of the best flexible removal spells ever printed for Modern.

Dragon's Rage Channeler

I teased it in the opening, but it's worth repeating: we have a worthy successor to Monastery Swiftspear. Modern has become nothing but faster over the years, and it's gotten to the point that Mishra's Bauble represents a strong early-turn play. And while everyone was focused on Ragavan (and rightly slow), DRC slipped right under my radar.

But this has all the hallmarks of an all-timer. It doesn't have haste, but it makes up for it with another form of reach: evasion. Achieving Delirium is trivial in Modern, but even if it weren't the Channeler will surveil you there anyway. That means it takes barely any work at all - here's where Bauble comes in - to turn this into a one-mana 3/3 flyer with pseudo-scry. Being forced to attack is not much of a drawback when you begin to view DRC as Delver of Secrets holding down the turbo button.

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth

This one actually shocked me. I had always thought that since it had been so long since the printing of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth that I assumed it would always remain a unique land. But while Urborg holds a special place in Magic (both competitive and Commander play) thanks to Cabal Coffers, there's no equivalent in Green. Nissa, Who Shakes the World will do silly things with Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth but let's be honest it's not like Green was really hurting for ways to produce arbitrarily large amounts of mana before this.

Instead, Yavimaya functions as something as a color-fixer, which is a much cooler niche for Urborg's cousin to slide into. I always have to take careful consideration of the colorless lands like Homeward Path or Contested Cliffs I run in my three-color decks like Mayael the Anima so that I can actually have my colors on time, and Yavimaya helps with that while also doing cool things with Dark Depths or Maze of Ith.

That's what has stood out to me from our first week with Modern Horizons 2. What are you most looking forward to getting your hands on?

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist