Week 1 of Modern Horizons preview season has been a doozy. While many people expected a ton of hyper efficient cards that help to shape modern moving forward, this set has been actually a bit more muted than expectations were to believe. That’s not to say the cards are bad, but there are just no cards that you can look at and say “yes this is the card that my archetype really needed to compete.” A plethora of cool cards and role players have filled out spoiler season so far, so let’s take a look.
These cards are not specifically for Modern but are likely included in the set because they’re really sweet and they also want Commander players to buy booster packs of this set. Morophon, the Boundless is the quintessential commander for any new tribe going forward. Every tribe has creatures and every creature has a mana cost and power and toughness. As a result, its abilities will almost always be relevant for every creature type. I’m currently planning to use one to helm my God tribal deck because the current stand in is Karona, the False God and she’s not particularly good outside of providing a lot of devotion. I don’t foresee any particular cards that will combo well with this yet but it will be the baseline for multicolored tribal commander going forward.
The First Sliver is not the first five-color sliver which is a little misleading. It is, however, probably the best one. Currently, Sliver Overlord, Sliver Hivelord, Sliver Legion, and Sliver Queen are your choices for legendary sliver commanders. None of them give you the ability to value your way through board clears in the way that The First Sliver does, so many people will likely replace their existing Commander with this. If you want to round out the rest of your deck with the highest impact slivers I would recommend picking up a Hivelord as its probably the best in practice and is the one least affected by the recent sliver buyouts. Currently the only sliver on the reserve list is Sliver Queen and its new $200 price tag reflects that. Honestly, I don’t think you miss out by skipping on the Queen. I think she’s more iconic than she is good and the buyout reflects that. The best slivers are mostly untouched but your time to pick them up at reasonable prices is short.
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is a really fun looking card but I think is also less good than people assume it is. I haven’t seen anyone trying to build decks with Sisay other than including all of the legends they own. It being a rare means that it will be much cheaper than the other cards I’ve mentioned and likely will be selling for less than its pre-order price within a month. If you’re looking to make a Sisay deck I would recommend picking up a Gaea's Cradle, Serra's Sanctum, or any other legendary land you may want to tutor up before purchasing her.
The new set of lands in this set is fantastic. I would say, however, to be mindful that this is an unlimited print run set. If it sells out there will be more. You don’t need to pay Modern Masters prices for these cards. As a result, I think most of these lands are pre-ordering for too much. I think they will settle at around $20 each because they are still coming out of premium priced booster packs but I think it will be difficult for them to sustain a price point higher than this because of all of the value in this set. I think the most useful ones will be Fiery Islet for Storm and Sunbaked Canyon for Burn. The rest will probably be in some decks as singletons.
Prismatic Vista is a weird one. I don’t know why its preordering for so much and I can’t say it’s a good time to buy it. It is a fetchland that doesn’t find shocks so I’m not sure why it’s preordering for $28. It’s cool because it finds Wastes and makes decks with three or more colors of snow lands easier to play with but I don’t think this is better than a Khans of Tarkir fetch. Save your money and sell these at the pre-release.
Snow basics will be in every pack just like Unstable basics. We can see from there that in a set with no other value the basic is worth about as much as the pack. These will be worth considerably less than they were before this printing unless there is a new card that requires a lot of snow lands to make them more popular. I would recommend waiting on these.
Forces to be Reckoned With
The “force” cycle so far is an interesting one. The Blue one is definitely not Force of Will and that’s good for Modern players, but is it really good enough to see play? I don’t think it’s much better than a glorified cancel. It’s good at its job of stopping turn one combo decks but really bad in most other cases. I think your money would be better spent on Flusterstorms than Force of Negation.
Unlike Force of Negation, I think Force of Vigor is quite good and maybe even a bit underrated. It is a strong sideboard card against strategies that rely on a few powerful payoff cards like Affinity and don’t have inherent card disadvantage like Force of Negation does because it can kill two things. I think decks in the future will likely diverge into decks that play Nature's Claim because it’s cheap and decks that play Force of Vigor because they have a lot of Green cards to exile to it. I think Force of Vigor is also likely to become a popular card for Commander players because it is often not your turn and cheap interaction is at a premium for a card so versatile as this.
Wizards of the Mythic Rarity
Technically neither of these are wizards but I didn’t realize this until I had already written the header and it sounded too good to change. Urza, Lord High Artificier is preordering for an absurd amount. I will reiterate, this is a print to demand set. If people want more Urzas they will be able to buy more Urzas. It might take a few months but there will be replenishment available. At this time I cannot recommend preordering and Urza since its only available for $65 from select retailers. If you want to build a deck that plays Urza, proxy a few and figure out what other cards you need to finish the deck because those will be much more reasonable in the short term.
Seasoned Pyromancer is also not a wizard, it’s a shaman, but it was close enough to include in this section. I think this beefy pyromancer is one of the few cards efficient enough to actually see play in Modern. It creates 3 bodies for 3 mana and has “flashback” to make more creatures. Card filtering is pretty important and a lot of decks can take advantage of discarding the spells as they often do with Faithless Looting. At $12 I think there is definitely room for this card to grow if it finds a home in Modern. It seems to me like a good candidate for the Izzet Phoenix decks in the place of Crackling Drake.
Week in Review
We’re only a week in but there are plenty of interesting and unusual cards. I think there are far more cards for non-Modern players than a lot of people expected but it’s likely we are also just missing the power level of some of them. It’s unusual for true Modern all-stars to be discovered during spoiler season. What cards most excite you? Which ones would you like me to cover next time? Make sure to leave a comment below!