I stayed up last night to watch the announcement WOTC have been teasing for a few weeks: a product that is sure to excite players of the Modern format. And what an announcement! In case you missed it, Wizards of the Coast announced a new booster product called Modern Horizons. It takes the place of the "innovation" slot, previously occupied by sets like Conspiracy and Battlebond.
Modern Horizons is a brand new booster product for Modern, with the exciting twist that it's a "straight-to-modern" set, completely bypassing Standard! It includes 254 cards brand new to Modern, including some reprints formerly not legal in the format, and some brand new cards. There is also a buy-a-box promo, which is another reprint that will bring the card into Modern legality. The set is due to release in stores and on Magic Online June 14th. The prerelease weekend is the 8-9th of June. There are no current plans to bring it to MTGA, but seeing as modern isn't a format on Arena, there seems little point. There is no MSRP for paper products any more, but boosters will sell on MTGO for $6.99.
They also did 2 new card reveals! The first Cabal Therapist, a 1/1 Creature Horror with Menace for 1 black mana. It's ability text reads "At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, you may sacrifice a creature. When you do, choose a nonland card name, then target player reveals their hand and discards all cards with that name". Now I don't pretend to know about Modern decks and METAs, however, the guests on the steam were talking about how great this card is in sacrifice decks, and how powerful it becomes in game 2. Even the second time you get the effect to activate, the knowledge you have makes this card very powerful, and I can definitely see that!
The second card is much flashier, and even I can see the potential in this. The second reveal was Serra, the Benevolent. Serra is a Legendary Planewalker with 4 loyalty for 2WW. Her +2 ability reads "Creatures you control with flying get +1/+1 until end of turn". Her -3 reads "Create a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying and vigilance". Finally, her -6 ultimate reads "You get an emblem with "If you control a creature, damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead". Planeswalkers that can protect themselves the turn you play them are great, so being able to create a 4/4 flyer off the bat is a brilliant way to protect your planeswalker in the skies. If there are no threats on the board or you already have defences out? Then Serra can ult in 2 turns. I don't know a lot about the power level of the crazier cards in Modern, but I'd be excited to crack open a Serra, the Benevolent and build a fun flyer deck around her!
My thoughts? Well the format that I usually play with my friends is a very watered down version of Modern, buying cool looking cards and building tribal decks. I've recently been looking to build some more powerful decks for Modern, but the price tag of a lot of the cards has really put me off. Personally, I am really looking forward to the release of this set. It sounds really exciting! As it is skipping Standard and going straight to Modern, where the power level of cards are much higher, it has given WOTC more head space to design fun and powerful cards that would never fit into Standard. The thought of being able to crack some packs and open some really powerful cards feeds into my MTG headspace of building some decks around these powerful spells I pull from packs, and I love it.
From a longtime Modern player, I can imagine the introduction of this set has some big impacts. A huge amount of semi-powerful cards are going to flood into Modern, adding to existing decks, powering up lower tier decks and giving a breath of life into new deck building opportunities.
Wizards of the Coast have said the aim of this set wasn't to break the Modern format or try and control it, but to design cards that can be added to some lower tier decks to bring them into the spotlight, and to give players more chance to innovate new deck ideas. The design of this set is to slot into Modern with a lot of fresh new cards!
With the spoilers for this set starting at the end of May, we have a bit of a wait to see what this set is going to be capable of, and how this changes up Modern (if at all), but just from a personal perspective, I think I'm going to really enjoy seeing all the cards and decks that come from this product! For more information head to the Daily MTG News Page here where you can watch the stream VOD.