Reserve List "Reprints" in Modern Horizons 3

Reserved List “Reprints” in Modern Horizons 3

Jacob LacknerCommander

Modern Horizons 3 releases on June 14th. Like its predecessors, it is filled to the brim with references to past Magic: the Gathering cards and events. While many of these are just done for the sake of meta humor, there are also some more practical reasons they did this.

While one of the goals of Modern Horizons 3 is to shake up Modern with the introduction of brand new cards, this set also has the “New-to-Modern” bonus sheet, which contains reprints that will become legal in Modern for the first time. Many of these cards are played in Legacy and/or Vintage.

Because they are on the Reserved List, Wizards of the Coast couldn’t reprint Eternal format stalwarts like Gilded Drake, Recurring Nightmare, Aluren, or Wheel of Fortune on this bonus sheet. But they did the next best thing – they printed powered down energy-centric versions of these cards.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how each of these cards stacks up to their predecessors.


Gilded Drake is a pretty weird creature. It has great stats, but don’t get too attached, because it’s not staying on your side of the battlefield. It has been used in Legacy and Vintage to steal opposing Griselbrands and Emrakuls for a very long time. It performs particularly well against cards like Show and Tell and Eureka, which allow both players to put permanents into play for free.

That’s the idea with Volatile Stormdrake too. It has a similarly eye-popping stat-line, but it also exchanges itself with an opposing creature. Unlike its predecessor, you don’t get to hold on to the creature you steal unless you can pay energy equal to that creature’s mana value.

Given that Gilded Drake is so good because it lets you steal creatures with really high mana values, I have a feeling Volatile Stormdrake is going to have a hard time living up to its legacy. Even with the release of Modern Horizons 3, it doesn’t feel like there are enough powerful Energy cards in Modern for the drake to be effective.

So, it’s more like a bad removal spell against those big creatures. Killing a scary creature is great and all, but handing your opponent a very relevant body to do it doesn’t seem like a great plan.

It also doesn’t help that one of the best creatures to cheat into play right now is Atraxa, and tons of her value comes from her ETB. 

However, it is certainly worthwhile in Commander, since there are some commanders who are great at producing energy and you can also do some fun political stuff with it.


Recurring Nightmare is one of the most powerful Enchantments ever printed. So powerful that it got banned in Standard and has been banned in Commander since 2008

While it takes some work to set up, it’s a repeatable source of reanimation that only costs three mana. If you have a well-stocked graveyard and expendable bodies in play, it can bring back lots of huge creatures in a hurry. Because you return it to your hand as part of the activation, it’s also surprisingly difficult to interact with Recurring Nightmare.

Chthonian Nightmare isn’t as good at reanimating big creatures, since what you can get back gets limited by the amount of energy it can produce. However, it does give you energy all on its own and because it also returns to your hand when you activate it, it’s going to keep giving you energy.

The Nightmare looks great at reanimating mid-sized creatures and it can feel like an engine just like Recurring Nightmare can, especially if you’re trying to bring back creatures with powerful ETB abilities, like Grief.

It’s got an even higher ceiling in Commander, where it’s not too challenging to find the time to gain enough energy for this to start bringing back huge monsters.


Wheel effects have always been good in Magic. Drawing seven cards for only three mana is pretty absurd. And certainly cheap enough that you have a good shot at playing some of the cards you drew. 

Wheel of Fortune is so good that it has been banned in every 60-card format but Vintage (where it’s restricted) since the dawn of competitive Magic. And in recent years, wheels have gotten even better.

Orcish Bowmaster, Hullbreacher, Sheoldred, and Narset, Parter of Veils all make symmetrical card draw far less symmetrical. This has resulted in a renaissance for Wheel of Fortune in Vintage. Wheels can be even spicier in Commander, since they affect every player!

Unfortunately, Wheel of Potential doesn’t have the same upside. It’s a “may” trigger for your opponent, so if you have one of those wheel punishers in play, your opponent just won’t draw with the Wheel. Furthermore, you’re going to need some extra energy lying around in order to actually draw 7 cards.

However, Wheel of Potential does do something that other Wheels don’t. If you pay enough energy, you effectively get to hold on to the cards that were in your hand. That definitely makes it intriguing, but overall I have a hard time seeing Wheel of Potential making a big impact on 60-card formats or Commander.


Aluren has been enabling crazy creature combos in multiple formats since 2002. It has the absurd effect of making all of your mana value 3 or less creatures free and it gives them flash! While it is symmetrical, if you’ve built your deck around going off with Aluren, it doesn’t really matter.

Generally, you abuse Aluren by bouncing your free creatures back to your hand over and over again. This can be accomplished with creatures like Cavern Harpy. When you can cast that for free, you can use it’s ETB to bounce it to your hand as many times as you want. Combine that with ETBs that do stuff when a creature enters, and you can gain infinite life or do lethal damage.

Primal Prayers has the same basic effect. Except it’s not symmetrical and you have to pay an energy for each creature you put into play. This does narrow the number of combos that you can use, but there are some ways to go off with Primal Prayers. For example, if you combine it with Guide of Souls, you can make sure you get an energy back every time a creature enters the battlefield. It gains you life too, so all you need to add to the mix is a bounce creature like Whitemane Lion, and you have a game-winning combo.

Primal Prayers has some serious legs as a combo enabler, especially in 60-card formats. So, while it’s not quite as insane as Aluren, it’s doing a pretty good impression of its forebearer.


The Reserved List is a list of Magic cards that Wizards of the Coast has promised never to reprint. They also promised not to reprint cards with different names that are functionally identical. With these reprints, I think that promise is still very much intact.

While I know it upsets some people that they skirted so closely to the Reserved List here, these cards are substantially different and significantly worse than the cards they are modeled after. So this doesn’t really violate the promise. 

I think it’s a really good idea to give players access to the effects of these powerful Reserved List cards, only they have to work a lot harder to make them work in most cases. This keeps them from being too powerful in Modern. It also means that if you really want access to these effects as a Commander player, you have a much more affordable route to getting a card with the same effect.

Besides, it isn’t as if this is the first time they’ve done this. Wizards of the Coast has been printing “fixed” versions of Reserved List cards ever since the Reserved List was created. Brainstorm is a fixed Ancestral Recall, Lotus Petal is a fixed Black Lotus, and so on. It’s something we’re going to continue to see too, and overall I think it’s a good thing for the game.


What do you think? Did they get too close to functional reprints of Reserved List cards here? Or is this acceptable? Let me know over on X.